D11 Monthly Insights

A School District 11 Communications Publication

November 2018

  • Superintendent's Top of Mind: The Power of Reflection
  • 2017 MLO Update: Safety and Security
  • Student Spotlight: Isabella Comiskey
  • Making the Most of the Moment
  • Reminder: Choice Window
  • Event: Thanksgiving Break

Superintendent's Top of Mind

The Power of Reflection

Do you ever feel like life is one big race and everyone is clamoring to cross the finish line, and if you slow down, you may feel like you will never get to the end? Many of us are conditioned to go, go, go, and in the end, we experience exhaustion. During times like these, the best thing to do is to slow down and simply take a few moments to reflect. Imagine...giving ourselves time and permission to reflect.

The research behind reflection spans many decades and is often noted as one of the key attributes of effective leadership. Reflection allows deeper learning to occur because it involves what is called meta-cognition, or the ability to ‘think about your thinking’. In our fast-paced world, we strive for instantaneous information, yet rarely reflect upon the information we receive. Have you ever crammed the night before a test and found that doing well on the test was overshadowed by your inability to recall useful information later on when necessary? That’s because you took in too much information in a short period of time and did not give yourself time to reflect about your learning and deepen it into your long-term memory. When we gift ourselves the time to reflect, we gain a depth of knowledge and permanence in our learning, which makes information more useful.

In District 11, we believe in the power of reflection and that taking the time to reflect is something necessary for learning to occur. As we close the first quarter of the year, I am reminded about the power of reflection. Our staff, leaders AND our students are reflecting about learning thus far. This is truly the reason we facilitate parent-teacher conferences…to review how students are performing and get additional information that will help us help our students more moving forward. Teachers and building leaders are reflecting about student learning and how adult performance can change to get improved outcomes in the next quarter.

We rarely give ourselves the mental space to pause and think about where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go. I myself am challenged at times to slow down enough to reflect, but when I do, I find clarity and rejuvenation to move forward in a way that brings me closer to desired outcomes for our students, staff and great community. Reflection gives our brains a mental break and helps us to become more organized.

So, the next time you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or lacking direction or next steps, try giving yourself permission to slow down or pause to reflect. You will be amazed at what you discover and be even closer to achieving your desired outcomes. Reflection allows you to truly Make the Most of Each Moment!

Yours in partnership,

Dr. Michael J. Thomas

Resources:

https://www.usf.edu/engagement/documents/s-l-reflection-activities.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb09/vol66/num05/Fostering-Reflection.aspx

2017 Mill Levy Override Update

D11 voters passed the 2017 mill levy override request on last year's November ballot. As part of the MLO plan, the District plans to phase back in the presence of Colorado Springs Police School Resource Officers (SROs) at the middle school level. At the regular Board of Education meeting on October 24, 2018, the Board approved a request to amend the original MLO plan. This amendment will accelerate the hire of two SROs for the 2019-2020 school year, as opposed to hiring all five middle school SROs in the 2020-2021 school year. This plan amendment is also preferred by the Colorado Springs Police Department, since it would be difficult for them to train and deploy five SROs in one year, due to the shortage of police officers. You can read more about the 2017 MLO accountability by clicking here.

Student Spotlight: Isabella Comiskey

North Middle School sixth grader Isabella "Bella" Comiskey is in this month's Student Spotlight! Bella was nominated and received this recognition because her nominator writes, "She is positive, hard-working and is always willing to help others. Bella was adopted by a loving family and loves sharing the amazing experience of being adopted. She is open-minded and loves to share her blessings." If you'd like to nominate a student for the Student Spotlight, click here to submit your nomination.

Making the Most of the Moment

Each quarter, the Superintendent meets with a group of high school student representatives from all D11 high schools. During this student advisory meeting, Dr. Thomas reflects on the importance of students having a voice in the direction of School District 11.
https://youtu.be/cbKkfshTCMk

The 2019-2020 Choice Window is Now Open

For the 2019-2020 school year, are you looking to choose a D11 school for your child that is not your neighborhood school? If so, be sure to submit your choice school permit today to the school's main office. The D11 Choice Window runs November 1 through February 15. For more information on the choice window process, please visit www.d11.org/choice or call (719) 520-2297.

Thanksgiving Break

All schools and district offices will be closed November 19-23. We hope your break is filled with family, friends, and memorable moments. Happy Thanksgiving!