MS Weekly Staff Memo – April 6, 2014

Staff Meeting Recap:
I don’t know about you, but I thought Wednesday’s staff meeting was great!  It was extremely fulfilling to explore the notion of classroom management – what works, what doesn’t, what are we trying to accomplish, etc… – with trusted colleagues.  For those of you who were unable to attend, I wanted to provide you with a brief summary.

After a nice warm up and time of connection in the sun with the “Inner-Outer” Circle activity, we took some time to write down our classroom management plan.  This was an interesting exercise as we quickly learned that while we all have a very strong sense of what we believe when it comes to classroom management, none of us really have a “plan” per se (i.e. spelled out rules and consequences).  Everything is much more loose and insinuated rather than explicit and transparent.

I shared a resource that I have become quite fond of – – and posed the following question (from Michael Linsin’s book, The Classroom Management Secret).  What is the purpose of a classroom management plan?  After grappling with this question for several minutes, both as individuals and as a group, I revealed Linsin’s answer(s).  He states there are two, and only two, purposes:
1)  To state the rules of the classroom
2) To state exactly what will happen if the rules are broken

Even though the initial purpose of this meeting was to focus on consequences, we found ourselves grappling with rules (which makes sense if you think about it).  We took some time to review the beautiful CSD Covenant of Learning (click here to be reminded), and from there, we started to really dig into ‘consequences‘ and how they relate to the covenant.  This is where some BEAUTIFUL conversation took place!  I also provided a link to another one of Linsin’s great articles that is great food for thought.  The article is listed below under the Professional Development heading, so I encourage you to read it for yourself.  However,  I would like to take this opportunity to point out a few key ideas from his thinking.

-For any classroom management plan to work, students have to want to be in your class.  In other words, you have to create a climate where what you have to offer is so enticing and so irresistible that it is actually painful to miss out on class.  “They need a reason to listen and learn and care about sitting in your classroom.”
-Classroom management is not about “gotcha.”  Classroom management is about creating the right conditions for teachers to fulfill their most important purpose – to inspire young souls and to make the joy of learning addictive!  That’s it.  Yes, of course we have specific content we need to teach, but our purpose extends far beyond any curricular standards.  The moment we get caught up in the game of “gotcha,” we are that much further away from accomplishing our mission.
-Part of our role as teachers (and I would argue the most important part) is helping young folks to become the very best versions of themselves.  This has little to do with mastering the proper use of commas or how to change fractions into percents.  Yes, these things are important, but we have to remember that there is more to it than just that.  Kids want us to teach them appropriate behavior.  They want us to hold them accountable, whether they say so or not.  As I’ve said many times before, our approach is everything.  If handled in a nonjudgmental, supportive, and encouraging fashion, we become the inspired mentors we all set out to be, and in that moment, our classroom becomes so much more than about our content area.  It becomes the environment where these ‘adults in training’ are observing, practicing, exercising, messing up, correcting, growing, learning, and messing up some more.  It becomes the magic we all strive for as teachers.

Upcoming Events
Monday, April 7
7/8 Dance Class Sharing in MS Gym (all day)
Master Calendar Planning Meeting – 6:00-8:00 at HS
Parent Advisory – 7:30 at HS

Tuesday, April 8

Wednesday, April 9
Ed Leadership Seminar – Teacher Leader Discussion 3:30-4:30 in MS Media Center

Thursday, April 10
6th Grade Drama Class Sharing in Black Box (all day)

Friday, April 11
7th Grade SLC’s – Student show up for SLC only.
Early Dismissal

Other Upcoming Dates….
April 7-9 – Optional Spring Pictures
April 11-20 – SPRING BREAK; Classes resume on 4/21/14
April 25 – CSD Golf Tournament
April 25 – 6th Grade Butterfly Project Field Trip
April 25 – CSD Junior/Senior Prom
April 28 – BK Writing Class 3:30-5:30
May 1 – 6th Grade Dance Class Sharing in Black Box
May 3 – Davidson Town Day and Spartan 5K
May 9 – Early Dismissal
May 15 – Early Dismissal
May 16-17 – Staff Retreat
May 19 – BK Writing Class 3:30-5:30
May 21 – Reading EOG 3-8
May 22 – Math EOG 3-8
May 23 – Math 1 EOC for 8th Graders
May 23 – 8th Grade Practicum Sharing (afternoon)
May 26 – Memorial Day Holiday
May 27 – 8th Grade Science EOG
May 27-28 – 7th Ropes Course
May 29 – 6th Grade Holocaust Museum
May 28-30 – 8th Grade Kanuga Trip
June 2-3 – 6th Grade Field Trip to UNCC Botanical Gardens
June 2 – 8th Grade Moving Up Rehearsal
June 2 – State of the School Address/Volunteer Appreciation 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
June 3 – 8th Grade Student Led Conferences (at HS with HS staff)
June 4 – Last Day of School – 5 & 8 Moving Up Ceremonies, 6/7 Dance
June 5-6 – Teacher Workdays
June 5 – First Ever CSD HS Graduation!!!  Belk Theater, Charlotte 7:30 p.m.

Please be mindful of propping doors open at school.  This is something we not only want to watch as adults, but that we also want to teach the kids.  Not only is it a potential safety hazard, it also is a huge drain on our energy (and expensive $$$).  As I tell my son at home, we really don’t want to air condition the neighborhood. 🙂  When you see a door propped open, please shut it.  Thank you for helping to build this important habit.

Please remember that no homework is to be assigned for completion over Spring Break.  Our students deserve a break, and so do YOU!  Let’s all remember to take this opportunity to focus on things that feed our soul, and let’s make sure to give everyone the chance to escape the daily grind by not making work due the first few days back after break.  Thank you for your help with this!

Several of you have expressed interest in pursuing a summer PD Focus group that would dig into reading about and discussing Classroom Management techniques and expectations of overall student behavior.  Of course, this would not be complete without a “side study” focused on pre-adolescent development (ages 11-14).  We would aim to conduct our discussion sessions on Thursdays at school when childcare is provided.  If you are interested in participating or learning more about this possible opportunity, please sign up by clicking here:

Professional Development:
Why Rules and Consequences Are Not Enough by Michael Linsin –




This is an important reminder, especially when dealing with our most challenging students and situations.  I promise you are making a difference even though you may not be able to see it.  Never doubt that!


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