Principal's Newsletter

September 16th, 2016

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WOW to Ronna Thornhill she does an amazing job at recess with two first graders with different needs and support. She is able to fill both students needs and ensure they are safe. Thank you Ronna!--Karen Brockland

WOW to Lauren Goodall she spends a lot of time in our room and when students are sent for a break or for a quiet place to work she welcomes them with open arms, allows them to calm down, talk through situations, and help with getting back on track and getting their work done! I appreciate your ability to build relationships and help students feel safe to be who they are.--Karen Brockland

Thank you data team and reading teachers for identifying and testing students to determine the best reading placement for each child.--Dr. OH

Thank you to Mrs. Pliske for jumping on a bus and doing a last minute home visit with Dr. O-H, and then meeting with that parent Friday morning while Dr. O-H was with another parent.--Dr. OH

Thank you to Mrs. Arnold who helped to quickly collect student data for a parent and administrator concerns.--Dr. OH

Thank you to Mrs. Oldham, Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Fitzgerald, and Coach Rector for coaching Tier 2 character students.--Dr. OH

Thank you to Mrs. Anderson who donated 2 bags of candy to the Room 4 Conference Room.--Dr. OH

Thank you to Mrs. McCarthy who donated some borders to help surprise a colleague.--Dr. OH

WOW to Leslee McInnis and Mary Towery in the cafeteria for their awesome work with students in Mrs. McCoy's room! Leslee and Mary allow these girls to sort lunch slips each day. They also led an in-school "field trip", showing the girls what happens to the lunch slips after they are sorted. This helped our "Lunch Slip Girls" to understand their part of the lunch process and feel important! Thank you so much, Mary and Leslee! You are such an important part of the Harvest Ridge family!--Linda Applebaum

WOW to Susan Adams and Becca Lewis for stepping up to help mentor one of their previous students who needs extra support!

Thank you! Linda Murphy

WOW to Tony for teaching me how to do stop sign morning duty! I would have been lost otherwise!

Thanks, Linda

WOW to Karen Brockland for helping my new student transition into his new school and working with him daily! ~ Lindsey Crawford

WOW to the first grade team for all of your hard work this year going above and beyond creating slides, assessments, and technology presentations all while supporting each other! You Rock! ~Lindsey Crawford

WOW to Ronna Thornhill for your dedication to the student you work with daily in my class! You worry about making sure he has everything he needs even when he is not there. :) ~Lindsey Crawford

WOW to Shelly Gotsch for helping a previous student and stepping up!!! Linda Murphy

WOW to Melissa Barth for sharing her skills! Linda Murphy

WOW to Susan Gorris for taking a previous student that needed extra support! Linda Murphy

WOW to Susan Bayne and Lindsey Crawford for all their hard work in getting us prepare for the tech fest and being our spokespeople . You both make us look good!! – Joyce, JoAnn, Kim and Kristy

WOW to Susan Bayne and Joyce Highfill for putting together our ELA slides. You do a wonderful job and the slides really help us stay focused and better our teaching. – Lindsey, JoAnn, Kim and Kristy

WOW to LaTonya Foster and Sheri Reagan for all your support, advice, and most importantly, personal counseling. J You guys have really been a huge moral support to me. – Kristy

WOW to Shanna Bradley for allowing special education students to work on job tasks in the learning commons everyday!!! It means so much to our kids!! Thank you! -Jamie McCoy

WOW to the Paras that work in room 51 for working as a team and being flexible with our students and schedules!! Thank you! -Jamie

WOW to Giacommara in her expressing frustration on things that she has tried in her classroom in regards to behavior she mentioned trying something that day she was hoping would work. She is doing the right thing continuing to brainstorm and try things to help her kids. I know it is frustrating but I for one admire your perseverance and determination to help your students!!!--Karen Brockland

WOW to Sherry and LaTonya for your Hawk Connections group!- Dr. DeWeese

WOW to all the PLC teams for your great work in setting SMART goals.--Dr. DeWeese

WOW to Tessa, Jane, and Erica for saving the day with my diet soda fix.--Dr.DeWeese

WOW I wanted to thank the Kindergarten team today for your amazing ability to be in the right place at the right time. You all jumped right in to help stop a student from running out of the building, kept another student inside the office, took several students during your plan time for a heart to heart, helped them regulate their bodies and emotions, walked students back to class, helped them come up with a plan for success and helped to support another teacher by talking with her kids about school and classroom expectations. You all manned the hallways and were out in force to help support today! You all are amazing and we appreciate your help more than you knowJ- Katie Fazio

WOW to Greg Vest for keeping a kid safe who had locked himself in the bathroom. Greg laid on his back and slid right under the door to help this student in crisis. Amazing effort to support our kids. Thank You!!!--Katie Fazio

WOW to Brandy Leffeler for creating a new reminder sheet for all attendees for SPED meetings. What a great reminder, thanks for keeping us on track!--Katie Fazio

WOW to Christina, Tony, and Nathan for providing me with some much needed laughter at just the right time!--Dr. DeWeese

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Parent Teacher Conferences

It is hard to believe it, but conferences are just around the corner. We do not plan to have a staff meeting for you to share your conference times. The decision was made last year to have parents sign up at open house so that parents could coordinate their times. We did this in order to take a meeting off your plate.

Since this was the first time that we have tried it this way we had a number of parents not sign up. Below is a link for the conference letter that we have used in the past. You are free to use that to send home. You can also email or call the parents that you need to get scheduled.

Please make sure you share your final conference schedule with any necessary teachers such as reading, ESOL, and Special Education. The office also needs a copy to be able to answer parent questions. Dinner will be provided both nights for you before your conferences.

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Hawk Feathers

Please make sure you let the office know when your class earns their Hawk Feathers so that we can make sure to announce it and to come take your picture! You can just email the administrative team. We love celebrating your classes.
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Collaboration Time

Each PLC will have one full day of collaboration per quarter through Title funding. There will be additional half days provided through PDC funds and the curriculum department. If your PLC is needing additional time please let me know. We can always get creative with getting your team coverage if you feel you need the time for PLC work. We have six student teachers and four interns that can cover classrooms to allow time for PLCs to complete work. Please just communicate the needs you have to us and we will work with you to get you what you need.
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Oops of The Ridge

At our last PD session Kody and Shelly shared the video link above. It was perfect timing for me and since that day I have spent some time reflecting on what she talks about in the video. Mistakes get made and sometimes there are failures in our work. They are not intentional, but they can be opportunities for us to grow and to learn or as she puts it, a time to find an amazing nugget.

I believe that often times in the hustle and bustle of our work we may not be aware that we have failed at something or that we have made a mistake. Again, it is not intentional or due to lack of effort. It can be difficult to point out to someone a mistake they made for uncertainty on how they will react.

In an effort to help us grow, learn, improve, and to celebrate the nuggets in our failures we will have the Oops of The Ridge box. After seeking input from the EDCs it has been decided to place the Oops of The Ridge box in the bathroom. Seems weird, but it really is the only place that you go where no one is with you.

You can use the Oops of The Ridge box to offer suggestions, express concerns, ask questions, or make us aware of a mistake (oops) that we have made. These will remain anonymous, but will get addressed through the Principal's Newsletter or a faculty meeting. All of our doors are always open too if you just want to stop by and share an oops!

Look for an Oops Box in your nearest staff bathroom soon!

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Student Behavior Needs

As you know we have many students who are requiring a high level of support for behavior. You hear the calls on the walkie, you see staff running, or you might be the one making the calls. I want you to know that the administrative team is seeking input and advice from central office. We shared our concerns during our site visit and we are working on a plan. We have also started a data collection system to track the amount of time being spent responding to calls and which students are requiring the most support.

At this point, there are not many details to share other than we are just in the phase of brainstorming with the counseling PLC and members of the SPED department. We know we have an increasing need and I want you to know we are working on it. It may take some time to come up with a plan to fit our needs for these students, but it is not going unnoticed or unaddressed. If you have ideas or suggestions please send them our way.

We appreciate the work everyone is putting in for all students. The tier 1 supports being implemented are working for the majority of our students. The students mentioned in the previous paragraph require additional supports beyond tier 1 or even tier 2 interventions. Remember that changing behavior and addressing the needs of students with trauma is a process and takes time. It is just like any academic intervention. In the meantime, please continue to reach out, ask questions, and share ideas. It is through collaboration and sharing that we can work to support our students.

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Staffing Update

We still have a few positions to fill. We are working on getting interviews set up for the open recess para position, the part time instructional para position, and the SPED para position. We will let you know as soon as those positions have been filled.
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Friendly Reminder

At our meetings in the beginning of the year we discussed respecting the work being done in the office. Please make sure you are not meeting and working in the office during times that the secretaries are still working, especially at dismissal. They are still taking calls even after the buses have been dismissed.

Many of you have student teachers and interns this year and they are often teaching your classes. If you need a place to work while they are teaching you can use the conference room, lounge, or learning commons.

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Special Celebrations

There are always things around us to celebrate. The past few weeks have proven that the Harvest Ridge staff is a team. Thank you to everyone for stopping in the moment to help out with students who are struggling to get regulated and gain emotional control to be in class. There have been a number of situations in the past few weeks where teachers, paras, and interventionists have stopped to help in situations with administrators and counselors. Your time and efforts to help students is appreciated. It truly takes a village to do the work we do and to do work that makes students successful.

Last week we spent just a few minutes at each PLC discussing CITW data. In just a short amount of time after those discussions we have already seen changes in the instruction in your classrooms. It is very exciting to be a part of the conversations and to see it in action and working with kids. Keep up all the great work!

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Kid President Says It Best

Look for the good. Celebrate the good. Can't find the good? Be the good. Got it? Good.