Team Thomson News & Notes

September 4, 2017

Important Information for You!

Curriculum Night

Certified Staff, please do not forget that this Thursday, September 7th is Thomson Curriculum Night. While I know that many of you use a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation, please make sure to review it carefully and ensure that all the curriculum benchmarks and your classroom information are up-to-date. This is a time for you to share with parents academic and behavioral expectations, classroom procedures, and what they can expect from this year of school for their child. Classroom teachers, please provide a copy of your presentation to the office by Wednesday, September 6th. Specials teachers and SE teachers should be available to answer parent questions. Also, don't forget to encourage parents to attend the Title I session with Megan in the library.

Leadership Team

As you begin meeting in your PLC teams, please choose a 'team leader' for you group. The PLC Team Leader will hopefully be able to attend building Leadership Team meetings. As you may remember, the Leadership Team meets once a month, typically the third Friday of the month. During these meetings, team leaders pose questions or items for discussion brought by their PLC to the group, we problem solve when needed, and discuss the direction of the building, school improvement, and general building items. I would also like to have representatives from the 'other' non-classroom staff, so if you are a specials teacher, literacy specialist, SE staff person and want to join the fun, please let me know. Professional development credit has been granted in the past for these meetings.

A Note from the Chris Lesko & the Tech Dept:

The Tech Dept would greatly appreciate it if you could please remind your staff (perhaps at a staff meeting or something) not to block network and AV jacks with furniture or other objects. There are a couple reasons for this:

1. When placing the furniture, it often bumps plugs and connectors, breaking them.

2. It makes it difficult for us to access the plugs to fix them once they are broken.

We have had two situations in the first two days of school that were made more difficult because the problem areas were blocked by bookshelves or file cabinets. I realize space is a premium everywhere, but if we could get even just a 1 foot bubble around network/phone/AV jacks in our classrooms, we would have fewer problems and be able to more quickly resolve the ones we do have.

I would also appreciate it if we could keep the areas that house our network and phone equipment as clear of other stuff as possible. I realize some of these cabinets are placed in offices or other areas that cannot be dedicated to only our equipment, but please do what you can. When this equipment is blocked, it severely hinders our ability to react to large problems in a timely fashion.

2017-18 Report Card Descriptors

While changes to the actual report cards are still in the works, you can view the new report card descriptors. All the updated report card descriptors are in your grade level Team drives. I know some of you are eager to set up your grade book! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Positive Parent Phone Calls

Thank you to those of you who have already completed all of your positive parent contacts! I appreciate all of you taking the time to make these important personal phone calls. I can tell you they matter and make a huge impact on our parents and therefore our students. Superintendent Lieske shared with me, that while out to lunch, a custodial grandparent of one of our students was "beaming about the phone call" she received from her granddaughter's teacher, which in turn is setting the stage for a positive year for the student. Again, thank you! Please remember to complete these calls by September 8th and let me know.

5D+ Inquiry Cycle-Step 2

Growth Plan to be completed by: September 15, 2017

Log into PIVOT-

Name of Plan: First and Last name - Inquiry Growth Plan Cycle #1

In the Evaluation dropdown box select ‘Growth Plan” and then ‘Set My Growth Plan’, follow the steps below:

  1. In the area ‘Growth Plan Information’ answer the following questions in paragraph form:

    1. Paragraph #1---What has the district and our building been working on in regards to school improvement? District focus? Building focus? Think about district PD and building PD, what have we been focused on?

    2. Paragraph #2 What do you know about your students so far? What are their strengths and needs? These can be general observations or specific.

    3. Paragraph #3---What does your Self-Assessment tell you? What areas of Self-Assessment would you like to focus on?

The ‘Growth Plan Information’ section is a place for you to reflect on how your current practice, students strengths and needs, and school improvement all tie together. This will change from year to year as you have different groups of students, school improvement changes, and as you grow as an educator.

2. Once you have answered the above questions, you will need to choose three to five indicators from the 5D+ Rubric that come from two to three dimensions to use as your ‘Areas of Focus’ for the first Inquiry Cycle, with at least one area of focus in the area of Assessment and one area in Purpose. The three to five indicators should be reflective of your self-assessment, your 2016/17 end of the year evaluation, and the information you provided in the ‘Growth Plan Information’. Here you will first enter the ‘Dimension’ from which the ‘Area of Focus’ comes. Then enter the ‘Indicator’ for example: P4 Communication of learning targets. Lastly, you will decide which ‘Vision Statements” and ‘Guiding Questions’ truly represent what it is you want to focus on. Type VS before you type the Vision Statement that best matches what you will focus on and type GQ before you type the Guiding Questions that will push your development in this area. Vision statements and guiding questions are on the Instructional Framework one page document.

3. Repeat step 3, for each of your three to five areas of focus.

4. In the ‘Goal’ area, first enter the timeline 9/15/2017 as a ‘Start Date’ and 1/26/2018 as an ‘End Date’. You will then enter your ‘Action Steps’, what are you going to do to ensure that you improve in your ‘Areas of Focus’. The ‘Goal’ criteria (student growth) has been set by the district, enter “Goals will follow district criteria”. You will not be able to ‘Save and Request Approval’ unless something is entered in the ‘Goal’ box.

5. You will not enter anything at this time in the area of ‘ Evidence of Achievement’.

6. Once this is all completed, ‘Save and Request Approval’. This will finalize your Growth Plan and send an email to me. At any time you can ‘Save and Finish Later’.

Quotes Worth Reading

"The power of one is above all things the ability to believe in yourself."

-Bryce Courtenay

"Never underestimate the power of one person believing in another. The power of someone believing in another has the ability to transform a person's life."


While it is important to always believe in ourselves, there is great influence in believing in all those around you. What will you do to change a life today?

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

Happy Belated Birthday to Our August Group: Becky Richardson, August 6th; Annette Niedzielski, August 13th; Michael Romanik, August 17th; Jason Vannest, August 17th; Suzanne Binkley, August 21st; Megan Campbell, August 22nd; and Jamie Beller, August 24th...Here's hoping you all had a wonderful birthday!

Happy Birthday: Cheryl Nitzschke, September 1st and Amy Chorley, September 6th!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Friday, September 1st-No School, Thomson office will be closed
  • Monday, September 4th-No School-Happy Labor Day!
  • Wednesday, September 6th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: Challenge Coordinator Update, 3rd Grade Reading Bill/Literacy Specialist/Data Days; Homecoming Discussion, Spring Conference Dates); STAR Testing; Social Studies Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 7th-STAR Testing; Natalie-General Admin Mtg.; Motor Moms & Dads Training 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Curriculum Night 4:45-6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, September 8th-Tornado Drill
  • Week of September 10th-PLC Week
  • Monday, September 11th-Julie's Baby Shower, 4 p.m. MD's; Board of Education Meeting with New Teacher Reception at 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 12th-Playground Monitor Training 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the High School AMR; District Improvement Mtg, 4:15-5:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 13th-Watch Dogs Kick-off...Staff Volunteers Needed PLEASE!
  • Thursday, September 14th-Fire Drill; ELA Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.