Staff Memo

Sept. 18, 2015

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So Where Does It All Fit In?

I was having a discussion with Sean and Peter English, principal of SCE, on Monday at lunch. We'd been thinking with Ryan Flessner all morning and took a quick lunch break to Arby's. We were trying to get a handle on what to do for our Oct. 2 early release PD.

I've been puzzling and puzzling over exactly what my definition of "Inquiry" is and what it isn't. It's all murky and vague. Could I draw a picture of "inquiry?" If what Marzano says is right, if I have a deep understanding of something, I should be able to draw a pictoral representation of that word (which, in my way of thinking, is often a concept).

What would "inquiry" look like if I were to draw a picture of it? I think I could draw some words and arrows representing what I think the cycle of inquiry might look like, but I'm not sure, no I know, I couldn't draw a pictoral representation of "inquiry."

As we had this discussion, Peter, Sean, and I realized we don't have a clear working definition of "inquiry." How in the world do we expect our staffs to have a clear working definition?

I understand that PBL, Genius Hour, Passion Projects, etc. are all parts of inquiry. I know that asking questions is part of inquiry. I know that asking the right questions is even a better part of inquiry. I know Stephanie came and helped us understand the pillars of inquiry.

Our job right now is to get a very clear handle on what inquiry means to us at CRE. This is the task in front of us and what I hope to untangle and unravel on Oct. 2. Begin your thinking and sorting now. What is inquiry? What isn't inquiry?

Once we have that working definition agreed upon, our next job will be to articulate and agree upon what inquiry looks like all day long. What does inquiry look like in second grade math? Third grade writing? Fourth grade science or social studies? Kindergarten play? PE? Music? Art?

As we shoot towards best practice as outlined by HSE21, it's going to be important that we have common language and understandings. My visual is all of us in a boat rowing together. (Ok, it would be much nicer to be on a cruise ship, but that isn't usually the visual I have when I think educaiton.) I know it's hard work. I know it's never ending.

In our PD with Sean on Friday, we all read the blog by Marcia Hebert that said this about Reggio Emilia schools:

"Reggio Emilia schools are places where children are powerful. They are in control. The space belongs to them. They create again and again. They make choices and decisions. Everything is accessible and organized for them and is arranged artfully to draw them in. And, yes, they are inspired by what awaits them. They are naturally curious and interested in constructing their own learning – by touching, investigating, exploring, questioning, manipulating, taking apart, observing, discovering, enjoying, listening, discussing, putting together – everything in their environment.

This is so because the adults (both teachers and parents) hold an image of the child that allows all of this to take place. They see children as capable, competent, interested, powerful, creative, curious, thoughtful, imaginative, expressive, engaging, and involved communicators, collaborators, and learners. And, it happens, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy."

If we believe children are capable, curious, and competent, then we have only one direction to row and that is toward HSE21 Best Practice Model and that model completely supports inquiry.

Roll up your sleeves, Roadrunner teachers, and let's figure this out together. We're good enough, we're smart enough, and our kids deserve our best.

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New Aspire Therapist

Lindsey Lawrence will be taking Jennifer Cullen's place while she is out on maternity leave. Jennifer is our therapist that works with Aspire Indiana, a behavioral health care organization. Jennifer was with us last year and spent at least three days per week at CRES. She does therapy with some of our kids right here at CRES. Having an Aspire therapist in our building is a privilege and our partnership with Aspire has benefited many of our kids.

Look for Lindsey beginning next week. She's putting together a schedule this week and hopes to dig in right away.

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Determine Acceptable Evidence

Thanks to many of you for wrestling with acceptable evidence for making decisions about which of our kids need the extra support and should be identified as Watch List or Students of Concern. These conversations are ones centered on data and kids. All good.
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I would appreciate feedback on Staff Memo topics. I would encourage you to share your thoughts with me via email, through collaboration, texting, face-to-face conversations, or the Digest.
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Upcoming PD Reminders and Revisions

  • Tuesday, Sept. 22 7:30 at SCE - One Drive Basics
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23 8:00 in Collab Room - An Introduction to Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences with Lisa (and maybe Dr. Loane)
  • Friday, Sept. 25 7:35 in the library - Champions with Melissa and Minilessons with Sean

Please note the change in dates below:

  • Nov. 13 - No Staff Meeting
  • Nov. 20 - STAFF MEETING -Dr. Bourff plans to share his observations over the past eight plus months. His observations have translated into three distinct suggestions for a referendum.

    Dr. Bourff would like for the staff/community to tell him if he has an accurate account OR are there other needs to be considered.

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Looking Ahead

Monday, Sept. 21 Day 3

  • Pledge/MOS - Cook
  • Fire Trailer - 4th grade
  • 8:15 Share the Load - MW - Koewers
  • 3:10 Collab Team 2

Tuesday, Sept. 22 Day 4

  • 7:30 Office 365 Basics - One Drive - SCE
  • 8:30-10:15 and 10:20-12:05 Word Study PD in Collab room
  • 3:10 Collab Team 4
  • 4:45-5:15 First Grade Parent Volunteers training

Wednesday, Sept. 23 Day 1

  • 12:35 Share the load - FB - Meng
  • 1:00-3:00 Spec Ed Compliance Training - collab room
  • 3:10 Collab Team 3

Thursday, Sept. 24 Day 2

  • 8:00 New Teacher Breakfast - collab room
  • 1:40-2:30 - Author Tyler Whitesides visit
  • 3:10 Collab Team K
  • 4:05 Discussion - Lisa's office

Friday, Sept. 25 Day 3

  • First grade field trip to Ritchie Woods
  • 7:35 Staff PD - Champions with Melissa and Minilessons with Sean - library
  • 3:10 Collab Team 1
  • 5:30-7:00 Grillin' and Chillin' - Free meal to all Roadrunner families provided by our PTO

Monday, Sept. 28 Day 4

  • Pledge/MOS - Dankoski
  • 3:10 Collab Team 2
  • 7:00 Board meeting

Tuesday, Sept. 29 Day 1

  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 2:00 Assembly - Blue from the Colts
  • 3:10 Collab Team 3

Wednesday, Sept. 30 Day 2

  • 3:10 Collab Team 4
  • 6:00-7:30 ENL Family Night - FHS Cafe

Thursday, Oct. 1 Day 3

  • 7:30 Living in the Cloud - CRE Lab - for those who signed up
  • 2:00 Share the Load - AP - Swenson
  • 3:10 Collab Team K

Friday, Oct. 2 - No Specials

  • $1 Hat Day
  • 8:15 Share the Load - TH - Dankoski
  • 9:35 Share the Load - TG - Omeish
  • 12:01 Students are dismissed
  • 1:00-4:00 PD with K Warm-up