In the Titan Loop
Choosing Excellence Every Day!
Gearing Up for the 2014-2015 School Year
It is with great pleasure to welcome you to the 2014-2015 school year. I hope that the summer months have provided you with some rest, relaxation, and an opportunity to rejuvenate. I definitely took advantage of the summer break to regain my energy and improve my health. Most of my summer was spent working out and learning how to golf. As much as I enjoyed my break, I am excited to start the new school year with all of you!
The beginning of each school year is a time filled with great anticipation for what is to come. I am looking forward to the significant improvements in our technology infrastructure,(fingers crossed) the roll over to Google Apps for Education, and the purchase of more chrome books for our building. These changes are necessary to foster a teaching and learning community where instruction is student centered, project-based, and connected to real world experiences. Although these changes can be overwhelming and at times daunting, I believe if we work together, model a growth mindset, and build strong relationships with our students, we can have a successful and fun year!
Our focus for the 2014-2015 school year is "Strengthening Student Engagement". According to Phil Schelecty, students who are engaged exhibit three characteristics: 1) they are attracted to their work; 2) they persist in their work despite challenges and obstacles; 3) they take visible delight in accomplishing their work. How will we address student engagement? How will our lessons reach all students? How will we create an environment that encourages teamwork? Under what conditions are students most likely to feel that they can be successful?
A group of teachers and I attended a workshop called Kagan Cooperative Learning. I must admit before I went to this conference, I thought what more can I learn about cooperative learning. It did not take long for me to realize, I had my students performing group work, not cooperative learning. For two days, the teachers and I were engaged, energized, entertained, and now we are all eager to share and implement. Here is a link that explains what makes Kagan structures different from group work http://www.kaganonline.com/free_articles/dr_spencer_kagan/ASK28.php. I also included one of my favorite Kagan structures called Quiz Quiz Trade. For those interested in learning more about the Kagan structures before the school year begins, you can send me, Ann Hulsizer, Nicole Hull, Katherine Rich, Kathy Elliott or Richard Neighbors an email. We can't wait to share what we learned!
As many of you begin preparing for the upcoming school year, I want you to reflect on these two questions:
1) Does the physical arrangement of your classroom foster teamwork?
2) What will you do the first week to get to know your students?
By observing and understanding how classroom conditions can create or repress student engagement, we can gradually move toward a more successful, curious, creative, and reciprocal school system.
Our core beliefs at Central Intermediate are that all students can learn, that relationships are central to success, and that all students have gifts to contribute to the community.
I look forward to working with all of you to create an environment that has high expectations for all, is positive, and of course fun!
Welcome our new staff members!
Grant McCreight-6th Grade
Liz Twomey-KW program attendant
Jennifer Ferguson-social worker
Judy Thornton-night custodian
We are still interviewing for a 6th grade and 5th grade position.