Elementary Principals Newsletter

September 2016

Welcome Back!

We hope your start to the school year has been great!


We look forward to supporting your efforts to increase teaching and learning in your district this year!

What's the Word on Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness practice teaches us to live fully in the present moment, with the intention of creating an inner calmness and balance that allows us to focus our attention. Schools across the country are integrating Mindfulness programs and practices. The Crim Foundation provides training, parent information, and classroom support.


Learn more about Jon-Kabat-Zinn's upcoming visit to Flint.

Why Should Schools Promote Mindfulness Practices?

Our brains need downtime. We are constantly bombarded by content: over 38 gigabytes every day and over 100,000 words. One gigabyte can be compared to a full-length movie or a symphony in high-fidelity sound. In essence, we are becoming addicted to continual stimulation, running on auto-pilot.


Our children are experiencing this overload, too. And many are living in high-stress environments, particularly those living in poverty. With constant stress, the brain cannot develop as it was meant to. Stressed students are physiologically unable to learn.

"Just Breathe" by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films)

What Does Mindfulness in the Classroom Look Like?

Mindful Schools In-Class Instruction

Does Mindfulness Make a Difference?

A regular mindfulness practice can reduce stress levels, improve focus, and help regulate behavior. Researchers are exploring the impact of Mindfulness on teachers and student learning. In a 2014 study with ninety-nine 4th and 5th graders, those who practiced mindfulness exercises had 15% better math scores that those who did not. "When Teachers Take a Breath, Students Can Bloom" shares an overview of a study on CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience for Educators" training for teachers who work in high-poverty schools. The infographic below represents the results that teachers reported:

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Information and Updates

Legislative Update

Grade 3 Reading Retention Bill

The NAEP Proficiency Myth

Early Literacy Coaching Grant Update

We have three new early literacy coaches, two half-time and one full-time:


  • Mary Howell
  • Marsha Malone
  • Tanya Sly


These 3, with guidance from Joanne LeBlanc and Melissa Wing, will be coaching 1st grade teachers in buildings with whose 3rd graders performed below the state average on

M-STEP reading. Training for these ISD coaches is underway and communication will come out soon to those schools receiving support.

New Teacher Network Summary: 2015-2016

October 1: Respect, Rapport and Relationships:

10 participants, 7 districts

December 9: Engaging Students and Parents:

14 participants, 11 districts
March 16: Reflect, Feedback and Planning Ahead:

6 participants, 3 districts

7 teachers attended only 1 session
6 teachers attended 2 of the 3 sessions
3 teachers attended all 3 sessions

Assessment Information

Spotlight on Student Assessment & Accountability

September 22


September 15: Fall 2016 Michigan's Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments; Accountability Information; MAEIA Project


September 8; Spring 2016 MI-Access Reports and Data Files Now Available; Last Week for 2015-16 English Learner (EL) Exits; SAT; Important Dates

Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments

October 3 – October 21, 2016

Window for the Fall 2016 Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments for grades 1 and 2.


Guidance Document

Student Assessment and Accountability Fall Webcast

MDE will hold its Fall Webcast on a variety of assessment topics on September 26, 2016, 8:30-3:30. We have reserved space here at the Davis building for those who would like to participate in a common setting. Those who would like to attend should email Lisa Madden. Please see the Agenda for topics and times. Individuals may also connect to the

Streaming WebCast at their own sites.


3-Year Testing Schedule for MI Statewide Summative Assessments

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Upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities

AdvancED Michigan Fall Conference 2016

Discover. Improve. Succeed.

October 20 & 21, 2016

Novi, MI



Fall 2016 School Improvement Conference

Teaching & Engaging with Poverty in Mind

November 21 & 22, 2016

Lansing Center

Don't Miss This One!

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