Millbrook Elementary Staff Notes

Week of August 17-24, 2015

Here We Go!

It's been so great seeing many of you this past week! I appreciate your enthusiasm, energy, and excitement about a new year ahead.

Here is the general schedule for this week of workdays:

Tuesday: 8 AM-4 PM. We'll gather in the media center at 8:00 for breakfast provided by PTA, and will have some time to get to know one another and get an overview of the week ahead. We'll also have some inspiration! There will be a large block of time for classroom work and grade-level collaboration.

Wednesday: 8 AM-4 PM. We'll start the day in the media center for a deeper dive into where we've been, where we're headed, and how we'll get there together. We'll finish the all-team session before lunch, and the rest of the day will be dedicated to classroom prep and grade-level collaboration. Instructional assistants are welcome and encouraged to attend the morning session.

Thursday: WCPSS training day. We'll have the schedule for those who will be attending specific professional development tailored to unique roles. If you don't have required WCPSS training, this will be a classroom/grade level work day.

Friday: 9 AM-5 PM. We'll have more nuts and bolts logistics and training needed for the first two weeks of school. Families will arrive between 2 and 5 PM for Meet the Teacher. They are excited!

I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday at 8 AM in the media center. Here we go!

Preview of Content!

Our Master Schedule

We've worked hard this summer to build a master schedule that prioritizes collaborative teacher time. A book I read this summer really drove this point home to me. In Read, Write, Lead, Regie Routman says, "The best professional development is professional learning that leads to new insights, confirmations, expanded thinking, improved and enhanced teaching and leading, and - most of all - increased student learning. In communities of professional learning, groups of teachers and administrators come together regularly to share what's working, to read and discuss research and literacy practices across the curriculum, to observe and analyze best practices, to apply those practices to classrooms, to assess what's working, to celebrate learning, and to responsively adjust to do better." This is a summary of the exact work we'll be focused on together this year.

I'm including a link to both the master schedule of specials and an outline of the classroom instructional blocks for your preview. We'll be talking in more depth about it in the week ahead, but if you are a processor (like me), you'll want to take a look and start thinking about what your day will look like.

It's bit hard to explain, but this year we are running a "floating special" in the A-F rotation at the end of each day. Each grade level will have the "floating special" one letter day, which will allow teams to have an uninterrupted two-hour block of time for PLTs (1:30 - 3:30). There are pros and cons of every schedule, but we think this will allow teams the protected time needed to do quality work in PLTs. We will still reserve Mondays for all-team PD, SIP meetings, etc., so when a PLT falls on a Monday, the time will be adjusted from 1:30 - 3:00.

The link below includes the WCPSS master calendar, classroom daily schedules, specials schedule, and PLT rotations through December:

Guide to Professionalism

Want a better understanding of expectations for staff dress? What we expect at MEMS to build a positive staff culture based on trust, open communication, and professionalism? Then you've come to the right place! Read the Guide to Professionalism 2015-16:

We are Data Driven

Again...more to come this week. But we have to know where we are in order to understand our priorities and the path forward. The following is an end of year snapshot of our student achievement as of June 2015:

Learning Corner

Each week, we will feature a short article, video, or best practice in the Learning Corner.

This video models a strategy for building growth mindset in students: praising the process. In addition, there are some other instructional moves worth noting:

  • Students owning their learning by setting goals
  • Evidence of partner work
  • Notice how they write using black felt tip pens - no erasing!
  • Powerful individualized teaching through conferring
  • Students are doing the majority of the work - the teacher is coaching