Beating the Odds

Lakeview Staff Newsletter - Dec 14

No accidents!

If a person were to ask you "How does Lakeview do what they do so well?" what would your answer be? I'm serious! Why? Because people ask me that question.

We seek to be intentional about the learning culture and the academic rigor we create here. Nothing here is by accident. In a solid organization, even the things that seem to happen by "chance" are the result of intentional work. Long before I arrived, the focus at Lakeview was already on doing what is best for students. But this year, we've created two documents that help answer the question above. I'm really proud of our Cultural Norms for the Learning Culture we have set. And I'm really proud of the Vision for High-quality Instruction which we finalized this week. Don't be fooled by these deceptively simple-looking documents. I suggest you print both and hang them in your workspace (many people already have the cultural norms hanging by their desk). These two pieces are already guiding our work as we study learning targets.

Learning Targets

At Wednesday's staff meeting, we asked everyone to play with learning targets from now until the next staff meeting on January 9th. Just to recap, here's what that means:

• For homeroom teachers, we are focusing especially on math learning targets right now. If you want to try another content area, we suggest trying science.

• Collect your learning targets somehow in a way that you can view/share them with others at the January 9th staff meeting. That could be a document, a spreadsheet, take photos with your cell phone and put them in an online album of photos, etc.

• Learning targets should be in student-friendly language. That could be pictures or representations at lower levels if needed.

• Learning targets should change on a daily basis (breathe, please). What are you doing with students today that is ever-so-slightly different than yesterday to build understanding towards an end-of-unit goal? We'll talk more about the difference between an instructional objective and a learning target in the next staff meeting, but to get an idea, think about what learning is new today that builds upon yesterday.

• At grade-level meetings this week, Beth will work with teams to support your development of learning targets for upcoming math lessons.

Looking Ahead

All week

Smart Smiles in room 132 (not on stage)

Clarity Survey window (see below)

Wednesday, December 19 - Fire drill at 10:00 a.m. (unless something else comes up)

Friday, December 21

Sunshine Holiday pig-out lunch - use link to sign up

Holiday sing-along assembly at 2:40 p.m. As Mrs. Tinsen mentioned, the sing-along is a community building event for staff and students. Please don't "advertise" the event as a concert.

January 3

First day back after Winter break

ALL staff - please remember

There are two more dates this year that every SDSM employee is required to attend for Trauma Sensitive Schools training. These are follow-ups to the August session. Since these are "no student" days, please be sure ALL staff have marked your calendar to be in the HS PAC on:

January 28 - 7:30-Noon

May 13 - 7:30-Noon

Clarity Survey Info

I do expect that 100% of the required students and staff take surveys like this because it collects valuable data for our committees - in this case, ILT. This message is from Christina Ramirez, regarding the Clarity Survey:

From Dec 13-21st the window is open for the Clarity Survey! All 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and all teachers are kindly asked to take the survey. If you’d like to freshen up on where we’d like to be as a district, check out the ISTE Standards for Students. You will find it very user-friendly and helpful in understanding where you and your students currently are.

Lakeview always has superb participation in the Clarity Survey. It is much appreciated and makes your ILT representative beam with pride!

LLT Update

Thank you to our LLT members, Sarah and Rachel. Here is an update from this week's LLT meeting from Rachel:

  • At LLT on Tuesday we had a lot of great conversation and did a lot of learning. We began the day with a conversation about our role and responsibilities as District Literacy Leaders and set some personal leadership goals for the rest of this year. We are here to be your voice so don't hesitate to talk to Sarah and I! We are also here to communicate with our building leaders and you.
  • We identified 3 areas of focus for the remainder of the year and we know there are many sub areas to keep our eye on. The big three are: (1) investigating best practice around classroom libraries. In light of making sure book rooms are full of good texts we also don't want to forget that classroom libraries need to be supported as well. (2) Conferring and (3) Assessment and Progress monitoring. (Word study is on our minds too!)
  • We spent the afternoon at Luther in a "Mini Clinic - Conferring" done as if we were attending Teacher's College PD and practiced the Research - Compliment - Decide - Teach conference in 5th grade. It was impressive to see kids highlight all the strategies they are using. I was stumped on what to teach when one friend told me he was making predictions, jotting down clues because it was a mystery based on what he knew about the author's craft, making connections, keeping track of the main idea and watching how the characters were changing. Janice and I looked at each other and then him and said "OK! Just keep that all up!"
  • We ended the day taking a close look at the Writing Pathways book and began a conversation around our on demand prompts, use of checklists, rubrics, etc. This will be revisited at our next meeting.

Let us know if you want to talk about this or have any questions!

PTO Update

We had a record turnout at the PTO meeting Thursday night. There is a surge of parent interest as our newly involved parents build upon the shoulders of Chris Clausen, Marta Ahler, and Shannon Tierney. On Thursday, the PTO began discussing new bylaws as the group works through the process of becoming an "official" PTO and a 501(c)(3). January's PTO meeting will be on January 10. There is some discussion about the timing of PTO meetings - I will let you know if the meeting will be 5:30-6:30 -or- 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Structural Items

Family newsletter - Here is a link to this week's family newsletter.

Social Studies letter - Please be sure to read this social studies letter that is included in this week's newsletter as an update to families. The letter was crafted in coordination with a group of parents in order to provide communication regarding changes in social studies.

Upcoming family newsletters - We WILL have a newsletter next week (Dec 21) but we will NOT have a family newsletter on the first Friday we return from break (Jan 4).

SLO Door Signs - Thank you to all who have posted your sign next to your door.

School safety - A "heads up" that our Raptor visitor management system will be installed in January. We will communicate with families after Winter break that all visitors will need to present their driver's license or another ID. This info can be scanned or manually entered into a computer in the office for instant background checks, and visitors will wear a prominent sticker. Likewise, thank you to all staff for wearing your SDSM ID badge at all times.

Movies in class - This has not been an issue at Lakeview at all because we value every minute of instructional time. But as the holidays approach, please remember our Lakeview guidelines on the use of movies during the school day. See page 11 of this document if needed.

Payroll this week - Because of the holiday break, we need to get our payroll sign-off sheets and time cards to the business office before the end of the day on Friday, December 21st. Please be sure to sign/turn in everything to Roxanne by noon on 12/21.

Elementary Blackout Dates - Here is a link to the calendar

Character Dares & Trauma Sensitive Schools

Here is Character Dare #15. Also - if you are interested in sending postcard(s) to students during holiday break, the office has postcards and postage.
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