LV Impact

Lakeview Staff Newsletter - June 22

Happy Summer!

The weather has been absolutely beautiful recently. It is now officially summer in every way and I hope you are soaking it in. A very happy Father's Day to all of the dads, dads-to-be, uncles, role models, and male caretakers at Lakeview!

Thank you, Mrs. Knapp

Bronwyn Knapp had a great opportunity to take a leadership role in the Twin Lakes school district, which is in western Kenosha county. Bronwyn - it is hard to make an impact on a school in just a single year, but you did that for us at Lakeview! We will keep you in our heart and wish you the best of luck as you go to impact a larger group of staff and students.

AGR Board Update

Rachel and I presented at a Zoom school board meeting on Wednesday, June 17. Although DPI has given AGR schools great flexibility in their 2nd semester reporting this year, the school board was very complimentary towards the data we were able to report, the level of student engagement we were able to generate, and the school-wide strategies we are using to make an impact on achievement gaps. Here is a link to the presentation that Rachel and I gave to the board.

Where Teachers Thrive

I've just finished a book entitled Where Teachers Thrive by Susan Moore Johnson, a Harvard professor. (I realize my book suggestions are not great summer beach reads and it's ok to make fun of me for that.) We have known for quite some time that teachers are the most important school-level factor in students' learning. What this book reminds us is that the context in which teachers work (the school itself) enhances or diminishes the impact each teacher can have. That school-wide context shows itself in how we hire, how we decide what and how to teach, teachers ability to work in teams, philosophies of discipline and relationships with families, the use of feedback, how we use time as a school, and how we compensate. Here is a quote from the conclusion of the book:

"It is well past time to recognize the school as the pivotal organization it is. The school is where students can experience a coherent curriculum, a supportive and inspiring school culture, and consistent expectations from class to class and year to year. It is there that teachers can set common goals and pursue practices that, though distinctive, work in sync on behalf of their students. It is there that teachers can thrive" (247).

The affirming news is that we have so many of the practices in place at Lakeview that are recognized as essential to successful schools in the book (coherent curriculum, common planning time, strong hiring practices, and more).

You know that I have also been promoting the book Onward by Elena Aguilar. I did not plan to make a connection between these two books when I bought each, but it is so obvious to me now. Onward is about schools building resilient educators who thrive so that students may thrive. Where Teachers Thrive is about building schools where the inherent greatness of our individual educators is enhanced even more so that students thrive because of a coherent, impactful experience of "school".

Thinking about next year

At the end of the school year, each content team worked to identify "major work of the grade" that was covered or will require focus in the upcoming school year. There are some real philosophical underpinnings to how we go about this work. This document, from TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) was in the math slides that were shared. We know by looking back at situations like post-hurricane Katrina that replacing units with missed work or spending time remediating missed skills is not what is going to accelerate student learning. New strategies are needed, and they mostly focus on keeping grade-level content the priority, but knowing what the prior missed work was so it can be built into the upcoming year. I also appreciate that the article talks about doing this in a trauma-sensitive way.

Check out the article - if our philosophy about accelerating student learning is aligned as a school, our students will have a better chance of success in closing gaps this year.

What's Chris doing right now?

OK ... that's not a very interesting question, but I thought I'd let you know that there are a few things I'm really deep into right now:

• Infinite Campus training - Roxanne, Cortney, and I are spending a lot of time online with our IC trainers as we make this switch. Thank you to Roxanne and Cortney for their work on this.

• Elementary Instruction Planning for next year - The first meeting of this team was last week. Thank you to Kristen Maes, Sarah Hartung, Tanya Fox, and Rachel Swick from Lakeview for being a part of this team.

• Next week, I'm "attending" the TC Reader's Workshop Institute. Although I'm not going to New York for this, I look forward to learning so much from Lucy and her team.

• Reading - a lot! As you can tell from above, I am absolutely loving the chance to read multiple books at a time on a daily basis. I haven't been able to do this in years and it feels so good. I do have some non-teacher books that I'm reading, too (still not great beach reads), and I am looking forward to the book club Sam, Brianne, and Kasia are facilitating on the book "White Fragility".

Facilitated Planning with Peggy Black

Thank you, everyone, for the strong interest in the "Facilitated Planning" sessions with Peggy Black on July 30 and August 6. Please see the picture below to see how each day breaks down. There will be more communication about this as we get closer, but please make sure the date(s) you selected are on your summer calendar. Also, as I mentioned at our May 20 staff meeting, this is not the summer to get ahead on lesson plans for next school year - wait until we have these meetings, in which we will learn how to work as teams to co-create and co-plan.

Update - I will be asking the new 2nd/3rd Special Ed teacher to join us in place of Bronwyn where listed below, so please continue to plan on attending.

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