Shawnee Trail Elementary, January 4, 2015

SHAWNEE TRAIL MISSION: Why do we exist? What is our fundamental purpose?

  • To create a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment, to inspire ALL students to become passionate, lifelong learners.
  • To make meaningful and enjoyable connections as we educate the whole child academically, emotionally, and socially.

At Shawnee Trail we believe ALL Means ALL:

  • ALL students will learn at their highest levels.
  • ALL decisions are based on what is best for students and are aligned with the mission of our school.
  • ALL, students and teachers, learn by doing and building on our own strengths and the strengths of others.

Collective Commitments:

Cultivate a collaborative culture of continuous improvement:

  • Read all resources before collaborative learning meetings.
  • Be prepared to share, listen and participate in all group discussions.

Foster a save supportive and trusting environment:

  • Start on time.
  • Be engaged 100% of the time. (Leave unnecessary distractions behind and focus wholly on the tasks at hand.)
  • Collaborate and contribute equally and meaningfully

Practice all of these collective commitments by asking, “How did we do? Are we holding ourselves accountable for the team’s norms?”

  • Be willing to apologize or confront with passion and purpose when a team member fails to honor the commitments.

Celebrate success large and small.

Professional Learning

Get Students Talking to Each Other

Language is how we think. It's how we process information and remember. It's our operating system. Vygotsky (1962) suggested that language is the tool children use to find solutions to a problem before acting impulsively and is necessary for mastering academic learning. To foster problem solving and increase student engagement, classrooms should be filled with academic conversation, because conversation is a requirement of thinking.

Here are a few links to short videos that provide practical ideas for increasing students' academic discourse.


  • Share all team Google doc forms with Pam, Heather, and Shannon each week

  • Frisco Family Services Food Drive goes through Jan. 15th (items needed: oil, grains, cereal, flour, pasta, canned meat, fruit cups, crackers, canned goods, toiletries, baby items, paper goods)

January's Character Focus is Grit

Grit is perseverance and passion for long-term goals.

As an educator, you may be hearing a lot about grit these days—and with good reason. Studies show that kids who demonstrate grit persist at hard tasks and outperform their competitors. Grit is a critical strength of most people who are successful. It is especially complex because it is related to other skills and mindsets such as optimism, purpose, growth mindset, bravery, and even self-control.

There are a lot of misconceptions about grit. Grit is much more than just encouraging kids to “try harder” or not give up—it’s also about helping kids find their passion. Having grit does not mean never quitting—it means quitting responsibly (and not just because times get tough) and sticking to the things to which you are truly dedicated.

Observing Grit

Grit is a combination of passion and persistence. Demonstrating grit could involve:

  • Finish what you begin.
  • Staying committed to your goals.
  • Working hard even after experiencing failure if when you feel like quitting.
  • Sticking with a project or activity for more than a few weeks.

January Reminders:

Monday, Jan. 4th

  • Protected Day -No PDAS Observations

Tuesday, Jan. 5th

  • Instructional Team Leader Meeting 7:10
  • 4th and 5th Grade Choir Practice 2:50-3:30)

Wednesday, Jan. 6th

  • Staff Meeting in Pod 3 (3:15-4:15)

Thursday, Jan. 7th

  • Olweus Committee Meeting (3:15-4:15)

Friday, Jan. 8th

  • GMST (Don't forget to invite parents of students being recognized for December's character focus, gratitude.)

January Birthdays

Antonio Ayala -Jan. 15

Best of the Best

"The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur." Vince Lombardi

Looking forward to seeing us of all together tomorrow, united in our spirit to give our students the greatest education possible, one that will build a strong education foundation and love of learning.

Don't forget one way we show our pride and unity is by dressing professionally, like someone will take a our Shawnee Trail family portrait, wearing any combination of black, grey, khaki and/or white.