Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Happy Monday!

Friday was a great day of learning and collaboration for our certificated staff. Thank you all for your time and energy and great thinking around inquiry and social emotional learning.
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And in student news, check out the beautiful artwork by Cordata students, hanging in our district office! Thank you to Adrya for creating this display to show off some Bobcat talent and creativity!
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The week ahead - 3/11 - 3/15

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This week's SEL calendar is a continuation of last week, with tools that can be very helpful in teaching students how to interact with one another in respectful ways, and that set you up for problem-solving meetings in your classroom.

· All general ed teachers – teach the lessons in Focusing on Solutions in the Positive Discipline book
note: In some sections of Positive Discipline, it is possible to pick and choose from the lessons. This isn’t one of them! Working through each lesson will be important in laying the ground work for authentic class problem solving meetings.

o Four Problem Solving Suggestions p.127

o Wheel of Choice p.129

o Solution Table p.132

o Logical Consequences p.134

o Solutions and Curiosity Questions, not Blame p.136

o The Helpful, Not Hurtful Monitor p.139

Upcoming Dates

  • March 19 - 2:45-4:00 - THIRD Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • March 22 - Children's Author Derek Munson visiting -
    8:25-9:25 in cafeteria - grades 3 through 5
    9:50-10:40 location TBD - 2nd grade
    12:10-1:00 location TBD - 2nd grade
    1:35-2:25 in cafeteria - kindergarten and 1st grade
  • March 26 - all day - MTSS team to district PD
  • March 26 - 2:45-4:30 - Cordata Leadership Team meeting
  • March 28 - Staff potluck
  • April 1st through 5th - Spring Break
  • April 9 - Cordata staff meeting
  • April 11 - 1:45-3:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff) (note that this time was originally published incorrectly, 1:45 is the correct start time)
  • April 18 - 2:00-3:00 - Cert staff collaboration/PD time
  • April 19 - THE BIG EVENT, hosted by Cordata PTA
  • April 22 - Promise K Family Night
  • April 23 - 2:45-2:00 - FOURTH Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • May 21 - 2:45-4:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff)
  • May 24 - Bike Rodeo, grades 3, 4 and 5
  • June 7 - 5th grade track meet
  • June 19 - Field Day - this is tentatively being planned with the support of Cornwall Church volunteers . . . much more info to come. If you have ideas, send them to Analisa.
  • June 20 - last day of school - morning assembly

Other News and Information

  • We have a PTA meeting on Monday evening at 5:30, and I invite you to consider attending at least one meeting each year. On the agenda: some changes to the big spring event, yearbooks (the PTA plans to fund one for each student), and identifying 2019-20 board members. I would especially like your help in thinking about board members. What parents would you suggest that we connect with to increase membership on our PTA board? Send names my way, or join us on Monday evening!

  • In upcoming dates above, you can see that Derek Munson, author of Enemy Pie and Bad Dad, is coming to Cordata! Big thank you to Megan, who wrote a grant to the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation to make this special event possible! He will be conducting separate assemblies for primary and intermediate students, with extra time devoted to 2nd grade. Please mark your calendars for this fantastic opportunity.

  • We have a change in our projection system in the cafeteria. While not completely functional yet, we will soon be able to project from a projector that hangs in the cafeteria. Hooray! You will see that a new black metal case is affixed to the cement partial wall along the cafeteria ramp. If your children sit near this box during lunch or assemblies, just be aware that it is an important part of our new projection system. It will be locked, but is something to be aware of.

  • I know that many of you really enjoyed hearing from Anthony Craig at our staff meeting last Wednesday afternoon. He talked with us about his experience as principal of Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary, and some parallels with our work here at Cordata. My notes are certainly not complete, but they were my attempt to capture what he had to share and the conversation that our staff had with him. You will find my notes, along with Anthony's PowerPoint, in the Staff Meeting tab in our Staff One Note. (March 6 - Anthony Craig Visit (Web view) Note that his PowerPoint includes many more slides than he was able to show and speak to.

In closing . . .

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This week's message is coming to you from Dan . . .

Another reminder I received during my time at the WASCA conference centered around how we can best help students who are experiencing dysregulation. We have done so much great work to prevent and reduce the impact of emotional dysregulation. For example, providing break spaces in almost every room, teaching students to ask for a break when they begin feeling upset, or creating a maze in our cafeteria to allow kids to do the motor work that we know can change brain states.

We know from our work in brain science, that the brain can become dysregulated when it feels threatened. Our brains are designed for survival and they are always scanning for threats or something wrong or out of place in the environment. When a student has experienced traumatic stress, they may perceive threats around every corner. When a threat is perceived, the amygdala sets off a fire alarm and hijacks the that part of the brain responsible for rational thought, the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex becomes starved of blood flow and oxygen during times of stress. This means that the capacity for rational, logical thought is diminished.

One problem we might experience is an inability to connect with an escalated student. This can be the result of trying to speak to the wrong area of the brain. Often our attempts to help a student who is escalated center around helping them to see the situation more rationally. “Are you sure your friend meant to bump into you? Maybe it was an accident.” We often find that we cannot communicate with the pre-frontal cortex because it has become short circuited by the emotions and motivations of the amygdala and the student may scream “they always mean to hurt me!”

But what language does the amygdala speak? The amygdala speaks the language of survival and safety, so we if we begin our intervention with a message of safety, care and concern we might make better contact. “How can I help you?” “I’m here to keep you and everyone else safe,” “I’m sorry that happened, do you know what you might need right now?” Once we see that the student has come back to the green zone, then we can begin the work of problem solving, teaching and re-integrating the student back into classroom activities.