Black Bob Staff Memo

Week of April 4-8, 2016

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Upcoming Events

This Week:

Monday April 4 B Day

Collaboration Meeting Day

8:40 Assessment Kick off for Grades 3,4, and 5 only

9:30 4th grade ePLC

10:30 3rd grade PLC (no ePLC)

2:30 1st Grade ePLC

Tuesday April 5 C Day

Major Savor Limo Rides during lunch (more info coming)

8:45 5th grade ELA Testing

3:30 District Math Wings Arbor Creek

Wednesday April 6 D Day

8:45 5th Grade ELA Testing

12:30 2nd grade PLC

4:00 Staff Meeting

Thursday April 7 E day

Kindergarten field trip

8:45 5th Grade ELA testing

8:30-12:30 Trisha out of the building @ IC

1:30 5th Grade PLC

2:30 Kindergarten PLC

7:00 PTA meeting

Friday April 8

Spirit Day: Mustache day

8:45 5th Grade ELA testing

10:00 4th Grade Lyric Opera Performance

BRAG rewards

Next Week:

Monday April 11 B Day

Collaboration Meeting Day

8:30 Grade 3 (Ballinger) ELA testing

10:15 and 1:00 Grade 4 ELA testing

Tuesday April 12 C Day

8:30 Grade 3 (Ballinger) ELA Testing

10:15 and 1:00 Grade 4 ELA testing

4:00 Special Topics

Wednesday April 13 D Day

8:30 Grade 3 (Ballinger) ELA Testing

10:15 and 1:00 Grade 4 ELA testing

4:00 BLT

Thursday April 14 E Day

8:30 Grade 3 (Ballinger)

10:15 and 1:00 Grade 4 ELA testing

9:00 Trisha at Elementary Principals Meeting

Friday April 15

No School/ District Staff Development

Saturday April 16

Happy Birthday Susan R.

7:00 Olathe's Got Talent

Next Year

Amy Klein will be joining the 3rd grade team for next year and Katrina Hawthorne will be joining the 5th grade team next year. I know you all will support them in their transitions. I know they will be amazing in their new grade level.

Photo ID retakes

Is your current Photo ID more than 3 years old?

Might be time for a retake!

Photo ID retakes will be available several days this spring. Please note the added opportunities at Summer Conference! If you want a new ID picture for the 2016 - 17 school year, get your best face on and come to the Education Center, 14160 Black Bob Rd, Employee Services Department (relocated to the first floor), on the following days: (No appointments are necessary. )

Tuesday, April 19 – (7:00 AM to 5:00 PM)

Thursday, May 5 – (7:00 AM to 5:00 PM)


Summer Conference – Olathe Northwest High School

MAY 25th and 26th - (7:00 AM to 1:00 PM)

Energy and Calm: Break Breaks

When presented with new material, standards, and complicated topics, we need to be focused and calm as we approach our assignments. We can use brain breaks and focused-attention practices to positively impact our emotional states and learning. They refocus our neural circuitry with either stimulating or quieting practices that generate increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where problem solving and emotional regulation occur.

Brain Breaks

A brain break is a short period of time when we change up the dull routine of incoming information that arrives via predictable, tedious, well-worn roadways. Our brains are wired for novelty because we pay attention to any and every stimulus in our environment that feels threatening or out of the ordinary. This has always been a wonderful advantage because our survival as a species depended on this aspect of brain development.

When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens. Consider trying these with your class:

1. The Junk Bag

I always carry a bag of household objects containing markers, scrap paper, and anything that one would find in a junk drawer -- for example, a can opener or a pair of shoelaces. Pick any object out of the junk bag and ask students to come up with two ways this object could be reinvented for other uses. They can write or draw their responses. Once students have drawn or written about an invention, they can walk the room for one minute sharing and comparing.

2. Squiggle Story

On a blank sheet of paper, whiteboard, or Promethean Board, draw one squiggly line. Give students one minute to stand and draw with their opposite hand, turning the line into a picture or design of their choice.

3. Opposite Sides

Movement is critical to learning. Have students stand and blink with the right eye while snapping the fingers of their left hand. Repeat this with the left eye and right hand. Students could also face one another and tap the right foot once, left foot twice, and right foot three times, building speed they alternate toe tapping with their partner.

4. Symbolic Alphabet

Sing the alphabet with names of objects rather than the letters.

5. Other Languages

Teach sign language or make up a spoken language. In pairs, students take turns speaking or interpreting this new language for 30 seconds each.

6. Mental Math

Give a set of three instructions, counting the sequence to a partner for 30 seconds. Example: Count by two until 20, then count by three until 50, finishing with seven until 80. Switch and give the other partner another set of numbers to count.

7. Invisible Pictures

Have a student draw a picture in the air while their partner guesses what it is. You could give them categories such as foods, places, or other ways to narrow the guessing.

8. Story Starters

A student or teacher begins a story for one minute, either individually or with a partner. The students then complete or continue it with a silly ending.

9. Rock Scissors Paper Math

With the traditional game, the last call-out is "math." With that call, students lay out one, two, three, or four fingers in the palm of their hand. The best of three wins.

Focused-Attention Practices

A focused-attention practice is a brain exercise for quieting the thousands of thoughts that distract and frustrate us each day. When the mind is quiet and focused, we are able to be present with a specific sound, sight, or taste. Research repeatedly shows that quieting our minds ignites our parasympathetic nervous system, reducing heart rate and blood pressure while enhancing our coping strategies to effectively handle the day-to-day challenges that keep coming. Our thinking improves and our emotions begin to regulate so that we can approach an experience with variable options.

For the following practices, the goal is to start with 60 to 90 seconds and build to five minutes:

1. Breathing

Use the breath as a focus point. Have students place one hand close to their nose (not touching) and one hand on their belly. As they breathe in, have them feel their bellies expand. As they exhale, they can feel the warm air hit their hand. Students will focus on this breath for only one minute. Let them know that it's OK when thoughts sometimes come into the mind uninvited. Tell them to exhale that thought away.

2. Colors

Visualize colors while focusing on the breath. Inhale a deep green, and exhale a smoky gray. Have the students imagine the colors as swirling and alive with each inhale. If a student is de-escalating from an angry moment, the color red is a great color to exhale.

3. Movement

For younger children, direct students to stand and, as they inhale, lift an arm or leg and wiggle it, exhaling it back to its original position. For younger grades beginning these focused-attention practices, it's good to include an inhale and exhale with any type of movement.

4. The Deep-Dive Breath

We inhale for four counts, hold for four, and exhale slowly for four counts. You can increase the holding of breath by a few seconds once the students find the rhythm of the exercise.

5. Energizing Breath

We pant like a dog with our mouths open and our tongues out for 30 seconds, continuing for another 30 seconds with our mouths closed as we take short belly breaths with one hand on the belly. We typically take three energizing pant breaths per second. After a full minute, the students return to four regular deep inhales and exhales.

6. Sound

The use of sound is very powerful for engaging a calm response. In the three classrooms where I teach, we use rain sticks, bells, chimes, and music. There are many websites that provide music for focus, relaxation and visualization. Here is one of my favorites.

7. Rise and Fall

As we breathe in and out through our noses, we can lie on the floor and place an object on our stomachs, enhancing our focus by watching the rising and falling of our bellies.

When we are focused and paying attention to our thoughts, feelings and choices, we have a much greater opportunity to change those thoughts and feelings that are not serving us well in life and in school. When we grasp this awareness, we see and feel the difference!

How do you stimulate or quiet your students?

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Bond Information

Repeating the BIG NEWS:

BOND 2016

Board of Education Approves June 2016 Bond Election - The BOE voted to move forward with a $156 million bond election. Registered voters who live within the Olathe School Dist boundaries will be able to vote in a June mail-in election that would help the district address its growth, safety and security, technology, and aging facility needs. Projects within this bond proposal would touch every school in the district and will not increase the mill (tax) rate currently levied to pay off bonds. Additional information can be found by going to

Important Bond 2016 Dates to Remember:

May 17 is the deadline to register to vote in this bond election

May 18 and shortly thereafter is the period when ballots will be received in the mail by registered voters

June 7 is the deadline (at noon) to have ballots at the Johnson County Election Office

Assessment Information

Wait Times between Test Parts on ELA and Mathematics

We strongly recommend taking no more than one test part per day on ELA and Mathematics. We have received many reports that it is now taking up to 60 minutes for the next test part to appear on a student’s test menu.

Every ELA test part has a listening component. Earbuds are needed for each part of the ELA test

Avg. Number of Minutes to Complete a Test Part as of March 28, 2016

Grade 3 ELA

part 1: 54 minutes

part 2: 28

part 3: 24

part 4: 22

Grade 4 ELA

part 1: 46 minutes

part 2: 28

part 3: 25

part 4: 24

Grade 5 ELA

part 1: 42 minutes

part 2: 28

part 3: 26

part 4: 25


· Students who were re-activated were excluded from the results

· Students who took longer than 2 hours to complete a test part were excluded from the results

· A minimum of 100 students had to be tested in order for the results to be reported.

· Results are based upon tests taken by March 28, 2016.

Use the Correct Number for the Assessment Office!

Some people have incorrectly assumed that 780-6021 is the number to use when calling the assessment office from a cell phone. That is not an Olathe district phone number. It is the phone number of an individual living in Olathe. They are receiving many voice mails each day about assessments. Please, do not call that number.

a. From a cell phone call: 780-8168

a. From a district phone: 5006-8168

Soft Breaks

Soft breaks are built into the tests. Soft breaks are ways that we can transition students from a calculator section to a non-calculator section. You will also find soft breaks that have built into ELA tests.

· Students should read carefully the instructions on the review screen.

· If a box appears above the end button, then the test continues to the next section.

· The box states: You are not finished. Choose end to launch the next section.

· Students would then continue to answer the remaining questions in this test section, but would not be able to return to any item before the soft break.

MDPT Scoring on April 15

· On the district-wide assessment scoring day all elementary teachers (except those in grade 2), all social studies teachers, all science teachers, all ELL teachers, all Title I teachers, and all middle-school ELA teachers will score the MDPT. Four hours have been set aside for scoring.

· Teachers will score the MDPT at their own building.

· The first hour of scoring will be spent becoming familiar with the scoring rubric and watching a PowerPoint that explains the process of scoring the MDPT. Teachers will then login to ScorePoint website and must complete the ScorePoint online training.

· Teachers will then score MDPT’s for the next three hours. Teachers should be provided two fifteen-minute breaks.

· An email will be sent to each teacher involved in scoring on April 14. It will have the PowerPoint, Scoring Rubrics, and login information / password for ScorePoint.

Its that time of year, where the calendar starts to fill up very fast with new dates and information. I will continue to have this in our Staff Memo--and if there have been changes I will note those.

April 5 Pizza Street Limo Ride

April 8 Lyric Opera

April 12 Special Topics- 4:00-5:00

April 15 No School/ Staff Professional Day

April 18-22 National School Volunteer week

April 19 Olathe Public Schools Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 4:00

April 19 Learning Fair 6:00/ Fine Arts Concert 7:00

April 22 2nd and 3rd Grade Earth Day Musical 8:45

April 25-29 Administrative Professionals Week

April 26 1st Semester STUCO field trip 9-12

April 26 5th Grade Musical 7:00

April 27 Special Chorus to Jazz Museum

April 29 New Principals visit to BB 8:30-11:00

May 2 2nd semester STUCO field trip 9-12

May 6 Field Day

May 9 Fifth Grade Celebration

May 10 5th grade to Wildwood

May 16 Writing Celebration

Have a great week! Thank you for all that you do!