September 15, 2014

Real Quick

Thank you again for a strong Curriculum night last week & for the gargantuan effort you put into making sure our parents were given relevant information.

I know our parents appreciate the job that you do! Kelli & I are very proud of this staff & for what you bring to the table each & every day.

Today we will roll out our new dismissal system. Your efforts in promoting it in a positive way have been noticed & appreciated. We expect there to be challenges as few systems are ever “perfect”, but we believe this to be a safer plan & we encourage you to let us know how we can continue to improve the system for all. Please let us know if you have any questions before this afternoon about where you’re asked to be & what your role is. We will need all adults helping us this week please! I’m anxious to see how it goes!

Important Information for the week:

  • This week’s Eagle Mountain 25 skill/rule is #3: Always say “Thank You” when someone gives you something.

  • I-Station for grades K-2 is coming soon! More info on this later…

  • Please make sure that your TSR Section 1 is completed in Eduphoria.

  • Grades are due by 8AM please to Donna. Progress reports will go out Tuesday.

  • Thank you to everyone for helping us with the field trip to the Speedway last week. Sheryl & Regina will be explaining the program to the kids during their Library time.

  • Thanks again for what you conveyed to parents during Curriculum Night.

  • Congratulations to Leslie on your marriage this past weekend. We pray for bright, happy tomorrows for you & Damon!

  • This is probably Beth’s last week with us for a while, & we all wish her well. Christina Witta will be Beth’s sub while she is on maternity leave.


Monday – Eagle Mountain 25 Rule #3 – Always say “Thank You” when someone gives you something, Grades due to office 8AM, Grade level meetings,

Words of the Week: Tremendous & Ridiculous

New Dismissal System to begin – All hands on deck please!

Tuesday – PDAS Window opens, Kelli to AP meeting this morning, Progress

Reports go home today for all students

Wednesday – No Worksheet Wed., Constitution Day

Thursday – Bryan to Principal’s meeting

Friday – Kelli & Regina will meet with 1st grade, 2nd, grade, 3rd grade & 5th grade during your planning period to provide information on interventions & resources, Bryan’s Vocab lesson to 4th graders

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I’d like to share with you this week an excerpt from a book I’m reading on 21st Century Skills written by Ken Kay, who is the president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the nation’s leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education & preparing every child to succeed in the new global economy.

His chapter is entitled 21st Century Skills: Why They Matter, What They Are, & How We Get There:

Why Do We Need a New Model for Education in the 21st Century?

The world is changing – The global economy, with its emerging industries & occupations, offers tremendous opportunities for everyone who has the skills to take advantage of it. There has been a dramatic acceleration in global competition & collaboration over the past thirty years, spurred by information & communications technology. More than three-quarters of all jobs in the United States are now in the service sector.

In this era of rapid change, the social contract prevalent for a good part of the last century doesn’t exist anymore. Doing well in school no longer guarantees a lifelong job or career as it did for previous generations of Americans. Today, people can expect to have many jobs in multiple fields during their careers. The average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.8 jobs between the ages of eighteen & forty-two, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new social contract is different: only people who have the knowledge & skills to negotiate constant change & reinvent themselves for new situations will succeed. Competency in 21st century skills gives people the ability to keep learning & adjusting to change. Proficiency in 21st century skills is the new civil right for our times.

U.S. schools & students have not adapted to the changing world – Our current public education system is not preparing all students for the economic, workforce, & citizenship opportunities – & demands – of the 21st century. Many students are not engaged or motivated in school learning that seems out of step with their lives & irrelevant to their futures. Alarmingly, we now face two achievement gaps – one national & one international. (Nationally, Black, Hispanic, & disadvantaged students perform worse than their peers on national assessments. Internationally, American students score lower than the average on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the benchmark assessment in reading, mathematics, & science.) Skills that support innovation, including creativity, critical thinking, & problem-solving are in great demand.

The United States has no clear sense of purpose or direction for securing our future economic competitiveness. Science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) experts in industry & higher education have been warning for years that the United States is losing ground when it comes to preparing an adequate supply of workers for these critical fields. Competitor nations in Asia & Europe have gotten the message that skills matter, & they are catching up.

A 21st century education must be tied to OUTCOMES, in terms of proficiency in core subject knowledge & 21st century skills that are expected & highly valued in school, work, & community settings.

Critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, & the other 21st century skills are the tools people need to move up the economic ladder. These skills are rarely incorporated throughout the curriculum, nor are they routinely assessed.

21st century skills are essential for ALL students today, not just an elite few. In bygone economies, Americans lived in a hierarchical world with an assembly-line mentality.

Global awareness is a new essential in the global economy. Americans need a secure understanding of global issues that affect them as citizens & workers.

Taken together, the combination of core academic subjects, 21st century themes, & 21st century skills redefines rigor for our times. Many Americans have been advocating a more rigorous education to prepare students for college & career readiness.

Knowledge & information change constantly. Students need both content knowledge & skills to apply & transform their knowledge for useful & creative purposes & to keep learning as content & circumstances change. In the 21st century, the test of rigor is for students to be able to look at material they’ve never seen before & know what to do with it. In a 21st century education system, rigor must refer to mastery of content and skills.

By October of 2009, fourteen states had committed to retooling their standards & assessments, curriculum & instruction, professional development, & learning environments to support 21st century skills outcomes.

We need to move from consensus about the vision of 21st century to a thorough understanding of & commitment to the outcomes of 21st century learning. The most important next step is to agree on outcomes in terms of proficiency in 21st century skills.


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  • A big thanks to Regina once again for her work in organizing our Texas Motor Speedway trip. The kids had a wonderful time, & I appreciate Regina’s attention to detail! Thanks also to Amber for going & helping with meds!

  • I want to recognize Danielle for advocating for a student to get to go on the field trip. Her kindness & desire to make a difference for this student speaks volumes! Thank you for recognizing how important this opportunity for that student was!

  • Thanks a whole lot to Tammy & Regina for providing child-care for our parents who brought kids Thursday’s night. We appreciate you stepping up to help us out. THANK YOU! J

  • Kelli, Donna, & Tim are to be commended for their work on the new dismissal system. Tim made the cards for everyone, Donna ran them off for us, & Kelli created the map & the index cards to make the system go smoother. I SO SO appreciate all they have done in preparation for this big change.
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