04.03.16 Staff Update

A Communication Tool for the Seven Hills Staff

Personalized Learning at Seven Hills: Define, Discuss, Decide

This month is Autism Awareness Month. On Friday, April 1, we recognized World Autism Awareness Day by wearing blue. A few classes also engaged in a parent presentation discussing the way that a person with Autism perceives the world around them. During the parent presentation, an Arthur video was shared with students. I thought the video was well done and wanted to share the link to the video with staff. I am not requesting that you share with your students, it is simply a video that could be used for your personal, professional learning or saved for future reference.


Autism Awareness: http://youtu.be/nsmjwHW40ps


This week I also came across a powerful article about supporting learners impacted by generational poverty. I instantly connected to the video Debbie Rollick shared with us at our last PD. Remember how the student chose not to be a victim of his circumstances, and focused on be the leader of his life! We had great discussion about his story, and I thought you might find this article meaningful.


Article:

http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/5-ways-help-students-affected-generational-poverty?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow


Next Steps for The Leader in Me:


  • Decide what Seven Hills stands for...we will take next steps toward this in our staff meeting on Thursday.
  • Book Study: Read chapters 4 - 7 (I know I said 6 last week, but working through chapter 7 makes more sense)
  • June PD for ALL Staff: June 6 -8 (This is the only scheduled opportunity for this training. Remember, The Leader in Me requires the adults in the school to work on themselves before they can implement with students.)
  • Continue to record all of the wonderful brainstorming ideas in your Leader in Me notebooks! Great ideas are popping up everywhere!!!! We need to make sure we remember them all!



"Leadership is communicating a person's worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves"

Staff Member of the Week:

Jennifer Gill: Did you know that brown M&M's actually have a different flavor than the other colors? Just ask Jennifer! She is convinced they taste different and prefers the red, green, blue, etc. over them!


Allyson Moron: Allyson and her husband have had a bit of a gypsy soul for the past few years. They have lived in Ohio, California, and even Germany for a little while! Thankfully her husband's job has allowed them to come back to Texas for good!


Learn more about Allyson and Jennifer when you stop by the Star Staff board in the Teacher's Lounge this week!

What's Happening Next Week at The Hills?

  • Monday, April 4:

-Child Abuse Prevention Lessons in guidance (See schedule from Morales)


  • Tuesday, April 5:

-Grade Level PLCs

-5th Grade End of Year Celebration parent planning meeting, 6 pm


  • Wednesday, April 6:

-4th Grade Reading Data Team 3.0, 11:30 - 3:30


  • Thursday,April 7:

-Kim out at DLT

-Staff Meeting, 3:15 - 4:30 (Employee Recognition at Staff Meeting refreshments will be served and eligible staff will receive service pins; we will also complete step two of "What does 7 Hills Stand for and a required update on recognizing and reporting child abuse)


  • Friday, April 8:

-Laps for Learning Fun Run During Specials


Save The Date: (please add these dates to your calendars)

  • Thursday, April 14: Vertical Team Meeting (rescheduled from 3/24)
  • Friday, April 15: PTA Carnival (please consider supporting this carnival by working a shift at your class/grade level booth, helping set up, or helping donate to silent auction baskets.)
  • Teacher and Para of the Year Campus Celebration: May 5th at 3:15
  • May 17th: JA in a Day K-5 Grades
  • Million Word Challenge Zoo Field Trip: May 25th


Happy Birthday To:

Hayley Sample 4/5

Updates and Information

Campus and District Updates:

  • Thank you! I want to thank everyone for a smooth first round of STAAR testing! I appreciate everyone's willingness to help prepare the building, be flexible with schedules, respect the testing environment, encourage students, and support the test administrators. These weeks require an incredible amount of effort from all stakeholders, and I appreciate the teamwork last week!

  • STAAR Testing and TEA: You may be aware that there were issues across the state last week with online STAAR assessments. What you may or may not be aware of is the Commissioner's response to the issues and Dr. Rue's letter to TEA. What I want to point out to you is that this is the first time I can recall that a Commissioner has responded with such strong support of students and teachers! "Such issues undermine the hard work of our teachers and students. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults." - powerful and accurate! On Thursday, Dr, Rue responded to the STAAR testing issues by writing a letter to TEA. We are fortunate to work in a district with a visionary leader, who knows that accountability has its place and importance, but that a one size fits all approach might not be the most effective or appropriate means to an end. It is important for all educators to be informed and aware of what is happening with regard to state assessments. I hope you will take a minute to read the communication:

Commissioner's Statement: http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_and_Multimedia/Press_Releases/2016/Statement_of_Commissioner_Morath_regarding_online_STAAR_administration_issues/

Dr. Rue's Letter to TEA: http://www.tasanet.org/cms/lib07/TX01923126/Centricity/shared/images/tasadaily/pdfs/Rue-lttr-STAARissues.pdf


  • Reflective Feedback Step 2: A Google Sheet was shared with all instructional staff for next steps in the middle of the year assessment data reflection process. Remember, this process is intended as a professional learning and growth opportunity. Our campus instructional focus has been on using data to drive instruction this year, and my goal for our staff is that we will become reflective practitioners. I believe that scores on assessments are only one measure of continuous improvement...they are not the "be all end all" - reflection and taking time to make connections and plan next steps is equally, if not more important. The intent behind completing these reflections in Google is that we can have "collaborative conversations" without having to meet face to face. I will be responding to your thoughts. I hope you will all carefully consider your responses. Please let me know if you have questions. Please respond by Monday, April 4.



  • April Focus Walks: Focus walks with feedback will be a focus for our leadership team this month. We will focus on K-5 Shine Time and Guided Reading aligned with Dr. Rue's Early Literacy Goals this week. These are not "gotcha" walk thrus. Rather, they are intended to provide meaningful feedback to support improvement with campus and district initiatives.



  • SST/RtI Meetings: With the time remaining in the school year, we are going to try a new approach to SST Meetings/RtI Updates. We have discussed as a campus group that the RtI/SST system needs reorganizing. Should this approach yield positive results, we will consider continuing next year. Meetings will be scheduled on Fridays and a few Thursdays for the remainder of the year. This schedule will allow us to meet with teachers two more times prior to the end of the year. The format will be, the teacher listed will bring all SST and progress monitoring data to the meeting. We will begin with students that are in RTI. We will focus on students that are in the homeroom only. If teachers are departmentalized and your partner teacher has concerns as well, then both will need to come to the homeroom teacher's assigned time. We will focus on four questions: What interventions are you using? How often are you using them? What is their effectiveness? Next steps? The schedule is outlined below. Please let Leslie know if you have a scheduling conflict or questions.



Friday April 8 - Harris, Tucker, Hall, Blanchard, Vann, Wolf

Friday April 15 - Brittain, Sammons, Franks, Dial, Davis, Stewart

Thursday April 21 - Hladky, Tindel, Moron, Reyes, Goosey, Heady

Friday April 29 - Twa, Brister, Gill, Rusin, Pate, Mitchell

Friday May 6 - Zeigler, Willis, Any one else who needed more time

Friday May 13 - Harris, Tucker, Hall, Blanchard, Vann, Wolf

Wednesday May 18 -Brittain, Sammons, Franks, Dial, Davis, Stewart

Thursday May 19 - Hladky, Tindel, Moron, Reyes, Goosey, Heady

Thursday May 27 - Twa, Brister, Gill, Rusin, Pate, Mitchell

Friday May 28 - Zeigler, Willis, Any one else who needed more time



Laps for Learning: The fun run will be held on Friday, April 8, 2016 during specials. Teachers are encouraged to join their classes to cheer them as they start or run/walk with them. Great news! The pledge collection window has been extended! Please help us communicate this PTA fundraiser and PE healthy lifestyle event to parents. The following talking points have been sent to parents in a Constant Contact:

  • We hope your students/families will consider contributing to our campus, our students, and our future by collecting a one time donation or pledges for each lap completed. Please let your child's teacher know if you need an envelope and pledge sheet. (Note: This fundraiser is in place of the previous pizza kit sales)
  • Pledge sheets will be turned in on the day of the fun run, so that volunteers can record the number of laps completed. All money will be due April 22nd.
  • Don't forget, incentives will be given for pledges and donations collected. Incentives include:

5 pledges or $25 in donations = sneaker key chain

10 pledges or $50 in donations = light up football

15 pledges or $75 in donations = plush pixel pal

20 pledges or $100 in donations = monster beach ball

25 pledges or $125 in donations = chance to win $50 Main Event gift card


  • Grade Level PLC Updates & Reminders: There are a few items needing to be addressed on each team: Make sure your PLC agendas are all accounted for and up to date in the PLC room. These are a form of documentation necessary for FIR accountability reporting with the state, as well as Evidence of Action for our campus Instructional Focus. Additionally, if your SMART goals have not been updated, revised, etc. please make sure this is completed as well. If you need the template, please let Tanya, Leslie, or Kim know. These are also a documentation component for the campus. Thank you for your attention to these items. Our next grade level PLC day is April 5th. All items need to be updated before the next PLC.

  • PDAS Teacher Self-Report Section 2 and 3: Mark your calendars...PDAS Teacher Self Reports are Due in Eduphoria by April 26, 2016.

  • Night of No Limits: An information update and timeline for preparation for Night of No Limits will be placed in boxes last week.