Elementary Principals

January Newsletter

Using Data to Improve Learning, Stay on Target & Keep Focused

Midyear Checkup!

Are you wondering why look at data midyear? Great question! Looking at your student, building, teacher data midyear can be like a doctor's check up. Where are you? Where do you want to be? What are you doing to get there?

1. Are you keeping track of progress towards your school improvement goals? What are ways that you are measuring your goals? Good time to take a quick check to make sure your staff remain focused on the activities and strategies that are school wide.

2. Are students keeping track of their own progress? Have them keep track of spelling, tests, quizzes, completion, progress towards learning targets, etc...

3. Are you meeting with your teachers who need to have a Midyear Progress Meeting? Reviewing their IDP to see how things are coming along is another example of looking at the data mid year. Is what they are doing working? Do goals/support need to be adjusted?

4. Are you tracking progress for students that are struggling? Using your MTSS plan--how are those interventions going? Using the strategies presented by Jodie Kruse, have a data day to review how things are going. Better to find out midyear than wait and find out there is not enough time.

5. Finding pesky behaviors trending from students and/or staff? Get it identified and come up with a plan to nip it. Behaviors, if left unchecked (in both adults and students) and cause bigger problems down the road.

6. January is a good time to review your goals What did you want to accomplish for the year? Personally and professionally? How are you making progress? What do you need to stop, start and continue?

MI School Data Links

MiSchoolData Website:


MiSchoolData Training Evaluation:


January PD Activities to Jumpstart the New Year!

1. 30 minutes: Use the MASSP team-builder from the January checklist with your staff

2. 45 minutes: Here's What? Now What? So What? Data Protocol

2. 60 minutes: Defining and Describing Student Engagement 4-square

Focus on: Student Engagement and Motivation

It's Not Just About Being Busy...

Questions for the Principal to consider during classroom observations:

  • What is the standard/learning target being taught?
  • What is the depth of knowledge?
  • Does the activity/assignment match the depth of knowledge?
  • Are students active in their learning?
  • Is the teacher planning for and monitoring for active participation?

Classroom Engagement "Look fors....."

Check out this Google Doc for a list of Teacher and Student "Look fors." Add your own!

Favorite Books and Articles on Motivation & Engagement

Staff Discussion Starters and Activities on Engagement

Get the Discussion Started... 4 Square Activity

What is your staff's definition of Student Engagement?

I. Ask each participant to fold a piece of paper into 4 parts and label each square:

1. Definition

2. Students would be...

3. Teacher would be...

4. Engagement would NOT be...

In each box, ask staff to take a few minutes to describe how they perceive student engagement and share with two or three table partners.

II. Have them look at this collection of resources on student engagement (or an article on student engagement of your choice).

III. With table partners, develop a common definition of student engagement based on their discussion and add any new ideas from the article to their initial thoughts.

IV. Invite small groups to share out with the whole group. What thoughts were validated from the article? What was new thinking?

Staff Engagement Resource Hunt

1. Have staff explore this smore Newsletter. Break them into small groups and have each group look at the:

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Videos
  • and other information

2. List 3 things that they learned about student engagement that stood out to them and share.

3. What information gained could be used in their classrooms? What would it look like? How would increased engagement support other initiatives (school improvement)?

Our beautiful Winter Professional Development Edition is ready for your staff!

Grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa and read through our ways to improve teaching and learning in your district.

Winter PD e-catalog


January Professional Learning Highlights

January 21: Peter Johnston Workshop: Opening Minds

January 25: Genesee County Literacy Conference


Adaptive Schools Training

Tuesday, April 1st 2014 at 8am

GISD Davis Center

Mark Your Calendars Now!

Four full days: April 1, April 28, August 5 and 6

Rick Wormeli

Monday, May 19th 2014 at 8:30am

5353 Gateway Center

Flint Township, MI

Rick Wormeli continues the discussion on effective grading practices focusing on retakes and redos along with addressing other challenges. Check out one of Rick's short videos here.
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