Staff Memo

April 11, 2014

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During this busy time of year, let's not lose sight of why we do what we do.

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Brooks School Strolls on Friday

Angie and Jami will be your hostesses on Friday as you visit Brooks School. Their goal is for you to see the "wallpaper" at Brooks School so we can move further ahead in the area of cultural diversity/inclusiveness.

This is a "show, don't tell" experience. Rather than have Angie and Jami tell you what they saw when they visited, they want you to see for yourself.

Enjoy your stroll. Take a camera. Snap some photos.

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Why ask 'Why?'

"In high-performing schools across the country, we see teachers making 'Why?' a classroom mantra to support a culture of reasoning and justification. We see teachers relying on relevant contexts and using questions to create language-rich mathematics classrooms." ~Steven Leinwand in Accessible Mathematics, Ten Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement

Our Teacher Effectiveness Rubric emphasizes the importance of students understanding why they learn new things. The why should be relevant - meaning it should be about why they need to learn something today. Not for the next grade level or when they are adults, but why today.

This is tough stuff to figure out, but incredibly important. If our PD focused on what you needed to learn for retirement, I have a feeling the buy in would be sparse.

Continue to create a classroom culture where you make the why relevant to today. I know this is something many of you are thinking and talking about. It's good. It's all good.

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Every Child, Every Day

In the last of the six elements of effective reading that don't require much time or much money, just our decisions to put them in place, Richard Allington encourages us to read aloud to students every day.

I would suggest reading aloud means drawing your students up around your feet, holding the book so it can be seen by each student, reading aloud with expression and enthusiasm, making as much eye contact as possible, and stopping to model rereading when appropriate.

Reading aloud is part of the classroom glue that creates and holds a community together. It is a shared experience where our students can gather new vocabulary, deepen their background knowledge, gain an understanding of genre and text structure, and increase their comprehension skills.

Allington ends his article by suggesting two things to make time for his six research-based elements. One is to eliminate almost all worksheets and workbooks, and the other is to ban test-prep activities and materials from the school day. I agree with him.

As he closes his article, he says, "Remember, adults have the power to make these decisions; kids don't. Let's decide to give them the kind of instruction they need."

Let's see what we can do.

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There is a whole lot going on around here

The next several weeks (okay, all of the weeks until the end of the school year) look pretty busy. There is PD, Kindergarten Round-up, Author Visits, Roadrunner events, thoughts of ISTEP, and the CRES fest to name a few.

It is going to take a concerted effort on all our parts to choose kindness and patience with one another.

I hope we all can get outside, remind ourselves of the important things in life, and smile at each other. I know it isn't always easy, but we can each make a difference in what kinds of attitudes prevail here at CRES.

I appreciate celebrating Kristin's wedding with a shower, talking about the kids who happily surprised us by passing IREAD3, talking with those of you who are reading professional books and trying new things in the classroom, enjoying thoughts of retirement with those of you headed in that direction, tweeting photos of events you are creating with students, and welcoming smiling faces into the building each morning. There is so much for which to be thankful.

Let's focus on staying sane by being cheerful and happy in whatever situations we may be in.

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CRES Fest is just around the corner. Our PTO is phenomenal. The work they have done to put together an incredible event has been unbelievable. Please take a moment to thank those folks when you see them in the building. This is going to be one whopper of an event. It is certainly something to look forward to.
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Looking Ahead

Monday, April 14 Day 4

  • Pledge - Greiwe
  • 8:00 Because of Mr. Terrupt Book Club in teacher's lunch room
  • 11:40 HSE21 Committee mtg - PD room
  • 3:10 Collab - K
  • 4:00 Diversity mtg with Katherine in PD room

Tuesday, April 15 Day 1

  • Chaucie's Place meets with grades, K, 2, and 4
  • 7:30 Learning Leadership Team mtg - PD room
  • 9:30 Admin Team mtg - Lisa gone
  • 1:00-3:00 Elem Principals' meeting - Bd room
  • 3:00-4:30 NWEA mtg - Bd room - Lisa gone
  • 3:10 Collab - 1
  • 4:15 Staff Handbook mtg - CO - Lisa gone

Wednesday, April 16 Day 2

  • 8:30-11:30/1:00-4:00 2nd grade and 1st grade REACH district-wide PD in PD room
  • 3:10 - Collab - 2nd

Thursday, April 17 Day 3

  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 8:30-11:30/1:00-4:00 3rd grade and 2nd grade REACH district-wide PD in PD room
  • 3:10 Collab - 3
  • 5:00-7:00 Kindergarten Round-up

Friday, April 18 Day 4

  • Fairness DAy - Wear orange
  • 7:50 Student Council mtg
  • 3:10 Collab - 4

Monday, April 21 Day 1
  • Pledge - Cook
  • PD room in use all day for district-wide 5th-6th grade PD
  • Author Visit - Drew Daywalt - in library
  • 3:10 Collab - K

Tuesday, April 22 Day 2

  • Author Visit - Drew Daywalt - in library
  • 8:30-11:30/1:00-4:00 District-wide PD Fourth grade and 3rd grade REACH
  • 3:10 Collab - 1
  • 4:00 Kristin Young bridal shower

Wednesday, April 23 Day 3

  • Spring pictures
  • PD room in use all day for district-wide 5th-6th grade PD
  • 1:30-4:00 District Diversity mtg - Board Room
  • 3:10 Collab - 2

Thursday, April 24 Day 4

  • 8:00 Office mtg
  • Road Runner Rally - all day
  • 3:10 Collab - 3
  • 4:15 Staff Handbook mtg - Lisa gone
  • 6:30-8:30 Nutrition Showcase

Friday, April 25 Day 1

  • Mid-term
  • $1 Hat Day
  • 8:00 Discussion mtg
  • 3:10 Collab - 4
  • 5:30-8:00 CRES Fest