About Me

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
and pretty maids all standing in a row.

            Contrary?  Not me.  And my garden? Well, my mutant brown thumb, doesn’t do such a hot job of helping it grow in this muggy Virginia climate.  But I hardly think silver bells and cockle shells will help.  And really, a bunch of pretty maids sounds like a reality show that I’d rather pass on.
            So then, what the heck is this blog about? It's about growing--growing our children into worthy adults, growing our nation's schools into greenhouses of learning, and growing the relationships between schools, families, children, the community, and the future.  This blog will be my “silver bells and cockle shells.”
            If you, like me, are struggling to build schools that adequately prepare our children for the future,  then I hope this blog will offer ideas and encouragement.  Perhaps you can be “my pretty maids”  (and lads) and offer me the same.  I’m looking to establish a supportive community of educators and parents.  And don’t worry about the “pretty” part (see I told you I’m not contrary).
            After working in public schools for 8 years (elementary and middle), I was blessed with my first child and chose to become a stay-at-home mother.  It wasn't long before my second child appeared, and I missed getting my hands dirty in the garden.  I've spent the last several years working part-time teaching college students and professionals.  As my oldest heads off to kindergarten in the fall, I daydream about the classroom I want for him, but I've spent enough time in the schools to know he won't step into that classroom.  In some ways his experience will better than anything I can imagine and in some ways it will be worse.  Our children spend too much time taking tests and not enough time thinking, understanding, creating, and engaging.  Our teachers are asked to focus on the wrong things and as a result test scores may rise, but our children lose out.  
           This blog is for hard working educators who are so busy planting seeds, watering, and pruning that they don't have time to consider how their garden fits into ecosystem or to keep up with the latest trends in education.  Its for educators who realize the time is right for change in our schools and want a voice in what directions those changes take.
          This blog is for parents who are looking for ways to partner with schools and support and enrich their children's education.  Its for parents who want to work together for a brighter future.
          In these pages I'll provide ideas for fertilizing our children.  You may like some of them.  Please tell.  You may disagree with others.  Please tell.  Most of all I want get educators, parents, and the community, at large for we all have a vested interest, talking and thinking about the future of education. So please leave comments on this blog and send emails to silverbellsncockleshells@gmail.com 
            Let's bloom.


                                                                                                            Mary Helen Sheriff