GRE Staff Newsletter

For the Week of April 22, 2019

Dear Team,

Is time flying or is it just me? I blinked and it's the end of April! Did you see the video of the Marine who's legs gave out in the Boston Marathon? If you haven't seen it, click here to watch. It's worth it-trust me. In the video you'll see Micah Herndon crawl (almost four miles) across the finish line, flanked by Race Volunteers. As he crawled he recited the names of three fallen comrades over and over. His focus was clear, his purpose was clear, he had a goal and he was not giving up. Was he exhausted? Yep. Did an unexpected event happen? Yep. Did he dig deep to find his true self and finish on his terms? Absolutely!

Sometimes we are faced with things that seem impossible, overwhelming and exhausting. We are running on fumes, but we are running together. That makes it a lot easier, don't you think? It's easy to get excited when we are just 22 days away from our finish line. But this is the time where we have to focus. Our students deserve our very best every day. They need the same push to dig deep and show all that they have learned. Are we exhausted? Yep. Do unexpected events happen every single day? Yep. Will we dig deep to find our true self and finish on our terms? Absolutely! Let's do this GRE!

Here's to a great week!


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News to Share

1. Have you ever heard of an LMS? LMS stands for Learning Management System. The easiest way to think of it is to think of an online classroom. When Jen Young learned that Big Walnut is one of the only schools in Central Ohio that does not use one, she dug in to understand the value of such a robust tool. After researching the top LMS options, it was narrowed down to two-Canvas and Schoology. Recently, a K-12 committee met to review the two products and decide which option met BW's needs. Schoology (/skoo.luh.jee/) was the clear front runner. The group chose Schoology because:

  • User-friendly (easy to create student groups, including athletics, clubs, etc.)

  • Everything links to Google

  • Multiple professional learning communities in Central OH and free resources

  • Very teacher-friendly, including

    • Access to printable assessments

    • Personalized learning paths through mandatory completion

    • Easy personalized of feedback options

    • Tools for standards-based grading

  • Students can create portfolios that will stay with them year to year

  • Easy login (QR code)

So what does this mean for you? Schoology will be used as one platform for all communication and learning. This will remove the need for Google Classroom, class websites, newsletters, Remind, etc. The timeline for Schoology is as follows:

  • April: Technology integration (getting everything setup (accounts, PowerSchool, etc.)

  • May: Teacher access

  • Summer: PD offerings

  • August: Schoology Rollout

Having used Schoology in my previous district, I am very excited it is coming to BW! Ginna and I are both signed up for a free summer PD. Check it out here and join us if you would like. As I get more information, I will be sure to pass it along to you. In the meantime, check out their website to learn more.

2. A quick note about subs. Many of us have saved our Personal Days throughout the year in case we needed them. Now that the year is wrapping up, personal days are getting scheduled. Please be aware that finding subs at this point in this year is difficult. Finding subs on Data Team meeting days is almost impossible. Here are the Spring Data Team dates:

Thursday 5/9- 4th Grade

Friday 5/10- 1st Grade

Monday 5/13- Kinder

Tuesday 5/14- 3rd Grade

Thursday 5/16- 2nd Grade

Friday 5/17- SLC’s

Please secure a sub as soon as possible and get your paperwork in for Data Teams. As a reminder, Intervention groups will continue through May 17th. They are down to the wire with testing their students as well and will not be pulled from groups unless absolutely necessary.

3. As a reminder, we will be using Spring BAS data to form our beginning of the school year Intervention Groups. Key points include:

-Intervention teachers will do EOY Assessments on students they have in group

-Classroom Teachers will test all of the remaining students, unless a teacher communicates with their Intervention Teacher that they would like to test a specific student

-If you find you can't meet this timeline, please reach out to Kate and we will come up with a way to support you

-Classroom teachers need to make sure you know students as a reader because you will be speaking to whether or not a students is put in an Intervention Group in the Fall

-You do not have to test a student who is reading a year or more above Grade Level (I do expect that you will write what level text you are working on with the student in Guided Reading on the Benchmark Assessment Letter, there will be further discussion if we need to revise the letter to simply say Reading Level instead of BAS Reading Level)

4. Click to see the PAC Agenda notes from our meeting this past Tuesday. A huge thank you to our PAC representatives for sharing their problem solving skills this year and for representing each of our amazing teams. They have done a great job staying student focused while advocating for their teams. One of our focuses this year has been to develop our leadership skills within this group. That being said, I have made the decision that I would like the same PAC representatives next school year so that we can continue our leadership development and implement plans that have been discussed this school year. This will be evaluated each year. If you have questions about this, please see me directly.

5. SLO data is due to me by April 26th. I've got several walkthroughs to do so as a reminder, if I come in with my laptop, it's a good sign it's your walkthrough.

6. Please make sure that you refer to Lynn Starner’s email regarding the Kiosk. The goal is for all certified staff members to login in and make sure that your years are correct. Should you have any questions please reach out to Claire Paul or Lynn Starner.

8. BWMS Service Day is this Friday! Check out the following information from Josh Frame. We are excited to announce our 4th Annual BWMS Service Day on Friday April 26th, 2019. Once again, we anticipate that Assisting Teachers at various schools within Big Walnut will be a popular choice. Click here to see what time you signed up for. Thanks for welcoming our MS students at GRE!

PLC Challenge

This week's PLC Challenge continues from last week. During your PLC, please review one of the BAS video's here and complete the common scoring practice we modeled in the staff meeting. Don't forget to invite Ginna to come score with you:) If your team completes the challenge, please let me know and you will be rewarded!

Shout out to DeAnne and the First Grade Team for an Awesome Informance!

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Week at a Glance

Monday, April 22- No School

Tuesday, April 23- D Day;

Wednesday, April 24- A Day; Secretary's Day (Stop by and tell Angie and Kelly how amazing they are!)

Thursday, April 25- B Day; Art Show and Food Trucks!

Friday, April 26- C Day; Party Wagon!

Upcoming Important Dates:

April 22 No School

April 25 Art Show


May 6-10 Staff Appreciation Week

May 7 Box Tops Due; 9:30 4th Grade visits BWI

May 9 PTO 6:30 pm

May 10 3rd Grade Field Trip

May 16 1st Grade Field Trip

May 20 Field Day

May 21 Variety Show 9:30-10:30, 2-3; Volunteer Lunch

May 22 Eagle Ed/Discovery Day

May 23 Last Day of School-Clap Out for 4th Graders; Report Cards & Assess. Letters