Weekly Staff Memo – August 31, 2013

Great Things I Noticed This Week:

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m going to try to do this in the form of images that are organized by categories.

Organization

Skill-Building

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Routines and Procedures

Creativity

Hands-On Experiential Learning

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Chase Martin, High School AP Physics and AP Calculus Teacher, conducted a fantastic training on how to create instructional videos using the Promethean Board.  Kudos to Dan Merithew, Mimi Siadak, and Shannon Davis for taking this on as a professional goal for the upcoming school year!

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 2nd – NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 3rd – NCEES (North Carolina Educator Evaluation System) Orientation and Training @ 3:30 in 7th Grade LASS.  This training will be online, so either bring your own device or grab a Chromebook from the cart.  You’ll also need your PowerSchool login info to complete this training.  Thanks!

Wednesday, September 4th – LASS Vertical Team Meeting @ 11:30 in Juli’s office – Click here to view agenda. Staff Meeting @ 3:30 in Shannon Davis’s Room

Friday, September 6th – Guest Speaker for 7th Grade in Black Box at 8:30

Monday, September 9th – Parent Advisory Meeting at High School at 7:30

Wednesday, September 11th Ed Leadership Seminar Meeting – 3:30 – in MS Media Center.  MS Curriculum Night  –  6:30-8:30 *We will go over this event in great detail at this week’s staff meeting.

Don’t Forget….

Juli’s Sacred Classroom Time is on Thursday of this week.  If you need an extra set of hands, I’m your girl!  Sign up by clicking here.

For the protection of students, staff, and families, CSD Board Policy prohibits staff members from transporting students in their personal cars to and from school-related events.  If a situation arises where this policy poses a problem (student injury, etc…), please involve an administrator in coming up with a solution.  Thanks for your help with this!

Professional Development Corner

This Week’s Staff Meeting Topic – Using Essential Questions to Drive Instruction – Please take a few moments to scan the following articles.  http://www.authenticeducation.org/ae_bigideas/article.lasso?artid=53

http://daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com/file/view/essential.pdf

http://www.kfalls.k12.or.us/kuhs/Seniors/Senior%20project/Writing%20Essential%20Questions.pdf

We will be discussing EQ’s and how they relate to our newly revised Student Led Conference process for grades 6-8.  We will review the expectations and logistics of Curriculum Night (coming up on September 11th).

Anyone interested in participating in a book study on Robyn Jackson’s Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching click here.  This is a terrific book loaded with lots of great ideas.  Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to learn and grow with your colleagues!  10 hours of renewal credit will be awarded to those who participate.

Thought to Ponder This Week….

CSD Mission

The Parent-Teacher Partnership

As we start this new school year, now is the perfect time to be reminded of our mission.   When Dr. Boyer spoke of The School as Community, he referred to three essential elements:   1)  A Shared Vision  2) Teachers as Leaders  and 3) Parents as Partners.  Today, I would like to take some time reflecting upon the parent-teacher partnership.

In the Basic School, parents are viewed as the child’s first and most important teachers.  Dr. Boyer states, “The greatest milestones in learning occur not in the classroom, but in the home.  The home is, without question, the child’s first classroom.”  So what does this mean for us as educators?   In my mind, it means that we must capitalize on every opportunity possible to build relationships with the parents of our students.  The quality of this partnership truly dictates how successful we are in helping each student reach his/her fullest potential.

I’ve recently had the great pleasure of discovering a new educational gem by the name of Hal Urban.  Dr. Urban has had a very distinguished teaching career and is the author of several inspirational books.  I was very intrigued and inspired recently as I read about his view on the importance of parental involvement in the education of their children.  He states, “No one comes to the party unless they’re invited.”  How very true is this statement!  It got me to thinking about my own career and whether or not I had done a good job of inviting parents to participate.  While I think I’ve done “okay” with this, I’m sure there are ways I could have been more welcoming.  So I charge you with this:  Think of ways you are deliberately “inviting” parents to the party.  These do not have to be in-person events.  You can invite them to join the party by keeping them informed of what’s going on in the classroom.  This act can take a multitude of different forms.  Maybe it’s a simple email to parents each week from your team stating what is going on in class.  Maybe it’s hosting a parent education workshop on certain topics with which they are unfamiliar (Edmodo for example).  Maybe it’s reaching out to a parent with a special observation or story about their child.  So in closing, I ask you to think about the following questions:

What am I currently doing to make sure all parents feel invited to the “party?”

How am I ensuring that parents are kept abreast of what is going on in the classroom in a general sense?

What am I doing to make sure that parents have a sense of how their individual child is progressing?

Do I reach out when things are going well or do I only reach out once there is a problem?

As we all know, Dr. Boyer was a man who was way ahead of him time.  He once said in reference to failing schools that he felt it wasn’t the school that had failed, but rather the partnership that’s failed.  I think he nailed it.  So as we go into this school year, let us recommit to our partners, the parents, and let us continuously seek ways to keep the “invitation” alive.

And just in case you ever wondered if you are making a difference, you are.  Here are a few things parents wanted to share with you….

Each day I’m am overwhelmed by the amount of smiling teachers and/or assistants greeting the kids with giant hugs and GENUINE smiles. Fills my heart with joy. Love, love, love out teachers!!!
 
My son’s teacher noticed right away he had lost his tooth! 😉
 
A comment on the way out of car line: “mommy guess what really cool thing happened at school today. All the kids REALLY loved our homework today. The way my teacher did it even the kids who don’t like homework really had fun, isn’t that cool mommy?”
 
My 2nd grader stood in his baseball team huddle and answered his coaches question: Whose gonna do great in school tomorrow, because you know you should keep your grades up while you play baseball. Simultaneously all the kids groaned accept my son whose voice surpassed all others yelling YES I will, I LOVE MY SCHOOL. I LOVE LEARNING!
 
I appreciate the warm & loving morning carpool staff and their expertise in getting my reluctant MSer out of my car:-)
At the beginning of each year, I am reminded again of what a unique environment we have. There is an energy and awareness that we are all in this together that just rarely exists elsewhere. To have my fifth grade boy hop in the car at carpool and say, “Another great day” is something that I never take for granted. To see the admin leaders at both schools working carpool and knowing each kid’s name never gets old. We are all so fortunate to have each other.
 
Wow!…That teacher really has me figured out…that’s not EASY!!!!!
 
Even in high school, the teachers rally around a student who is feeling insecure, providing extra guidance and support. My daughter rallied through a stressful 1st week of school thanks to staff and teachers! We are grateful!
 
It’s beautiful to see a teacher truly get your child, and deeply love them for his good qualities. Even when he can be annoying and easily distracted he is treated as her own. That’s a special teacher who is doing the job that she should be doing. Thankful for you!!!!
 
A BIG thing I see everywhere at CSD that I’m amazed by is how the children are ALL seen as individuals and taught in this way. My daughter sees and feels it as well and said, “I thought that at my old school they cared, but here they really care and love me and I love this school so much better.” Thanks CSD for giving my children this, you have changed all our lives by giving us an opportunity to be apart of this wonderful family!
 
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