The Monday Message

Office of the Principal; Monday, May 4, 2015

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Quote for the Week!

"Each day, teachers come to school ready to tackle a job that is critically important, extraordinarily complex, often joyful, and at times, heartbreaking. In essence, teachers help others become their best selves and I can think of no more important work." ~ Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Duty Roster for the Week

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group on duty (Hutto on PM Duty)

Tuesday - R Group on duty (Jackson on PM on Duty)

Wednesday - M Group on duty (Major-Murphy on PM Duty)

Thursday - O Group on duty (Inabinet on PM Duty)

Friday - R Group on duty (No Events Requiring PM Duty)

The Week Ahead

Black Week - Classes Meet 1-2-3-4-5-6

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, National Teacher Appreciation Week, National School Nutrition Employee Week, National School Bus Drivers Appreciation Week

Monday (4th) - Admin Meeting (9:30am, Cafe'), School Board Meeting (7:00pm, Leaphart Elem)

Tuesday (5th) - Cinco De Mayo, National Teacher Day, G40 StuCo Mtg (7:45am, Rm. 812), Free Baked Potato and Tea for Staff, Faculty Meeting (3:50pm, Cafe'), 2BIB Mtg (6:00pm, Front Foyer)

Wednesday (6th) - School Nurse Day, EL Implementation Review (During Plannings), Principal's Meeting (12:30-4:30, DO Board Room)

Thursday (7th) - SC PASS (SC PASS - Science), Interim Reports Go Home During HR, Grounds Maintenance (Park Vehicles Away From Curb)

Friday (8th) - SC PASS - Social Studies, Teacher/Staff Appreciation Cookout (11:30-1:30, Lounge)

SC PASS Tests (Science and Social Studies)

Thursday, May 7th, 8:30am to Friday, May 8th, 11:30am

6051 Wescott Road

Columbia, SC

IMS Expeditionary Learning Summer Institute

Thursday, June 4th, 8:30am to Friday, June 5th, 3:30pm

Center for Advanced Technical Studies (Chapin, SC)

Expeditionary Learning Summer Institute: Based on feedback from team meetings, the EL Summer Institute will be held on Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5, 2015. All particulars related to times, locations, and agendas will be provided closer to the dates - but please mark your calendars now.

End-of-Course Exams (English 1-H and Algebra 1-H)

Tuesday, May 19th, 8am to Thursday, May 21st, 4pm

6051 Wescott Road

Columbia, SC

End-of-Course Exams will be administered in English 1-H and Algebra 1-H classes. The exams will count 20% of the student's final grade in these classes. The link for the schedule is inserted here:

Algebra 1-H

English 1-H

Tasks to Complete This Week!

1. Teach like a champion every period, every day!

2. Complete the management and operations survey that I use for my PADEPP Evaluation.

3. Attend and actively participate in Tuesday's Faculty Meeting.

4. Incorporate the topics specified in the weekly calendar in your lesson plans and activities. Make sure you are making specific connections to the experiences of our students as well as cross curricular planning and connections.

5. Everyone report to duty as scheduled. See roster here.

6. Read the Monday Message in its entirety (including the articles linked and inserted). Also view the video clips, reflect, and adjust your practices where needed.

7. No Crew again this week because of SCPASS testing.

8. Make sure your classroom is ready for SCPASS testing (Seating Charts, Covering Walls, Do Not Disturb Signs, etc...)

9. Continue working with your bubble kids and planning additional instructional activities and supporting lessons to ensure that they meet their goals on SC PASS, EOC, and Final Exams.

May Staff Birthdays

Wesley Coston, May 3rd

James Fanning, May 14th

Latoya Geiger, May 17th

Renee Williams, May 17th

Elisa Miller, May 28th

Hannah Goeckner, May 31st

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

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We have several shout outs this week:

1. Mr. Robert McCloy and Ms. Janet Hudson - Last Wednesday, we had a concerned parent in the front office about 4:15 pm, demanding to talk to the SRO. The SRO was paged twice over the PA system before realizing he was not on campus. The Mom then insisted on speaking with "someone in authority." Mrs. Dobbe put out an intercom call for the Admin on duty who came to handle the situation. Meanwhile, hearing these pages, Ms. Hudson and Mr. McCloy were concerned and rushed up to the front office to check on her. It is nice to know that should we ever be in actual distress, they have "got my back." We are so fortunate to have them as members of our Crew. iAM so proud of Mr. McCloy and Ms. Hudson for being examples of excellence this week. Please join me in recognizing them for being GOLDEN. Let's give them a huge iAM shout out.

2. Mrs. Virginia Burton and the Student Nutrition Staff - Recently, our cafetera went through a health inspection. The nutrition team works extremely hard every day to ensure that we maintain all certifications while adhering to district, state, and federal guidelines. Last week we received notification that on our recent health inspection, we scored a perfect 100 on the instrument. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our nutrition team. iAM so proud of Mrs. Burton and our entire student nutrition team for being examples of excellence this week. Please join me in recognizing them for being GOLDEN. Let's give them a huge iAM shout out.

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Attendance (Staff) - Update

Last week the teacher attendance rate was 96% (11 absences) and the entire staff attendance rate was 97% (21 absences). Congratulations, we met our goal this week as a staff. Let's keep up the outstanding work and finish the year #IrmoSTRONG. Included for your review is the absence summary report for April. Take a moment and review it, reflect, and make the adjustments needed. As always, it is absolutely critical that everyone make every effort possible to be here each and every day. I will join you in those collective efforts. When you need to be out, please follow the proper "new" protocols and prepare excellent plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute as well. Final note - May 7-8, I am not approving any leave due to SCPASS testing. I need all teachers and staff personnel present so we can provide our students with the best testing experience possible.

Behavioral Interventions

With 21 days remaining in the school year, I am sure there are some students who, despite your repeated efforts, continue to behave in a manner that is inconsistent with our expectations. Typically, I hear teachers say, "I have tried everything and nothing with work with this student." I am including a link to an amazing resource (Intervention Central) that has been shared with me by Mrs. Kate Paull. I am inviting each of you to take a few moments and peruse the site. It is filled with wonderful tools and researched based strategies that you can try. Also, I have included three quick videos below from EL's new PD book "Management in the Active Classroom." Take time to review them and pick one or two things to try in your classroom.

Dr. Melton's Feedback Email

Last week, Dr. Melton sent two videos (inserted below) to provide follow-up and feedback on our AdvancED visit and the new Teacher Evaluation System. Her efforts underscore the feedback and follow-up needed to ensure clarity by all stakeholders. I expect everyone to take the time needed to watch the two videos.

Reminder - Late Start (2015-16)

As communicated in earlier editions of the Monday Message, Irmo Middle will have 6 late start Wednesday's next year for students so we can have more teacher/staff professional development and planning time. The final published dates are as follows: September 23, 2015, October 21, 2015, November 18, 2015, February 3, 2016,

March 2, 2016, and April 13, 2016. We will communicate more information when we return in August regarding the logistics of this additional planning/professional development time for teachers.

SC PASS (ACT Aspire)

I would like to thank everyone for your focus and concentration on the ACT Aspire test. We had three purposeful and productive days of standardized testing. Now we must shift our focus to SCPASS (Science and Social Studies). Mrs. Inabinet will get out information this week. Also, during Tuesday's faculty meeting, we will be covering test administrator and monitor responsibilities as well as general testing logistical information. A reminder for all teachers - no tests or quizzes are to be administered during standardized testing (SCPASS, EOC). Also, during final exams, the only assessments that students should be taking are those that are on the assessment calendar.

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MAC 1: Body Language
MAC 13: Non-Verbal Signals
Clear Expectations and Important Work Empower Students to Work Independently

The Magnet Minute & EL Corner

Crew: We will not have Crew again this week because of PASS testing. I encourage you to reach out to your Crew members, in some way, to wish them well on their next round of testing.

Expeditionary Learning Implementation Review (IR): (Recap from the chart included below) All 140+ schools in the EL network participate in the IR process annually. It is intended to collect data related to our implementation of EL in 5 dimensions: curriculum, instruction, character/culture, leadership, and assessment. Using a series of rubrics, each teacher will rate our school as a whole and himself/herself as an individual teacher. Here is the process:

  • All teachers will be trained on how to complete the process during Tuesday's whole-staff meeting. This will take approximately 15 minutes.
  • All teachers will complete the IR during team meetings on Wednesday (no team meetings on Tuesdays in lieu of this work). The process, from start to finish, will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • Collaborative dialogue during the team meeting, as folks complete the IR, is definitely encouraged! However, each person must submit his/her own scores via the online link that will be provided.
  • We will continue unpacking the IR Tuesday afternoon!

Project ACCESS teacher survey: Again from the chart in last week's Message, Dr. Monrad, our grant evaluator, will administer our magnet implementation survey during Tuesday's whole-staff meeting. This paper/pencil survey will take 15-20 minutes. Data generated from this survey is required as a component of our federal grant monitoring - and generally useful to help gauge our work and progress this year. All students will take a similar survey (electronically) prior to the end of the school year.

Monarchs and Milkweed! As some of you may know, Mr. Green, Ms. Bellucci, and Ms. Odom have been working on a year-long, cross-curricular project related to the drastic decline of Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico. As a culminating event for this high-quality project, students in these teachers' classes will be viewing a documentary about the issue on Monday, May 15 at the IHS theater. That same day, other students will be participating in a butterfly garden dedication ceremony. Rosters of all kids involved will be provided in advance, along with particulars related to time (this is just a "head's up!" as some kids will be missing other classes). Check out the link here about this project and the excellent work being done by these teachers and students!

Reminder - Needed for the Summer Institute:

-Three examples of student work (the finished product that resulted from your project)

-The documents that you provided to kids in order to guide them through the process (i.e. project description, rubric, supporting documents, slides, etc.)

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From Mr. Thur

ACT Aspire

Thank you for everyone who has been serving as a TA for a small group. I appreciate your help with working with the small group students. It has truly taken a team effort to coordinate so many groups, and please know that I truly value each and every one of you. While there are still many more make-up sessions to coordinate, thank you for your work thus far.


For those who will serve as TA for PASS, I anticipate having assignments provided to you by end of day on Tuesday. I will then plan to meet with you on Wednesday. Whenever possible, in the best interests of the students, I will try to maintain the same groups, room location, and TA. This will help with consistency, and allow students the opportunity to do their very best.

IEP Annual Update

Thank you for helping make this process as smooth as possible. There have been a few instances where we have had to reschedule an IEP meeting due to the parent not attending for the initial meeting, and your flexibility in this has been very much appreciated. Mrs. McNeil will reschedule the meeting, and invite you if you are available, or invite an appropriate replacement if you are not. In addition to the rescheduled meetings, thank you so much for checking your calendar for dates, times, and locations.

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From Mrs. Inabinet

No entry this week!
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From Mrs. Young

Linked is the schedule for Chromebook and textbook collection. 8th grade students will turn in these resources Thursday, May 28, and 7th graders will do so Friday, May 29. The enrichment lesson on May 19th will cover/review what students need to do in preparation for turning in their devices and collection procedures. Please plan accordingly and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you to everyone who has completed the School Management and Operations survey. If you have not done so, please click here to complete it now.

Looking for some cool interactive sites. Click here. Thank you, Ms. Moore, for sharing.

Animation Improvements in Google Slides

100 Girls of Code Workshops are being hosted by the Richland County Library. Girls ages 12-18 will gain a better understanding of programming and the future of Computer Science while participating in a fun and interactive learning experience. For more information, click this link.. This information has been placed in the school newsletter and on the school blog. Please feel free to share with your classes as well. This is an amazing opportunity.

Closing Thoughts

This week's Monday Message contains a calendar to guide our week ahead, PD links, and events on the horizon. For the last ten weeks, we have been unpacking the design principles of Expeditionary Learning. The design principles should underscore the work that we are doing on a daily basis. Let's review them here again:

1. The Primacy of Self-Discovery

2. The Having of Wonderful Ideas

3. The Responsibility for Learning

4. Empathy and Caring

5. Success and Failure

6. Collaboration and Competition

7. Diversity and Inclusion

8. The Natural World

9. Solitude and Reflection

10. Service and Compassion

The design principles focus our attention on what is important and gives us something to go back to when we need guidance. As you read them, it is important to know that learning is an expedition into the unknown. When effective, it draws together personal experience and intellectual growth to promote self-discovery, curiosity, and knowledge that produces a positive change in behavior (both social and intellectual). As learners at IMS, we believe that adults should guide students along this journey with care, compassion, and respect for their diverse learning styles, backgrounds, and needs. Addressing and accommodating individual differences profoundly increases the potential for learning and creativity of each student.

Reflection and Focus Prompt (Complete this by 5/8/15)- As a result of ten weeks of information unpacking our design principles, what is your next step towards integrating them into your daily practices at Irmo Middle?

Remember, working on culture and character is not a sometimes thing. It is a every minute, hour, day thing. Part of embracing the EL spirit is living the spirit that we are all in this together and we must work cohesively as a unit every day. While we are doing this very important work, we must not put students on the outside looking in, we need them on the inside, helping us to solve problems by owning their work and striving to produce better outcomes. We will accomplish this as long we consistently display a We Are Crew, Not Passengers spirit.

Remember, Together We are Smarter!

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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Update on Teacher Evaluation Process with Presentation Slides
Dr. Melton's AdvancED Exit Review