Team Thomson News & Notes

January 2, 2018

Important Information for You!

Welcome Back & Happy New Year!

I hope that over the holiday break, even though a little shorter than we may have wished for, you were able to spend time relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. My family had a wonderful week. Christmas was spent with family, both at our home and at the homes of family. Following Christmas, my mother, Elena, and I took a quick trip to Chicago, a gift from my mom and dad to Elena, to visit American Girl Place...who knew you could spend over four hours in a doll shop. And New Years Eve was spent with close friends.

As we return to school, I encourage you to think about the 'year' or remainder of the school year ahead and what you want for yourself, your students, and their families. How do you want to spend this year? What do you want your students to remember or feel about you and this school year? What do you want their families to remember? How can you make all this happen? For me, I have been thinking about my 'word' for this year and it's implications on the questions above for me. As we have done in the past, please think about your word for this calendar year or the remainder of the school year. At our staff meeting next week I will be asking you to share your word and just a quick bit about why you choose that word. Below is a short video from Jon Gordon about your one word.

Here's to a great New Year!

Cardinal Code

As you know, this week is all about reteaching, not retelling, the Cardinal Code. Just as with the return from any break, extra attention should be put on reteaching aspects of curriculum and behavior that students need. Since there is no specific Cardinal Code area focus for this week, please use the three days to reteach areas and procedures that your students need. Remember, time spent now on reteaching procedures and behavior is time gained later.

Success Criteria

All of us know the importance of success criteria in relation to student success—it lets students know the benchmark they need to meet to be successful. However as a classroom teacher it has been difficult to put into words what this might look like as we write lesson plans and share success criteria with students. That said, moving forward, it is important, when writing lesson plans and success criteria, to think of, and answer the following questions:

1. What is it we expect students to be able to do?

2. What will this look like to me if the student uses the skill or strategy as taught?

3. What will it look like to the student if they successfully use the strategy or skill as taught?

Sounds pretty simple in regards to determining success criteria, however, it is important to view success from all angles—what it looks like to us as well as to our students. Want to know how to include success criteria into your plans and do so successfully? Answer the above questions in statements and you will be well on your way to identifying success criteria! We will talk through this at our staff meeting next week, so please bring your lesson plans for the week with you to look at and use as a discussion point with your colleagues.


Classroom observations will resume right away this week in order to finish the first inquiry cycle. I look forward to spending this time observing all the good work you are doing. As the first inquiry cycle ends, you will need to complete a mid-year self-assessment and we will be revisiting and creating new Growth Plans. Teachers will need to complete their Self-Assessment for the 2nd Inquiry Cycle between January 17 - 24. Teacher Growth Plans for the 2nd Inquiry Cycle need to be completed by January 31. After a few teachers shared very honest feelings and thoughts in the fall about this process, I will be sharing a new way of thinking through the writing of your Growth Plans that I believe will make them far more meaningful to you in your practice. We will discuss this at our staff meeting next week.

Kick-off to the Golden Lunchbox

I am so excited for our Golden Lunchbox kick-off and want to thank our Behavior Committee for taking this and running with it. They have created an additional Cardinal Code Lesson to kick-off the Golden Lunchbox and a schedule for teaching this lesson in the lunchroom. Both of these will be placed in mailboxes Wednesday, January 3rd. Once you receive these two documents, you will notice that next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, classroom teachers and lunch monitors will work together with students in the lunchroom to teach what the Golden Lunchbox is all about and reteach lunchroom/playground expectations.

Quotes Worth Reading

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"May the new year bring you an abundance of amazing opportunities, beautiful moments, and joyful experiences. May your positive actions and attitude inspire others. May you be brave enough to take on and overcome rewarding challenges. May you find yourself in high spirits and excellent health. May you love with all your heart and find peace in even the most turbulent of times. May the love you give always find its way back to you multiplied. And may you forever be filled with the hope and strength necessary to make your dreams a reality."

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

Birthdays... Valerie Buse, January 4th, Happy Birthday to You!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Wednesday, January 3rd-School Resumes!
  • Thursday, January 4th-Elementary Principals Meeting (Natalie)
  • Monday, January 8th-Kick-off for the 'Golden Lunch Box' lesson...please look for a schedule from our behavior committee; Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 p.m. H.S. AMR
  • Tuesday, January 9th-DIBELS Testing
  • Wednesday, January 10th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: School Improvement/Mini QAR; 5D+ Growth Plans; Success Criteria, please bring lesson plans with you; Your WORD for the year); DIBELS Testing
  • Thursday, January 11th-STAR Testing; General Admin. Meeting (Natalie); ELA Meeting 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Friday, January 12th-STAR Testing
  • Monday, January 15th-Martin Luther King Day, NO SCHOOL
  • Wednesday, January 17th-Lockdown; Social Studies Curriculum meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 18th-Elementary Principals Meeting (Natalie); CMC Meeting 4-7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 19th-End of Second Marking Period/Semester; Leadership Team Meeting, 7:15-8:15 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 20th-GISD Literacy Conference, if you are planning to attend please let me know and get registered. I will be submitting names to Kevin Brown for PD pre-approval for the group next Tuesday, January 9th.