To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 11: Friday, February 24, 2017

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Back in December, I had the opportunity to attend the AVID National Conference in Dallas. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about this program that is currently implemented in many of our elementary school, all but one of our junior highs and is at both high schools. Going into the Conference, I didn’t know a ton about AVID. I did set up a time to visit Southbury and was amazed by the structures and engagement that I observed in the classroom. That said, as I attended workshop after workshop in December, my level of understanding and excitement continued to grow.

In its 30-plus years, AVID has proven time and time again that, when given a system of rigorous curriculum and strategic support, students can be academically successful. AVID Elementary is a foundational component of the AVID College Readiness System and supports AVID’s mission and vision to provide a comprehensive model of success for all students, from elementary through higher education.

Based on the same learning foundation that underlies AVID Secondary, AVID Elementary is designed to be embedded into the daily instruction of all elementary classrooms, across entire grade levels, to impact school-wide structures. Like AVID Secondary, AVID Elementary Essentials focus on the four necessary areas to ensure that all students are poised for academic success: Instruction, Culture, Leadership, and Systems.

AVID Elementary incorporates:

· Student Success Skills – encompassing communication skills (e.g. listening, speaking, writing), self-advocacy skills, note-taking strategies, critical thinking, and study skills.

· Organizational Skills – both mental and physical; students learn to use organizational tools, as well as learn and practice skills around time management and goal-setting.

· WICOR Lessons – emphasize instruction on writing to learn, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading to learn in all content areas.

· Partnerships – among students, classrooms, grade levels, schools, feeder patterns, families, and communities.

I have shared the attached power point with Rising Star, as well as the 4th and 5th grade team. We are currently in the process of determining if we are able to have a site based team trained this summer in AVID so that we are able to begin implementation next year. This would be an exciting step! Please look through the power point and familiarize yourself a little with AVID.


Maureen shared the latest edition of Edutopia with me the other day and pointed to awesome SEL resources that were highlighted. If you aren't familiar with Edutopia, it is a comprehensive website and online community that increases knowledge, sharing, and adoption of what works in K-12 education. They emphasize core strategies: project-based learning, comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, social and emotional learning, educational leadership and teacher development, and technology integration.

I've included a link below. If you get a chance, check it out. Thanks Maureen!

Congratulations to Prairie Point PRIDE Winner Richard Stopinski

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Important Information

District Board Policy Regarding Email to Students

Please make sure that you are aware of the BOE policy 5-125 which states the following when communicating with students electronically. As you begin to increase your use of GSuite and the fifth grade email accounts this is especially important.

Use District-provided or supported methods such as the class page via the District website or the District communication system to communicate with students and their parents/guardians. District employees should not communicate with students or parents/guardians for District purposes, programs, or activities, or regarding student issues on any social media site not authorized or maintained by the District or via any personal, non-District email account. In addition, District employees should not create a classroom page on any social media site not authorized or maintained by the District. When communicating with students individually, District employees shall copy parents or a District administrator on any text or electronic communication when possible for students under the age of 18. District employees shall copy a District administrator on any text or electronic communication when possible for students 18 years and older.

As a district, we will be reviewing this policy at length, as well as the implications on the student handbook. I would encourage you to copy the parent rather than administrator, however, current policy states "or". More to come I'm sure!

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings


Our next Wednesday meeting will be a Faculty Meeting on March 1st in the Community Room at 7:30am. We will spend time working with our Winter STAR Data and review PARCC Testing.

For this meeting, please print out and bring your STAR Growth Proficiency Chart. This is the "blue bouncing ball graph" that 1st - 4th grade teachers received from Maureen when you did your lesson studies. If you are unsure how to print that graph for your class from STAR, Maureen, Jen or I can help.

I think that our meeting will be a little data breakfast treats will be provided!


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 :)