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Week of May 2, 2016

Happy Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week!

I find it a little ironic that Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week falls the week after ISTEP and just before the end of the school year. It is as though someone knew that this is the time of year when everyone needs to hear, "We so appreciate all you do," to help us make it through. :-) Please know how appreciated you are . Thank you for all you do for our kids, our families, our school, and each other. There is no doubt about it...Central is the best. Thank you and enjoy your special week!

My Gift to You in Celebration of Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week

I would like to give you the gift of time this week. It is really hard to find the perfect time for everyone, so I would like you to take your pick: Wednesday from 12:30-2:00, or Thursday from 9:00-10:30. Let me (and anyone else who is usually with your class at that time) know the time you pick. Bring your students to the gym during 1 of these 2 times and I will take it from there. If it is during your recess time on Wednesday, I will still take them in the gym at 12:30 (if it's 4th grade, they can finish eating, then come to the gym). I know it's not much, but I thought it would be nice for you to have a little extra time to use how you would like, whether that's extra time to grade assignments, plan lessons, take a little bit longer for lunch, or walk around the building to get your steps in. :-) If you are an aide or are a specials teacher during the time the classroom teacher picks, I hope you will take a break as well.

During the time I have with your kids, I am going to have a celebration with them to honor their hard work during ISTEP and throughout the school year. I am planning to read a book and watch a movie with them. Don't worry...I will tie it to the curriculum!

The Week Ahead...


High Ability Screening Test for Erler from 1:00-2:30.


High Ability Screening Test for Heuring from 9-10:30 and Aurand from 12-1:30.

PBIS Tier II Team meeting with Shannon S. at 7:45.


Collaboration: Meet in the lounge at 8:00 a.m., then 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 will work together on class lists.

High Ability Screening Test for Sut from 9:30-11:00.

PBIS, Valparaiso Public Library, and Pie in the Face Assembly at 2:15


High Ability Screening Test for Hefner from 9:00-10:30 and Isailovich from 12:30-2:00.

Friday-No staff meeting (Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!)

I will plan to share information with you at the beginning of collaboration on Wednesday instead of holding a staff meeting on Friday.

High Ability Screening Window from May 2-May 11

Each K, 2, 4, & 5 class will take about 90 minutes to complete the high ability screening test. Alisa is our proctor for this screening and she will be visiting each classroom during your scheduled screening time. Thank you, Alisa! I have been trained in this process as well, so I will help where I can. Please be aware that this screening time might change some of your usual schedules a little bit, including the times when Alisa would normally come to your classrooms. As always, thanks for being flexible!

Tornado and Code Yellow & Red Drills

Please be sure to review your Tornado and Code Yellow & Red procedures. We will be having unannounced drills this month.

Literacy Focus of the Month: Vocabulary from Jon Wolf

May 2016 Vocabulary FOCUS Digging Deeper

The purpose of the Literacy Focus of the Month is to provide guidance to administrators and teachers for supporting a monthly, school wide instructional focus based on best practices and research-based strategies in literacy. This "user-friendly" guide and support tools will assist districts and schools in the implementation of reading instruction in classrooms across multiple grade levels, as well as different subjects/content areas. The topics in this newsletter range from policies and procedures to the five essential components of reading as identified by the National Reading Panel. The material is devoted to strengthen administration and teacher content knowledge by focusing on one topic each month. Although the monthly focus will highlight and supplement a specific procedure or skill, it is impossible to teach the components in isolation; therefore, the Literacy Focus of the Month should serve to present a school-wide shared commitment to literacy.

I look forward to working with you to improve literacy outcomes for all Indiana students!

John Wolf

Elementary Literacy Specialist

Office of College and Career Readiness

Indiana Department of Education

ELL Quarterly Monitoring Forms due May 31st

As we begin the busy month of May, please don't forget to complete and turn in to Karen or Marci your ELL monitoring forms. We will then need to get them turned into Kristin N.'s maternity leave sub.


Thought for the Week: Dear Teachers Everywhere... by Jen Hatmaker

Before there were any books or blogs or conferences or studies, I used to be a teacher. I know. Petrifying. I taught 4th grade for three years and 1st grade for one. And then I had a bunch of babies and can’t remember the next six years.

I was a very average elementary teacher who totally loved my students. And also? Sincerely sorry about all that homework, 4th grade parents. I wasn’t a mother yet. I figured you had nothing to do but complete my exhaustive weekly social studies packets utilizing your children’s higher level thinking skills and research techniques, because what every ten-year-old needs is five hours a week of additional geography work. I’m certain now you wished me dead. Bless it. (Several students have contacted me and they are all I’m an accountant now and I’m like um, do you mean an accountant for your high school math team? and they’re like I’m almost 30 and I’m all what exactly the heck just happened?)

Though I’ve switched to the fake job I currently have, I will never forget my classroom years, and I have a few things I want to tell you, Teachers Everywhere.

First of all, I’ve calculated your earnings by adding your classroom hours, pre- and post-school hours, conferences and phone calls, weekend work, after-hours grading, professional development requirements, lesson planning, team meetings, extracurricular clubs and teams, parent correspondence, district level seminars, and material preparation, and I believe you make approximately 19 cents an hour.

And then people say, yeah but teachers get three months off for summer, and then we all clutch our guts and die laughing because WHATEVER, MAN. Like teachers leave on the last day of school and just show up on the first with a miraculously prepared classroom and a month’s worth of lesson plans. But seriously, thanks for the laugh.

The amount of work and energy you pour into your work and our children is so astonishing, it is a crime that you don’t all make 150K a year. Since you couldn’t possibly do it for the money, we can only assume you love your job and love our kids. Can you understand how much we appreciate you?

You are doing far more than teaching our kids the building blocks of knowledge and learning; you are helping us raise our children. You provide a second environment in which they have to practice respect, obedience, teamwork, diligence. We tell them take initiative on your work and they are like this house is a drag, and then they come home from school and say I’m starting this project early because Mrs. Pulis says to take initiative, and we wonder if you have magic powers or if our children are just willfully obtuse. The answer is…yes.

That high standard you set for our kids? We freaking love it. Thank you. Thank you for insisting on kindness and respect, excellence and persistence. Thank you for sometimes saying, “This is junky work and you can do better.” BOOM. All day long, teachers. We stand behind you. Thanks for requiring their best.

And let me tell you something else: I’ve always had kids who mostly eased through school, but now I have two ESL kiddos and my heart for you has grown forty sizes bigger. My littles went to school with virtually no English, and I am telling you: we wouldn’t have made it through that first year without you, and I know what it cost. I can’t count how many papers came home last year with this stamp:

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Don’t imagine I don’t know exactly what that means. Teachers, when you instruct our kids that struggle, I know you have, yet again, patiently pulled up a seat next to their desks, 24 other kids still in the room, and kindly helped them toward mastery. I know you modify, adapt, adjust for their success, which takes so much time and energy. Children with emotional or physical challenges, kids with language barriers and personal turmoil, those who struggle to learn and retain, test and succeed, they require so much of you in the midst of your regular responsibilities, and your patient attentiveness cannot possibly be overcelebrated. As a mom whose children blossomed under the weight of your investment, I could throw myself at your feet and weep with gratitude.

It’s one thing to have parents who sort of have to love you; it’s another to have a teacher affirm your goodness all year long. You know our kids come home and repeat every kind word you deliver, right? I close my eyes and thank God that another safe adult is building health into my children, especially since two of my kids have been subjected to such unsafe grown-ups. Your consistent presence is deeply healing for so many hurt kids. Your words are life-giving.

We know your task is incredibly difficult. Be creative and innovative…but also teach to this test, which by the way, your pay and security depends on. Challenge your gifted kids…aaaand modify for those with developmental delays. Keep all those parents happy! (<--- This alone should double your salary.) Use this new model, no this new one, now this new one. Surprise! We changed the entire district database. Please forfeit your Saturday for training. Stay on top of classroom communication. Attend all ARD/IEP/ESL evaluations for your students.

And oh, you do so much more. Serve on this additional committee. Volunteer to sponsor the Junior Class. Guess what you’re doing this weekend? Prom chaperone. You lead Destination Imagination Teams; it only takes 100 hours of your life. You coach, lead, sponsor, direct. You put on plays and programs, award ceremonies and graduations. You come early and stay late for the students who couldn’t get it, didn’t finish it, need your one-on-one help. You wear bandanas and paint your faces for Field Day. You are rock stars.

You are amazing, Teachers. From the bottom of my heart, I want you to hear it:

Thank you.

You are so loved, so important. Your work impacts kids for the rest of their lives. I am 38-years-old and still talking about Mrs. Palmer, Mr. Stranathan, Mrs. Thomas, Dr. Russell, Dr. Lyles. You don’t get the credit you deserve, so I am standing up today, applauding you, cherishing your investment in the next generation, in my kids. I see the incredible amount of work you do, and I am forever grateful. You are heroes; there is no lesser designation.

Please remember when you are grading papers at 10:30pm on Sunday night, or pinning another incredible idea to your Teacher Board, or writing our kids another encouraging note, or throwing a party because they survived the latest standardized test, we see you, we appreciate you, and we freaking love you.


Your life matters so much and your legacy will go on long after you’re done teaching. You are sending out visionaries, thinkers, activists, and leaders into the world, and we owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We honor you.