GES Fall Newsletter

The Wolfpack Way

Principal's Corner

Dear GES Families: The first trimester of the 2015-16 school year has officially ended with report cards just about ready to send home! A new school year with changes to past practices are, by now, familiar routines for our students. This newsletter will provide you with some consistent articles that you will find included in each publication. For example, each publication will provide you with academic updates designed to inform you of ongoing efforts to assure each of our students achieve a year's growth in a year's time. This newsletter has an article that identifies our School Learning Objective and the aligned grade level Student Learning Objectives.

Each newsletter will also include information about what our teachers have been learning professionally. After all, how is it possible for our students to reach their highest potential if our teachers are not at the edge of their learning? During the past few months, our teachers have spent ____ professional hours deepening their understanding of literacy and math practices.

Growth mindset has been a focus as well during the first trimester of the school year. Our faculty is participating in a book study to learn more about how to understand our own mindsets and foster a growth mindset in our students. Each publication will include information regarding the importance of having a growth mindset.

Finally, each newsletter will provide our families with updates to our Wolfpack Way implementation. New developments are happening to ensure our students are responsible, respectful, safe, and ready to learn! As members of our Wolfpack Way, your support in creating a culture we can all be proud of is essential!

And, as always, you'll find evidence throughout the newsletter that your children are our most precious resources and we are privileged to be a part of their school lives!

Sincerely, Karen


Several changes have occurred as a result of reviewing the success of the first year of GES's Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) program. A focus for this year is to review the rules that have been in place in common areas, like the playground and the cafeteria, to make certain the rules are reasonable and that our students can easily be expected to follow them. A process was followed and some of our playground rules have changed.

Weather Rules

In the past, there were certain weather rules that determined what type of clothing was expected to be worn depending on the temperature outside. For example, if the weather was 59 degrees students were asked to wear jackets but if it was 60 students could wear a sweatshirt and not a heavier jacket. This type of expectation was not always consistently enforced because it was sometimes complicated to follow. It also did not give our students any control over making decisions that were possible for them to make. When it is cold enough that the weather requires winter gear, we will continue to help students understand that the temperature is cold enough that they will need to dress appropriately. the temperature will be announced and indoor recess will occur when it is too cold for outdoor recess.

However, when the weather is not cold enough to wear winter clothing, we will empower our students to make their best judgement about whether or not a lighter jacket is necessary. To alleviate their returning to the building if they do change their mind, we encourage them to take their jackets out with them as they can put them on if they're not still in their locker.

Cafeteria Rules

The cafeteria is also a place where we can empower our students to make good decisions for themselves and others. We are currently using a method to help them monitor their noise level with an app that visually shows them how close they are getting to a set decibel level. A color bar changes to yellow as the decibel level creeps up and to red when the level is too loud.

Finally, the faculty and staff will eventually use DoJo which is a management system that is technology based and classroom teachers as well as supervisors have the option of awarding points to students when they demonstrate Wolfpack Behavior. Look for more information about this after the holiday!

Third Grade PBIS Movie

2:30 GES 3rd Grade NEWS

Our 3rd graders presented a "live" news report with anchors and reporters out "in the field" to bring back information about students who are practicing the Wolfpack Way in the cafeteria. Thanks to Mrs. Lucareli, Mrs. Gaulke, and our 3rd grade reporters who provided this important information at our all school assembly November 24th.

Do you have a Fixed or a Growth Mindset?

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. Dr. Dweck realized that there are two mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all people who achieved top performance had these qualities. Research shows that people with this view reach higher levels of success than people with fixed mindset beliefs. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships, and increases achievement.

No parent thinks “I wonder what I can do today to undermine my children, subvert their effort, turn them off learning, and limit their achievement.” Of course not. We think “I would do anything, give anything, to make my children successful.” Yet many of the things we do work against our best efforts. Our best intentioned judgments, our lessons, our motivating techniques often send the wrong message, unintentionally. In fact, every word and action sends a message. It tells children – or students or athletes – how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says: “You have permanent traits and I’m judging them,” or it can be a growth mindset message that says: “You are a developing person and I am interested in your development.” The most important thing you can do to help your child instill a growth mindset is to praise them for effort rather than for talent. Messages like “You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!” teach the child that effort is a sign of weakness and that they either are or aren’t smart. If they encountered difficulty in the future, they wouldn’t know how to deal with it. Instead, messages such as “I like the way you approached that problem”, or “good job to hang in there and find a different strategy that did work”, or “sorry, that seemed to be too easy for you, let’s do something more challenging”, teaches kids that effort is something we can all benefit from to reach our full potential, and that they need to be working purposefully in order to grow.

GES's faculty and staff are participating in a book study of "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" in order to determine our own mindsets as well as support our students in developing growth mindsets. A Google Classroom will be designed and available for parents after the new year that will enable parents to access information about how to help our students embrace struggle.

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A Champion with a Growth Mindset Right Here at GES!

Audrey Crowley, our very own GES 3rd grader, exemplifies what it means to struggle against amazing odds. She recently won 4 of 6 races in the Wisconsin Junior Ski Racing's competition which earned her the title of "overall girls champion" in her age group! Audrey's accomplishment was showcased most recently in a copy of Sports Illustrated for Kids

The remarkable thing about Audrey is that she skis with a prosthetic and pole attachment due to the loss of her lower right arm at birth. She is a true example of someone who never wavers from struggle and even though Audrey knows what it is to overcome odds, she is one who moves forward, literally and figuratively, with determination and grit! We can learn so much from this powerful young lady! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU, AUDREY!

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GES teachers attended a 2 hour professional development meeting as a faculty to review fall data in anticipation of developing this year’s School Learning Objective. Each teacher or grade level team aligned their Student Learning Objective based on some common trends across GES as a K-5 learning community. Once we identified those common areas, we then looked at students to determine which students are “at-risk” by not making their targeted growth in specific strands of reading. This year the 3rd-5th grade math teachers also developed math student learning objectives that address math needs and implement effective instructional supports and strategies to meet those targeted needs.

Specific data identifying what strands in literacy and math at each grade level are further outlined in a presentation that was shown to our PTA in November. For more specific information, view this presentation.

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