The Blake Buzz

Week of January 18-22, 2016

Dear Blake Family:

Please help me welcome two new teachers to our staff this week! Jennifer Filer will be joining our second grade team as the new teacher in Room 209. She will be a wonderful addition to our school and our primary program. Pam Monhollon will be transitioning to her role as an interventionist after she completes state-required assessments for her second graders and helps Jennifer with the transition. Lauren Morris will be joining the Blake Family as our new Arts and Humanities teacher. She is very passionate and experienced in music and will bring creativity to our Arts program! We are fortunate to have these two wonderful teachers as new additions to our wonderful staff.

I hope that you all enjoyed your three day weekend and took some time to reflect as we celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday. You all are inspiring to students every day and you're helping to make their dreams come true. Don't ever forget the importance of your role in students' lives or downplay your impact. You're the best!


The Math Committee is working on planning a really fun event for our Title I Family Fun Night. We will have We LOVE Math night with a Valentine's Day theme on Tuesday, February 9, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Students and families will visit stations in the gym where they will play fun games and complete activities involving addition and subtraction, geometry, measurement, fractions, problem solving, and graphing. They will earn "play money" at each station, and will be able to spend it at a "Valentine Candy Shop" at the end. If you are not on the Math Committee but are willing to stay, we would greatly appreciate the help. The more the merrier! We will not be serving dinner to families that night. Instead, they will receive a Valentine Cookie and juice. Please let Melissa Culver or Ashley Snawder know if you are willing and able to help!


Dr. Paige Hartstern, our Region 3 Assistant Superintendent, will be visiting Blake on Friday, January 22. We may walk through the building and if you see her, please speak. Dr. Hartstern is very personable and wants to get to know our staff members. She also wants you to get to know her. She provides feedback to me based on what she sees when she visits. If you do not have current student work in the WRITING HALL OF FAME, or on your bulletin boards, please ensure that you correct this on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.


I am currently reading a very interesting book called Understanding Black Male Learning Styles, by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. It is full of ideas and strategies and is a very quick read at only 100 pages. If you are interested in borrowing it, please see me.

Some of the strategies to ensure black males have an ideal classroom are listed below:

  • a right-brain classroom (creative)
  • learning centers (visual-print, visual-pictures, auditory, oral, kinesthetic, tactile)
  • technology center
  • famous pictures of Black males on the wall
  • portable desks
  • teacher's desk in the center of student semi-circle
  • cooperative learning groups
  • learning buddies
  • classroom library filled with best books for boys
  • photos of male students on the wall
  • physical activity daily
  • water and fruit available for snacking
  • classical or jazz music in the background
  • academic competitions
  • questions are encouraged
  • only open-ended questions are asked by teacher
  • chess
  • use money to teach various concepts
  • tests given during the best day and time for students
  • only 20% of lesson plans use textbooks and worksheets


PLCs, please make sure that you and your teammates have completed the item analysis for your MPA2 and that you are putting strategies and interventions in place for students who did not master standards. Bring this with you to the February 2 faculty meeting, as this will be our area of focus. Nothing needs to be in writing- just bring your CASCADE report and be ready to discuss what is working to help our students make growth.


Thank you to all of you who are diligently giving our kids PAWS OF PRAISE tickets for our PBIS positive behavior recognition system! The students seem to be loving it and I think we will see an overall increase in good behavior if we stick with it and use the tickets wisely. Don't forget to look for students who are normally not recognized for their positive behavior and target them with tickets, as well as those who are almost always doing what is expected. This is a positive system for ALL KIDS!


During the first week of February, our school will get its 2016-2017 budget allocation. We will be working on next year simultaneously as we continue to do this year's work! Please think about WHAT WORKS FOR KIDS as we plan next year's positions. I want everyone to be able to have a voice and provide input into the budget process. A survey link will be sent out in the next week, and we will also have open budget meetings as we move forward. It's a short time-period to put a budget together, as the budget is given to us on Feb. 2, and we must plan, get SBDM approval, and submit the budget by Feb. 16. The district is forced to make some cuts this year, as I am sure you have heard on the news, but we do not have a final decision from the Board yet. It is extremely difficult to build a budget when we do not have all that we need! IF any funding IS TRULY CUT, all we can do is keep students achievement first and foremost, and base decisions on what will help our students learn and be able to read by third grade. Anyone who is interested in serving on the ad-hoc Budget Committee just needs to attend the meetings and be ready for open, honest dialogue.

Important Dates


18 Dr. MLK, Jr. Day- No School!!!

19 Committee Meetings 4:00-5:00pm

20 ILT 4:00pm

20 LG&E Engineering Club 4:00-6:00pm

21 Lockdown Drill

21 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm

21 SBDM 4:15pm

22 Dr. Paige Hartstern, Area 3 Asst. Superintendent, visits Blake

22 PTA U of L vs. UK dress down day- Students and staff bring $1.00 to participate--all proceeds benefit our new playground fund.

25 Teachers update grade books

26 100th Day of School (unless snow days)

26 Faculty Meeting- Bellarmine Literacy Project presentation


28 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm

29 PTA Shoparoo PAJAMA DAY for the grade level who earns the most Roo points

29 Pay Day


*February is Black History month. Please ensure that your students are reading about African Americans and their contributions to our world! It would be great to see student writing, posters, etc. displayed in the hallway.

1-5 National School Counseling Week

2 Faculty Meeting- All teachers bring MPA2 scores with item analysis so we can look at standards not mastered and strategize interventions for students in vertical teams.

3 JCPS Principals' Meeting

4 JCPS Asst. Principals' Meeting

4 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm

5 JCPS Counselors' Meeting

5 TPGES Student Growth Goals common formative assessments due

6 PTA Valentine's Day Dance 3-6pm (Saturday) Volunteers needed.

9 We LOVE Math Night (PTA Meeting 5:30-6. Activities 6-7:30 p.m. Volunteers needed).

11 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm

12 Pay Day

12 Classroom Friendship Parties 2:30-3:30pm- please send copies of communications to parents to the office staff so we know how to answer parent questions.

15 Teachers update grade books

16 Committee Meetings 4:00-5:00pm **FAMILY LITERACY Night 15 days away

17 ILT 4:00pm

17 LG&E Engineering Club 4:00-6:00pm

18 SBDM 4:15pm

18 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm

23 Faculty Meeting- Bellarmine Literacy Project presentation

25 Drama Club (2nd-5th) 4:00-5:30pm


29 Parent-Teacher Conference Day


Congratulations to Meg McDonald, who is our Staff Superhero for the week of January 11-15, 2016!

Ms. McDonald was nominated by Olivia Hust. In Olivia's words, "Ms. McDonald made my first peer observation so smooth and easy! She was completely prepared with her pre-observation form, and she had the student handouts and texts ready for me when I walked in! Her lesson was wonderful and her students were on-task and working hard! Thank you, Ms. McDonald!

Tracie Wright was also nominated by Whitney Price. Whitney wrote, "I have a student with low self-esteem and Ms. Wright showed her a picture of a girl that looks like her and told her how beautiful she was. That really made her feel special. I appreciate Ms. Wright helping my students feel good."