Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Happy Monday, Cordata!

Glimpses of deep learning around Cordata this past week . . . (clockwise from top left)

  • 5th graders developing their writing craft by examining a mentor text
  • 4th graders and 2nd graders deepening our caring community through Buddy Class activities
  • A 2nd grade writer practicing a new strategy for hooking her reader in the introduction.
  • A kindergartner takes pride in a work time creation
  • Music students developing an understanding of timbre by comparing sounds and looking for matches
  • Asking questions of an expert in the cafeteria during a visit from Farmer Helen
Big picture

The week ahead - 11/5 - 11/9

Big picture

We are in our 11th week of school (if we count our first partial week as week 1), which means that in grades 2 through 5, you should have completed the first ten weeks of the Caring School Communities curriculum, and will now be ready for the Topic Weeks, where you can pull the lessons related to topics that match your class' needs. Grades K and 1, your sequence continues, and you should be moving into Being a Responsible Learner and Community Member.

How is it going for you? I will be sending you a brief survey to ask for your reflections and to gauge our school-wide implementation. Watch for that to come your way this week.

If you are using the Positive Discipline curriculum, this week is the time to launch into the segment on Mistakes and How to Fix Them, starting on p. 69 of Positive Discipline.

Upcoming Dates

  • Nov. 6 - Staff Meeting 2:45-3:45 pm - Dr. Baker visiting to share info and answer questions - Classified staff, please join us if you're able!
  • Nov. 8 - afternoon and evening parent-teacher conferences - Dinner provided by specialists and PTA!
  • Nov. 9 - Veterans Day Assembly
  • Nov. 12 - No school for staff or students in observance of Veterans Day
  • Nov. 13-16 - Analisa away for professional development. We will be bringing additional support in to assist Minh and Dan in school-wide support this week.
  • Nov. 15 - Cordata Family Thanksgiving Potluck - thanks, Sunshine Team!
  • Nov. 15 - 1:00-3:00 4th grade SGC meeting
  • Nov. 19 - Gratitude Lunch in the Cordata Cafeteria! (note that this is rescheduled AGAIN . . . Nov. 21 is a half day with overlapping lunch periods, so I have moved this to the 19th, when we will have more time to share gratitude!)
  • Nov. 20 - PD day for MTSS intervention team
  • Nov. 22 - 1:00-3:00 - kindergarten SGC meeting
  • Nov. 30 - Family Glow Dance Party in the cafeteria and gym - a family fun event sponsored by our PTA

Other News and Information

  • Staff, thank you to all who have completed the school culture survey ! If you haven't done so yet, please do - I hope to receive responses from everyone! Your input matters!

  • Staff meeting this Tuesday, 2:45-3:45 in the library. ALL are invited and encouraged to come hear updates from Dr. Baker, and bring your questions for him.
    Cert staff, you may sign up in ProDev using course ID #2795. You must sign in to a minimum of three staff meetings in order to earn these clock hours.

  • Gratitude Lunch will now be taking place on Nov. 19. (My apologies for the third change in date . . . I needed to adjust because an early release day with overlapping grade level lunches wouldn't work!) In preparation for this special lunch, please consider a couple of things . . .
    -table decorations make this feel festive and special. Consider creating placemats, table runners, or other decorations that related to gratitude.
    -even more important than decorations is building an understanding of gratitude, and even a practice of gratitude. You'll find some great lesson ideas on the intranet: Positive Behavior Supports > Behavior Expectations Lessons > Gratitude Curriculum from Greater Good.
    -Dan is our coordinator for the lunch, send any questions his way.
    -We will also invite kids to dress up for this special lunch. Please encourage your students to join in the celebration. These special school-wide event days can be a great way to build connections across grade levels and encourage a positive school-wide culture.

  • SpringHill Suites is once again doing an art education fundraiser, and Cordata Elementary is the sole beneficiary of the funds they raise! Isn't that awesome?! They have provided us with some outstanding art supplies in the past. They are looking for some student art to make their lobby display more eye-catching and to increase donations. If you have art to display, please send it my way! Could be photos of three-dimensional art if kids are wanting to take them home, or a few individual pieces, or a whole-class set of artwork . . .

  • The Bilingual Educator Academy is a new course offered at Squalicum High School. It is designed to to diversify Bellingham’s teaching force by directly training, supporting, and hopefully eventually hiring new bilingual educators from our very own student body. This fall, we are fortunate at Cordata to have students in the program visiting classrooms to observe teaching and learning. Classroom teachers, you will be hearing from Minh or myself to request opportunities for these future teachers to come and observe. During 2nd semester, we may have some students coming to Cordata to do an internship several mornings a week. Learn more about the Bilingual Educator Academy here!

  • Are you familiar with the Food in Classrooms policy in our staff handbook? Before you offer food to children in your classrooms, it is very important that you review these expectations! This is for the safety of our students, and to prevent you from taking on unnecessary liability! I'm pasting it in below . . . which makes this a long bulletin, but it's that important!

Cordata's policy regarding food in classrooms

Students have access to breakfast in the classroom and school lunch each day. In many cases, they also have access to snacks throughout the day, using the share bowl with leftovers from breakfast. Those involved in after school clubs also receive a snack. When any other food is presented to children during the school day or in after school clubs, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • · First and foremost, consider safety. If you are giving food to children, you must be aware of any life threatening allergies or food sensitivities. For a child with life threatening allergies to any food, you must get parent permission in writing before giving them any food. This applies even if you believe that the food you are providing doesn’t contain the allergens to which the child is sensitive. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • · The Bellingham Good Food Promise is our guide! When classroom celebrations involve food, it is an opportunity for teaching about a healthy relationship with food.
  • · As stated in the Good Food Promise: “Food should not routinely be used as a reward, and is only an acceptable reward when offered as an instructional device as a result of careful thought in collaboration with a school administrator.” If you’re unsure, be sure to ask an administrator!
  • · We do not celebrate individual birthdays with food. Parents will be asked NOT to bring food to school for classmate consumption for birthdays. If a parent brings food to school, please bring it to the office and the office staff will contact the family to make arrangements for pick up or disposal.

In closing . . .

Building Resilience

Do you remember the idea of a resiliency window? We learned about it from Sound Discipline. The idea is that we all have a baseline in our stress level - our starting point on a typical day. And we all have an "oh crap!" line - the place where we flip our lids. Our resiliency window is the space in between - the window in which we can handle the day to day stress that life sends our way.

How is your resiliency window? We often talk about helping kids to open their resiliency window a little wider, but the concept applies to each of us too!

This article speaks to building the resilience of educators, and notes that the window of time from October to the end of November can be a critical time to take care of ourselves and tend to our own resiliency windows. You'll find a list of ten ways to take action to build your own resilience. The three actions from the list that are especially speaking to me today are:

  • Anchor in your why. Resilient people are driven by purpose. Why are you teaching? What do you want your legacy to be? What motivates you to get up every day? Get clear on your why and use it as an anchor.

  • Be patient. Patience is a disposition of the resilient. Be patient with yourself, your students, your colleagues, and your administrators. Patience has nothing to do with complacency, it’s just an acceptance that we aren’t the master rulers of time and all things and that we can only do what we can do.

  • Learn to see what you’re doing well. When we get exhausted, and when we’re trying really hard to do something well, we have a hard time seeing what’s working. Maybe you have an instructional coach, mentor, or administrator who helps you with this, but it’s equally important for you to hone your ability to spot your own successes. After all, you’re the only one watching you every day. Spend a day being your own best friend, ban your critical self-talk from uttering a word all day, and spend the day narrating your successes.

Check out the full article on the Edutopia website to read the other 7 actions, and find ways this week and in the three-day weekend ahead to take good care of yourself!