The District Dispatch

October 2019

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Taking a Leap of Faith

Hello to Everyone,


As we enter the month of October, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the great start we’ve had for the 2019-2020 school year. For those of you who have integrated some of the information taken from the first three days of professional development, I am especially grateful. I am reminded of an old poster I had hanging on one of my office walls and it spoke to the subject of “change”. It was a picture of a tree changing with the seasons and the words read, “Open your mind to the possibilities that may be hiding behind the inconvenience of change”*. (This given to me at a time in my professional life when technology was changing significantly (for the better) and I seemingly was not ready, willing or able to deal with the "shift"). To those of you who took a “leap of faith” and changed things up, even just a little bit, I thank you on behalf of all of those young people who may have benefited in some way.


For my part, I am very much looking forward to getting out to our schools and your classrooms and learning spaces much more often this year. As I look back on my own professional choice to transition from the school to the Central Office, I often reflect upon “what do I miss most?”. The answer to this question always “boils down” to one thing; that being the day to day interaction with teachers, staff and students. I promise to make a more concerted effort to do just that!


Many thanks for all that you do for every student in every classroom...every day!



Sincerely,

Brian Lynch



*attributable to; hopeprenuers.com

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Staff Dares from CharacterStrong

According to CharacterStrong, "character is a set of skills and all skills require practice." Being a CharacterStrong District has given us access to a variety of their resources; one of which is their Staff Dares. These dares are meant to be actionable ways that we can model our own continued character development. Staff Dares also serve as a way to proactively manage your classroom by building relationships with students that will promote positive shifts in our culture.


This month we are featuring three Staff Dares which are shown below and we triple dog dare you to give them a try! If you have accepted a dare, we would love for you to celebrate it via social media using #EngageMPS and #StaffDareAccepted. Feel free to also tag our friends at CharacterStrong too!

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Compensation Letters and Accrued Time

Hello everyone,


Recently you should have received your memo declaring what your compensation is for the 2019-2020 school year. In that memo you were asked to also review your accumulated time. You can access your accrued time via your Aspen account. If you feel any discrepancy exists in your salary information or your accumulated sick leave posted in Aspen, please call 508-946-2000 x 2116 before October 10th, 2019.


Thanks,

Sarah

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Back to School Anxiety

Brrrrrr! Everyone feel that cool down this week? I guess October is truly upon us. I hope your transition into the school year was smooth and that you’re settling into what is going to be a fantastic school year.

Every fall I look forward to seeing families share pictures of their children on their first days of school. If you’ve ever seen these photos then you know that the scenes become more elaborate each year with detailed and colorful chalkboard designs and questionnaires including dreams of the future through the eyes of their child at that particular age. It certainly can be an exciting and genuinely happy time for many families. For other families though, a new school year brings about anxiety and fear of the unknown. It is important for our educational community to know how to meet the needs of all students, including those who require additional assistance as they transition into the coming school year. I found this article helpful in thinking about this issue and how we can help our students starting a new year. https://childmind.org/article/back-school-anxiety/ I would also refer any staff looking for more information on students and anxiety to speak with any of our school psychologists or school adjustment counselors. They are excellent resources on this topic as well as many others!

As we know all too well, anxiety (and many other issues students struggle with) can result in problematic behavior at school. A great resource was shared with all of you this fall with the acronym PROMPT which stands for proximity control, redirection strategy, ongoing monitoring, and prompt expected behavior. These PROMPT cards are meant to serve as an immediate resource for how to quell problematic behavior. By addressing the social and emotional needs of students first, our students will become more available and ready for content. I hope you find this resource helpful and effective!


Thanks,

Carolyn

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Professional Development Opportunity and Reminder

Dear Educators,


The 2019-2020 school year has started off with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm! From the phenomenal opening keynote by Robert Hand, an informative presentation by Cindy Goldrich, excellent Character Strong professional development, thought-provoking work by our elementary literacy coaches, and insightful learning with our ST Math coaches...these highly rewarding learning opportunities elevated our spirits to then welcome our students back into our schools! Our schools feel like home again with having our family - faculty, staff, and students - back in our highly engaged learning community! #EngageMPS


On to some business...


As shown in the above graphic, we are offering an online, self-paced learning opportunity to acquire the 15 professional development points (PDPs) needed in Shelter English Immersion (SEI) and Special Education in order to renew a professional license. Please note that the SEI course is for PDPs only and it is not an "endorsement" course. Please use your district email when creating your account.


Please allow me to remind you that all who intend on participating in any out-of-district professional development must complete the Application to Attend Out-of-District Conference or Workshop in accordance with the following procedure:


  1. Please review the Application to attend Out-of-District Conference or Workshop in order to facilitate completing it with all of the required questions and documentation.

  2. Complete the Application to attend Out-of-District Conference or Workshop. Be sure to attach the requested documentation and obtain the needed signatures from your department/grade level leader and Principal. The application and accompanying paperwork should be submitted in full no less than three weeks before the date of the professional development event. If a group is attending the same conference or workshop, a group application may be submitted.

  3. Send all of the required paperwork to the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. The Director will review the Application and respond within one week of receiving the application. Submitting a well thought out and complete application will facilitate the approval process. If questions arise from the content of the application, the Director will return the application or communicate in another means to resolve any issues with the current application.

  4. A copy of approved applications will be returned to the Educator. Upon receiving your approved application, please submit your absence on Substitute Online and request substitute coverage as needed.

  5. The Director of Curriculum and Instruction will then send the short-term request for leave and purchase order to Central Office processing.


All forms and procedures related to professional development can be found under the District website. Log in to the website to access faculty and staff only information under the staff tab.


I look forward to supporting you all in fostering a culture of excellence within every student, in every classroom, every day!


Best,

Melanie

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