02.01.16 Staff Update

A Communication Tool for the Seven Hills Staff

Personalized Learning at Seven Hills: A Message For the Week!

Star Staff,

I am almost giddy with excitement as I prepare this week's S'more! I have been given the opportunity to attend The Leader in Me Symposium Monday - Wednesday. What is The Leader in Me you ask? It is a whole school initiative focused on developing students as leaders, equipping them with, "the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century." The premise behind the Leader in Me is that the whole school functions

in a way that, " helps students develop the skills and self-confidence they need to lead their lives and succeed in school and beyond." I believe that we are charged with developing our Seven Hills Stars into future ready leaders, and I positively cannot wait to see how our campus can embrace these strategies and beliefs as we continue the journey for continuous improvement! If you would like to learn more about The Leader in Me, I encourage you to follow the link to their website and blog: http://www.theleaderinme.org/footer-menu/q-a/

Even though I am over the moon excited to attend this conference, I am struggling with being off campus at such a critical time of year. I will be available via email and text throughout the week. Text will be the fastest way to reach me. My message to you this week is, try not to lose sight of our campus, your grade level, and your student goals. MOY data is pouring in, and it is an easy time to lose focus. Remind yourself of those items in your Circle of Influence, and work toward a proactive plan.

I am excited to share a way to make February a little more fun, while also adding a little kindness at The Hills! Each week during the month of February you will see a new section added to the S'more. The Fabulous February Kindness Campaign will introduce the weekly challenge as well as any fun activities happening that week. Are you up for the challenge?

Fabulous February Kindness Campaign

Kindness Campaign:

  • Start a gratitude journal for the month. Did you know that journaling for 5 minutes a day can increase your long term well-being by 10%? Daily journaling too intimidating? Try journaling one day a week, say on a Friday, to reflect on the week's celebrations, areas for growth, and new learning!
  • Compliment the first 3 staff members you talk to each day. How did beginning your day with a compliment change your outlook on the day?

Fabulous February:

  • Groundhog's Day is February 2nd! Will he see hos shadow? Wear jeans with black or white to show what you predict!
  • Friday is National Go Red Day! Wear jeans with red in support of women's heart health!
  • Friday is the 100th Day of School! A special 100th day treat will be available in the lounge!

What's Happening Next Week at The Hills?

  • Monday, February 1st:
Kim at Leader in Me Symposium

  • Tuesday,February 2nd:

Kim at Leader in Me Symposium

Groundhog's Day

Grade Level PLCs: TELPAS Training

4th Grade ELA teachers and Tanya at Writing Calibration Training

  • Wednesday, February 3rd:

Kim at Leader in Me Symposium

District Spelling Bee

  • Thursday,February 4th:

Tanya and Leslie off campus at Test Coordinator Training

CiCi's Fundraising trip - Morales and Yadira will be accompanying our Stars - 10:30 & 11:15

UIL Finals

Staff Meeting, 3:14 - 4:30

  • Friday, February 5th:
100th Day of School! Kindergarten will parade into the assembly at 1:45. 1st - 5th will be seated in the gym, leaving room for Kinder to sit after their parade. Please also leave a center aisle.

Birdville ISD visits The Hills for SBBB Walks, 8:30 am

February Book of the Month Assembly, 1:45 pm - we will follow the afternoon assembly schedule (See schedule below)

Save The Date: (please add these dates to your calendars)

  • Valentine's Parties are Friday, February 12: (We will follow the same schedule decided upon by OLT for Winter Parties)

PK PPCD –9:45-10:45 and 1:30-2:30

3rd Grade – 8:00 – 9:00

5th Grade – 9:00-10:00

4th Grade - 10:30-11:30

1st Grade – 11:40-12:40

2nd Grade – 12:30-1:30

Kinder – 1:30-2:30

  • February 15 is designated as a bad weather make-up day. Should we not need to use this as a make-up day for students, students will have a holiday and staff will have a staff development day. This will be a district day, not a campus based day of professional learning.

Happy Birthday To:

Updates and Information

Middle of the Year & Benchmark Assessments:

  • Middle of the Year Data Predictions: Thank you for taking the time to reflect on how you believe your students will perform on MOY assessments. Your thoughts have been very helpful in designing next steps for our campus, data team plans, campus support, etc. Thank you for your reflective thoughts.

  • Writing Benchmark: As you know one of our instructional focuses is using data to drive instruction, we know data is so valuable in moving students forward and achieving goals. As a campus, we have decided to administer a mid year writing benchmark. Students in grades K-3rd and 5th will take the benchmark during the window of January 25th-Feb 4th. Please get with your team to decide what day works best in your schedule. K-3rd will use the prompt “ Write a composition about a time when you felt proud.” 5th grade will use the prompt “Write a composition about a time you were happy”. We will provide you with the paper needed for the composition.

    We will then meet to calibrate on 6-8 writing samples( 2 samples per teacher) during grade level planning or after school. Please let Tanya know when you plan to calibrate so we can schedule a support person to assist you in your work. All writing benchmarks need to be scored by Monday, Feb. 8th. We will use the data in PLC’s on Feb. 9th to look at growth, write reflective celebrations, and set new SMART goals.

  • Benchmark Dates and Information:

Wednesday, February 24: 3rd & 4th Grade Reading; 5th Grade Math (this is Spring picture day. Unfortunately, we cannot reschedule this. Every effort will be made to build the schedule so that there is limited interruption to testing.)

Thursday, March 3: 3rd Grade Math

Thursday, March 10: 4th Math; 5th Science

On each of these days, we will run testing type of schedule – students will be allowed 4 hours of uninterrupted testing time. We will be creating small groups and utilizing the Star teachers and SPED during these times. Please plan on Star teachers not pulling students for intervention groups these mornings. SPED services and Specials schedule will also look different on these days. (Specials teachers – Leslie will try to not cancel specials classes these days, however we are not sure how many small groups we need yet or the number of rooms we will need – especially when we test on February 25th).

We will provide the tests, scantrons, and supplemental aids as necessary. If students need highlighters, sticky notes, chunking paper, scratch paper, or whisper phones, you will need to gather those.

  • Spring Data Teams: I will continue to schedule Data Teams next week. Several grade levels and content areas have already been scheduled. For grades 3- 5, Data Teams will be content specific rather than grade level specific. K-2, Spring Data Teams will be after Spring Break.

Staff Member of The Week!

Tara Heady: I always wanted to be a cop like my dad. But when I grew up to only be 5'2" and 100 lbs I changed my mind. Then, I was going to be a lawyer. I did get a paralegal degree, but after working with kids, I knew I was meant to be a teacher! So, I went back to school! Clearly, I am a learner,and you would think I watch cooking shows to learn to cook. But, interestingly, I really just watch them for the drama!

Kelly Mitchell: In 1994 The Ballpark in Arlington opened. My dad's company had the Ted Williams suite. We had many fun times at the ballpark that year. One memory was

my 16th birthday party. The party was so special and Kenny Rogers pitched the 14th perfect game in history that night. Another fun fact is that my little sister celebrated her 13th birthday in the suite that year and there were 13 innings that night!

Last week, Laura's information was not in the S'more, so I wanted to make sure her fun fact was shared!

Laura Sammons: When she was years old she loved the game hide-n-go seek! She may or may not have put her 2 year old little brother in the dryer.....The dryer may or not have had a short in it and turned on.... (I can/will not confirm nor deny to protect the innocent!).

Learn more about Kelly and Tara when you stop by the "Star Staff" board in the Teacher's Lounge!

Information and Reminders:

  • Vertical Teams: Thank you for your engagement in vertical teams last week. As I made my way around to each team, I was very impressed with the conversation and collaboration! It is evident that this is our next greatest leverage point for continuous improvement. I want to thank the facilitators for helping guide the work of the group. This may be a "duty" your team decides to share in the future. The facilitators from this week will organize the work of the team in a way that lets everyone know what was discussed, decided, planned as next steps, etc. More than likely this will be sharing the folder in Google Drive. Many teams assigned work to be completed before the next meeting on February 18. Thank you again for your engagement!
  • ELL Focus Strataegies: An important part of our TAIS improvement plan is increasing student achievement within System Safeguard groups, including ELLS. In December, Maria Scott, Hayley Sample, and Kelly Bryan delivered a mini-PD during PLCs on ELL Focus Strategies. Earlier this month, they completed walk-throughs to gather data on implementation of these strategies. The data collected will be used to guide future PD, work in PLCs, work in Data Teams, etc. On Thursday, February 4th, we will engage in another PD session on Focus Strategies during the staff meeting. Staff will rotate through different sessions designed with campus needs in mind, and several Seven Hills staff members will be presenting. Thank you Hayley and Kelly for designing a meaningful learning opportunity for our staff. Thank you in advance for your active engagement.
  • Public Education Grant (PEG) Program: Because Seven Hills was designated as an Improvement Required campus last year, we are required to send a letter to parents for the three years after IR (regardless of standing with the state)explaining parent rights. The letter will be sent in the Constant Contact newsletter to parents tomorrow. Please make sure you read this so that you are informed. Remember, we are in good standing with the state, and have been designated a Formerly Improvement Required campus for the 2015 - 2016 school year.