Betsy's Bits

December 13, 2015

In Case You Missed It:

I know I missed a lot last week at school while at the AVID National Conference, and you all will catch me up Monday morning. I want share a little about the valuable experience I had in San Diego. It gave me a chance to reflect and assess where we are in our goal of becoming a National Demonstration School. It was exciting to see and hear principals and district leaders discuss how they obtained this honor which is reserved for the top 2% of AVID schools. When I listened to best practices for AVID implementation, I identified SanLee with those top 2%. Those schools believe that all students should have access to a rigorous curriculum. This is done successfully through teaching all teachers and all students strategies to help them become organized and understand how to read, write and think critically and creatively. The struggles that some have faced or are facing with school-wide implementation are the same struggles we have seen and discussed with teacher turnover and student's not having needed supplies. What I did recognize is that there is no one way to implement within a school. All schools are different and have different needs.

We have been told time and time again that SanLee has the culture; that feeling of high expectations along with support for the learning which is expected. We make it nearly impossible for students to choose to fail. We know that all students learn at different rates and do not put a timer on learning. We work hard and expect our children to work harder. We teach grade level standards to all our students and differentiate so our learners have a multitude of ways to demonstrate mastery. We know that an EOG is a snapshot in time and are working to prepare our students to take this, but more importantly, are working to prepare all our students for whatever future they choose. We never set limits on our children to what they may choose to do in their futures. We are constantly showing how what we are teaching is needed to be successful in the real world. To me, this is what schools are supposed to do.

When I venture out and talk with others, I find out that this is what great schools do...and we are doing this. Yes, it is hard work. Yes, it is tiring work. And yes, it is worth it. Our children leave us knowing they are supported, loved, and prepared. Just because other schools do not do what we do, does not mean we are doing it wrong. It might just mean that we are that elite 2% that are getting it right. We do not quit on our students or let our student quit without giving it a huge fight. It is harder to fail here than it is to succeed. And we know that most of our kids figure this out pretty quickly. The other handful, just have to do a whole lot more work to not show mastery or partial mastery. Either way, we have not allowed them to give up without doing everything in our power to show them how to succeed.

I say all this to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the worthwhile cause of having all our students graduate with something more than a high school diploma and preparing our students for whatever they may choose. The conference gave me the chance to step out and take a look on the outside to make sure we were still are on the right road. We may be the only ones that we see on this road, but again, this does not mean it's the wrong road... It's the right road for the Stallions.

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Mark Your Calendars:

Next Week:

Monday: Ugly Sweaters or wear red & green and jeans, Staff Winter Celebration @ 3pm in media center, Home basketball game vs. Southern MS

Tuesday: Sweet 16 goes to Westfield to deliver socks 12-1pm, After school tutorials in math begins, Winter Arts Festival @ 6:30 pm in SLMS gymnasium

Wednesday: PTSO Holiday Carts stop by during first core :), Holiday Helpers gifts due to counselors, 1/2 of 8th grade goes to SLHS, Sweet 16 goes to Floyd Knight to deliver stuffed animals, Candemonium structure judging,

Thursday: 1/2 of 8th grade goes to SLHS, Future LCHS students go to visit (30 8th graders), Basketball away @Elise (Robbins), After school tutorials in reading begins

Friday: Early dismissal for students (12:15 pm)

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Just a note..

Every second counts in the life of our Stallions. Vacation begins Friday @12:15 for our kids. This is when their brains can rest.

Please refrain from videos and extra brain breaks this week. Our Stallions do best when schedules remain constant and structured.

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