To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 8: Friday, December 2, 2016

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It's the most wonderful time of the year...

It is hard to believe that we have turned the calendar to December and the first half of the school year is behind us. As I reflect on the first half of the school year, I have found so much to celebrate here at Prairie Point. I love being out in the community and recognizing so many Prairie Point students just about everywhere I go!

I have genuinely enjoyed getting to know each of you. When I first started in July, I invited teachers to take an hour or so and come in and chat with me. I didn't have an agenda, I just wanted to start getting to know you. I've shared this before, but the main thing that I was able to take away from that meeting was the love that each of you have for teaching, for our students, for Prairie Point and for each other.

I spent a lot of time in those first weeks really thinking about who I am as a leader and what my beliefs and "non-negotiables" are. I tried to narrow them down to a few that I really felt spoke to who I was as a leader and those core beliefs that will guide me when I need to make difficult decisions. This was the list that I created and shared with you in August:

  • I believe that we have the most important and meaningful job in the world.
  • I believe that our teachers and staff are the most important people in the building.
  • I believe that every child in the building is like a puzzle.
  • I believe that every student needs at least one adult in the building that they can connect with.
  • I believe that every parent is doing the very best that they can.
  • I believe that strong communication with parents is a priority.
  • I believe that no any one of us can do this job on his or her own.

We talked about this in August and I asked each of you to think about what your core beliefs are. The following is the list that we compiled as a staff:

  • I believe that every child is a gift!
  • I believe that not any one of us can do this job on our own.
  • I believe we all can learn from one another.
  • I believe everything is more wonderful with a song!
  • I believe every child deserves a fresh start each day and each year.
  • I believe that kids learn best when they feel safe to take risks.
  • I believe that learning should be enjoyable.
  • I believe that all students should be afforded the opportunity to learn and grow at their own levels.
  • I believe learning is a lifelong journey.
  • I believe all students deserve to be heard and validated.
  • I believe SCHOOL is the happiest place on Earth!
  • I believe everyone can be an artist, a musician, an author ….
  • I believe kindness makes the world go around.
  • I believe we are stronger, smarter, happier and healthier when we work together.
  • I believe that one of my students will someday be the President of the United States.
  • I believe that our school is the safest place for a child both physically and mentally.
  • I believe, for some children, that we are the only stable part of their lives.
  • I believe that children thrive best when there is consistency and expectations.
  • I believe that when teachers work together toward student growth, there is real change.
  • I believe every child can succeed.

I look at the list I wrote often, especially when I am facing a difficult decision, situation or are not sure what the right thing to do is. When I really peal things back to "What do I really believe it?" and make the decision through that lens, I am able to know that I am making the best decision that I am able to. As I read through the beliefs that we compiled as a staff, I know more now than I did on Day 1, that this is the school that I want to be in. I share these core beliefs with you and will continue to reference them and try to lead us in a way that aligns with what we all believe in.

As we hit that midyear point, I thought it is helpful and refreshing to revisit these beliefs and really remember why we do what we do!

Important Information

5 Essentials

Jen has done a great job of keeping everyone in the loop with the 5 Essentials Survey that we are going to take as a faculty. We will have time set aside for all teachers to take the 5 Essentials Survey on Wednesday, December 7th during our Faculty Meeting.

As a reminder, when you are answering questions, you should be thinking of them through the lens of Prairie Point, not District 308. If there are things that don't apply and you are able to choose Not Applicable, that is appropriate. Finally, as Jen shared a week or so ago, the leadership questions refer to the principal NOT the admin team.

As you know, the results of this survey are public and linked with our school report card. This survey is reflective of who I am as a leader, who we are as an educational team, who are school community is with our parents and how we work together and collaborate to meet the needs of our students. I want you to answer it honestly, through the lens of what we are doing here at Prairie Point.

We have spent time during faculty meetings, as well as during Rising Star, talking about many of the different ways that we are meeting the different areas (PLCs, Literacy Steering Committee, PD, etc.). I have shared those documents with you and included them here. It might be nice to review them and revisit all of the things that we are doing throughout the year.

Welcome Kate Messner

The big day is nearly here! Thank you to Maureen Dehler for really coordinating such an exciting event. Thank you, as well, to our teachers for taking time to introduce our students to the works of Kate Messner and promoting this special event. I wanted to reiterate the reminders that Maureen put out earlier this week.

As a reminder, all classes should head down to the Community Room at their allotted time. Remember that we will not do announcements throughout the day.

Also, plan for a small amount of independent writing back in the classrooms after the presentation. They will want to put their surprises to use "write" away. :)

Bulletin Boards are almost finished! Please remind students while walking in the hallways and before school to look with their eyes and not their hands. We want the boards to stay in great shape for her visit and for all to enjoy this week.

Finally, we will do a "walk and wave" starting at 3:15. Please line your classes up in the hallways at that time. Maureen will walk Kate around the 2nd floor and then the 1st floor so that everyone has a chance to say thank you.

Thank you for everything you have done to help make this visit a success!


Presentations - In Comm. Room


Grades K-1

Are We There Yet? Chapter books and picture books

30-40 min

Students will return to classes for a surprise and writing time.


Grades 2-3

Are We There Yet? Chapter books and picture books

30-40 min

Students will return to classes for a surprise and writing time.


Small group lunch and book signing time

Lunch with a small group of students @ 12:30

(Book Signing Time before and after lunch)


Grades 4-5

Are We There Yet? 60 minutes

Students will return to classes for a surprise and writing time.


Book signing and Thank you

Walk and Wave @ 3:15

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings


Next Wednesday, December 7, 2016 will be a Faculty Meeting. Please be ready to meet at 7:30am with in the Community Room. Our agenda will be short - we will have coffee and treats, celebrations, some quick housekeeping announcements and then you will have time to complete the 5 Essentials Survey.


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.

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

Adult Field Trip

I look forward to seeing many of you this evening at our Adult Field Trip. If you have misplaced your green permission slip, we will be at Ballydoyles tonight at 6pm. It is located at 28 W. New York St. in Aurora.