To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Issue #5: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Nice Bike, Prairie Point!

Like so many of us, I found the Convocation speaker, Mike Scharenbroich, to be an inspiring part of the presentation. I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to convocation this year as much as I typically do. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to feel so inspired and moved by the messages of the day. Just what I needed to hear!

Themes from the presentation have continued to resonate in my mind as we conclude the first 2 days of the new year.


While I was listening to the philosophy of teamwork, Acknowledge – Honor – Connect, I couldn't help but think of all of you. Prairie Point is the place that we all belong. We know there’s something special about our school – we have worked hard to build a place that stands above all others. You can see it in the smiles, hear it in the laughter, and feel it in the air. One reason I love the beginning of the school year is to see this come to life in the eyes of our students. They, too, know that they are someplace special and unique. Our new mission statement, Committed to Learning & Growing Together, is meant to encompass that sentiment and be the unified voice that acknowledges and honors who and what we are to our kids and to each other.


Thank you for a fantastic first week. I look forward to learning and growing with you this year! Nice Bike, Prairie Point Staff. Nice Bike.

News & Info

Reading Assessment - Fluency in Grades 2-5

With changes to our district curriculum, budget, and administration, over the past couple of years, we stopped assessing oral reading with AimsWeb in grades 2-5. Stopping these assessments meant losing an important data point that predicts the reading fluency and comprehension success in our students. In connection with NWEA MAP assessment results, oral reading measures help us identify students for support, and review overall instructional goals. I know that several of you have continued to use either AimsWeb passages or your own materials in order to assess your students.


As a building, we are going to go back to assessing oral reading fluency three times per year in all students, Grades 2-5. We will be utilizing Easy CBM. Easy CBM is administered very similarly to AimsWeb. The website then provides you automatically with reports and information about your students. We will use this information at data days in the fall to plan for instruction and student support.


Maureen and Katie have put together everything you need to administer the assessment. The folders with reading passages and administration instructions will be in your mailboxes. Please ask either of them if you need help or support. Assessments should be completed by September 19, 2014. If you need someone to watch your class while you administer assessments, our instructional TA's are there to assist you. Please see Maureen and Katie to coordinate.


Thank you so much for your support as we go back to this assessment. Please come see me if you have any concerns or questions about this decision. I want to be able to support you as we move forward.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Friday, Aug. 22nd, 3pm

Prairie Point Blacktop

On Friday, Heidi, Kim, Laurel and Jen will be participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge here at Prairie Point and we would like to call you out to join us. This phenomenon sweeping the country is a great example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things - something that truly reflects our theme for the year and sends a message that we hope students of Prairie Point will carry with them for a lifetime. The ALS Foundation has far exceeded their previous donations for the year (currently they have raised $31.5 million!), and more importantly, has brought awareness of the disease to new heights. It's the stuff that heroes are made of.:)


You are welcome to participate in the cause and we will make a $10 donation from our 308 Cares fund for each staff member who accepts the challenge. Students will also be welcome to witness our participation at 3 o'clock on Friday on the playground blacktop. We will complete this challenge in memory of Kerry Anne Engdahl, who stole many hearts and lost her battle with ALS last year, as well as those who continue their fight against the disease. We will be calling out Prairie Point staff, students, and parents to complete the challenge. We will not make mention of Kerry Anne Engdahl specifically at the actual challenge out of respect and concern for her children who still attend Prairie Point, but will donate in memory of Kerry Anne and share on our Prairie Point Facebook page.


If you are interested in participating in the challenge, please let me know by noon tomorrow so that we know how many buckets and bags of ice we will need to complete the challenge. We ask that you not share with students or parents until that day as we work to organize the event and share with all parties involved. We will send out a connect ed to parents so that they are aware and can answer any questions for their child.


We hope you'll join us!!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Teacher Evaluation Presentation

Attached to this email is the PowerPoint that we went over during our staff meeting on the 14th. Please remember that you can access the appraisal guidelines and your rubrics on the D308 intranet under the T and L tab under evaluation forms at the bottom of the list. More information will be shared as the year progresses about Evaluwise and how teachers will receive their forms and be able to upload evidence/artifacts. After school voluntary learning sessions will be available during the year to support teachers who need more support with the appraisal process. Please reach out if you have any specific questions and we will address at upcoming staff meetings and/or through email messages.


You will receive notification regarding who will evaluate you by the end of the week.

Student Handbook

The link to our student handbook is below. Please review and utilize as needed.

Tech Talk

Mastery Connect

Thank you to those of you who participated in Mastery Connect training on the 14th. I appreciate that you received a lot of information that day, and saw a lot of features within the system. Lisa Paluch is our building-wide Mastery Connect coach. Yay, Lisa! As we get working with Mastery Connect, she is here to help with the implementation process. As a building, we can provide additional training sessions with Lisa, and can have the support of the Teaching and Learning Department and Elementary Math Coach, Amber Denbo. We will do everything we can to make this a meaningful, manageable, process.

IMPORTANT - E-School Attendance Changes

There are some changes to how eschool attendance will be taken, as the district has upgraded to eSchool 3.0. Please review the video below for information on how to complete attendance.


Also, the district PD Website has several short training videos and documentation on the use of eschool. The link below the video will take you where you need to go.

eSchool 3.0 - Taking Attendance

Coming Events!

A Girl with a Cape Assembly - August 28th

Schedule to Follow

Curriculum Night

Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 11th from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, Aug. 26th, 7:30-8:30am

Prairie Point Community Room

We will meet in the Community Room to discuss the following WWS topics;

1) What do mini-lessons look like? Video Presentation

2) What have you done to start the year? - Information and Idea Sharing

3) Determine topic for next meeting

4) Team Collaboration