Sipley School Weekly Newsletter

Week of Monday, April 27, 2015

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When parents were asked to describe what they want from a school, they said that "they wanted their children to learn how to take care of themselves, to make responsible decisions, and to get along with others. They wanted their children to be tolerant of people's differences, to be problem solvers, to be safe, and to use time well. They wanted their children to grow up to make positive contributions to society."

The Leader in Me by Covey, S.R., Covey, S., Summers, M., & Hatch D.K. (2014).

2013 Nationwide Gallup Poll and Grading Practices

Four out of five adults responded "strongly agree" that K-12 schools should teach critical thinking and communication skills to children. 64% strongly agreed that goal setting should be taught, while a majority strongly agreed that creativity and collaboration are meaningful topics. The study concluded, "While student success may depend on mastery of content in core subject areas such as math and reading, it also depends on more than knowledge of core content. Critical thinking, creativity, communication, and other soft skills, as well as student physical and social well-being, are also necessary for future success in higher education and in the workplace." - The Leader in Me, pg. 28.

Why do I share this along with the opening quote? As a parent and school leader, I agree with the information acquired from parents by one school principal and shared in The Leader in Me. I also agree with what others strongly agree on regarding what K-12 schools should teach. I wonder if our current grading practices lend themselves to these desires for our children or do they restrict teachers and students from truly working in conditions that achieve the ends shared in the opening quote and found in the Gallup Poll. With that said, I wonder how open parents are to changes made to current grading practices? If you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts on this, I would appreciate it. Do current grading practices afford students and staff with the opportunities to teach in these suggested ways or are current grading practices preventing us from this sort of advancement? Send your thoughts to

Dr. Don Mrozik

As many of you know, I have been working on doctoral studies. What you may not know is that I began coursework six years ago, when I started as John L. Sipley School principal. I completed three years of coursework, passed and defended my qualifying exam, wrote and defended a dissertation proposal, completed field research, and wrote and defended a 174 page dissertation. You can read more about my dissertation topic by following the link here -

This is a huge accomplishment for me from a personal perspective. Your children have been so cute as they congratulated me. I can't get use to being called Dr. Mrozik. It is odd.

No School on Friday

We have an institute day on Friday. While students are off, our staff will be at JJHS learning more about a Gradual Release of Responsibility model, which supports student learning. This model includes direct instruction and teacher modeling, guided instruction, collaborative learning, and independent practice. It is a model that develops a foundation for learning and shifts teaching and learning from the teacher to the student. Check out the video below for more information.
Gradual Release of Responsibility

LRC Redesign

For those of you who haven't seen the newly redesigned Learning Resource Center (LRC) at JJHS, I recommend that you check it out. It is student/teacher friendly and it allows groups of students to take learning from the classroom to the LRC, allowing them a space to think, learn, research, collaborate, share, and create. We are going to redesign our LRC this summer and we would like your help. Though our district is going to provide us with money for this redesign, I would like to go BIG and create a dynamic learning space. We are going to be doing some fundraising to gather money so that we can create the best possible space for our students and future students. Watch for more information about this opportunity. IF there is extra money collected, that will be used in classrooms to begin redesigning those learning spaces. Please get involved!

Testing Schedule Update

  • PARCC testing for grades 3 - 6 is scheduled the week of May 11.
  • STAR Reading and Early Literacy assessment for grades 1-2 is scheduled for the week of May 11.
  • STAR Reading and Math for grades 3-6, Kdg. Star Early Literacy, and Grades 1-2 STAR Math is scheduled for the week of May 18.
  • AIMSweb testing for grades K-6 is scheduled for the week of May 25.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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