To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 10: Friday, January 20, 2017

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So I think having several days of 40 degree weather is throwing off my entire calendar because in my mind spring is right around the corner. When I look at the actual calendar, I'm a little surprised that we actually have two full months before spring officially arrives.

This can be the time of year when motivation begins to dip and the short days manage to drag on. I know that if I am feeling it as an adult, students may also feel the winter days drag on while sitting in the classroom. As we kick off 2017 and get into the 2nd semester swing, there are things that we can do to be a little more intentional when it comes to motivating our learners.

I love this article - while it is geared to music education, it really hits on a few of the keystones that set our students up for success and engagement in the classroom. Asking ourselves a few of these questions when planning lessons may give the boost that our students need to continue on the trajectory of success.

Empowerment - Are we finding ways to give our students control and choices when it comes to their learning?

Usefulness - Do our students know why we they are learning the lesson? Does it link to the "real world"?

Success - Does the lesson set students up for success? Are lessons differentiated so that lower-level learners are able to successfully answer the essential question? Are our high-level learners challenged or are they just skating along taking the easy road?

Interest - Does the topic interest the students? While learning about westward expansion may not be intrinsically interesting to all 5th there a way that you can make the lesson useful by linking it to something that is going on today that the students can relate to?

Caring - How do our students know that you care about them, as well as their academic progress? Are we setting up time to conference and meet with individual students to talk about progress and set goals? Are you able to find opportunities to authentically praise students and let them know when you notice that they are working hard toward those goals?

If you get a chance to click on the link below, I hope that some of these ideas resonate with you. It's an easy read and one that I think we can all relate to!

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Inauguration Day

I love history…if I went back into the classroom, I would jump at teaching social studies. Regardless of political views, Inauguration Day is a special day in the United States rooted in rich tradition. Most of what I love about this day are the stories that shape our history. A lot of the following stories have cool links, if you want to learn more about the history behind the event.

Did you know ...

... in 1953 Texas-born Dwight D. Eisenhower was lassoed in the reviewing stand by a cowboy who rode up to him on horse.

... JFK’s inauguration almost went up in flames when the podium caught fire as Cardinal Richard Cushing was delivering the invocation. Thank goodness his robes didn’t light up, and Kennedy even managed a smile.

... one of the most awkward moments in inauguration history occurred in 2009, when Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath during Obama’s public ceremony—putting the word “faithfully” in the wrong place. It was a small slip of the tongue, but since it raised concerns that Obama may not have been properly sworn in, they repeated the 35 words, in the right order this time, in private the next day at the White House.

... But the prize for most botched oath goes to Lyndon B. Johnson, who took the vice-presidential oath during JFK’s inauguration “without any mental reservation whatever,” instead of “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

... Jimmy Carter took his inauguration in stride when he walked from the Capitol to the White House in the ceremony parade (the only other president to do so was Thomas Jefferson).

... no one throws a party like Abraham Lincoln, whose inauguration was so wild, the police had to be called in.

... Thomas Jefferson, the Man of the People, Sage of Monticello, Apostle of the Constitution, and so on, was the first president to be sworn in in Washington, D.C.

... contrary to popular misconception, Theodore Roosevelt—not the dashing John F. Kennedy—was the youngest man inaugurated, at 42 years of age.

... Until today, Ronald Reagan was the oldest man inaugurated, just 17 days short of his 70th birthday.

... Bill Clinton’s second inauguration was the first to be live-streamed on the Internet.

... apparently Bill and Hill danced till they dropped during President Clinton’s second inauguration, when they attended 14 inaugural balls—the most any president has attended.

... while some tickets for this year’s inaugural ball are being scalped for as much as $12,500 a pop, the 400 tickets to James Madison’s celebration went for $4 apiece.

... William Henry Harrison set the record for longest speech (100 minutes and 8,495 words), which he delivered sans hat or coat in the middle of a snowstorm. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, he died of pneumonia a month later.

... at just 135 words, the shortest speech was given by George Washington.

... the original G.W. was the only president to kiss the Bible as he was sworn in.

... Washington also ad libbed his oath, ending it with the words “so help me God” and setting a precedent for future presidents like Obama, who has requested the phrase be included in his oath.

... Theodore Roosevelt went off on a limb when he concluded his oath with the words “And thus I swear.”

... John Quincy Adams was the first of three presidents to eschew the Bible while being sworn in, opting to place his hand on a constitutional-law volume instead.

... John Quincy also broke the dress-code mold as the first president to be sworn in wearing trousers instead of knee breeches.

... an estimated 1.2 million people attended Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration. President Obama drew a record 1.8 million in 2009.

... in 1909 William H. Taft was sworn into office as nearly 10 inches of snow fell in D.C.—a record for Inauguration Day.

... Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration in 1937 was the rainiest to date (1.77 inches), though that didn’t stop a stalwart FDR from standing in the freezing sleet for an hour and a half as the parade splashed by.

... James Buchanan’s inauguration in 1857 was the first to be photographed.

(Edited from

Important Information

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G Suite

Since our last faculty meeting, I hope that you have had the chance to look through the professional development that the district is offering for G Suite. I am very excited to be taking a step forward in technology and hope to build on our technology plan as we move into the next year.

In addition to the PD opportunities, you may want to keep an eye on and follow G Suite on Twitter (@gsuite) for additional information, tips and ideas surrounding G Suite. I've found some interesting articles as well as more information on what G Suite is and what it can do.

Below, I've included the Twitter link as well as the PD opportunities and FAQ information that were emailed to you and shared at the faculty meeting.

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings


Our next Wednesday meeting will be a PLC Meeting on January 25th. Maureen will be hosting an optional PD opportunity at the start of PLCs in the Community Room. The focus of this PD will be Kagan Strategies, as planned by teachers who use Kagan Strategies in the classroom.


TEAM is up and running for the year. As you may recall from last year, RTI is now called MTSS - Multi-tiered Systems of Support.

As we reviewed during the August Institute, we will be updating the process and paperwork a bit midyear. Please don't stress about this - there will be time and training that is given for this transition.

In the meantime, if you need to bring a student up to TEAM, please complete the same paperwork we've had in the past. You can find that at our building TEAM website. Link is below. If you're unsure about how to bring a student up for support, or have other questions about the problem-solving process, please don't hesitate to visit a member of TEAM.

One little adjustment, that will hopefully streamline the process, is that if you have a student who is on the TEAM calendar you will receive an invite to the meeting on your Google Calendar. Not everyone has full access to the weebly calendar, so you should rely on receiving those email invites through Google Calendar.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The file below contains all of the Building, PLC, and SIP day meetings for the year. It will be updated regularly as the plans or schedule changes.

PLCs and Agenda Options

Please know that any specialist, Jen, or I can join your meetings to discuss important topics or answer questions. If you'd like one of us to come to your meetings, don't hesitate to ask. I love to see all the great work that your teams are doing. Go Prairie Point!!!

  • Please remember to share your agenda and notes with me and others who need the information.
  • Before the meeting ends, decide what you will discuss and address at your next collaborative meeting which will take place next week.
  • Enjoy this time with one another.

The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. Please utilize them for your team meetings and share them with Jennifer/Jen and any specialists that you have working with your team.

The video below shows you how to save the agenda templates to your own Google Drive.

SD 308 PLC Agenda Video

News and Info

One of the great things about being in a school family like Prairie Point is getting to know each other's families. I loved seeing your families on Holiday cards in the office. It is so fun during Celebrations to hear about your own children's accomplishments, marriages, babies and other big news. It would be even more fun to see it! I'd love to include a picture or two in each newsletter of your loved ones being awesome.

When you or one of your kids does something awesome (gets married, chooses a college, wins a competition, has her first solo in a concert, etc.) snap a picture and send it to me. I'll include it in our newsletter and we can all celebrate a 2nd time :)

Thank you!

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to take a few vacation days at the end of last week so that I was able to go to Palm Springs with Mattix as he competed with the 2024 True National Team at the Sandstorm Lacrosse Tournament. Thank you to all who kept the ship afloat in my absence and kept me in the loop with all that was going on here at school.

I am seriously considering a move to Palm Springs when I retire!!!! It was the most amazing place to visit, mountains, palm trees, 70 degrees and sunny. It was an all around awesome weekend that ended with Mattix's team winning the tournament (the first win for the 2024 National Team, as well as the only win at the tournament for his club)!

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