Staff Weekly Update

For the Week of December 7th, 2015

Staff Holiday Party + Gift Exchange = A GREAT TIME!!!

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This past Friday was such a WONDERFUL way to end our week! A very special thanks to our Joy Club for organizing a fun holiday get-together at The Tap Room! We had a great turn-out and it was such a blast finding out who our "Secret Santas" were for the gift exchange. It was a much needed get-together filled with great conversations and lots of laughs! This is just one of the many reasons that makes our staff so special!

Improbable Victory: Great article posted by Daily Cafe blog!

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Special thanks to Melinda Strawmyer for sharing this post with me! I loved it so much, I wanted to highlight it with all of you. The entire blog can be read here.

In summary, this is a great reminder/message to NEVER GIVE UP! This is that time of year when we think to ourselves (or share out with our team) . . . how on Earth will ____ ever get caught up? What can I do to get him/her there? Right now, it seems truly improbable.

Excerpt from the blog:

  • I’m inspired by the idea of unwavering belief and continuing to throw the ball even after unsuccessful attempts to complete a pass. I’m thinking about how we might experience similar victories in our classrooms if we act with calm resolve, never wavering in our belief that a struggling student can and will grasp a difficult math concept if we don’t give up on them; that our barometer students will develop self-control, stamina, and independence if we continue to support and provide opportunities for them to do so; and our struggling and reluctant readers will eventually crack the code or discover the book that transports them from a seat of frustration or complacency to that of a lifelong reader.

  • I’m not naive. We have a hard job. Sometimes there are more downs than ups. But it is also a thrilling job, and nothing could be more thrilling in a classroom than witnessing improbable victories. We just need to be patient, stay the course, and let our students know that we'll keep coming to them, no matter what. Keep believing. Keep throwing.

Daring Greatly - Engaged Feedback Checklist by Brene Brown (thanks, Randee Kleeman, for sharing this list!)

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ZCS 2015-2016 District Priorities

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***GREAT OPPORTUNITY!*** Teachers needed to pilot the newest Units of Study for Reading! Interested??? Read on . . .

In conjunction with our Academic Services and Literacy Coaches, we have an exciting opportunity! The only downside is that for this maiden voyage, we are limited with the amount of participants. Grant dollars have given us the opportunity to purchase per elementary building, five sets of the NEWEST Units of Study for Teaching Reading, K-5, recently released from the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project.

As quoted by Lucy Calkins: “This series builds on decades of teaching and research—in literally tens of thousands of schools. In states across the country, this curriculum has already given young people extraordinary power, not only as readers, but also as thinkers. When young people are explicitly taught the skills and strategies of proficient reading and are invited to live as richly literate people do, carrying books everywhere, bringing reading into every nook and corner of their lives, the results are dramatic.”

If you are interested in piloting this Unit of Study for your grade level, please carefully read below the details & light FAQ’s, and then email me on or before Thursday, December 10th. I will take into consideration everyone’s interest and make my final selection of the five teachers. The ordering of 25 kits will be made on Friday, December 11th, so therefore, our timeline is tight and time-sensitive.

Will there be training?

  • Yes. In fact, in order to receive your kit, you must commit to attending the training session from our Literacy Coaches.
  • The date of the training will be on Wednesday, January 27th from 4:00 - 5:30pm @ ESC.
  • The title in PD express will be called: Making Units of Study Work for You!

What if I already have a Units of Study (UOS) Reading kit - can I still attend this training?

  • Yes! In fact, ANY elementary teacher can attend this training. However, please know if you were selected as the pilot teacher, only the pilot teachers will get the kits. But again - if you’re interested and/or have a kit of your own and would like to learn more, then please join us!

So does this mean I can “forget about” the National Geographic adoption materials as a pilot teacher and/or if I have this kit already?

  • No. As a friendly reminder, this is our school board-approved materials + our parents have paid for these materials to be implemented through their textbook adoption fees. As good stewards of these funds, please ensure you are still using the NatGeo materials.
  • Also, when you attend this training, you will need to bring your NatGeo materials so that the Literacy Coaches can train you on how BOTH resources will harmonize together.

I have received the training . . . now what?

  • You will get your kits at the end of the training. HOORAY!
  • Take time to digest everything you have learned and take small steps towards implementation.
  • Your literacy coach and principal(s) will be a key resource for you as start this in January 2016.
  • Last but not least . . . remember that Units of Study works for YOU, you DON’T work for Units of Study! :)

2015-2016 SGE & PTO CALENDAR

Please refer to the second Smore email right after the Staff Weekly Update has been sent out. This email will soon have our entire 2015-2016 Calendar of Events for SGE & PTO!

Please read the information on the "Smore SGE Calendar" for further details. Thanks!

Here are our beautiful birthday friends for December!

*If you are NEW and we do not have your birthdate, please email Alison so we can recognize you on your special day! Thank you!*


1 - Jen Skura

13 - Holly Fitzpatrick

21 - Angela Bourff

2015-2016 Lifelines

August - Cooperation

September - Respect

October - Flexibility

November - Gratitude

December - Generosity

January - Responsibility

February - Friendship

March - Perseverance

April - Self-Control

May - Integrity