Lance's Ledger

October 12 - 16 at Central Elementary

Teachers Collaborate on School Improvement

Kudos to teachers and parapros for the solid focus and effort devoted to revisiting and refining school improvement over the past two weeks. The School Improvement Leadership team of Melissa Jones, Debbie Stuart, Stephanie Thomas and Keri Collins has been actively meeting and planning since the first weeks of school. A couple of weeks ago goal areas leaders met to review specific activities within our SI Plan and then goal area teams met during our recent PD to make sure we are on track. Kudos to all teams for their ongoing effort. As teams meet throughout the year I'd like to include a representative report as a standing agenda item for our staff meetings so that a larger number of staff are more aware of the progress being made in each goal area (versus just the goal area committee they serve on). In the case of school improvement the more "cooks in the kitchen" we have "results in a better recipe!"

Plan Proving Positive

Our behavior plan is producing evidence of positive results thanks to the continued efforts of staff toward making connections with kids and parents. This past week two young students met with me to review their behavior progress. What impressed me most was the fact that they both mentioned a staff member as a "go to person" in their plan. One second grader and one third grader both mentioned being able to go to Challenge Coordinator Leonna Hale as a person they could seek out for help during recess. Mrs. Hale will teach me if I make a mistake and then I can get better," commented the second grader. Likewise, the third grader expressed, "I can talk to Mrs. Hale. She will help me if I get mad." Some of our kids are providing us with evidence that "reteaching efforts" are seen as help versus punishment. That is powerful! As we stay the course other students are sure to come to the same conclusion as the two who shared their thoughts with me.

In another instance I received an email from a parent wanting to make me aware of the "awesome staff I have at Central" and specifically mentioning how two other staff members worked to help her child overcome anxieties about school during the past two weeks. I appreciate the camaraderie and spirit of cooperation staff members are investing as proven by their actions to support our students and each other. Please keep up the great work. I know these are only a fraction of the great interactions between staff and students.

District-Wide Updates

In an earlier email I shared changes in our plans for school business days. Effective immediately, school business days will not be approved through central office on Mondays or Fridays. This is due to the highest rates of absenteeism on those days of the week and the fact that we re having trouble securing substitutes on those days. Even though school business is important our first responsibility is to have teachers in classrooms for students and their learning. While we cannot control staff illness, we can avoid making the problem worse by not scheduling additional school business on Mondays and Fridays. Accordingly, we will need to reschedule some events we already have planned for the future (CSTs, etc.) that would require substitutes on a Monday or Friday. Thank you for your understanding.

The other situation where help is needed involves the recent confirmed report of viral meningitis. I am sure you have all had the opportunity to read Mrs. Halabicky's communications and suggestions from the Genesee County Health Department and CDC regarding preventative measures we can take. The biggest help is not always convenient but it is necessary! Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to reduce the spread of viruses. Anti-bacterial sanitizers are not effective because they do not contain a high enough alcohol content (for safety reasons) to kill viruses.

While taking your students to the restroom a few times a day and teaching and re-teaching hand-washing techniques may take some extra time, the time students are sick also takes a toll on learning and public health. The time you take to teach life skills to your kiddos could reduce the occurrence of some nasty germs making headway into our school and community. Please know your efforts are important in the fight to reduce the incidence of illness and keep us all healthy! Thanks so much for your continued efforts!

Cardinal Code Focus for the Week of October 12-16: Restrooms A great time to reinforce hand-washing!

Summer Reading Challenge Celebration

Over 140 students were treated to a pizza luncheon last Friday as part of a celebration recognizing their accomplishments during the Summer Reading Challenge. Several PTO volunteers and Mr. Harper's twin brother, Luigi, served pizza to the students. Thanks to Literacy Specialist Stephanie Thomas for coordinating this event. Without her assistance and organization this event would not have been as successful as it was. It was a deliciously delightful time for the kids an adult volunteers alike!

Safety Patrol About to Begin

Safety Patrol Coordinator Mike Kennedy tells me Safety patrol is ready to begin. Mr. Kennedy plans to come around to classrooms with a couple of Safety Patrol members during the next week. He plans to talk with your students about the role of Safety Patrol as student ambassadors who take on the responsibility to help keep all students safe. Please work with Mr. Kennedy to reinforce respect for Safety Patrol as safety helpers. Students should respect requests from Safety Patrol as they would from a teacher or other staff member. If a students has a problem with a safety patrol member the student should bring his/her concern to the teacher. Otherwise, the expectation is that students will follow the direction of the safety patrol.

This Week at Central

Monday, Oct. 12
  • Columbus Day

Tuesday, October 13

  • PLC Grades 1-4 (Data organization...share ranking of student needs by class and grade level based on DIBELS and STAR Math for Grades 2-4; DIBELS and 1st assessment on adds to 10 for Grade 1)
  • Patrol Luncheon Group 1 with Mr. Kennedy
  • DESA CMC 1-3:30 PM (Lance @ Admin. Blgd.)

Wednesday, October 14

  • Staff Meeting 7:35 - 8:10 AM (Agenda: ACC Update- Monica, 5 min.; Evaluation Process & Question Update - Lance,5 min.; Review of SW Behavior Plan Progress...What's working, what needs tweaking or adjustment- Maida & staff, 20 min; Staff comment or future considerations - teachers, 10 min.)
  • Patrol Luncheon Group 2 with Mr. Kennedy

Thursday, October 15

  • SI Leadership Meeting in conference Room (7:40-8:10)/Topic: SI Budget Review
  • Author Visit in Library/Schedule: Previously sent by C. Higgerson & R. Duckworth. Be sure to let her know if there is a major problem. Suggestion to flip Grade 1 and two due to para schedule has been made (Good catch, Kelly!)
  • Admin. Mtg. 9:30 - noon; Lance @ admin. in AM
  • CAP 1-4 PLC from 2-3:20 PM...(Data organization...share ranking of student needs by class and grade level based on DIBELS and STAR Math for Grades 2-4; DIBELS and 1st assessment on adds to 10 for Grade 1)

Friday, October 16

  • Michigan/Michigan State Day - Jean/Jersey Day & Social Committee Luncheon "tailgate"
  • Reminder to publish Halloween parade & party details in your weekly classroom newsletter

Looking Ahead

  • Oct. 19...DRA FAll Window; Subs for Grade 1 only, Grade 2-4 assess below or approaching grade level only (no subs); ACC (4:15-6:15 PM) Melissa, Monica and Lance
  • Oct. 20...Table of Honor Recognition during all lunch hours; PTO @ 6 PM
  • Oct. 22...Principals' Mtg. ; Blueberry Ambassadors' Luncheon
  • October 26...Suggested date for completion of DRA
  • October 27...Supt. bldg. visit
  • Oct. 28...Staff Meeting 7:35-8:15 AM - (Agenda: DEF Presentation; Halloween Parade & Party Update; ACC Update); CAP PLC Grades 1-4
  • Oct. 29...CST Meetings
  • Oct. 30...DRA window closes; Halloween Parade & Celebrations
  • Nov. 1...Daylight Savings Time ends (fall back 1-hour!)
  • Nov. 2...Parapro CMC from 4:15 - 6:15 (Lance)
  • Nov. 3...Election Day; Data Day: Grade 3 AM & Grade 1 PM
  • Nov. 4...Staff Meeting- (Agenda: P/T Conferences, ACC Update; Behavior Committee & PPSC Update); Data Day: Grade 4 AM 7 Grade 2 PM
  • Nov. 5...Team Leader Meeting from 7:40 - 8:10 AM; Admin. Mtg. (9:30-Noon) Lance
  • Nov. 6...No School for Students; Teacher PD 8:30-11:30 AM; Possible Para-pro PD in AM; Teacher Work Day PM-Teachers may complete PM work at home.
  • Nov. 10...PLC Grades 1-4; PTO Meeting 6 PM in library
  • Nov. 11...Veterans Day; P/T Conferences 5-8 PM (full day of school for students)
  • Nov. 12...P/T Conferences (8:30-11:30, 12:30-3:30;5-8)/No school for students
  • Nov. 13...No school for students or staff (conf. comp. day for teachers)
  • Nov. 17...Grade 3 Music Concert; CSTs TBD
  • Nov. 19...Principals' Mtg. in AM; CSTs 8:30 - 1:45; CAP PLC 2-3:20 PM
  • Nov. 24...PLC Grades 1-4
  • Nov. 25...Staff Meeting 7:35 - 8:15 AM
  • Nov. 26 -27...Thanksgiving Break/ No school

The Importance of Reteaching

During PLC conversations with teachers I couldn't help but notice the frustration sometimes voiced (appropriately) over the struggle to keep up with curriculum demands and pacing. As educators we want to do the very best for and by our students. Although there is no magical solution to this age-old dilemma it is wise to begin a thoughtful conversation about what we would need to do to build a strong Tier 1 system of differentiated teaching for students. The following video shares an Arizona district's approach toward looking for a solution. As you view the short video please ask yourself the following questions:

  • What impact on student learning might such a system or reteaching and/or enrichment have at Central Elementary?
  • What would we need to do to implement such a system in our building?

Try to think in terms of "brainstorming ideas." Let your mind be open to possibilities rather than be constrained by limits.

Reteach and Enrich: How to Make Time for Every Student