Weekly Notes

March 16-20, 2015

Focus of the Week: Thankfulness

Monday 3/16

Maurus @ central office 2PM (admin meeting)

Reading Month Activity: Dress like a pirate!


Tuesday 3/17

Maurus @ central office @ 1:15 (Evaluation with Brian)

Common Staff Meeting (more information to follow)

St. Paddy's Day!

Reading Month Activity: Tune into a good book Tuesday! Turn off the TV!


Wednesday 3/18

Maurus @ central office- AM (Title I district planning meeting)

Jocis/Segura-Torres conferences beginning @ noon

Reading Month Activity: Yo Ho Ho, let's write today! Make a class book (bind books to share by the fish tank)


Thursday 3/19

PBIS @ 7:45

Maurus/Compton Attendance Meeting @ 10AM

Maurus- Maintenance Meeting @ 11:30

Jocis/Segura-Torres conferences beginning @ noon

Books for Bingo @ 6-7PM (Muse, Bastine attending)

Reading Month Activity: Book Buddies (K/3, 1st/4th, 2nd/5th)


Friday 3/20

Spirit Day!

Reading Month Activity: Argh! Read it, Watch it, or walk the plank!


Upcoming Dates:

Week of 3/23- Battle of the Cans

3/24: Dr. Pam 4-5:30PM

3/25: Maurus @ admin meeting all day- Muse acting principal

3/27: Watch DOGS Basketball Game @ THS @ 6PM

3/30: Fire Drill @ lunch (we must do this per the Department of Homeland Security- more information to follow soon)

3/31: Maurus @ RESA all day- Shufeldt acting principal

4/3-4/10: Spring Break!


MStep Testing Windows:

5th Grade: Week of 4/13 through week of 4/27

4th Grade: Week of 4/27 through week of 5/11

3rd Grade: Week of 5/18 through week of 6/1

PLC Word of the Week: Explicit Instruction

A systematic instructional approach that includes a set of design and delivery procedures derived from effective schools research and behavior analysis; essential components of well designed explicit instruction include:

a) Implicit instructional design principles and assumptions that make up the content and strategies to be taught.

b) Visible delivery features of group instruction with a high level of teacher-student interaction.

Housekeeping

BaThRoOm CrAzInEsS!

A friendly reminder to check on your bathroom procedures in the classroom. Many times, I see students using the bathroom in groups and they are very loud and are leaving messes- intentional and unintentional (and boy, are those intentional messes GROSS!).

Please remember that for student safety/responsibility and mindfulness of instructional time, that students need to use the bathroom one at a time (unless they have a bathroom buddy for a specific reason).

Here are my expectations for student bathroom use:

-One at a time per class unless for an planned reason

-Students will follow the safe, respectful and responsible expectations on the posters posted in or near the bathrooms

-Teaching staff is aware at any time who is using the bathroom and have awareness of abuse of privilege

-Teaching staff is making provisions and plans for students who abuse bathroom privileges

Please make sure to review bathroom expectations periodically with your students, as they need frequent reminders!

Some Ideas to Keep Track of Student Bathroom Use

Behavior

Be Proactive, Not Reactive!

Please take the time to review the recess handbook with students, possibly going through things at your morning/classroom meetings. Brooke worked hard to update the handbook and I noticed that most of the issues that we have stem from recess. Just think of how much less instructional time would be lost if we all took a few minutes a day to review games, rules, and expectations!

Remember, students need to be retaught the expectations frequently, as some of them have forgotten how to be proactive with solving little problems before they become big problems!

March Came in Like a Lion!

In schools everywhere, March is a historically high month of behavior infractions. At monthly administrative data meetings, we notice that at every school in our district, March soars about as high as October with student behavior issues.

Because of this, it is EXTREMELY important to be as proactive as possible with students. Remember to pump up the Jets Tickets, 4 positives for every correction, and reteaching of expectations as well as procedures just to name a few things.

Just to give you an idea of how busy it has been, here's where I have been spending a LOT of my time in the last week:

-7 Out of school suspensions. This week, we saw more than we did in just about all of February. Four suspensions were from fighting (three stemmed from football), one for work refusal/significant classroom disruption, two from use of a substance on school grounds (nicotene). For every out of school suspension, I spend on average an hour or more investigating, sometimes talking to several students to get the story straight, talking to the student, filling out think sheets, inputing data into the system, calling parents and talking to them then sitting with the student as they talk with the parent, meeting with parents when the student is picked up and brought back to school, and finally, writing letters that go home with the student. Because of the immense amount of time consumed by suspensions, I have unfortunately had to miss some observations. I am hoping to spend more time on instruction next week.

-5 In School Suspensions. Three of them were from repeated aggressive behavior, one was for work refusal/significant classroom disruption. Once again, during this time, I am spending a significant amount of time talking to all parties involved to get the story straight, calling parents, filling out think sheets, etc...

-Over 15 students in with Pam at Lunch- Some for more than one day, mostly for behavior infractions/not following expectations.

-Over 10 Targeted Discussions/Administrative Interventions with Students- mostly about troubleshooting peer-to-peer behaviors that have escalated. Some of these conversations can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.


I am hoping the saying about March holds true: March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It sure came in like a lion!

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Tier 2 Interventions

Many of you have come to me to help problem solve repeated issues and concerns with certain students. When you notice that certain students are having issues that are repeated, it is even more important that we follow the PBIS Tier I protocol of card flips/moving planes. This helps us track this behavior, helps me know that interventions have already taken place before the concern is brought to me, and assures that our school-wide process has been followed for every child, every time (unless you have talked to me about alternatives to card flips for students where this does not work).

Please do not feel as if you have to wait for my blessing or suggestion to implement Tier 2 interventions. There are staff members who are very comfortable with Check in Check out (CICO), point sheets, and other Tier 2 Interventions, and every grade level has a Tier 2 Coach. You may go to them for any assistance you may need in implementing these for our students.


Here are our Tier 2 coaches:

Paulisin

Kopy

Bastine

Skowronski

Compton

Vasiloff

Hempton

Maurus


If you are unsure as to whether or not you should be implementing a Tier 2 intervention, or you feel that you don't quite know where to start or what to do, please ask your grade level coach or someone above for their assistance. The hope is that all staff members will be able to implement Tier 2 interventions as soon as there is legitimate cause that a student needs more behavior intervention than what is given to all students.


Remember, if students haven't been given an opportunity to have Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports, we can't jump to a more intensive Tier 3 intervention!

Tips for Effective Communication and Behavior Management with Students

Please be familiar with the School Positive Behavior Intervention and Support expectations. The matrix explains the expectations.


Remember to implement the PBIS rule of 4 positives to 1 negative. “Positives” can include a smile, asking a student how they are doing, as well as compliments and noticing students who are demonstrating correct behaviors. This also “front-loads” the system and gives you more credibility with the student when you are in a situation where you may need to correct them.


Notice the students who are following the PBIS expectations. Attention is a powerful motivator and will even cause students who choose not to follow the expectations to adjust their behavior when they see their peers being recognized for positive choices.


Use a calm, firm voice when making a request to communicate authority and respect. Clearly state the behavior you would like the student to do.


When making a request, state your request in a positive manner. Example: Instead of saying, “Don’t run” say, “Walk.” This puts the image of walking (desired behavior) into the student’s mind, rather than the image of running (undesired behavior).


Some students are more defensive than others. They have the attitude, “I will respect you when you respect me.” Power battling with these students is a losing battle for both the adult and the student. Chip away at the student’s defenses by using the 4 positives to 1 negative practice.


When possible, provide controlled choices for students who are oppositional. Example: “I need you to stay seated. You can choose to sit in the front or the back.”


Students are more likely to comply with requests from adults they trust and with whom they feel safe. Providing acceptable choices gives students who need control appropriate control over a situation.


Never touch a student when disciplining unless you are trained to do so. Defer difficult situations to administration. When possible, meet with school administrators to discuss challenging students/situations.

A Jefferson Behavior Success Story

I wanted to highlight a Tier 2 success story about one of our very own students.

We have an upper grade student who came to us this past fall. He has a very large family with a single parent who is not able to always give him the time, attention and resources that he craves and requires. He struggled at the beginning of the year with feeling like he was a part of our school community. On several occasions, he replied that he didn't feel like Jefferson was his school, and he didn't feel as if he had any connections to caring adults in the building. We were seeing this student involved in many repeated incidents involving physical aggression and this student was suspended out of school a few times because of this.

This student's teacher put him on a Tier 2 intervention- a daily check in check out (CICO) with Pam Daniels, as he identified her as an adult that he wanted to check in and out with every day. Also, many adults in the building who know about his struggles make it a point to check in with him- even to just say hello in the hallway.

Since these interventions were implemented, his aggressive behaviors and suspensions have decreased. When approached, this student is less defensive (as evidenced by his change in posture, eye contact, length of responses to questions, prompt response to redirections and accuracy with his retelling of his role in situations). He is now saying that he likes coming to school (which makes out of school suspensions less desirable for him) and he is identifying more of us as people who have "got his back."

Although he is not a perfect student at all times, the behavior changes that have been witnessed have been quite impressive.

Just think... because of this targeted work that so many of us have done, we will never know of all of the ripples that will stem out in the world from this little boy. I don't know if he will be the next Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., or President, but what I do know is that we are making the world a better place, one child at a time!

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MStep Updates

Testing Schedule

3rd, 4th, and 5th grades are planning on testing simultaneously in the computer lab and in the media center using Chromebooks. This will allow for our testing to not consume the lab and media center schedule for the two month long time period that we are testing.

A HUGE kudos to our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers as well as Michelle vanWell and Michelle Mack for working with this beast of scheduling and preparation. To put this into perspective, our upper grade teachers and media staff have had to significantly alter portions of their day to accommodate students being able to learn keyboarding skills as well as how to do constructed responses on computers among other things. It has been a crunch to do a lot of this, but I think that our students will be better prepared because our upper grade teachers and media staff have worked their tails off!

Thank you for all of your hard work!

And the Survey Says...

As you know, there are administrative surveys that come out every year to give feedback to the administrators so that we know how we are doing. Here is a synopsis of what I saw:


Pluses:

Open to new ideas/Out of the box thinking

positive relationships with community and parents

Student-Focused


Deltas:

Being in the building more

Being more available to staff during school hours, not just by email or text

Need more communication


Plan for Improvement:

-I can't always control being out of the building, but all administrators did talk to Brian about trying to limit the amount of days we are out. I know that it is stressful on you, and it is stressful on me too to have to be gone- especially when sometimes, it is so many days in a row. I am trying to limit committments that are within my control during the day.

-To become more available to staff, I am doing my best to stop by rooms once to twice per day as well as getting in earlier and staying later on days where I do not have to leave by 4:30 or get in closer to 8AM for family commitments.

-I am making Weekly Notes available in paper form for those who would rather have that and I am looking for suggestions for anything else I can do in regards to communication. Please let me know (anonymously or just tell me) if there is something that I am not doing with communication that I need to be doing. I am always open to suggestions and I don't know unless you tell me! When I don't hear anything, I assume everything is fine.


Even though reading the surveys can be as pleasurable as eating glass, I really do get a lot out of reading the comments. Although I can never promise you perfection, I am committed to becoming a better leader for you and for our kids.

Math, Math, Math

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The Talk Has Commenced

I have to say that I was so impressed by the changes that I have seen since Hilty was with us last. When I have been in classrooms this week, I have seen students talking and interacting more during math as well as more manipulative use in the upper grades!

One thing that really struck me was that when the students were talking, many of our struggling students were listening. I thought about how important it is to shift ourselves from the mindset of doing what is comfortable (lecture) to doing what research tells us is best for students (talking through their processing and teaching each other).

Remember, what we are doing is less important than what the students are doing!


Click on the title below to read some tips on how to continue our journey in getting our students more engaged in their learning by talking about what they are learning.