The Pillow Page

1/31/16

Honoring Our Past...Looking To Our Future.

Hello Pillow Panther Staff!


I hope you had a restful weekend. A new month is upon us and with it comes new opportunities. I hope you are excited for the new month! I know I am!


During our PD at the beginning of the year, we took a trip down memory lane with our Back To The Future themed activities. It was a lot of fun for me and Ms. Cardenas to hear about all of the history involved in this school. It's such a great place to be. One of the things we talked about at that PD was that while we want to honor and remember the past, we also want to look forward to the future. The future for Pillow as a school, the future for us as a staff, and the future for our students. This school is a family and we have to be united to move forward as a family. I've talked a lot with you about the importance of marketing our campus so that we can make sure that families hear about the amazing work going on within the walls of our campus. It's important to get the word out for a lot of reasons, and one in particular is enrollment numbers. Last week we received our projections, according to the district, and just like this year, they have our school dropping in numbers of students enrolled. I refuse to believe the projected numbers they have given me, and for that reason I won't share them right now. Instead, I want to focus on what we are going to do about it.


One, we have to continue to promote the good things going on at our campus. That comes from each of us sharing the good news and great work going on at Pillow with our families and community partners. Ask yourself, "When is the last time I called some of my classroom parents to deliver positive news about their child?" If you can't remember, then it's been too long. As teachers, and admin too, we can often times get caught up in only calling parents when a child acts up. I want to encourage you to reach out to parents over the next couple of weeks and let them know something positive that their child did and how happy you are that they are here at Pillow. It's a fast and easy way to continue to build a relationship with our parents. A "quick win."


Two, continue to help our Panthers be successful in the classroom. We know that one of the first things parents look at when they are shopping for schools is what your school's test scores are. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Knowing that we have to work within that reality, we need to continue to work hard to make sure ALL of our Panthers are successful and ready to knock those tests out of the park. The focus over the next few months in 3rd through 5th grade will continue to be on teaching strong core lessons in all subject areas while building in time to provide interventions for students who are struggling in certain areas. Remember, if a kiddo didn't get it the first time around, we can't assume they will get it the second time around if we keep doing things the same way. We have to be intentional with our interventions if we are going to close the gaps. 4th and 5th graders will be taking the next round of benchmark tests this week and it will be a chance to see which students are making growth and which aren't. PK through 2nd grade need to continue to monitor their students and provide intervention where needed as well, because you are building the foundation for 3rd though 5th. If the foundation is weak, it's very hard to catch students up once they've reached 3rd grade.


Three, and one that is extra important. In order for me to have a stronger case for why our numbers won't drop next year, we have to be diligent with a new system the district is putting into place. This week, all students will get a form sent home with them that is a "Student Commitment Form." This form basically allows the parents to let the school know their plans for next year. We need to get ALL of these forms back. I don't care how we do it, but we need them ALL back. Class lunch bunch, extra recess, a treat...whatever you or your grade level wants to do to get 100% of them returned, go for it. We will be sending them home with a note attached along with a school messenger going out. We will be stressing to parents that not only do we need them returned, we need them to only put that they aren't planning on returning if they definitely know they aren't. If they aren't sure, we want them to put that they are planning on returning. This is very important. Again, if we get 100% back and most say they are returning, then I can argue against the drop in enrollment. Please be on the lookout for those in your boxes and please help us get all of them back. Since I know some of you are starting parent conferences soon, that's a great time to ask parents to fill one out if they haven't already done so.


The reason this is so important, as I'm sure you already know, is that when we lose enrollment, we lose other things as well. Teacher allocations, money, other school staff positions. My plan is to not lose anyone or anything for next year, but I need your help to make sure that happens. Schools around us are busting at the seams and we aren't. We have to do everything we can to promote the great work going on at this school so we can attract families, including improving on our accountability results. I know you are already working hard at both of those things, so I'm only saying this to encourage you to keep on doing that.


I love this school and I love this staff and I thank you for all that you do. It's a challenge to teach in a Title I school. Students often come to us behind grade level, without the skills to control emotions and actions. You are warriors in the classroom because you are able to battle the odds each and every day to make sure that no matter where our students come from, or what they had to endure the night before, or what supports (academically and socially and emotionally) they have or don't have at home, that they will come to a school that is safe, inviting, and has high standards. Thank you for that. It's part of the history of this campus and it needs to be a part of the future as well.


P.S. A teacher approached me recently and stated that they appreciated the articles I link at the bottom of the Pillow Page and they wondered if people realized they were down there. I try to link to two or three articles a week that I think might push our thinking or encourage us. If you get a chance, check them out.


-Mr. Hill

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Upcoming Events

2/1/16 - Mon

Counselor Appreciation Week Begins

Career & Technology Education Month Begins

National African American Heritage Month Begins

All Day - Y. Cardenas Out

3:00pm - CAC Meeting


2/2/16 - Tue

Happy Birthday Ms. Adame!

A.M. - Y. Cardenas Out

3:00pm - 4:00pm - CST Meeting


2/3/16 - Wed

A.M. - B. Hill Out

7:30am-7:35am - Kinder 100 Day Performance

8:00am - 12:00pm - 5th Grade STAAR Release Reading Test

3:00pm - 4:00pm - Staff Meeting


2/4/16 - Thur

8:00am - 12:00pm - 4th Grade STAAR Release Writing Test

8:00am - 12:00pm - 5th Grade STAAR Release Math Test

6:00pm - 8:00pm - Spirit Night At Playland Skate


2/5/16 - Fri

Happy Birthday Ms. Finnegan!

Wear Red Day

8:00am - 9:00am - Coffee With The Principal

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