Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Good Monday morning, Cordata!

Today's bulletin starts with a big THANK YOU! It's spring in an elementary school and that brings a couple of predictable things . . .

  • The schedule fills! There are special events, field trips, and spring assessments, making for an even busier-than-usual scheudle
  • The pace quickens! As we get closer to the end of the school year, we want to make sure that we complete certain units, and tackle certain projects. This can raise a sense of urgency and stress for teachers.
  • The energy rises! Whether it's the weather, or a combination of everything above, we can see spring's effects in our students faces, and sometimes in their behaviors.

This is a phenomenal team, so the thank you is for the way that you have each other's backs, especially as the busy-ness of spring is underway! I watch you step in to help one another out, give one another a word of encouragement, and share a laugh to lighten the mood at just the right time.

Remember, team - reach out to one another when you need it! Together, we've got this!

Below, a little glimpse into the happy faces and fun times from Friday night's Spring Social. Once again, the PTA and our faithful Cornwall Church volunteers rocked it. Huge thanks to all of the Cordata staff who came and took on a volunteer role to make it a successful event!

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The week ahead - 4/22 - 4/26

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The SEL Calendar, from now through the end of the year, focuses on continuing your class meetings, solving problems as they arise. Those of you using Caring School Communities as your key resource should continue to pull from the Topic Weeks to guide your SEL instruction.

While you continue that important instruction, this portion of our weekly bulletin will shift a bit, to focus on management strategies. I'll be sharing some ideas that I see being used effectively around our school. It is never too late in the school year to adjust a routine or fine tune expectations when we see behaviors impacting the flow of the eay.

The first is both an instructional and a management strategy:
Post, state, and restate clear learning targets! Students need to know what is expected. Make sure your learning target posted and that it is said verbally at the beginning of the lesson, mid-way through the lesson and at the end. Have your students state it as well, and make sure that while they are engaged in the independent or group work, they know how it links to the learning target. For students with SEL or academic needs, try to make a 1:1 connection with them to ensure that they know or can see the learning target. Sometimes, in the busy-ness of our work, we neglect even the things we know are good practice. Take this week to re-focus on learning targets and the link to high engagement and reduced discipline problems.

Upcoming Dates

  • April 22 - Promise K Family Night
  • April 23 - 2:45-2:00 - FOURTH Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • April 25 - 1:00-2:00 3rd grade team meeting for class placement; 2:00-3:00 2nd grade team meeting for class placement
  • May 2 - Penny Davis visiting - 1:00-2:00 behavior data meeting; 3:00-4:00 Tier 3 behavior meeting
  • May 2 - 1:00-2:00 1st grade team meeting for class placement; 2:00-3:00 4th grade team meeting for class placement
  • May 13 - DESSA window open through end of May
  • May 21 - 2:45-4:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff)
  • May 23 - 1:00-2:00 SGC - K and 4th grade meet separately to look at grade level data
    May 23 - 2:00-3:00 SGC - K meets with 1st grade; 4th meets with 5th grade
    May 23 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 3rd grade meets to look at grade level data
  • May 24 - Bike Rodeo, grades 3, 4 and 5
  • May 30 - 1:00-2:00 - SGC - 1st and 2nd grade meet separately to look at grade level data
    May 30 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 1st meets with 2nd grade; 3rd meets with 4th grade
  • June 7 - 5th grade track meet
  • June 13 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 2nd meets with 3rd grade; 5th meets individually to look at grade level data
  • June 14 - Teacher's Theater!
  • June 19 - Field Day - this is tentatively being planned with the support of Cornwall Church volunteers . . . much more info to come. If you have ideas, send them to Analisa.
  • June 20 - last day of school - morning assembly followed by all-school recess and yearbook signing
  • June 13 - 2:00-3:00 - 2nd meets with 3rd grade; 5th meets individually to look at grade level data

Other News and Information

  • Our Firm and Kind committee will be meeting again on Monday to discuss our next steps, one of which is to fine tune the SEL calendar for next year, with the intention of increasing our fidelity and consistency in SEL implementation school-wide. You can expect next year's calendar to weave the best parts of the Positive Discipline resources in with our adopted Caring School Community tools. What are the lessons that are most important to you? If you want to be involved in this work, let Analisa know!

  • When we near the end of the school year, you'll start to see information in this part of the weekly bulletin about end-of-year routines and expectations, such as what to do with your classroom technology. Here's a sneak-peek at one important thing that will happen . . . immediately after the last day of school, our older black laptops will stop functioning. So if you have not yet switched over to using your shiny, you will want to do it before that date! Report cards and any other wrap-up technology work will need to be done on those new devices. More to come on the rest of the wrap-up details.

  • One of my favorite spring school traditions of all time is one that was introduced to me when I came to Cordata - Teacher's Theater! For those new to Cordata, it's a mash-up of reader's theater and improv, where every grade level writes a silly story, and staff all dress up in crazy costumes to act them out while narrators read the stories aloud in an assembly. I share this now so you can all start digging through your closets for wacky costume supplies! With Stephanie and Mary (our previous coordinators) off to new adventures this year, I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to help me make it happen this year. I promise you, the laughs will make it well worthwhile!! Thanks for considering helping out with this. We'll get all of the directions you need from Stephanie. We're planning Teacher's Theater for June 14.

In closing . . .

A little inspiration for your collaboration around inquiry . . .

Last week's closing words were about collaboration among adults in our learning community. Many of you have plans to collaborate in the upcoming weeks to develop inquiry-based units for the 2019-20 school year that tap into and celebrate the diversity of our Cordata community. Here's a little inspiration for you . . .

First, check out our kinder team, hard at work in collaboration with Shannon and Michelle. They are developing a unit that weaves social studies standards and culturally responsive practices together through an exploration of family. And yes, they're all jointly editing the same online document, so they're leveraging technology too. Way to go, team!

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And as you look ahead to collaborating with your own teams, the New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning is a good source for inspiration. Scroll down just a bit until you see the feature video: EatFit. You'll see students and teachers talking about the impact of a deep-learning project that involved a student exchange between communities, learning about one another's cultures, and communicating across distances and generations. Obviously, not every inquiry experience involves airplane travel Every step we take to bring inquiry to our students, and to teach them to be independent thinkers, takes them one step closer to learning that looks like this! Their motto is a big idea that our students are worthy of: Engage the world to change the world!