Elementary Principals' Newsletter

November 2015

November News from MDE:

Here are recent updates and upcoming topics that will be of interest to you:

1. Program Evaluation: Use the same as last year and then add to it; Resources added

2. e-Prove will be rolled out in January and New Standards rolled out for AdvancED in summer of 2016.

3. Science Standards were approved on Tuesday, November 10th!

4. Social Studies scheduled to go to State Board of Education in mid-Winter

5. Teacher & Administrator Evaluation (SB H-8) was signed on Thursday:

2015-2016: 25% of annual year-end evaluation based on student growth

2016-2017: 25% of annual year-end evaluation based on student growth

2017-2018: 25% of annual year-end evaluation based on student growth

2018-2019: 40% of annual year-end evaluation based on student growth & assessment data

Student Growth--(when thinking about state assessments) it is about verifying not determining. Using portfolios, discussions, conversations, etc..not a point system that makes the decision for you.

New Teacher Network Off to a Great Start!

Invite your New Teachers to next session!

We had a nice group for our first New Teachers' Network (about 12).

Our topic was: Setting up a Positive Culture in Your Classroom

December 9th 4:30-6:30 Engaging Students/Parents through Social Media

March 16th 4:30-6:30 Reflections, Feedback, and Getting Better!

Spring 2016-Testing Schedule Update

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Key Dates to Remember:


School System Review (SSR) OR Interim Self-Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE March 18

School Improvement Plan (SIP)

DUE September 1


District System Review (DSR) OR District Interim Self Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE April 22

Learn More About the SAT

Assessment Links and Updates


MDE Link to all Things M-STEP


Updates from Office of Assessment & Accountability

Resources for Staff PD: Complex Text

Articles from ASCD:

Unlocking the Secrets of Complex Text

While close reading is hard work, students need texts that are also ones that they find worthwhile. How do we find complex texts that also engage our students--those that, according to the author: "... kids find inherently fascinating … real texts that real people read for knowledge and pleasure."

  • Have your teachers invite students to list several specific nonfiction books, magazines, or whatever that they absolutely love to read--and what is it specifically that makes those titles enjoyable.

  • At the next meeting, have teachers share their lists in small groups. What kinds of texts are student favorites? What surprises you about their choices? Do you have any of these specific texts—or others like them–in your school and classroom library? How might you add some of them?

  • Teachers can also sample a few of their students' recommendations to see which ones are also complex. Ask each staff member to describe one piece of reading students love that is truly complex–and discuss how the author makes this text complex and engaging.

Points of Entry

  • Select one of the informational trade books or kid-friendly articles you often use with your students. Examine the language in a random paragraph. Underline examples of the kinds of language Frey and Fisher describe—for example, complex noun phrases–within the passage. Is this text heavy with the "grammar of information"?

  • Compare the language in this text to that in a narrative book at your students' level, or to a different nonfiction text. Which has more complex language elements? Do some informational texts in your classroom use more of these elements than others, and do you find these are the more challenging—or less popular–books or articles among your kids?

Professional Learning at GISD

November 2015

December 2015

Formative Classroom Walkthroughs: Why Not?

Genesee Intermediate School District, in collaboration with the Michigan Assessment Consortium and Edupaths, is pleased to host this online book study as one of the sites for MAC Reads 2016. Participants will have access to chapter resources and activities designed to enhance their professional learning, as well as real-time interactive sessions within the online course. Click here to register.

LOCATION: Online (you will receive details soon!)

AUDIENCE: Educators across Michigan

COST: FREE Course; $25 per site to participate in Live Video Conference below)

DATES: Course opens December 1 for asynchronous learning; real-time sessions

*Participants may purchase their books at http://shop.ascd.org.

Here's an ASCD article by the authors.


January 2016

Tuning Up Classroom Assessments

January 12 and January 19

  • How confident are you that your current assessments are tightly aligned with the new Common Core State Standards?
  • How confident are you that your current assessments are rigorous enough to assess students at the appropriate depth of knowledge?
  • How confident are you that your current assessments are of high quality and produce valid results?

This 2-day workshop will provide background knowledge to ensure assessments are aligned to the Common Core and guide participants through a process of analyzing and modifying current assessments being used in their grade, course, building and/or district.

This K-12 workshop is great for teams of teachers using common or interim assessments within a PLC. Participants will need to bring a current assessment with them, printed out on single-sided sheets of paper.

Tuning up Classroom Assessments with Dr. Ellen Vorenkamp. Click here to register!

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Learning Opportunities for Administrators & Teachers