Hillcrest Staff ARTery

We are the heART of Hillcrest!

The week of February 8th - 12th

Bus Duty:

AM - Jen, Angie & Katie

PM - Ally, Amy G. & Trista

Treats: Belle, Marcia & Allie

Word of the Week: Tolerance


Monday, February 8th (Day 2)

  • Joko continues in Music - Indonesian Gamelan

    4:00 - K-2 Play auditions

Tuesday, February 9th (Day 3)

  • 8:20 - 9:00 - Artful Learning Meeting - Conf. room
  • 4:15 - 5:30 - Kindergarten Registration
  • 6:30 PM - PTSA Meeting in Media Center

Wednesday, February 10th (Day 1)

  • 8:20 - 9:00 - SWIM team meeting/Caroline's room
  • 8:00 - 10:00 - Nurse at meeting

Thursday, February 11th (Day 2)

  • 8:00 - 1:00 - Calvin out at Management Meeting
  • 9:30 to 11:30 - Grade 4 to Orchestra Hall
  • 4:00 - K-2 Play auditions

Friday, February 12th (Day 3)

  • SQUARE ART DUE (absolute last day)
  • 8:20 - 9:00 - BLT Meeting - Conf. room
  • Jump rope for heart - GYM

Upcoming Events

February is "I Love to Read" month!!!

February 15th - President's Day - NO SCHOOL

February 26 - Rally in Lunchroom - 3:15PM

February 29 - March 4 - Hillcrest Book Fair

Staff Meeting Schedule (Topics)

2/16 - Planning for SY17 (looking at activities and the calendar)

3/1 - Close Reading w/Rachel G. (Session #4)

3/15 - Test Proctor Training and other fun stuff :)

4/5 - TBD


African American History Month

February is African American history month. Please try to find a way to bring African American history into your classroom in some way during this month. Carolyn P. forwarded some information that was shared from our Office of Equity and Engagement that you can use. Additionally, you can find a wealth of teacher resources at the Smithsonian.


The bright pink I Love to Read Month Calendar & letter home in your staff mailboxes should go home today (Friday) if it hasn't already. Students will have the chance to complete fun, daily reading challenges. If they complete twenty one out of twenty nine days in February, they can bring it to Marcia for a prize, and will be entered in a drawing to read one on one with Mr. K.

Wednesdays at 3:15 until it's time to pack up will be Hillcrest D.E.A.R. time. As a staff member, please model this reading time for our kids, too!

Your classroom is challenged to turn the posterboard Belle gave you on Thursday into a book cover, or anything with the "We/I Love to Read" theme. It's a design competition to be judged on 2/26, the last Friday of February. The winner will win Book Fair Dollars for their classroom library.

The Book Fair will be at the end of I Love To Read Month, 2/29-3/4. Teacher & Student Preview Day will be that Monday. Belle will be sending out a signup for teachers to select a Class Preview time and a time later in the week to come down for purchasing. The Book Swap will be Wednesday and Thursday, 3/9 -10, and students will be able to bring and swap up to three books.


Displays . . . fresh and new

A big shout out to Janet and Beth for creating the awesome COMPAS artist display by Door 3 and for making the bulletin boards in the hallways look fresh and clean. Hip hip hooray!

COMPAS Artists Coming to HC

February 1 - 5: Gita Ghei w/ 2nd Grade

February 2 - 24: Joko Sutrisomo w/ Music

February 16 - 24: Tri Sutrismo w/ PE

February 22 - 26: Anne McFaul Reid w/ 5th Grade

March 14 - 18: Marie Olofsdotter w/ 3rd Grade

March 28 - April 1: Christopher Lutter-Gardella w/ 1st Grade

April 4 - 8: Mick la Briola w/ ELA and TBD

May 2 -6: Mica lee Anders w/ 5th Grade

May 2 - 20: Soli Hughes w/ 4th Grade

Congratulations to Beth McCoy

Beth has been asked by Artful Learning to be an Apprentice Trainer for the program. She will have the honor of teaching the Artful Learning model to Douglas County School District teachers in Colorado beside Patrick Bolek and other trainers this March.

Congratulations Beth!!

Coming to Hillcrest from February 2nd through 24th... ...master musician Joko Sutrisno!

In 1995, Joko brought gamelan instruments from his home island of Java, Indonesia to St. Paul, Minnesota. Bloomington Public Schools purchased the instruments which now travel amongst all 10 elementary schools. Bloomington music teachers learned basic gamelan techniques and repertoire from Joko during his tenure as a teaching artist in our schools. I'm thrilled to welcome Joko back to Hillcrest music!

For more information, go to the website of Joko's ensemble, Sumunar.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to visit the music classroom to witness this exciting residency!

Instructional Update

Need Curriculum Writing Representatives by February 10th

Hillcrest needs to have one person per grade signed up to be a part of the curriculum writing process for BPS ELA Unit Planners. Days for writing will be the three days below and approximately 3 more days during the summer (scheduled by the writing teams). If you can't be present for one of the sessions, that is okay.

Kindergarten: 3/2, 3/30, 4/28

Grade 1: 3/15, 4/6, 5/4

Grade 2: 3/29, 4/7, 5/5

Grade 3: 3/10, 4/21, 5/18

Grade 4: 3/16, 4/20, 5/12

Grade 5: 3/17, 4/13, 5/10

Please let Calvin know who your grade level writing team representative will be by February 10th. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask Calvin.

Learning Supports Update

The Sheridan Story and Hillcrest UMC Partnership

Elementary schools throughout Bloomington ​are building a partnership with The Sheridan Story. The Sheridan Story works with schools and districts to partner with local faith communities to sponsor a school in providing Friday food backpacks for students to fill the gap of not receiving school food over the weekend and extended breaks. The Sheridan Story handles the logistics. Hillcrest United Methodist Church (UMC) has partnered with us (as the faith based partner) and The Sheridan Story to provide funding and volunteer support to carry the program forward. You can read more about The Sheridan Story here.

The current plan is to have The Sheridan Story start providing food support for students starting next school year (Fall of 2016). Hillcrest UMC is currently working on raising funds to support food donations (we expect that 25-35 families will enroll in the program) and are hoping to provide support to our school in other ways as well (volunteering, mentoring, etc.).

More details will be coming later this spring.


HR Staffing Timeline

February 15th - Retirement/Job Share/Coming back from leave deadline to tell HR

February 29th - Internal Transfer Process FORMS DUE!!

March 10th - 17th - Principal Staffing Meetings

April 4th - 11th - Elementary Postings on Web

April 15th - Top candidates picked and shared with HR

May 2nd - Elementary hiring

Note: If you have questions about any of this information, please contact Calvin.

Hillcrest Variety Show (change of date and new details)

The Hillcrest Variety show will be on May 20th. Dress rehearsal will be on the 19th.

  • This year all students will be able to participate. As a staff we will be having discussion about the future design and role of the Variety Show later this spring.

Smart Board News

We are in the planning stage of transitioning away from SmartBoards and Notebook software for 2017-18. Because of Digital content/PD days, the news has spread quickly among staff. Here's a quick update about what we know so far.

What is happening?

We will no longer purchase Smart Boards and will no longer pay for or support Notebook software as of the Fall of 2017. All SmartBoards will remain in place and will be serviced as needed until they are beyond repair.

Why the move?
SmartBoards were the right choice for us in 2007 and were a critical element in our early digitization work. As we shift to personalized devices, the next generation of classroom tech tools have greater capabilities for engagement, flexibility, accessibility and collaboration. Our role is to plan and implement a smooth transition that preserves the best uses and content for staff. We are confident we have the time and expertise for such a smooth transition.

When will we transition?
We purchased an extension of the new SMART subscription model to enable a manageable transition for staff. We will help staff transition from Smart Notebook software by summer 2017.

What is the transition plan?
Alternative resources and conversion processes are not yet finalized so please be patient with us while we do this work. Teachers require alternatives as well as the time and assistance to make a smooth transition. We will finish this work on and communicate with all staff by March 1, 2016.

Tech Team Information

September Topics

Where will printing happen?

  • Bring students to the lab

  • Check out Macbook Air cart

  • Individuals log in to classroom

  • Publishing & sharing work as alternates - Ask: Do they really need to print it?

Using The BPS HUB

  • Students need training on logging in and reading the Hub planner, writing notes.

  • It’s important to remember that the Hub’s audience is both students & parents.

October Topics

When are we sending CBs home?

  • Face-to-face distribution of devices for grades 3-5.

  • This will happen via a separate Curriculum Night/Chromebook Open House in September 2016. Specific date to be determined.

Action item: All grade levels should add headphones to Fall 2016 school supply list.

Chromebook Cases

  • Kids will be provided a charger, chromebook, case and a luggage tag

  • Luggage tags will have Student Name, Homeroom, Color coded label for Grade level, perhaps a personalized photo snippet for HC tags

Where won’t Chromebooks go in our building?

Chromebooks will not go to:

  • lunch

  • bathroom

  • locker rooms

  • bus

Action Items:

  • Communicate policy with our bus drivers and patrols.

November Topics

How will we prepare students to have devices?

  • 2nd graders will have a chromebook experience this spring.

  • Digital Passport curriculum for digital citizenship, also this spring.

  • Chromebook and iPad bootcamp will be developed and taught.

How will we prepare teachers to have devices?

  • Beginning in January, staff will have regular professional development focused on technology and digitization. January 25th, to be precise!

December Topics

Families without internet.

  • Students will be taught to use offline mode and a Chrome Extension called Pocket. It is then their job to pack up their digital backpack at the end of the day, same as a physical backpack. These students may need specific time to do so.

  • Hot spot pucks will be available as a short-term solution and on a very limited basis. The pucks will be available to everyone at Hillcrest with a check out period of two weeks. Pucks are very expensive and not feasible as a blanket solution, so communicating with families who might fall in this category is very important, in order to connect them with the district-suggested resources.

Coaches Corner

"Mistakes" can and do happen in classrooms every day! The challenge is to encourage students to see those mistakes as an opportunity for growth. This idea focuses around Marzano's engagement question of "Can I do this?"

My Favorite Mistake

My Favorite Mistake is a strategy that may be implemented in any content area. It is a quick and easy formative assessment which informs the teacher and the students of the direction for instruction. It provides students with immediate feedback and clarification. Below are two examples that have been observed in classrooms​. The third example is a video of from The Teaching Channel showing this strategy in action.

Example 1: Elementary Math

In place of a homework assignment, the teacher asked students to complete an exit ticket problem at the end of class the day before. This teacher then sorted the exit tickets over night and used the student work to guide the direction of her instruction the next day. After seeing the common mistakes presented, she selected the exit ticket that was her "Favorite Mistake." As students transitioned into math time the next day, the teacher projected one of the students exit ticket for the remaining students to review. The class began with students highlighting successes of this exit ticket. After highlighting successes, the class identified and corrected the mistakes. This teacher empowered students to take on the role of the teacher as they worked through the problem. In addition to solidifying the concepts, the students were developing critical thinking skills through analyzing another student's work.

Example 2: Science

Teacher handed out post-it notes to all students at the beginning of class and asked them to generate a definition of a concept students had been studying the past few classes. As students turned in post-it notes to teacher, she sorted them into three piles 1.) correct, 2.) incorrect and 3.) partially correct. After sorting, the teacher selected her favorite "partially correct" post-it note. She then projected the post-it under the elmo. The class began by highlighting the portions of the definition that were correct and celebrated the successes of the student work. Then, the class identified portions that we lacking or incorrect. Teacher allowed students to use notes as a resource to make this the best possible definition they could. This activity became the introduction to today's lesson.

Example 3: Teaching Channel Video


Winter Hallway Care and Cleanup

Winter is here . . .

  • Please make sure students take their coats and boots home regularly, so that the hall can be kept clean.
  • All boots should be put up off the floor at the end of the day (on top of hooks or in lockers).
  • Please make sure that students stomp and wipe their feet before entering the hallways.

Personal Leave Requests Now Approved by Principal

Starting December 1st all principals will be approving personal leave requests. Be sure to submit your leave requests through MyLeave in MyView (TIES). If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. [Note - you do not need to ask Calvin in person. Unless you feel that you need to do so.]

Our weekly staff newsletter!

This newsletter will come to you every Friday afternoon for the upcoming week. If you have any information, small business items, or events to share, please email the title, narrative, and specifics to Jane or Calvin.