To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 4: Friday, September 30, 2016

Big image


I have noticed several articles come across my news feed in the past few weeks about mindfulness and the benefits of meditation in schools and in the workplace.

This is definitely hitting home in the Groves house. There isn't a day of the week that we don't have after school activities. From Molly and Mattix's lacrosse schedule, soccer, gymnastics, art class, running club and soon-to-be-added obedience class (for the dog...not the kids), we are running in a thousand directions. Our calendar is a well-planned and choreographed map of dropping off, picking up, working on homework and trying to get dinner on the table. It is no wonder that we often are exhausted before the day begins.

I know that my family isn't unique in this. Gone are the days of coming home from school, playing outside until dinner is on the table and having a quiet hour for homework. For many of our students, school is just one stop in a busy day with dinner coming from a drive-thru and homework being done in the car or between practices. Add in the stress of high academic expectations and not enough sleep, it is easy to see that kids (and parents) today have a lot more on their plates than generations before.

There is a lot of attention and research that supports mindfulness and calm-schools programs in elementary schools. It is exciting to me that this is something Prairie Point began to focus on last year with the pilot of Inner Explorer. As we continue to see this trend, I believe that the time and attention given in schools to help students cope with the demands of life is going to be key in sending well adjusted and prepared students to the next level of education and to be successful in life.

If you haven't had a chance to explore Inner Explorer, please take some time to look at it. If you would like to see mindfulness and meditation in practice, we do have several classrooms that have implemented these techniques and I would be happy to facilitate a time when you can go in and observe.

I have attached a few articles that speak to the work and need for these programs, for both students and adults. While I didn't attach it, there is some interesting work being done on the east coast with replacing detention and suspension with meditation that I am keeping an eye on.

Important Information

Panther Challenge

Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm throughout the day today. What a wonderful showcase of Panther Pride! It was awesome to see the great works of our Home and School, along with so many volunteers and staff members. Our students had a blast and brought in $17,408.75 for our school! That is awesome! Jen and I will be planning our day on the roof...more details will come soon!

Wednesday Team Days

I have had the opportunity to sit in on and participate on our Team Days for a little over a month now. Like many things during this transition, my goal was to spend some time observing and learning how Team worked in the past at Prairie Point. I cannot be more impressed with the level of concern and collaboration that I have observed from the Team members when it comes to addressing student concerns. It is so evident that the culture of our MTSS Team is collaborative and supportive.

That said, I feel that we would benefit from some more structure and clearly defined expectations during our MTSS Team Meetings. Jen, Julie and I, along with support from Tena, have begun looking at how we can build upon this collaborative and supportive culture, in order to streamline and clarify the process of bringing a general education student up to Team. We plan to roll out some ideas to the members of Team early next week and then share them with the full faculty next week during our Faculty Meeting. Our hope is that with a little clarification we can continue to provide that collaboration and support in a slightly more streamlined process.

With the transition from our Weebly site to the Student Success Plan that will take place midyear, I think that this is a great time to put structures in place that will ease this transition.

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings


TEAM is up and running for the year. As you may recall from last year, RTI is now called MTSS - Multi-tiered Systems of Support.

As we reviewed during the August Institute, we will be updating the process and paperwork a bit midyear. Please don't stress about this - there will be time and training that is given for this transition.

In the meantime, if you need to bring a student up to TEAM, please complete the same paperwork we've had in the past. You can find that at our building TEAM website. Link is below. If you're unsure about how to bring a student up for support, or have other questions about the problem-solving process, please don't hesitate to visit a member of TEAM.

One little adjustment, that will hopefully streamline the process, is that if you have a student who is on the TEAM calendar you will receive an invite to the meeting on your Google Calendar. Not everyone has full access to the weebly calendar, so you should rely on receiving those email invites through Google Calendar.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The file below contains all of the Building, PLC, and SIP day meetings for the year. It will be updated regularly as the plans or schedule changes.


Next Wednesday is a Faculty Meeting. Please be ready to meet from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.

I will share the agenda with you in a Google Doc.

PLCs and Agenda Options

Please know that any specialist, Jen, or I can join your meetings to discuss important topics or answer questions. If you'd like one of us to come to your meetings, don't hesitate to ask. I love to see all the great work that your teams are doing. Go Prairie Point!!!

  • Please remember to share your agenda and notes with me and others who need the information.
  • Before the meeting ends, decide what you will discuss and address at your next collaborative meeting which will take place next week.
  • Enjoy this time with one another.

The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. Please utilize them for your team meetings and share them with Jennifer/Jen and any specialists that you have working with your team.

The video below shows you how to save the agenda templates to your own Google Drive.

SD 308 PLC Agenda Video

News and Info

Good Luck Kate!

Next weekend Kate Mosher will set out and finish her first marathon! I am so inspired with what Kate has accomplished so far in her running journey. There is nothing quite like starting your first marathon and finishing your first marathon. There are about a billion inspirational quotes about running marathons - but the one that always stood out to me was, "The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race."

Making of it to the start line and finish line of a marathon is about so much more than just running. No one runs 26.2 miles without pushing through pain, prioritizing busy weekends to include hours of running, keeping going even when everyone would understand if you quit and pushing yourself to a place that you never thought that you could go. There are tons of emotions that you feel during that 26.2 mile journey and when you get to the finish line, you join an elite club of runners with a lifetime of knowing that you finished a marathon!

Good luck Kate!

Big image


In the Groves house, we have four rules for a successful school year:

1. Keep your hands to yourself

2. If someone wants to play with you, let them

3. Ask for help when you don't know what to do

4. Don't say anything weird (If you have one of my kids in your class, you will learn why we added this rule last year)

One of the things that I have loved about the Cubs over the past few years is that Joe Maddon has kind of become that parent for the Cubs and Cubs fans who sets the rules. Here are a few of my favorite Maddon-isms that I think apply to both parenting and teaching :)

1. Don't ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

2. Do simple better.

3. Respect 90 (This is the distance between bases and it reminds us to hustle...every play, every time)

4. It is very important to celebrate.

5. It's not going to be an oil painting every night. You cannot be perfect.

6. I've never been a bulletin board guy to create my motivation. Your motivation has to come from within.

7. You can't create magic. You don't deserve magic until you play the game properly. When you play the game properly, all of a sudden, these little things start rolling in your direction.

I'm hoping my #FlyTheW column will still be alive in two weeks!!!!!

Go Cubs Go!