Team Thomson News & Notes

March 25, 2018

Important Information for You!

Internal Review Tuesday

As most of you are aware, our Thomson Internal Review is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27th from 12:00-3:15 p.m. During this time, a team of our peers will be visiting our building to observe 'how we do things'. They will be meeting with Megan C. and I, visiting classrooms, and providing us with building level noticing, wonderings and feedback. Having served on a visiting team last week at Gates Elementary, I can tell you that this was a very authentic process, more so than I have experienced as part of a Mini QAR team. This is not to say that Mini QARs did not have value, because I believe that they did and I was always proud of how we presented what we do and the feedback we got was useful. This Internal Review process is a wonderful opportunity for others to see what we do and how we live the education of little ones everyday.

While the visiting team is in our building they will be using the ELIOT tool I shared with teachers at a staff meeting a few weeks ago. This is a very learner centered tool that will provide us with valuable information. Additionally, the team will be looking for several building and district 'look fors' that come specifically from our school improvement plan. These building level 'look fors' are as follows:

  • Balanced Literacy (Guided Reading/Workstations, Word Study, or Shared Reading)
  • Math Workshop (Small Group Math Lessons)
  • Math Talks
  • Learning Targets
  • Success Criteria
  • Formative Assessment
It is not the expectation that the visiting team will see both Balanced Literacy and Math when they visit a classroom since they will only be in a room for 10-15 minute time periods and you should not necessarily change your schedule because they are in your room. However, please consider what you have planned and if that will give us feedback that is valuable to our school improvement process. I know most of you teach math in the afternoon so we should get some very good information on the math specific look-fors. The visiting team is scheduled to be in and out of classrooms from 12:15-1:00 p.m. and from 1:15-2:00 p.m. Every classroom and expect to have at lease one visit.

In advance, thank you for opening up your doors and minds to this process! It is new and maybe a bit uncomfortable, but we have much to 'show off' and be proud of!

Thursday, March 29th-School Improvement PD

As we discussed, we will have PD from noon-3 p.m. with a working lunch. Megan and I will be finalizing the agenda and sharing the Google Doc tomorrow, but the goal is that we completely finish revising our Strategies and Activities on Thursday. Don't forget that supporting research is a huge part of that in the form of 'what is our data telling us' and 'what does the research say is best practice instruction'.

As we discussed at the staff meeting last week, we will order lunch in. To make it easy, we will order pizza and salad from Pizza Company. If you are interested, please pay $3 to the office by Tuesday, March 27th and include your name so we can get the order placed.

March is Reading Month

Our planning committee has planned the following special days to keep the focus on Reading Month. The activities are as follows:

  • March 26th-Read a Shirt Day-Students and staff are encouraged to wear clothing with words on it.

Also, don't forget to continue to encourage students and parents to read and record their minutes on their reading calendars. We are encouraging students to turn in their calendars Thursday, March 29th.

Cardinal Code Focus of the Week:

This week the Cardinal Code focus is BUS STOP. Please review the appropriate behavior at the bus stop or during parent pick-up and dismissal. Can the students tell you all the things that they should be doing?

Spring Break Energy Shutdown

Just a reminder to make sure to prepare and shut down your classroom/work area to help with energy cost avoidance over the spring break. Please follow the protocol from Energy Specialist Eric Chorley which outlines what should be done in each area. Unplugging all electronics (except computers) to avoid "vampire energy use" can avoid paying for non-essential energy. This, of course, helps our district use money that might otherwise pay for wasted energy for other expenses. Additionally, we will be unplugging the staff lounge refrigerators, please be sure to take anything that is yours home with you or it will be thrown away at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Also, remember to have kids clean desks and chair pockets to ensure there are no food items left that may attract critters. Jim and Justina will be cleaning all classrooms, but they do not go inside desks and chair pockets. If you would like your floor scrubbed as Rachel did, please talk with Jim.

Report Card Reminders

Remember that the report card publishing deadlines have changed for the 3rd marking period due to March 29 becoming a snow-day make-up day. The new schedule is as follows:

  • All Grades/comments for report cards will be entered and ready for publication by 9AM, Wednesday, April 11.
  • Anna will begin to print report cards after 9:00 AM on April 11.*
  • Teachers will have report cards to check, print additional non-custodial copies, etc., by 9:00 AM on Tuesday, April 12.
  • Parent/Teacher conferences will be held from 4:30PM - 6:30PM on Wednesday, April 11. Conferences will be on a walk-in basis.
  • Any Report Cards left will be sent home with students on Thursday, April 12.

Kids and Break

Over the past few weeks there have been several conversations regarding stresses we are seeing in students, as well as, some of our own honest worries about how to help students. If you, as a teacher, are sensing your students are showing increased signs of anxiety, please reach out to Jason Vannest for some help. This will be especially important as our students prepare to leave the routine of school for spring break. While we adults look forward to the break, we must keep in mind that some of our students may be extra anxious about the "unknown" of the upcoming break. Their feelings of insecurity may be exacerbated by the events of the past weeks. Let's try to accentuate the positive and send our students off on a great note!

During the upcoming spring break be sure to take care of the "kid" in you too! Thank you for caring and advocating for your students. You may be a kid's one true champion and as always, I am so proud to work with our amazing Thomson Team!

Quotes Worth Reading

A couple famous quotes that you have probably heard before, yet they hold so much truth...

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”!"

Audrey Hepburn

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

None this week.... Enjoy your spring break, may it be filled with rest, relaxation, and fun!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Tuesday, March 27th-Lockdown; Thomson Internal Review 12-3:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 29th-Half-day for students; Half-day PD (specific times to come, agenda: School Improvement Planning)
  • Friday, March 30th-Good Friday, No School
  • April 2nd-April 6th-Spring Break, No School
  • Week of April 9th-PLC Week
  • Monday, April 9th-Parent Request Opens (parents must go to the office of the appropriate school to request a form, teachers SHOULD NOT give parents information on which teachers to request or not to request)
  • Tuesday, April 10th-Fire Drill; Kindergarten Round-up Training, 4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 11th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: Internal Review Follow-up; Spring Conferences/Growth Year Conversations); Spring Conferences 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 11th-General Admin Meeting (Natalie); ELA Committee Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Friday, April 13th-Jean Day, $5 for Project Graduation...if you choose to participate, you must pay on April 13th.
  • Week of April 16th-KINDERGARTEN ROUND-UP!
  • Monday, April 16th-Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m. Middle School Community Room (Megan Romanik class will lead the Pledge in Sign Language)
  • Wednesday, April 18th-State Wide Tornado Drill
  • Thursday, April 19th-Elementary Principals Meeting (Natalie); CMC 4-7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 20th-Leadership Team Meeting, 7:15 a.m.