Cordata Weekly Bulletin

11/13/2018

Welcome back, Cordata family! I hope you had a wonderful 3-day weekend and a happy Veterans Day.

I have to share a story with you . . .

Every week or so, I get to have lunch with a group of kids. I like to ask them questions about their Cordata experience - things like, if new students come to Cordata, what do they need to know to be successful? What would you tell them is the best thing about Cordata? What is one thing you would change about our school if you could?


Not long ago, the "best thing about Cordata" question elicited this response:


Student A: The best thing about Cordata is that it is a very forgiving school.

me: What do you mean by that?

Student A: If you make a mistake, people will forgive you because we all make mistakes, and then we can learn from them.

Student B: Yeah, like the teachers. If you make a mistake, they forgive you. they don't just remember your mistake forever. I learned a lot from my mistakes.


Wow! I think that's a great example of what it means for a child to feel a sense of belonging and significance at school. It is credit to every adult here that we have children who identify this as one of the highlights of Cordata!


Of course we still have work to do . . . when I asked the kids what they would change to make Cordata better, they felt we really should allow kids to bring stuffies to school every day, and have horses on the playground.

Big picture

The week ahead - 11/13 - 11/16

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This week is a continuation of what was posted last week, and also a good opportunity to use the Gratitude lessons that are available on the intranet: Documents and forms > Positive Behavior Supports > Behavior Expectations lessons > Gratitude lessons


In grades 2 through 5, you should have completed the first ten weeks of the Caring School Communities curriculum, and will now be ready for the Topic Weeks, where you can pull the lessons related to topics that match your class' needs. Grades K and 1, your sequence continues, and you should be moving into Being a Responsible Learner and Community Member.


If you are using the Positive Discipline curriculum, this week is the time to launch into the segment on Mistakes and How to Fix Them, starting on p. 69 of Positive Discipline.

Upcoming Dates


  • Nov. 13-16 - Analisa away for professional development. We will be bringing additional support in to assist Minh and Dan in school-wide support this week. See calendar above so you know who is supporting.
  • Nov. 19 - Gratitude Lunch in the Cordata Cafeteria! (note that this is rescheduled AGAIN . . . Nov. 21 is a half day with overlapping lunch periods, so I have moved this to the 19th, when we will have more time to share gratitude!)
  • Nov. 19 - 5:30-6:45 - General PTA meeting - Dr. Baker visiting
  • Nov. 20 - 3:00-4:30 - Cordata Leadership Meeting
  • Nov. 20 - PD day for MTSS intervention team
  • Nov. 21 - early release, day before Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 22 and 23 - no school for Thanksgiving Holiday. (one person caught that I accidentally scheduled a meeting on Thanksgiving in the previous bulletin... oops! :-)
  • Nov. 26 - Unity Care Dental clinic at Cordata
  • nov. 29 - 1:00 - 3:00 - kindergarten SGC
  • Nov. 30 - Family Glow Dance Party in the cafeteria and gym - a family fun event sponsored by our PTA
  • Dec. 4 - 2:45-3:45 - staff meeting
  • Dec. 4 - 6:30-8:30 - Family Engagement evening - dinner and Darkness to Light presentation. See Dan for details.
  • Dec. 6 - Sound Discipline consult for behavior data team (1:00-2:00), and Tier 3 behavior team (3:00-4:00)
  • Dec. 11 - 3:00-4:30 - tentatively scheduled, this will be our first after school Tech Integration PD time to fulfill the 7.5 hour Tech PD allocation this year. More info in next week's bulletin.
  • Dec. 14 - 8:45-9:15 - School-wide Buddies event! See below for details.

Other News and Information


  • Staff, thank you to all who have completed the school culture survey ! If you haven't done so yet, please do - I hope to receive responses from everyone! Your input matters!

  • Classroom teachers, I am asking you to complete a second, much quicker survey about SEL instruction. This one will help our leadership team look at school-wide implementation of our SEL curricula, and help us to know what next steps are needed. Big thank you to the 9 people who have already responded following my email last week. If you are a classroom teacher, please complete this by this Wednesday.

  • Many of our classes have already begun connecting with buddy classes. This is an important part of the Caring School Community curriculum for building positive culture across our school . . . and it's FUN! After receiving feedback from teachers, I have decided that we will plan three to four all-school buddy events this year, but we will not plan them monthly because of the potential disruption to specials/intervention times for the same classes repeatedly.
    The first school-wide buddy event will be December 14, just before we go off to winter break. Dan and Carissa will be sending you a simple shared activity that can help children feel connected during that time of anticipation that can be worrisome for some kids. Specialists and classified staff, please plan to join a buddy class pairing for this special event! If you need help getting matched up with a buddy pair, let Analisa know!

  • Certificated staff, part of your TPEP process this year involves setting student growth goals. I asked that everyone draft goals by the end of October, so if you have not yet completed these goals in the OneNote staff notebook, please do so now. Directions are in the One-Note (your personal folder > Area of Focus tab > Student Growth Setting Template), and I encourage you to collaborate with your colleagues in writing these. If you have questions, or want Minh or me to review and give you feedback, don't hesitate to ask!

  • Be sure to take a look at Shannon's email to teachers about an English Language Development course that she is teaching! There are 8 sessions, and you may attend some or all. You may receive clock hours, and you can be paid for this time. you'll learn strategies, plan for implementation, and reflect! Thank you, Shannon!

  • And, be sure to take a look at Susan's recent email about math websites aligned to Bridges. (You'll see the links she assembles on our website, organized by grade level.) I encourage you to think about learning targets when you integrate these web-resources with your math instruction. Many of our students spend a great deal of their outside-of-school time playing games on technology. While math games can be learning opportunities (and some of those linked are games), they are much more powerful learning experiences when children have a learning target in mind, and they can articulate the math skill or concept that they are developing when they visit the site. Thanks, Susan, for putting all of these links together for us!

In closing . . .

Last year, many of us read Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond. It was impactful for many reasons - first, because it called out the same brain research that we had been exploring in relation to students impacted by trauma, but helped us understand it in the context of our students who are multi-lingual, and from non-dominant cultures - students who also need to feel that sense of safety and belonging in order to be ready for learning. Secondly, it impacted us because it got us thinking about the idea that closing the achievement gap, and preparing students for future success, is all about developing independent thinking skills. And that led us to our inquiry into inquiry.


But what do culturally responsive teaching and inquiry actually look like? There's not single or simple answer to that question. But here's a glimpse into some classrooms that are taking the idea of the cultural nature of knowledge, and using it to design learning engagements in their school. Enjoy!


Article:

Veiga, Christina. (2017, August 4). What New York City students learned about Columbus when their own classroom was "discovered". Retrieved from https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2017/08/04/what-new-york-city-students-learned-about-christopher-columbus-when-their-own-classroom-was-discovered/