Staff Weekly Update

February 19, 2016

Don't let the February slump of the long winter months catch up to you. Remember: we are on a JOURNEY together as we strive for a better, stronger Apollo.


"We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile." -Earl Nightingale


Thank you for all that you do!

Aaron & Lewis

IMPORTANT: 5Essentials Survey

Below are important points regarding our "Staff Meeting" on Wednesday, February 24th:


  • We WILL NOT physically meet in our Staff Meeting Room to take the 5Essentials Survey. Instead, the time is set aside if you still need to complete it (many staff members have already completed the survey).
  • The survey should be completed by all Apollo staff members by Wednesday, February 24th at 9:00 a.m. Please email Aaron and Lewis if you come across any issues taking the survey.
  • Login information should have already been emailed to you. Did you not receive a login email? Are you are having trouble logging in? Use the provisional teacher link to complete the survey.
  • Most importantly, this feedback is crucial as we move forward as a building team. The data we receive from this survey will be important as we put plans in place to continue to grow as an Apollo Family.

No Meetings 2.24.16 - 3.1.16

From the Desk of Dr. Clay (already sent to you via email earlier this school year)...


Last year, the online gradebook and standards based grading were implemented. To address implementation challenges, the EMEA and administration agreed to provide support from the Department of Teaching and Learning and additional planning time to teachers for the 2014-2015 school year.


This school year, we are in our second year of implementation and the Department of Teaching and Learning will continue their support. In addition, we will suspend meetings normally held during planning periods and before school on five of the school days leading up to report card due dates. We will however continue to hold any scheduled IEP or one-to-one meetings associated with observations.


Next year, we anticipate that our transition will be complete with full implementation of the online gradebook and standards based grading into our daily work. During 2016-2017 we will plan to proceed with regularly scheduled meetings leading up to report card due dates.

Apollo's Got Talent!

The talent show is right around the corner which means we will be having dress rehearsals on Friday, February 19th and Monday, February 22nd for the students performing in the show.


The dress rehearsal will occur during the students' lunch hour. We will do our best to have the rehearsal over by the end of lunch, however, due to the length of the show, the rehearsal may run longer than the hour students have for lunch. As a result, students in the talent show may return to class late.


Also, there will be two talent show performances for the school on February 24th:

Primary grades: 9:00-10:30am

Intermediate grades: 1:00-2:30pm


There will also be a talent show in the evening at 6:30pm for parents and families. You will be receiving invitations to send home with your students early next week.


Thank you,

Talent Show Committee

Happy birthday to our staff members who turn a year older this month...

  • Monica Larson - 2.4
  • Joana Sanchez - 2.16
  • Agnes Palucki - 2.22
  • Eoanna Giannakopoulos - 2.23
  • Alexis Rabe - 2.23

Upcoming Dates

Monday, February 22nd

  • Wellness Team Meeting @ 7:50 a.m.
  • Talent Show Dress Rehearsal - Recess/Lunch

Tuesday, February 23rd

  • School Leadership Team Meeting @ 7:50 a.m.
  • 6th Grade Tier Meeting @ 10:25 a.m.
  • SPED LS/MN PLC Time - Afternoon
  • Kindergarten Tier Meeting @ 1:20 p.m.
  • 2nd Grade Tier Meeting @ 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 24th

  • Complete the 5Essentials Survey by 9:00 a.m.!
  • Talent Show for K-3 @ 9:00 a.m.

  • PARCC Video Song Writing Meeting - CANCELLED

  • Talent Show for 4-6 (& Carriqui) @ 1:00 p.m.

  • Talent Show for Parents @ 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 25th

  • PARCC Video Song Writing Meeting - CANCELLED

Friday, February 26th

  • Family Friday @ Lunch


Keep on your radar...

  • End of Trimester 2: 2.26.16
  • Grades due in Powerschool: 3.1.16 by 3:05 p.m.
  • Report cards sent home with students: 3.4.16

Clearing Up Common Misconceptions About ELLs (Marshall Memo)

In this Educational Leadership article, Michigan ESOL teacher Barbara Gottschalk corrects these erroneous beliefs about ELL instruction:

Misconception #1: ESOL teachers should know students’ language. “I’ve had as many as eight different languages represented in my classroom,” says Gottschalk. An ESOL teacher might be fluent in one or two, but not eight! What’s important is good training and empathy for second-language learners.

Misconception #2: ELLs won’t learn English if they don’t speak it at home. Research says that strong native language skills facilitate learning English. Gottschalk tells parents, “We’ll take care of the English at school; you can help us by trying to develop your child’s native language at home and encouraging good study habits in general.”

Misconception #3: ESOL students excel at math. “I wish this positive stereotype were true more often,” says Gottschalk. Language demands in math pose challenges for many ELLs – especially requirements to explain one’s thinking.

Misconception #4: Teachers need to simplify the curriculum. Teachers need to stick with appropriate grade-level standards but find ways to support students’ learning.

Misconception #5: ELLs should be retained if they’re behind. It takes 5-7 years to fully master a new language, says Gottschalk. Better to move ELLs along with modifications, accommodations, and support from ESOL teachers or trained paraprofessionals.

Misconception #6: ELLs should speak English with one another at lunch. While English is expected in the classroom and ELLs shouldn’t exclude peers by speaking an unfamiliar language, they have a right to chat in their language outside the classroom.

Misconception #7: Immigrant families are uninvolved. Many ELLs’ parents believe it’s the school’s job to educate their children and consider classroom volunteering and fund-raisers odd. Lack of time, money, or transportation are additional reasons they may not be a frequent presence in school.

Misconception #8: ELLs should know about U.S. cultural events. Asking an ELL about his or her Super Bowl pick, for example, could be a conversation stopper. Don’t assume cultural assimilation.

Misconception #9: ELLs are ignorant. “Ms. G., the new girl, she don’t know anything!” said a student. In fact, ELLs come to school with many life experiences, and it’s the teacher’s job “to tap those experiences and link them to the new information we’re teaching,” says Gottschalk. “Newcomers aren’t nearly the blank slate they appear to be.”

Misconception #10: Recently arrived immigrant students won’t be behavior problems. Frequently untrue! says Gottschalk. ELLs need the same rules, routines, and expectations as native-born students.


“10 (Usually Wrong) Ideas About ELLs” by Barbara Gottschalk in Educational Leadership, February 2016 (Vol. 73, #5, p. 62-64), available for purchase at http://bit.ly/1LpN38g; Gottschalk can be reached at gottscha@wcskids.net.

Do you have a morning duty next week? If you are not sure, check the schedule here (or use the picture below).


Also, don't forget to check the Indoor Recess Schedule in the event of undesirable weather.

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