Blue Haze Bulletin
Weekly Staff Newsletter 2/8-2/12
One piece of feedback we received was to share out more about our rounds process...
We will hold district rounds at the end of this month, but I do hope to hold at least two additional internal Instructional Rounds this spring so more teachers will have an opportunity to participate. We choose teachers to participate for various reasons. We may ask a teacher we see as innovative and could provide suggestions to teachers we observe. We may ask teachers to participate who we know will ask questions and challenge thinking for the group. We may feel a teacher would benefit from seeing other classrooms for various reasons. I feel that Instructional Rounds enable teacher participants to gain a better understanding of the "why" behind our district POP and why it is so critical that our campus expectations are aligned both horizontally and vertically.
We have a rounds rubric we follow, and when we come back to debrief we keep the conversation very objective. We do not use teacher names, and we focus only on objective data: conversations with students and evidence of critical writing in journals and around the classrooms. We discuss noticings, ah-ha's, trends and inconsistencies both horizontally and vertically. We then discuss next steps and administration puts an action plan into place based on the objective data. The data sheets are given to administration, and nothing is used for evaluative purposes. That's it! Jim, Lauren and I all felt that our rounds last week were beneficial and productive, and we look forward to taking more teachers later this month!
It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. ~Somerset Maugham
If you think you can, you can, but if you think you can't, you're right. ~Mary Kay Ash
High Expectations: Be FEARLESS!
The topic of expectations comes up quite often in my conversations with teachers, teams or during PLCs. I included the quotes above because I'd like you to reflect on your own instructional expectations for your students.
- Do you have high expectations for your students?
- How aligned are your team's expectations?
- Do you accept student work that is less than their best?
- How often do you say "My kids are too low," or "My kids can't do that"?
Increasing rigor and relevance in our instruction means we must also raise our own expectations for student work. It's a change...a risk even...to start asking our students to think more critically, write more critically and problem solve like never before. It can be difficult to change thinking from "These kids can't, it's too hard" to "Let's try this a different way...maybe they can." Instead of playing it safe and lowering expectations based on the levels of struggling students, why not teach to the higher performing levels? I promise you, if you raise the bar in your class, the students WILL meet or exceed it. For the few who need additional support, we close those gaps with small group, guided instruction. Are the practices we've been using in the past wrong? No...if they were, our students would not be as successful as they are. Could our practices be more effective, engaging, rigorous and relevant? Yes! But, using different instructional practices takes trust and risk! I want you all to be fearless...continue to increase the rigor and relevance of your team's lessons, raise your own expectations, and I assure you, the students will succeed!
Ultimately, what we regret is not failure, but the failure to act. ~George Couros
BHE's Teacher of the Year Nominees
BHE's Teacher and Staff Member of the Month for December/January
- BHE's Teacher of the Month was Andrea Colston!
- BHE's Staff Member of the Month was Amber Titus!
Thanks to both of these ladies for all that you do for our students!
Tuesday 2/9: RTI Meetings continue, 4th Writing Benchmark
Wednesday 2/10: Staff Mtg (Candace/Jim), 3:05 (certified staff only), Warm-up Wednesday OR Heart Awareness Day: Wear Red/Jeans, 4th Writing Benchmark
Thursday 2/11: Grade Level PLCs, Van Cliburn performs (3rd/4th), BHE Math Alignment Mtg, 3:05, Last day to sell Val-O-Grams
Friday 2/12: Valentines Exchange, Val-O-Gram Delivery, Pasta for Pennies assembly
Monday 2/15: Choose Kind Week begins
Tuesday 2/16: Team Leads Mtg, 3:05
Wednesday 2/17: Ms. Perryman's Baby Shower, MPR (No lesson collaboration meetings), Warm-up Wednesday
Thursday 2/18: Grade Level PLCs