MS Weekly Staff Memo – February 16, 2015

What’s On My Mind
Lately, I have watched as a team of teachers has “taken on” a couple of their most challenging students.  What struck me most about their approach was that despite their frustration with the individual students’ lack of motivation, they refused to give up on the students.  Even more importantly, they empowered the students by making them part of the solution.  We talked about involving students in the problem-solving process at our last staff meeting, but I find that all too often, I am very quick to jump in and impose the solution on the child rather than empowering the student to come up with his/her own solutions.  Oftentimes, the kids who are the most discouraged with school are the ones who feel the most powerless (usually because of struggles either with learning, social issues, home issues, or a mixture of all of these). When we involve students in the problem-solving process, we are sending some very strong messages.  First and foremost, we are showing the student that he/she is not expendable and that we care about the outcome.  But more importantly, we are showing the student that we have enough faith in his/her own abilities, intelligence, and character that he/she will come up with a viable solution without us having to impose our wisdom.  I encourage each of you to take some time to reflect on your most challenging students and what is hindering their progress from your perspective.  Then I encourage you to reach out to that student and start a conversation about those challenges and how he/she views the situation.  When the students believe we are actually on their team, they will often move heaven and earth to avoid letting us down.  However, when students feel they are a hinderance to their teachers and those around them, it often turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Here is a good article from Edutopia with some tips on dealing with those challenging students.  As teachers, it is so easy to get worn down by these “tough” kids, but in the end, I hope we will remember that they are the very ones who need us the most. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/tips-for-teaching-tough-kids-josh-work?utm_content=blog&utm_campaign=5-tips-teaching-tough-kids&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow&utm_term=link-repost
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, February, 17th
Sara Keys Teacher Leader – Juli in classrooms conducting observations all day
Wednesday, February 18th
Joy registering rising 9th graders for HS in Leslie’s office
11:00-12:00 – Mandatory meeting with Arts Teachers in vacant classroom (TBA) to discuss arts selections for next year
11:00-12:00 – Drop in “Welcome Baby Cora Merithew” – 7th grade resource room
11:00-12:00 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon – Chinese New Year!  Enjoy! (Elem Gym)
3:30 – K-8 Staff Meeting – Elem Gym – Topic:  Technology at CSD K-8 led by Connie
Thursday, February 19th
Joy registering rising 9th graders for HS in Leslie’s office
Friday, February 20th
12:00-4:00 – Red Cross Blood Drive (Community Builder’s Practicum) in MS Gym
Looking Ahead….
2/18/15 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
2/18/15 – Staff Meeting
2/20/15 – Red Cross Blood Drive  in MS Gym (8th Grade Practicum)
2/23/15 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk – 8:30-9:30 in Media Center
2/23/15 –  MS Dance Team Try Outs – 3:30
2/23/15 – CSD Lottery – 4:00 p.m. at HS Black Box
2/24/15 – Joy registering rising 9th graders for HS in Leslie’s office
2/25/15 – Joy registering rising 9th graders for HS in Leslie’s office
2/27/15 – Joy registering rising 9th graders for HS in Leslie’s office
3/2/15 – Parent Advisory 7:30 p.m. at HS
3/6/15 – 6th Grade Play
3/6/15 – MS Show Choir Competition in Hickory
3/12/15 – Teacher Workday; 7th Grade SLC’s
3/13/15 – Teacher Workday
3/16/15 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
3/20/15 – 7th Grade Asia Day
3/27/15 – 8th Grade Civil Rights Museum
3/27/15 – 8th Grade Dance
3/30/15 – Ms Principal/Parent Coffee Talk – 8:30-9:30 in Media Center
4/3/15 through 4/12/15 – Spring Break
4/13/15 – Classes resume
4/13/15 – Parent Advisory at HS – 7:30 p.m.
4/14/15 – K-12 Waitlist Tours
4/17/15 – CSD Prom
4/20/15 – CSD Board Meeting – 6:30 CSD HS
4/21/15 – Miles to Go Drug Prevention Parent Lecture – 8:30 and 7:00 – Elem Gym
4/22/15 – 7/8 Dance Sharing in MS Gym
4/24/15 – 6th Grade Field Trip to UNCC Botanical Gardens
4/24/15 – CSD Golf Tournament
4/29/15 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
4/30/15 – 6th Grade Dance Sharing in MS Black Box
5/2/15 – Spartan 5K
5/6/15 – MS Drama and ShowChoir Show Case in MS Black Box
5/7/15 – MS Band Concert – 6:30 in MS Gym
5/8/15 – Teacher Workday – Kindergarten Screening
5/15/15-5/16/15 – CSD Staff Retreat (arrive by 10 on Friday and leave at dinner time on Sat)
5/18/15 – 8th Grade Science EOG
5/19/15 – Reading EOG
5/20/15 – Math EOG
5/22/15 – Math 1 EOC for 8th graders taking Math 1
5/22/15 – Practicum Sharing Celebration
5/25/15 – NO SCHOOL – Memorial Day Holiday
5/26/15 – 5/27/15 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
5/27/15-5/29/15 – 8th Grade Kanuga Trip
5/27/15 – 6th Grade Holocaust Museum
6/1/15 – 7th Grade Change Project
6/2/15 – State of the School Address and Volunteer Appreciation 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at HS Black Box
6/2/15 – 8th Grade SLC’s (p.m. – by appointment)
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
We are excited to have Connie join us for this week’s staff meeting as she goes over some key points and issues dealing with Technology at CSD.  This will be a K-8 meeting occurring in the elementary gym.  In an attempt to answer any questions you may have regarding technology at CSD, we are asking that you submit questions ahead of time by filling out this quick google form.  https://docs.google.com/a/csdspartans.org/forms/d/1Qiy01X0276JaYg8e4dg7K4UahiF_8tfKx8aM4zJW99g/viewform?usp=send_form
Professional Development
Here’s a great blog post Joy found about homework.  Definitely some good points to consider! And here are Joy’s words on the matter – great tips and reminders from our beloved leader!
I share the following article as I think it is an exceptional reminder for us about homework.  This article includes what kids wish we knew when we assign homework.  You might be surprised by some of the points in this article.  Assign homework when you need to….just make sure that it is worthy of the time expended.  Occasionally ask your students what they have due in other classes and what other class assignments might be clashing with yours.  The fact that you ask is incredibly powerful as it reminds students that you care.  You may not be able to fix the problem always but caring is definitely the next best thing.  I do ask that you give study guides out for tests at the beginning of units so that students are crystal clear of your expectations for the unit of study.  I also ask that you post assignments as early as possible with at least a week ahead so that they can budget and manage their busy lives, athletics, and academic responsibilities. 
In Closing…
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