Hillcrest Staff ARTery

We are the heART of Hillcrest!

The week of February 22nd - 26th

Bus Duty:

AM - Holly, Janet & Anne

PM - Katie, Angie & Jen

Treats: Trista & Rachel Loy

Word of the Week: Uniqueness


Monday, February 22nd (Day 2)

  • 5TH gr. week long artist in residency - Anne McFaul Reid/Sculpture Artist

Tuesday, February 23rd (DAY 3)

  • 8:20 - 9:00 - Artful Learning Committee/Conference Room
  • 3:00 - 6:00 - play rehearsal/Stage

Wednesday, February 24th (Day 1)

  • 8:20 - 9:00 - SWIM team meeting/Caroline's room
  • 10:00 - 1:30 - Rachel L. class to Old Cahill
  • 10:30 - 12:00 Calvin Out for District Mtg
  • 11:30 - 1:45 - 4th grade to Stepping Stone Theater
  • 2:30 - 3:35 - Culminating all school community event/Indonesian Gamelon & Dance

Thursday, February 25th (Day 2)

  • 10:00 - 1:30 - Amy B. and Kari H.'s classes to Old Cahill
  • 4:00 - 8:00 - Conferences

Friday, February 26th (Day 3)

  • 8:20 - 9:00 - ISST Meeting/Caroline's Room
  • 8:20 - 9:00 - BLT Meeting/Conference Room
  • 10:00 - 2:00 - Calvin Out at Perpich Center Mtg
  • 6:30 - MOVIE NIGHT! - "UP"

Upcoming Events

February is "I Love to Read" month!!!

February 29 - March 4 - Hillcrest Book Fair

March 1st - Conferences - 4:00 - 6:00PM

March 2nd - Kindergarten Assessments

March 3rd - Conferences - 4:00 - 8:00PM

March 7th & 8th - NO SCHOOL

March 11th - PTSA HOEDOWN

Staff Meeting Schedule (Topics)

2/16 - Planning for SY17 (looking at activities and the calendar)

3/1 - Close Reading w/Rachel G. (Session #4)

3/15 - Test Proctor Training and other fun stuff :)

4/5 - TBD


Sign Your Class Up for the Book Fair

Here is the sign up for the book fair (2/29-3/4). Please choose a preview time and a time later in the week for your class to come down and visit us. Your preview time should be 20 minutes. I am not going to put a limit on the time you reserve during the week, as long as every classroom gets a turn. Team Media will be making name signs for your red teacher request bins, unless you let me know you want your class to do it.

Book Fair Details

It is almost time again for our annual Book Fair (Yea!!) We wanted to let you know some upcoming dates and other goodies to help our fair go smoothly.

  • Starting FEB 22, we will play GROOVY Bingo during the morning radio show.
  • Look for your Bingo cards around FEB 16, and don’t forget you need to have your class complete your card! (If you forgot how to play, the directions will be on the card in your mailboxes!)
  • We have attached a link so you can show your class a preview of the new books for sale at the fair. There are 2 videos, each is about 10 minutes. Look for the one at your grade level. If the link doesn’t work, Belle has a DVD that you can borrow. www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/springESvideo
  • Our fair will run from Monday FEB 29 – Friday MAR 4.
  • We are having our book fair online this year too! Check out www.scholastic.com/fair from FEB 26 – MAR 9. This will lead you to our homepage which has a link to our online fair.
  • FEB 29 will start in the morning with a teacher preview. We will be open from 8:00am until 9:15amfor you to check out the fair and put together books for your classroom wish lists. We will have a special guest from Scholastic at our teacher preview to discuss book titles and her recommendations. Look for your official invitations in your mailboxes soon!
  • FEB 29 will also be our day to have students preview the fair and write up their wish lists of items. Belle will have a signup sheet available so you can bring your kiddos to the library and have them check it out. We are hoping to have volunteers available to assist the Kinders and 1st graders with their lists.
  • The Book Fair will be open during the evenings of conferences (Tuesday MAR 1, 4-6PMand Thursday MAR 3, 4-8PM) so please let your parents know to come see us!
  • We will also be open all day on Wednesday, MAR 2 during Kindergarten Assessments.


The bright pink I Love to Read Month Calendar & letter home in your staff mailboxes should go home today (Friday) if it hasn't already. Students will have the chance to complete fun, daily reading challenges. If they complete twenty one out of twenty nine days in February, they can bring it to Marcia for a prize, and will be entered in a drawing to read one on one with Mr. K.

Wednesdays at 3:15 until it's time to pack up will be Hillcrest D.E.A.R. time. As a staff member, please model this reading time for our kids, too!

Your classroom is challenged to turn the posterboard Belle gave you on Thursday into a book cover, or anything with the "We/I Love to Read" theme. It's a design competition to be judged on 2/26, the last Friday of February. The winner will win Book Fair Dollars for their classroom library.

The Book Fair will be at the end of I Love To Read Month, 2/29-3/4. Teacher & Student Preview Day will be that Monday. Belle will be sending out a signup for teachers to select a Class Preview time and a time later in the week to come down for purchasing. The Book Swap will be Wednesday and Thursday, 3/9 -10, and students will be able to bring and swap up to three books.

African American History Month

February is African American history month. Please try to find a way to bring African American history into your classroom in some way during this month. Carolyn P. forwarded some information that was shared from our Office of Equity and Engagement that you can use. Additionally, you can find a wealth of teacher resources at the Smithsonian.


Displays . . . fresh and new

A big shout out to Janet and Beth for creating the awesome COMPAS artist display by Door 3 and for making the bulletin boards in the hallways look fresh and clean. Hip hip hooray!

COMPAS Artists Coming to HC

February 1 - 5: Gita Ghei w/ 2nd Grade

February 2 - 24: Joko Sutrisomo w/ Music

February 16 - 24: Tri Sutrismo w/ PE

February 22 - 26: Anne McFaul Reid w/ 5th Grade

March 14 - 18: Marie Olofsdotter w/ 3rd Grade

March 28 - April 1: Christopher Lutter-Gardella w/ 1st Grade

April 4 - 8: Mick la Briola w/ ELA and TBD

May 2 -6: Mica lee Anders w/ 5th Grade

May 2 - 20: Soli Hughes w/ 4th Grade

Congratulations to Beth McCoy

Beth has been asked by Artful Learning to be an Apprentice Trainer for the program. She will have the honor of teaching the Artful Learning model to Douglas County School District teachers in Colorado beside Patrick Bolek and other trainers this March.

Congratulations Beth!!

Coming to Hillcrest from February 2nd through 24th... ...master musician Joko Sutrisno!

In 1995, Joko brought gamelan instruments from his home island of Java, Indonesia to St. Paul, Minnesota. Bloomington Public Schools purchased the instruments which now travel amongst all 10 elementary schools. Bloomington music teachers learned basic gamelan techniques and repertoire from Joko during his tenure as a teaching artist in our schools. I'm thrilled to welcome Joko back to Hillcrest music!

For more information, go to the website of Joko's ensemble, Sumunar.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to visit the music classroom to witness this exciting residency!

Instructional Update

Student Placement Considerations for 2016 - 17 School Year

Student placement consideration requests for the 2016-17 school year can be made between March 28th and April 29th. Starting March 28th placement consideration forms will be available in our school office. Completed forms must be received in person or by mail to our school office by April 29th.

ELA Curriculum Writing Representatives

Kindergarten: Trista H.

1st Grade: Amy B.

2nd Grade: Anna E.

3rd Grade: -------

4th Grade: Tracy V.

5th Grade: Katie B.

Learning Supports Update

The Sheridan Story and Hillcrest UMC Partnership

Elementary schools throughout Bloomington ​are building a partnership with The Sheridan Story. The Sheridan Story works with schools and districts to partner with local faith communities to sponsor a school in providing Friday food backpacks for students to fill the gap of not receiving school food over the weekend and extended breaks. The Sheridan Story handles the logistics. Hillcrest United Methodist Church (UMC) has partnered with us (as the faith based partner) and The Sheridan Story to provide funding and volunteer support to carry the program forward. You can read more about The Sheridan Story here.

The current plan is to have The Sheridan Story start providing food support for students starting next school year (Fall of 2016). Hillcrest UMC is currently working on raising funds to support food donations (we expect that 25-35 families will enroll in the program) and are hoping to provide support to our school in other ways as well (volunteering, mentoring, etc.).

More details will be coming later this spring.


BFT Winter Social

Don't forget, tickets are on sale NOW for the BFT winter social at bftsocial.brownpapertickets.com.

All proceeds go towards scholarships for our graduating seniors.

HR Staffing Timeline

February 15th - Retirement/Job Share/Coming back from leave deadline to tell HR

February 29th - Internal Transfer Process FORMS DUE!!

March 10th - 17th - Principal Staffing Meetings

April 4th - 11th - Elementary Postings on Web

April 15th - Top candidates picked and shared with HR

May 2nd - Elementary hiring

Note: If you have questions about any of this information, please contact Calvin.

Hillcrest Variety Show (change of date and new details)

The Hillcrest Variety show will be on May 20th. Dress rehearsal will be on the 19th.

  • This year all students will be able to participate. As a staff we will be having discussion about the future design and role of the Variety Show later this spring.

Smart Board News

We are in the planning stage of transitioning away from SmartBoards and Notebook software for 2017-18. Because of Digital content/PD days, the news has spread quickly among staff. Here's a quick update about what we know so far.

What is happening?

We will no longer purchase Smart Boards and will no longer pay for or support Notebook software as of the Fall of 2017. All SmartBoards will remain in place and will be serviced as needed until they are beyond repair.

Why the move?
SmartBoards were the right choice for us in 2007 and were a critical element in our early digitization work. As we shift to personalized devices, the next generation of classroom tech tools have greater capabilities for engagement, flexibility, accessibility and collaboration. Our role is to plan and implement a smooth transition that preserves the best uses and content for staff. We are confident we have the time and expertise for such a smooth transition.

When will we transition?
We purchased an extension of the new SMART subscription model to enable a manageable transition for staff. We will help staff transition from Smart Notebook software by summer 2017.

What is the transition plan?
Alternative resources and conversion processes are not yet finalized so please be patient with us while we do this work. Teachers require alternatives as well as the time and assistance to make a smooth transition. We will finish this work on and communicate with all staff by March 1, 2016.

Tech Team Information

September Topics

Where will printing happen?

  • Bring students to the lab

  • Check out Macbook Air cart

  • Individuals log in to classroom

  • Publishing & sharing work as alternates - Ask: Do they really need to print it?

Using The BPS HUB

  • Students need training on logging in and reading the Hub planner, writing notes.

  • It’s important to remember that the Hub’s audience is both students & parents.

October Topics

When are we sending CBs home?

  • Face-to-face distribution of devices for grades 3-5.

  • This will happen via a separate Curriculum Night/Chromebook Open House in September 2016. Specific date to be determined.

Action item: All grade levels should add headphones to Fall 2016 school supply list.

Chromebook Cases

  • Kids will be provided a charger, chromebook, case and a luggage tag

  • Luggage tags will have Student Name, Homeroom, Color coded label for Grade level, perhaps a personalized photo snippet for HC tags

Where won’t Chromebooks go in our building?

Chromebooks will not go to:

  • lunch

  • bathroom

  • locker rooms

  • bus

Action Items:

  • Communicate policy with our bus drivers and patrols.

November Topics

How will we prepare students to have devices?

  • 2nd graders will have a chromebook experience this spring.

  • Digital Passport curriculum for digital citizenship, also this spring.

  • Chromebook and iPad bootcamp will be developed and taught.

How will we prepare teachers to have devices?

  • Beginning in January, staff will have regular professional development focused on technology and digitization. January 25th, to be precise!

December Topics

Families without internet.

  • Students will be taught to use offline mode and a Chrome Extension called Pocket. It is then their job to pack up their digital backpack at the end of the day, same as a physical backpack. These students may need specific time to do so.

  • Hot spot pucks will be available as a short-term solution and on a very limited basis. The pucks will be available to everyone at Hillcrest with a check out period of two weeks. Pucks are very expensive and not feasible as a blanket solution, so communicating with families who might fall in this category is very important, in order to connect them with the district-suggested resources.

Coaches Corner

Who’s up for another game? You are? Super!

  1. I’m going to give you clues.

  2. You’re going to guess the word.

  3. Once you’ve guessed all the words, you’re going to guess the category.

(Some of you might remember playing this waaaaaaaay back during the workshop week Q-Comp presentation.)

Ready? GO!


  1. gives you information about the section you’re about to read

  2. a visual way to show data

  3. words by a picture that provide information about the image

  4. at the back of the text; tells what page to go to to find information on a selected topic

  5. provides definitions for important words from the text

  6. tells you the chapter contents and the chapter page numbers

What do you think the category is?!?!?!

That was fun, wasn’t it?

To play this with your class, one student faces the screen where the words are listed and gives the clues. The clue-giver can't use any of the words on the screen. The other student faces away from the screen and guesses the answer. Since pairs will likely finish at different times, having a follow-up activity planned that connects to the content of the game will extend the learning.

  • What do you think the benefits of a game like this might be for the person giving clues?

  • How about for the person guessing?

As a gift to you for playing, here is a link to a whole bunch of word lists and categories and a link to the game show, 100,000 Pyramid.

Here’s a quote from Marzano and Pickering’s The Highly Engaged Classroom that speaks to the attention-getting power of games.

Most academic games provide students with clues or hints to questions without providing them with the exact answers. Such situations typically activate the natural human tendency to fill in missing information or to establish closure around something that is incomplete. When a competition is added to academic games, mild pressure provides another stimulus for attention. It is important, however, that competition is just for fun—it is inconsequential. Winning or losing a game should have no effect on students’ grades or test scores. Games should be used as a lighthearted way to review and analyze information.


Winter Hallway Care and Cleanup

Winter is here . . .

  • Please make sure students take their coats and boots home regularly, so that the hall can be kept clean.
  • All boots should be put up off the floor at the end of the day (on top of hooks or in lockers).
  • Please make sure that students stomp and wipe their feet before entering the hallways.

Personal Leave Requests Now Approved by Principal

Starting December 1st all principals will be approving personal leave requests. Be sure to submit your leave requests through MyLeave in MyView (TIES). If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. [Note - you do not need to ask Calvin in person. Unless you feel that you need to do so.]

Our weekly staff newsletter!

This newsletter will come to you every Friday afternoon for the upcoming week. If you have any information, small business items, or events to share, please email the title, narrative, and specifics to Jane or Calvin.