Smoke Signals: Staff Edition

October 17-21, 2016

This week's events:

All week:

Blaze a trail to Literacy- October 4 - 23

Parent Conferences - All week

Tuesday -

  • Fire Prevention Program 8:30 & 9:30
  • 5th Grade Constitution Books
  • Building is open until 7:00 pm for parent conferences - Mr. East will be the administrator on duty.

Wednesday -

  • 9:00 CLT Meeting - Burkhalter Off Campus
  • 11:00-1:00 - Parent Brown Bag Lunch - Topics: Meet Mr. East & Internet resources for families

Thursday -

  • 9:00 AP Meeting - East Off Campus
  • Building will be open until 7:00 for parent conferences - Burkhalter will be the administrator on duty.
  • Box tops are due
  • Kindergarten Field Trip

Friday -

  • Attendance Meeting - East Off Campus
  • Parent conference day

Parent Conference Week

As a parent, I enjoy getting to sit down with my children's teachers to hear about how the boys are doing in their classes. I want to know how they are progressing and any struggles they may be having. I truly want my son's teachers to be my partner in educating my child!

Parent conferences are a great time to talk with parents and make sure that everyone is on the same page. It is important to be well prepared as you go into the conference with useful data and observations to share with parents. Make sure that you are sharing positive interactions and anecdotes as much as you're sharing struggles and areas to improve.

What information should I be prepared to share at a parent conference?

  • Plan to share grades on classwork, homework, tests, and quizzes.
  • Discuss specific areas of greatness or struggle with academics and behavior.
  • Discuss goals that you and the child may have made for the school year.
  • Discuss STAAR testing data, DCAs, DRA, Istation, and Education Galaxy reports
  • Discuss the Parent Compact and give parents a copy of the Parent Involvement Policy
  • Be ready to listen... Parents want to know that you are hearing their concerns and that you are their partner in finding solutions. Give parents an opportunity to share and ask questions.
  • It is helpful to use a common form to help you keep the conference on track.

The Details:

  • The building will be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 7:00 pm.
  • The building is open all day, 8:00-4:00 on Friday.
  • If you work one evening next week, you may leave at noon on Friday. (Example: Work until 7:00pm on Tuesday, then you may leave at 12:00 on Friday.)
  • Paraprofessionals follow the same guidelines. Those of you who would like to leave at noon on Friday can work one evening. What will you do in the evening? You can sit in on parent conferences for students you work with, help man the doors, and/or direct parents throughout the building.

Parent conference week will be full of insight for you, your students, and their parents. If you would like to read more about how to plan for your parent conferences, there are a few links below.

Tips for New Teachers: Making the Most of Parent Conferences - ASCD

Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences - Edutopia

Parent Teacher Conferences: Preparing for and Conducting Parent Teacher Conferences - NEA

Mr. East, Mrs. Taylor and I will be here to support you during your conferences. Please don't hesitate to ask us to sit in on a conference if you would like some assistance.

Happy conferencing,


New Teacher Corner...

New teachers go through six very specific stages emotionally during their first year. To some extent, I think we all experience a less intense version of these stages each year we teach.

At this point, we have finished the first grading period and the honeymoon may be over. Students may be showing difficulties that weren't as obvious in the beginning of the year. The work-load piles up around September and October and disillusionment may set in.

Hang in there! There are a few tips to help you regain your enthusiasm:

  • Take care of your body: Exercise, eat foods that make your body healthy, and get enough sleep
  • Laugh...a lot!
  • Spend time with people you like and enjoy
  • Do things that make you feel pedicures? Make an appointment! And bring a know, like your principal ;-)
  • Set boundaries and take the time you need to recharge.
  • Think positively and steer clear of gossip and negativity.

For more information, click here!

Walkthroughs have started

Dear Staff,

Mr. East and I have made some time over the past few weeks to get into classrooms more, and this is something we would like to continue. I’ve found that I’m learning a great deal about good instruction from being in classrooms more, and I hope to continue to learn, and help you to grow, by being a more regular presence in classrooms. It’s my goal to visit every classroom every other week or so, and have a chance to talk with you or leave some sort of feedback.

Moving forward, my goal is to:

  • Be in 11 classrooms per week for at least 15 minutes
  • Stop in every classroom at least once per week.


First CAT Meeting, held 10/13

The presentation for our CAT team meeting can be found here. At the meeting, I shared information about Shackelford's Campus Improvement Plan, our Parent Compact & Parent Involvement Policy, STAAR Scores, and the process for developing the campus Mission and Vision Statements.

I would like teacher input on developing the campus Vision and Mission statement. Anyone who is interested in helping is welcome to come meet on November 3 at 3:30 in the library. This committee will work through the development of a shared campus mission and vision which will be presented to the CAT team in December.

I have additional copies of the packets handed out to CAT members. Please let me know if you would like a copy and I'll put one in your box.

Our next CAT meeting is December 6 at 3:30 pm in the library. It is open to anyone who would like to attend.