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MS Weekly Staff Memo – May 10, 2015

Leslie’s newsletter was so perfect this week that I asked her permission to share it with ms staff as well.  To me, this is #whatmatters . Thanks for the inspiration Leslie and Shawnee!


Relationships…

I have been thinking about them a lot lately.  Maybe because it’s that time of the year when things are winding down, we are getting ready to say goodbye to our students for the summer, and some of us will be saying goodbye to a group of students we have had for two years.  And then this happened….if I were techy enough I could very smartly insert the photos right here where I want them to go.  Alas, I have failed yet again in the technology area.  Never fear…I do know how to attach photos, at least I hope I do!  Please, please, please take a look at the attached photos or this email won’t make sense!  🙂  (But I have actually fixed this for you, sweet Leslie.)
 

The photos and the post happened on none other than Facebook! 🙂  The picture you see is of one of my dearest friends in the world.  I met her my very first year teaching at David Cox Elementary.  This is a picture of her in her first  year teaching with her first class of 5th graders.

IMG_0256 The post you see in the next photo is from Zhykia, the cute little girl in the gray shirt under my friend Shawnee’s right arm. 

IMG_0258

In the beginning of 5th grade Zhykia  had a lot of gaps in the areas of reading and math.  She did not consider herself a reader at all.  In fact, it is probably safe to say she wasn’t a huge fan of school because she lacked confidence in herself.  Lucky for her she got Miss Voelp for a teacher that year!  She spent the year building her up and forming a relationship with her that was important enough for Zhykia to find her seventeen years later on Facebook to say thank you!  WOW!  Isn’t that what we all want?  To make a difference in someone’s life, to be that someone who helped him or her gain the confidence to know that they could read and think about text and grapple with numbers, but more importantly do it while having fun and with someone who they know deeply and genuinely cares about them.  She changed this child’s life and knowing Shawnee as I do, feel confident in saying has changed many more along the way.  I attached the next photo because I wanted you to see what Zhykia’s mom posted on Facebook.

IMG_0257

“She was great, a true teacher…dedicated!” Now, what you don’t know about Zhykia’s mom is that when she found out that her daughter had a new, young teacher she tried to have her moved out of that classroom into another class.  The principal refused to move the child, and two weeks later Zhykia’s mom came into the classroom in the middle of math hugged Shawnee so hard that she lifted her off the floor and told her that this was the first time Zhykia had wanted to come to school and that she was sorry that she had made a quick judgement about her, she was a fine young teacher!  Pretty amazing, especially for a first year teacher, right?  Or is it?  There was no magic to what she did, or maybe there was.  Magic in that she took the time to really get to know Zhykia.  She understood how she learned and what worked best for her.  She formed a relationship with her, one that Zhykia has remembered for seventeen years!  As you wrap up the last few weeks of school with your students I hope you will think about Zhykia and Shawnee and the relationships you have with your students.  Are they the kind of relationships that students will hold on to for seventeen years or longer?  If not, what can you do with these last few weeks to make them ones that they will remember you as a game changer in their lives?  Remember laughter and fun go a long way with our sweet kiddos, especially when they get stressed about EOG’s, getting new teachers, the hectic pace of the end of the year.    Read books, sing songs, dance, go on walks, stop and really listen to what they are saying.  You may not realize the impact you are having.  You never know when your thank you might come, or in what shape, form, or fashion.  When it does I know it will mean more to you than any score on a test, award or paycheck! 

Finally, check out the last photo, it is of Zhykia all grown up.  She is a speech pathologist in Charlotte, and beautiful to boot! 

IMG_0259

Have a fantastic week, and I can’t wait to spend time with all of you at the retreat!

Looking Ahead….
5/13/15 – Admin depart for retreat; Dorothy Pagan teacher leader
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes; 5th Grade Science EOG in Media Center; clean out lockers!
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 – carpool begins at 2:15 (all week this week!)
5/19/15 – Reading EOG – carpool begins at 2:15
5/20/15 – Math EOG – carpool begins at 2:15
5/21/15 – carpool begins at 2:15
5/22/15 – Math 1 EOC for 8th graders taking Math 1 carpool begins at 2:15
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
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation – Belk Theater
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels, and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
Please read these important notes from the Staff Meeting that was held on Friday’s workday.  This document contains important information about student safety and injury protocol as well as overall procedures for student supervision during these last few weeks of school.  Let me know if you have any questions.  https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1HdlhcahJWDrDcUMHdpmlEQUADMh-06CrShcIACG_uWc/edit?usp=sharing
Here is the link to the MS May Calendar which contains events as well as staff and room assignments.  Make sure you are familiar with this document and have this information at your fingertips over the next few weeks!
Gumby

Gumby

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – May 3, 2015

What’s On My Mind:
This weekend I read an article that really moved me, and then this morning I heard a really interesting sermon that I have been thinking about all day.  I think these two things go in hand-in-hand, so I hope you’ll indulge me as I try to recap and pull the two together.  In a nutshell, my priest made me think about something that hasn’t crossed my mind in years.  He alluded to the “games” that children make up when they are little.  I’m sure you all experienced this.  It’s impromptu – not planned – but out of nowhere you now have a new game or “drama” that you enact with your friends.  And as the game unfolds or the plot thickens, the set of rules become more complex.  Is this ringing a bell?  I totally remember doing this as a child – both with made up games and with dramas!  His point was that he was watching his own children do the same thing and he had an “aha” moment as I like to call them.  (Okay, I stole that from Oprah).   He said that at some point, it becomes too much…the rules are too overwhelming and complex…and kids tend to abandon the current situation and declare a “new game.”  How often do we do the same thing as adults?  I know in my role as administrator, I see more and more constraints being placed upon us, all with good intentions of course, but at what point do we throw our arms in the air and scream “Uncle?”  My Rector’s point was that it’s in these moments that we have to recalibrate and focus on #whatmatters.  Why are we doing what we’re doing?  Why does everything have to be so complicated?  This lined up beautifully with an article I read this weekend, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share it with you.  In the craziness of May and testing season, I hope that we all will pause and take deep breaths to remember #whatmatters.  What are we trying to accomplish here?  Are we focused on our mission and vision or are we losing sight and falling victim to the rat-race?  I’ll be the first to admit that I need to take DEEP belly breaths on some days as I have a tendency to get swept away in the rules we impose on ourselves.  I encourage each of you to stop – take some time – and be with your students in the upcoming weeks.  This time will pass us by ever so quickly, and not only do they deserve our presence and awareness, we deserve these gifts as well.
Here’s the link to the article.  It resonated deeply with me, and I hope it will resonate with you.
7 Things Every Kids Should Master:
Upcoming Events:
Monday, May 4th
Tuesday, May 5th
Wednesday, May 6th
MS Drama and ShowChoir Show Case in MS Black Box
Thursday, May 7th
MS Band Concert – 6:30 in MS Gym
Friday, May 8th
Teacher Workday – Kindergarten Screening
Looking Ahead….
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes
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 – carpool begins at 2:30
5/19/15 – Reading EOG – carpool begins at 2:30
5/20/15 – Math EOG – carpool begins at 2:30
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
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation – Belk Theater
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
 when they leave me

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MS Staff Weekly Memo – April 26, 2015

What’s On My Mind:

Hi Everybody,

Please forgive the brevity of this week’s newsletter, but I have been out of town for the past weekend celebrating life, love, and happiness with some of my dearest childhood friends.  I admit that I am sliding back into town in total “catch up” mode, and I need to wade through mounds of email, but I am delighted to report that I had a great time and my stomach is officially sore from belly laughing. 🙂  I want to extend a huge thank you the colleagues who stepped up and covered for me in my absence.  You are appreciated and valued more than you know!  May this week be a pleasant, productive one for all of us.

Upcoming Events:
Monday, April 27th
Juli registering new MS students in her office (by appointment)
Tuesday, April 28th:
Juli registering new MS students in her office (by appointment)
Wednesday, April 29th:
11:00 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon in Elem Gym
11:25-12:00 – MS Guest Author Speaker (MS Gym)
Thursday, April 30th:
6th Grade Dance Sharing in MS Black Box
Friday, May 1st:
Juli at Power School Training – Beth Knight Teacher Leader
UNCC Botanical Gardens Field Trip – 6th Grade
Looking Ahead….
5/2/15 – Spartan 5K & Half Marathon
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
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes
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
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
We will be finishing up “formal” observations over the next two weeks, so expect Juli in and out of your classrooms.  And as always, feel free to give me a job!  I love interacting with the students, so I would be delighted to help in any way possible.
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
Thought for the Week:
life is better when

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MS Staff Weekly Memo – April 19, 2015

What’s On My Mind:
This parent blog post went out right before Spring Break, but because of the timing, I worry that it may have been missed (link below).  This is important stuff from our fearless leader, Joy.  Please take a moment to read.  She raises excellent points that we all should heed.
I’m still moved by the notion of “being in the here in now.”  It seems so simple, yet it is often so hard to accomplish, let alone maintain.  Maybe it’s our need for control that drives our focus to the future.  Maybe it’s our doubt and insecurities that keep us hung up on the mistakes of our past.  I’m not really sure why being fully present can be so elusive, but I do know this: by worrying about the future or dwelling on events of the past, we are missing the only thing that is absolutely certain – the here and now.  One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Marianne Williamson, puts it this way. “To the extent that we use the present to focus on past or future, we disempower ourselves.  The tennis player doesn’t have time to think about the ball he or she just missed because it would take way from the effort to hit the next one.”  When things are uncertain and change is upon us, it is natural to wonder how things will all play out (the MS restructure being a perfect example).  But I know from my own personal experiences, my concerns and worries often stem from fear and uncertainty rather than genuine curiosity.  Being reflective is hugely important, and for that reason, it is highly effective to look back and analyze various situations.  Being prepared is also hugely important, and for that reason, it is essential to look forward and identify what will be needed to be successful in future endeavors.  But to be happy and productive, we often need to look nowhere other than the present moment, for in essence, that’s really all we have.  Let’s try to keep these thoughts in perspective as we travel through these final few weeks of school.  Rather than projecting into the future and into the unknowns (How will my kids do on this test?  What will next year hold for me?), let’s dive deeply into the here and now and unwrap the gifts that are right in front of us and waiting to be discovered.  Our students deserve that.  WE deserve that.  After all, we never know what we may find.  #bepresent #whatmatters
Upcoming Events:
Monday, April 20th
Pep Rally during Explore Electives.  Please eat in 4th block class.  Students will be called to gym around 11:30.
Tuesday, April 21st 
8:30-10:00 – Miles to Go Drug Prevention Parent Lecture – 8:30 and 7:00 – Elem Gym
Wednesday, April 22nd
MS 7/8 Dance Sharing
Thursday, April 23rd 
Juli Out – Dorothy Pagan Teacher Leader
Friday, April 24th
6th Grade Field Trip to UNCC Botanical Gardens
CSD Golf Tournament
Juli out – Chris Hoover Teacher Leader
Looking Ahead….
4/29/15 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
4/30/15 – 6th Grade Dance Sharing in MS Black Box
5/1/15 – UNCC Botanical Gardens Field Trip – 6th Grade
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
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes
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
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
We will be finishing up “formal” observations over the next two weeks, so expect Juli in and out of your classrooms.  And as always, feel free to give me a job!  I love interacting with the students, so I would be delighted to help in any way possible.
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
Professional Development:
Don’t Quit: 5 Strategies for Recovering After Your Worst Day Teaching
The Heart of Teaching: What It Means to be a Great Teacher

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – March 22, 2015

What’s On My Mind:
The most beautiful part of our job is that it’s all about the relationships.  The most difficult part of our job is that it’s all about relationships.  With the passing of Alison Davies this week, I want us just to take a moment to stop and reflect on #whatmatters.  Tracie Bailey and I sat together for a few moments in our shock and sadness.  In that time, Tracie said it perfectly as she recounted the beautiful things she sees each day.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  You know what, she’s right?  What if we went through the next week “not sweating the small stuff,” and assumed that everyone is doing the best they can?  How would that change our relationships?  How would that change our world?  So I’m going to try it this week and see what happens.  I’m sure I’ll fail miserably, but I know I can count on my wonderful colleagues to gently coax me back on track when I slip.  Let’s be intentional about enjoying each other – our students, their parents, our colleagues, our entire school community – and let’s be intentional about making each day count.  In memory of Alison, let’s try to emit that same peaceful sunshine she spread everywhere she went.  She’s the perfect example of leaving the world a little better than she found it, and I for one, want to follow in her footsteps.
Upcoming Events:
Monday, March 23rd
11:10 – 7th/8th grade teacher meeting about rising 8th grade students
11:30-12:00 – Juli and Leslie to meet with 6th grade LASS – Book Club Discussion/Brainstorm/Sharing
Tuesday, March 24th
Wednesday, March 25th
Juli off campus during morning for BTSP Peer Review with DPI & Corvian
Alison Davies Memorial Service (a.m.) – Thanks for pulling together and covering classes so that staff can attend.
Thursday, March 26th
Sara Keys Teacher Leader
Friday, March 27th
7th Grade SLC’s
8:00-12:00 – 8th Grade Civil Rights Museum
Early dismissal for 8th graders (due to 8th grade dance)
4:45-9:00 – 8th Grade Semi-Formal Dance (dinner at Carrabas)  Huge thank you to staff serving as chaperones!
Looking Ahead….
3/30/15 – Ms Principal/Parent Coffee Talk – 8:30-9:30 in Media Center
4/3/15 – Snow Make Up Day
4/6/15 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
4/15/15 – Mandatory Testing Training at Staff Meeting – 3:30 in MS Gym
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:
EOG Prep – Please keep in mind that we will begin an intensive EOG review and prep period six weeks prior to the test (the week of March 30th right before Spring Break).  That means that diagnostic pre-tests need to be administered prior to this prep-period so we can use that data to inform our instruction and help students devise specific learning goals so they can attain mastery by year’s end.  I will be meeting with all teachers of tested subjects in the next couple of weeks to touch base about EOG Test Prep plans and see what I can do to help!  Please remember that while we want students to take these tests seriously and perform to their fullest potential, we are committed to maintaining a low-stress environment for both students AND teachers!  I only put this reminder out there so these dates don’t creep up on us and we call all be thinking ahead!
With warmer temperatures gracing our region, please remember that we ask that staff refrain from propping doors open.  We need all exterior doors closed at all times.  If you see a door propped open, close it!  Thank you for your help with this.
Please offer a few gentle reminders about dress code in Advisory.
For Fun:
end of

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – March 15, 2015

What’s On My Mind:
Here’s a thought that’s both terrifying and delightful.
Andy Rooney quote
What do you want to be remembered for?  I ran across this post and along these same lines, it struck me as well.  Fill in the blank…. I want to be the kind of teacher….http://pernillesripp.com/2015/02/10/i-want-to-be-the-kind-of-teacher/
Upcoming Events:
Monday, March 16th
Explore Electives cancelled – Katie Knowles Presentation on Mental Illness in Gym beginning at 11:20.  See email for logistics.
Tuesday, March 17th
Wednesday, March 18th
3:30 – K-8 Staff Meeting in Elem Gym – Connie will be discussing Technology at CSD!
2:00 – 8th grade core teachers to meet with Joy about scheduling/grouping
3:30 – any 8th grade teacher is welcome to join the group but will also be asked to view video of Connie’s presentation about technology as well
Thursday, March 19th
Beth Knight Teacher Leader
Friday, March 20th
7th Grade Asia Day
Canned Food Drive Hot Chocolate Celebration
Looking Ahead….
3/19-3/22 – MS Musical – Starmites
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 – Snow Make Up Day
4/6/15 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:
This topic has been rescheduled to our next Staff Meeting – March 18th
We are excited to have Connie join us for the March 18th 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
EOG Prep – Please keep in mind that we will begin an intensive EOG review and prep period six weeks prior to the test (the week of March 30th right before Spring Break).  That means that diagnostic pre-tests need to be administered prior to this prep-period so we can use that data to inform our instruction and help students devise specific learning goals so they can attain mastery by year’s end.  I will be meeting with all teachers of tested subjects in the next couple of weeks to touch base about EOG Test Prep plans and see what I can do to help!  Please remember that while we want students to take these tests seriously and perform to their fullest potential, we are committed to maintaining a low-stress environment for both students AND teachers!  I only put this reminder out there so these dates don’t creep up on us and we call all be thinking ahead!

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – March 7, 2015

moving

What’s On My Mind:
 
Reflection.  This is a word that comes up a lot in our profession.  Research tells us how critical it is for teachers to carve out deliberate time for students to reflect on their learning if we want them to dig deeply into the content and make meaning of the learning experiences we have designed.  Reflecting makes us more self-aware and increases our problem-solving capacities.  In a word, reflection makes us more effective.
Now I know that reflection is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Not everyone longs for some quiet time alone to ponder big ideas and think about alternate solutions to perplexing problems, but here’s my confession.  I do.  I love the act of reflecting.  Being an introvert at heart, I do some of my best thinking alone (and through writing), so solo, written reflection time is like gold to me.  Aside from reflecting alone, the admin team does a great deal of collaborative, verbal reflection – something else which I highly value!  We come to the table to assess our current conditions – what’s working, what’s not working – and then design action plans to strengthen our deficits while also capitalizing on our what’s going well.  Once again, research shows that teams who engage in regular reflection are proven to be more effective in their endeavors.
But clearly it’s not just the act of reflecting that makes a difference.  One has to be willing to act on what he/she is learning through the process of reflection.  This notion makes me think of my younger teacher self.  I have always been a Professional Development junkie, and I would sign up for just about any PD experience my school or district was offering.  I would go to these workshops in the middle of the year as a young teacher and soak in these ideas, but for whatever reason, I would find myself “saving” these ideas I learned for “next year.”  When I think back on that now, I wonder, “Why on earth did I do that?”  Maybe I waited because I didn’t want to mess up what I had already spent so much time creating.  Maybe I waited so I wouldn’t come off as a flake to my students and colleagues.  Maybe I waited because it was just too much work to start implementing the change right away.  I’m not sure.  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more adept at embracing change, and in the words of my beloved guru Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”  And why on earth would we ever “save” getting better for later?
So….I’m sure many of you noticed my rather impromptu office move on Friday.  Thanks to Marianne’s awesome coordination skills and the help of Mr. Craig and his handy-dandy handcart, I was able to make a change that the admin team has been reflecting on for some time.  While being in the back of the building has its advantages, it also has its downsides as well.  One of the major disadvantages is sheer geography.  Even with walkies and phones, it was hard for the administrators to communicate throughout the course of the day.  For those of you in co-teaching situations, you know the importance of regular check-ins with your teaching partners and understand how this type of communication can strengthen your teaching practice and improve the learning experiences of your students.  The same is true for the admin team.  We each have our own unique skill sets we bring to the table, and as is the case with any team, we capitalize on those strengths for the good of the whole.  We believe that by being in closer proximity to one another and in a centralized location, we will be able to better serve teachers and students.  I have to admit that I was falling into my old ways of “saving” the solution for “next year,” but then after talking as a team, I thought “Why wait?  If it’s going to make you better at what you do, do it now!”
So I tell you all of this for two main reasons.  1)  I wanted everyone to know about my new location.  I’ll be sharing space with Amy Light in the office right beside Marianne.  My “old office” is set up as a mini conference room and can be utilized for small groups, EC testing, etc…  2) I wanted to emphasize the importance of reflection and  encourage  you to not only make sure you are carving out reflection time for your students, but to make sure you are carving out reflection time for yourself and your team.  Reflection is an essential component of personal and professional growth, and we need to engage in reflection frequently so that we can avoid complacency and that unexciting place of becoming stale or stagnant.
In closing, I would like to share a quite entertaining piece on reflection.  You will probably recognize this slam poetry artist.  Her stellar performance actually inspired this week’s blog, so I definitely wanted to share.  I’m hoping all of you have Facebook pages so you can open the link.
And to copy her hashtag, #lovemyjob
Have a great weekend!  Enjoy the sunshine and extra hour of daylight tomorrow.
Love,
Juli
Upcoming Events:
Monday, March 9th
 
Tuesday, March 10th
9:00-10:00 – Rising K Open House
Wednesday, March 11th
Thursday, March 12th
7:30 – Love and Logic Parent Workshop Session 3 w/ Marianne
Friday, March 13th
9:30 & 1:00 – Starmites Lite performances for 5th grade
Looking Ahead….
3/12/15 – Snow Make Up Day
3/13/15 – Snow Make Up Day
3/16/15 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
3/19-3/22 – MS Musical – Starmites
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 – Snow Make Up Day
4/6/15 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:
This topic has been rescheduled to our next Staff Meeting – March 18th
We are excited to have Connie join us for the March 18th 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
EOG Prep – Please keep in mind that we will begin an intensive EOG review and prep period six weeks prior to the test (the week of March 30th right before Spring Break).  That means that diagnostic pre-tests need to be administered prior to this prep-period so we can use that data to inform our instruction and help students devise specific learning goals so they can attain mastery by year’s end.  I will be meeting with all teachers of tested subjects in the next couple of weeks to touch base about EOG Test Prep plans and see what I can do to help!  Please remember that while we want students to take these tests seriously and perform to their fullest potential, we are committed to maintaining a low-stress environment for both students AND teachers!  I only put this reminder out there so these dates don’t creep up on us and we call all be thinking ahead!
HUGE thank you to the 6th grade Arts Team for all of the work you put into Friday’s performances!  I heard nothing but rave reviews from parents and students, so you are to be commended for your hard work.  We LOVE you!
Professional Development:
This week I am sharing an article by one of my favorites, Carol Ann Tomlinson.  I would love for us all to ponder this notion of good vs. great.  It’s easy to become complacent and settle for “good,” but I truly don’t think any of us are okay with that.  Striving for greatness is hunger that is never quite satiated.  Keep in mind, we are ALL leaders.  As she states, To do so (being an effective leader) is not to dabble with fairy dust, but to understand and respond to hungers in the human spirit. This sort of leadership, I believe, is the genesis of educational excellence.”  I hope you find some nuggets of wisdom and inspiration here!
Funny:
I know I say this every year, but one year, I think we should actually do this!!!
Spring Forward

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