Principal's Newsletter

November 13th, 2015


WOW to the mystery birthday angel who left flowers on my desk for helping me start my day with a smile.-Shelly Gotsch

WOW to Eleanna for being celebrated in the Howell Hotwire!--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to the special ed paras and teachers who every day inspire me to notice and celebrate the small accomplishments.--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to Dr. DeWeese for adjusting the conference evenings to span two weeks instead of just one! Hopefully this will reduce the stress that conference week has been with two extremely long days in one week. Thanks!--Carol Tooley

WOW to Deb Lodes for taking the time out of her busy day to fix my student’s glasses that were broken on the playground! You are amazing Deb!--Alicia Baehler

WOW to our new teammates for learning a brand new curriculum….all with a smile on their faces (well, most of the time! ;) ~ 3rd grade vets

WOW to everyone who has checked out a tech cart this semester. It’s so GREAT seeing devices in the hands of so many well deserving students! ~ your ITSs

WOW to Tina Williams for jumping right into our new Digital Literacy push in instruction with K-2 and WOW to all the K-2 teachers for their support. Our Little Hawks will be techfessionals by the time they have to take online State tests in 3rd grade! ~ your ITSs

WOW to Linda Murphy for the support she’s given my new student this year. Without her I think he may never have a green day! ~Anonymous

WOW to our cafeteria ladies for…well, just WOW! ~ Anonymous

WOW to Mrs.Thornhill for having a really big heart and always bringing goodies or classroom stuff for the kids in room 51. She even brings bday treats for students if they don't have!--Linda Carr

WOW to all Harvest Ridge DCs: Kristen Schrameyer, Lindsey Crawford, Rebecca Lewis, Mary Scheffer, Michele Kelly, and Janice Beerman! You are noted for awesome leadership and support of your grade level team this school year!--Angie Regan

WOW Cheryl O’ Brien and Lauren Goodall. They have been a great addition to the SPED department and to Room 54. They are self-sufficient, take initiative when needed and are a huge help. The students they serve appreciate them as well. --Linda Carr

Wow to Julie Myers for stepping up to help me during our fire drill on Friday. I had 2 students with transportation disabilities and needed assistance to get them to the parking lot quickly. Mrs. Myers jumped in and gave me help without asking!--Linda Carr

WOW to Mrs. McCoy, she has done a great job jumping in and making a huge difference with our students in room 51. She has gotten them on the right learning path!--Linda Carr

WOW to Susan Bayne for literally saving the day. She was so helpful when my class could not get on the i-pads to create their digital stories for Lewis and Clark. After making a quick call and asking for help, she graciously gave up some of her plan time to help us until everyone was logged on and ready to go. I am not sure I would have survived the afternoon without her help!!!!!! Thank YOU!!!!--Cheri Hosea

WOW to Melissa Barth, Julie Coombs, Susan Gorris, Maggie McCarthy, Debby Ridenhower, and Kristen Schrameyer! They are a model PLC and such a hardworking and fun group. Thank you for sharing your PD and PLC time with me. I learned a lot from you.-Daisy Skelly

WOW to Karen Brockland for giving of her time before school for her support with the parent referral forms for one of my students. She has made the process of completing the forms less tedious and more insightful of the student strengths and weaknesses. We are fortunate to have her in our SPED department. Joyce Highfill

WOW to Stacey Cervera, Lisa Chamberlain, and Mary Scheffer for sending out the email reminders for tech cart returning protocols. We’re so lucky to have the devices and users who are so conscientious about their care! ~ your ITSs

WOW to Kelly Edwards for not letting a parent in the building as she was leaving. She made them wait until we said it was ok.-Ruth Zeface

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What is PBIS?

A few people have been asking for some resources so that they can start learning about Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS). I thought I would start including some information in this newsletter and future newsletters so that everyone has the opportunity to get the information.

The following link is a great starting place for information and frequently asked questions.

PBIS is not....

...a canned program in a box for purchase.

...throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

...being sickeningly sweet to children and giving them stickers.

...ignoring inappropriate behavior.

...something a bunch of people made up for the new pendulum to swing in the educational field.

...a one shot training or "Spray and Pray" seminar.

PBIS is....

...a 3-5 year training commitment to address proactive systems changes in the "way schools do business."

...a way of taking all the great initiatives already implemented in the school and tying them together into a framework that works toward a common language, common practice, and consistent application of positive and negative reinforcement.

...teaching, modeling, practicing, and rewarding appropriate behavior and having clear consequences for targeted behaviors.

...achieving full staff "buy-in" on consistent implementation of office discipline referrals. If it is not okay to cuss in classroom "A", then it will not be okay to cuss in classroom "B".

...rooted in evidence based practices which adults use to respond to the interventions needed to address behavioral and academic competence for each and every student.

...this training is based on the needs of each educational unit; which is why the teams are requested to commit to a 3-5 year training schedule based on the need of the school community.

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Special Education Frequently Asked Questions

The Special Education Process can often be confusing. There are a number of meetings and each one of them serve a different purpose in the process. This FAQ is being provided to help clarify these meetings and what each one is designed to do as part of the process.

What is an ROED?

ROED stands for review of existing data. At this meeting, we look at all the data, anecdotal notes, classroom assessments, office referrals, bus referrals, or any other information that is helpful to determine if there is enough evidence to SUSPECT a disability in a student that would warrant further evaluation (testing). In these meetings, typically, the concerns are academic, behavior, or both. This is the time for the teacher to explain all the concerns and share all the data regarding a student.

What is an EDM?

An EDM stands for Eligibility Determination Meeting. At this meeting, results from evaluation testing are revealed and discussed. It is also decided if students are eligible for special education identification and qualify for special education services. All services (if any) students qualify for are determined at this meeting ONLY.

What is an IEP?

IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. This purpose of this meeting is to describe the disability and its effect on the student's academic performance. This meeting puts together the plan to help the student access the general education curriculum as close as possible to his/her nondisabled peers. This meeting puts into writing the services the student will receive, and goals the student will work on. The services the student will receive are based on the results of the EDM. No NEW services or eligibility are discussed at this meeting. The written document is a law bidding document and MUST be followed exactly the way that it is written.

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Walkthroughs during Small Group Reading

As you know we have a many things we are monitoring this year in our School Improvement Plan. When the Harvest Ridge administrative team is conducting walkthroughs during small group reading or Daily 5 time we will be monitoring the fidelity of small groups.

When you receive feedback it will be on what is happening in your small group or what is happening while students are working independently. Part of our School Improvement Plan is to increase the fidelity of small group instruction. The information below regarding the "look fors" was shared with you in August during one of our PD break outs.

Guided Reading

  • Introduce Text
  • Text is appropriate for student's reading level
  • Discussion of Text
  • Teaching Points
  • Word Work
  • Extend the understanding of text

Strategy Group

  • Mini lesson on target skill
  • Guided practice in varying steps
  • Student participation in group discussion

Literature Discussion Group

  • Student led discussion about text
  • Students sharing reactions, ideas and problems about the text

We know that we may not see all the components in a walkthrough since it is just a small glimpse of what is happening in the classroom in that moment. The purpose is just to gather data on small group implementation and determine next steps for professional development.

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Where is Your Principal?

Monday, November 16th- PLC meetings with Carrie Hepburn

Tuesday, November 17th- Counseling PLC

Wednesday, November 18th- EDC Meeting, EDC half day, SPED Check in meeting with Kathy Russ, IEP meeting, ROED meeting, SPED PLC

Thursday, November 19th- Behavior Steering Meeting

Friday, November 20th- Principal Meeting (out of the building)

Monday, November 23rd- Administrator Weekly Meeting

Tuesday, November 24th- PLC Meetings

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Second Quarter Assessments

Galileo Testing Window will begin on December 1st. We will have the testing schedule to you shortly. It is close to completion.

AIMS Web Maze testing will take place on December 1st for grades 2-5. December 8th is AIMS Web testing for the building.

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Community Parent Involvement Team (CPIT)

The Community Parent Involvement Team (CPIT), formally known as the Parent Involvement Team (PIT) met this week and has outlined their goals for the year. One of their main goals this year is to promote learning at home. At their next meeting on December 10th at 8:15 in the Learning Commons, they will begin planning for a very exciting event to promote literacy at home. We will be participating in a program this year called One School, One Book.

One School, One Book is a program designed to help promote literacy at home. EVERY family and EVERY staff member will be receiving a copy of the book The World According to Humprey. Each day we will promote reading through a variety of activities surrounding the book. The CPIT team will be working to plan a family evening event to give each family their book. If you would like to help the CPIT plan for this family event please attend the meeting on December 10th.

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Just in case you missed this in the Howell Hotwire regarding evaluation data from last school year please read the message below from Dr. Griggs. We have already printed the reports from last year and will be coming around to have you sign these soon.

2014-15 Teacher Evaluation Data

Last year was our first year to use the NEE teacher evaluation tool. Some teachers had a summative evaluation last year, and some are scheduled to have a summative either this year or next. For summatives this year and next, the data from last year was supposed to be included. However, NEE developed a new tool this summer, and they were unable to have the data from last year migrate from the old tool to the new tool. That data is currently available on the old system, but only until December 31. After that, the data will be lost.

To deal with this issue, administrators will be printing out the formative information from last year, will be asking teachers to sign it, and will be placing that information in the teacher’s file. That document will provide verification that formative observations took place during the 2014-15 school year. Since that data is not in the new NEE system, the data will not be included in summative evaluations.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Steve Griggs via email.

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Intervention Update

The Intervention Data Team met all day on Friday. We have finalized the groups and the schedule. Angie will be working with the interventionists to do some training and the team will communicate with PLC teams on the groups, times, and interventions. Administration is finalizing the schedule and will communicate that to the interventionists.

This has been a huge collaborative effort on the part of teachers, administrators, and counselors. Thanks for all the hard work and effort to make sure we are providing the best support for students.

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A Message from Dr. Buckman

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback after your October staff meeting. I apologize for not following up sooner. Below are some FAQ and answers/responses since I won’t see you in November. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything I can do to support you.


Q: Do we post objectives for everything?
A: The end goal is for kids to know what they are learning when you teach, regardless of the subject/group size/etc. For now, focus on getting comfortable with core subjects. As you’re ready, you can start to branch out from there.

Q: What are various ways for kids to personalize objective?
A: Give them a prompt to discuss, draw, write about, etc. Some prompts might include:

· Tell your partner everything you already know about X.

· Jot down a list of things that come to mind when you think about X.

· What’s one question you have about X?

· Draw a picture of X.

Q: Do we need to use all 3 (know, understand, be able to do) in one lesson? I’ve heard other building say this is the expectation.
A: No, there is NO expectation that you MUST use all three in every lesson. The expectation is that you are working towards every lesson having an objective. For some lessons you might just have a “know”. Other lessons you might just have a “be able to do”. Some lessons might have two of them. It just depends on what you are teaching and where your students are in their learning. If you hear the misconception from colleagues, please help by sharing the true expectation with them. It’s hard to spread a consistent message among 1300 people. J

Q: How will I know if my objectives don’t meet expectations? Are my objectives correct? How will I know if I’m QFIC? When you come in should I stop and hit all four recommendations? Who is checking to see if administrators are doing it right? How do principals plan walkthrough timing- aren’t they looking at our schedules?

A. Right now, it’s about getting your feet wet and trying things out. Some e-mail me objectives and ask for feedback, others talk in their PLC and get feedback from colleagues. I’ll pop in from time to time and visit various classrooms to provide feedback as well. Principals are learning, just like the staff. They are conducting walkthroughs as a team so they can process and calibrate with each other. From time to time, I’ll be able to join them as well. It’s my understanding that they leave a sheet that provides you feedback on the four recommendations necessary to be QFIC. Just remember that a walkthrough is a short snapshot of your teaching. That’s why the CITW walks aren’t evaluative. We’re not in there long enough to be able to gather that much information. After a round of walks, we process big ideas we saw overall. I use this information to help guide the planning for your staff meetings and the work I do with your admin team. Since best practice is to refer to the objective throughout the lesson, there isn’t a need to only do walkthroughs at the start of the lesson. Remember the story I told about the fifth grade teacher who said nothing and the student was able to have a conversation with me (about decimals, shopping, and money) that made it evident all four recommendations were addressed.

Q: What will guided reading objectives look like if there are 6 different components to my lesson?

A: When you get to the point of being ready to set objectives in guided reading, just focus on the core part of your lesson. For example, the word study component is often very short, you wouldn’t necessarily set an explicit objective.

I LOVED reading your “something I feel better about” and “something I want you to know” responses. SO MANY CELEBRATIONS! You have lots on your plate and to see and hear of the tweaks you’ve made in just one short quarter is amazing. Much to be proud of!

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Friday we had eight math facilitators from the Parkway School District come and observe two of our classrooms using Envisions Math. As they left they had so many positive things to say about what they saw in the teaching and what they saw from our students. They commented on how polite our students were and how willing they were to share what they were learning. They were thrilled with their observation and I had one of them ask to come back and work with us if they decide to purchase Envisions.

Amidst all the stress and "to do" list that we all have please remember you are doing great work for kids. People all around you are noticing it and talking about it.