Millbrook Elementary Staff Notes

Week of Jan. 4-8, 2016

Thought For the Week

Celebrate what you want to see more of. ~Tom Peters

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The Ritual of Starting Anew

The coming of a new year is an important ritual for all of us. We end a year with time away from work, giving us the opportunity to build relationships with family and friends, rest, and renew to begin again.


An interesting twist is that the coming of a new year - 2016 - begins the second half of the school year. So while we make resolutions or commitments for a new year, we are mid-way through our year with our students. What are you planning to start? Stop? Continue?


What beliefs have you formed that you are continuing to develop? What actions have you taken that you want to improve or strengthen? What dreams have you pursued?


January brings lots of mid-year assessments, but let us never lose sight of the needs of the whole child. Assessments do give us important data about what our students can do right now and what they can't do - YET. As we begin 2016 and head toward the second semester of the year, let's plan purposefully, use our data thoughtfully, and commit to continue growing toward excellence.

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Important Dates and Assessment Schedules

**IMPORTANT Updates: Staff Meeting Monday, Jan. 4, 3:00-4:15

This staff meeting will include lots of important updates, including training for assessments (see below) as well as some changes related to staff observations for mid-year that were shared with me just before the winter break.

mCLASS Testing Window Dates: Jan 6th-29th

Inter-rater reliability training - Jan. 4 for ALL grades K-5. The school-wide assessment schedule will be distributed.

2-5 Reading & Math Benchmark Testing Window Dates: Jan.25th-29th

ONLY grades 2-5 will participate in a brief overview training with Abby during a grade level common planning time in January prior to testing. SSA students will need to take the benchmark assessment for enrolled accelerated class. All students 2-5 takes this mid-year assessment, as there are no exemptions.

K-1 DPI Math Benchmark Assessment Dates: Jan. 25th-Feb. 4th

A webinar training will occur for ONLY grades K and 1 with Abby during a grade level common planning time in January prior to the assessments. All assessment data will be entered into eData platform. Kinder will be administered one-on-one via the computer.

NKT Testing Window Dates: Feb.8th-19th

ONLY kindergarten participates this year. All assessment data will be entered into eData platform. Classroom teacher administers NKT using laptop. ONLY progress monitoring will occur for students who have score or 8 or below using Assessing Math Concepts platform. More information to follow.

ACCESS Testing Window Dates: Feb.7th-Mar.13th

Mary Estok will provide a schedule for specific students 3-5 and Renata Delaney will provide a schedule for K-2 who will need ACCESS testing. All testing will be done in the computer lab except kindergarten. ESL classes will be cancelled until all testing is completed; however Estok/Delaney will notify teachers when classes resume.

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Schedule of Events

Monday, 1/4: D Day; 3rd PLT 1:30 - 3:00; Intervention Team Meeting, 7:15, Room 1409; Staff Meeting, 3-4:15 (Instructional assistants welcome but not required to attend)

Tuesday, 1/5: E Day; Arts in Action (4th Grade); 1st PLT 1:30 - 3:30

Wednesday, 1/6: F Day; 5th PLT 1:30 - 3:30; MClass Window Opens

Thursday, 1/7: A Day; 2nd Grade Collaborative Planning Day; K PLT 1:30 - 3:30

Friday, 1/8: B Day; 4th PLT 1:30 - 3:30

Logistical Updates

  • Weekly Lesson Planning Framework Starts: The weekly planning agenda should be implemented beginning this week. As a reminder: You all have a blank template in a folder on the MEMS Google site. You should have have a copy visible in your classroom, and we strongly recommend keeping a copy uploaded into your Google site folder. You should have plans completed for a week at a time; having a soft copy allows it to be a living document, edited and revised as needed throughout the week.
  • Welcome New Teammates! We want to extend a warm welcome to our new head custodian, Julius Cotton! Julius moved to Raleigh from South Carolina about a year and a half ago, and has worked as a custodian at Millbrook High School since summer 2014. He is excited to join the team as our new head custodian.
    We also want to formally welcome Mary Mitchell to the 5th grade team! Mary has already been volunteering in the classroom to get a head start, so many of you have already met her. Mary just completed her Master's degree at NC State and did her student teaching at Fox Road Elementary last fall.

Learning Corner

Looking ahead to our early release day on Jan. 15, we'll be offering some PD on strategies for managing challenging behavior. This short video highlights how assigning students authentic responsibilities - along with clear criteria for success and opportunities to self-assess - can help build classroom community as well as give students responsibility for upholding essential agreements.
Classroom Responsibilities: Management in the Active Classroom

This Week's Inspiration

A short but powerful video about the power of words, and how a child's creativity is transformational.
The Power of Words
Caine's Arcade