MS Weekly Staff Memo – October 19, 2014

Great Things I Noticed This Week

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Upcoming Events
Monday, October 20th
Juli off campus at Charter Collaborative Conversations Meeting in Charlotte 9-12
CSD Board Meeting – 6:30
Sarah Hoff – Cross Observation

Tuesday, October 21st
Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. only)
Krista Ream – Cross Observation

Wednesday, October 22nd
Last Day of Explore Electives (Quarter 1)
Dorothy Pagan – Cross Observation

Thursday, October 23rd
Parenting the Love and Logic Way – 7:30 in MS Media Center
Janet Harrison – Cross Observation

Friday, October 24th
Practicum Sharing – 12-2

Looking Ahead….10/23-10/26 – In the Heights- Community Musical at HS
10/27 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
10/27 – Quarter 2 of Explore Electives Begins10/28 – 8th Grade Yearbook Pics
10/29 – Get Together at Beth Knight’s! :)))10/30-10/31 – NO SCHOOL; TEACHER WORKDAYS – Optional Parent Conferences 11/4 -11/6 – K-7 Yearbook Pics11/7 – 7th Grade Africa Day
11/8 – CSD Auction 11/11 – NO SCHOOL; VETERAN’S DAY HOLIDAY11/14 – 6th Grade Greek Day
11/19 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
11/19 – MS Drama One Acts
11/19-11/20 – Finance Park (8th Grade)

From Joy: As you set up conferences with parents and students, remember to focus on what matters.  We want to be positive and solution oriented.  It can be easy to slip into a place that feels defensive….but our students are watching.  Let’s teach them how to handle conflict with grace and a positive and open heart.  Approach every conference asking, “What can I say so that this parent and student KNOW that I am on their team and will do all that I can do to help the student learn?”  We are not about playing gotcha with our students.  We are about focusing on what matters; the students and helping them learn.  Yes, this does mean sometimes sharing areas of growth with the students….but what words are we using?  Is the message, “This is what’s wrong with you,” or is the message, “I want to help you and I will do this to help if you will do that, we can beat this together.  I will not give up on you even if you are making immature choices because you are too important to me.”

Just a quick word about Advisory Lunches… Please keep in mind that we are shooting for “family style.”  By that, I mean kids and advisor sitting around a table (or a defined boundary such as a table cloth) sharing a meal together.  This promotes conversation which in turn promotes closeness and bonding.  If kids are sitting on the floor and are scattered about in clusters or pods, we are missing an opportunity to bond as a group.  Please know I understand this is particularly hard in the gym, but please try to make an effort.  Remember – what’s right for kids is seldom easy (or cheap)!  Speaking of which… If we don’t have enough folding tables and that is the problem, please let me know and we will handle.  Thank you for your dedication to our MS Advisory Program.  It truly is one of the most distinguishing features of our school, so I never want us to lose sight of its importance.  Thank you for striving to make it magical!

Promethean and projector bulbs are very expensive, so please help us preserve their life (and therefore conserve our $) but clicking ‘no show’ when not in use.  Thank you!

Please do not shut off your computers at the end of the day.  Nucentric often does upgrades and maintenance after hours, so it is essential for staff members to leave computers on in order for Nucentric to be able to complete their tasks.  On a related note, if you are experiencing a technical issue, contact Nucentric at the following email address:  NOT  Thanks so much.

Sign up for Auction Teacher Experiences here!  This is a great way to raise money for our school.  Keep it simple (and cheap)!  The kids just love spending time with their teachers outside of the school environment, so no need to anything super fancy.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Be thinking about presentation topics for our Fresh Take Conference (January 23, 2015)!  We need you! Proposals are due and we have minimal offerings.  Please begin thinking or if you are willing but not sure what to do, see an admin or team member for brainstorming.  It is super important that we offer a variety of presentations.  I think we may have high numbers this year!

Professional Development
This is the time of year when we are all back in our rut…our routine.  While this is a comfort on some levels, this can also be the time of year when we become restless or feel worn down.  The excitement of the new school year has dwindled, and I don’t know about you, but I find myself needing a few more “shots” of inspiration than I did in Aug/Sept.  I have given this a lot of thought lately, and I think the best way to combat these feelings is to focus on the concept of motivation – what drives us to keep going and striving for our best, particularly in light of recent setbacks.  I believe the same is true for our students.  How easy is it to become discouraged when there are so many people expecting so many things of us?  Granted, we never want to lower our expectations, but it serves us well to put ourselves in our students’ shoes and be cognizant of their perspective.  In a great learning environment, I believe the teachers and the students feed off of one another.  Where motivation lacks in the student, it often surfaces in the teacher as well (and vice versa).  Therefore, I think we can’t spend too much time focusing on the issue of student motivation.  Carol Ann Tomlinson (one of my favorite professional gurus) does a beautiful job of articulating this stance in the article below, Releasing the Will to Learn.  Please take a few moments to read and as you do, please ponder the following:

Do I see some of my students as “unmotivated” and if so, have I given thought as to why this is so?
What steps can I take to become an “architect of circumstances that enable students to become self-motivated?”
Do I fully own my capacity to release students’ motivation to learn?

Releasing the Will to Learn by Carol Ann Tomlinson

On a similar note… As I was preparing for my first Open House of the school year, I ran across this Alfie Kohn article.  Here are some great reminders about WHY we do what we do at CSD….

The Risk of Rewards by Alfie Kohn


deepest fear


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