Whitford's Weekly Update


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Culture of Compassion

I was watching the movie "The Blind Side" this weekend on ABC Family, and it made me reflect a little. I love the movie, yeah, it's about football, but far more importantly, it's about kindness, compassion and looking beyond differences to see what a person really needs to make it in this world. A football scholarship? Someone wealthy enough to buy them clothes? To buy them a truck? Nope. Sometimes, it takes just one person to show that they care, that they will go out of their way to make sure you are cared for and supported. This family took in a young man to make sure he felt cared for and they grew to love him, and he loved them.

What is the connection to my Tomah family? The same actions I see from my co-workers almost everyday. Teachers going out of their way for students in a variety of ways. I know it's our job to help students learn, and yes, we do that too, but I am always filled with pride when I see the extras we do for our students as well. What's unusual is that I don't think any of you see it as an extra. It's just what you do. You see a need, and you find a way to fill it. Whether it's a student in need of boots or a winter coat, a family in need of food, or a student that just needs a little more attention and love, you all find a way to be there for them. Going to their performances, their various athletic events, and just smiling when you see them around town. Your kindness and compassion is inspiring to me and more importantly it makes all the difference to our students.

Educator Effectiveness - Sharon Seely discovered something when she attended the last Ed Eff Coach's meeting at CESA 4. Apparently when a teacher sends something to a principal and types in the "comment box" the principal never sees the comment, it goes up into some cloud. When a principal sends something to a teacher and types in the "comment box" the teacher never sees the comment, it goes up into some cloud. It was suggested that if either a principal or teacher has a comment about an SLO, Artifact, meeting date, etc.. a personal email should be sent. The hope is that Teachscape will remedy that. You may want to create a Educator Effectiveness e-mail folder in outlook as well.

Deep Dive Step 4: Middle of Year Video - I had the chance to view the latest video and the good news is it only takes about 30 minutes to go through. I think we will take one of our upcoming staff meetings to view it as a building and get it out of the way. There will be a certificate to print off when we finish so I will need to take attendance. I will share the link as well so you can watch it on your own if your prefer.

Support Staff Training – the district will be providing professional development training for support staff on the January 19th or 28th Collaboration Day. A few of the support staff responded that they would rather meet in the morning for training, but many have not responded yet. I have also heard that some would like training on: RAZ-Kids, Moby Max, Accelerated Reader, iPads, IXL Math - Passwords, AESOP, Time Cards. Are there other ideas or things you would like training on?

Mr. Ali Classroom Visits – Mr. Ali, the Arabic teacher at the High School, would like to come and do classroom presentations. It is actually one of the requirements of his exchange program, so we are looking for classes that would like him to come and speak for 30 – 45 minutes. It would be good to have the students generate some questions before he arrives and that we can make sure to prepare for them. Maybe what school life is like in Egypt? What kids are like in Egypt? Daily life in Egypt? etc…. If you are interested please let me know so I can pass that on to Mr. Paris at the high school and we can get that arranged.

Rachel's Challenge - Just a reminder to keep encouraging students to fill out the Golden Rule Referrals when they catch kids in acts of Kindness. We need to grow our chain and I am hoping we have some kids to give certificates to at our next assembly.

Camp/Oak Holiday Gathering - Believe it or not, it's that time of the year!! Time to plan for our Staff Holiday party. At our staff meeting last night, Deb graciously offered to host this year's celebration in her new home! 17709 Itasca Rd. Camp Douglas. Mark your calendars for Thursday, December 11th at 4:30. We plan on doing a pot-luck and bring your own beverage. Please reply to all as you sign up for the pot-luck as this can serve as an RSVP as well.

*Hot Beef/Buns/Paper Products = Deb.

*Taco Dip and Chips = Ashley

Kudos -

Kudos to Mary for the handwarmers and hot chocolate! What a

thoughtful thing to do and just in time for our first snowfall :-)

Thank you Mary – Cheryl S

Thank you Tina for team teaching with me during Writer's Workshop.

You are the best! - Angie W

Thank you Sue for organizing the Book It activity. Love the shirts!

- Angie W

Thank you Sunshine for organizing the yummy pizza potluck this

month. It was delicious ! - Angie W

Kudos to Tom for playing the music in the morning. Great way to

start the day! - Lynette

Thanks to all of you who came up with the Wonderful Reading Challenge activity!! The kids really seemed to enjoy it and I know I did! - Tom

Thanks to Sue Von Haden for not shying away from addressing a difficult student at the Middle School Bus Exchange. Wisdom and courage prevailed, I truly appreciate her being there and focusing on student safety. - Tom

Thanks to Amanda, Michelle, Elizabeth, and Mallory for helping out with the Family Movie Night at Camp Douglas on Friday. We had a great crowd and the team of you helped make the clean-up go much faster. - Tom

Schools that work for kids | Eric Sheninger | TEDxBurnsvilleED

Badger Exam Website

I have included the link to the new Badger Exam webpage on DPI's website. In case you weren't sure, the Badger Exam is the new name for the SMARTER Balanced Assessment. Each state will be able to give it their own name. There is some excellent info on this website describing what Computer Adaptive Testing is and how it works, as well as links to practice tests and performance tasks. Check it out when you get the chance, especially our 3rd thru 5th grade teachers.


Calendar of Events


17 Miller PBIS Meeting @Miller Library (3:20pm)

18 Tom Out in AM - Elementary Principals Meeting @DO (8:30am)

Willow Training @Miller Library (3:20pm)

19 Camp/Oak Staff Meeting @Oakdale (3:15pm)

Montessori Design Team Meeting @Miller Library (3:30pm)

Camp/Oak PTO Meeting @Oakdale (6pm)

20 Tom out in AM – Admin Team Meeting @DO (9am)

Tom Out – STAR Webinar @THS room 146 (12:30)

BIT Meeting (HK) – Szeflinski @Miller Office (1:00pm)

Camp/Oak PBIS Meeting @Oakdale Library (3:15pm)

Camp/Oak IRT/BIT Meeting @Oakdale Library (3:45pm)

21 Turn in Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer Shoe Lace orders to Building Secretaries

Tom – Lunch w/Camp Douglas staff @Camp Douglas (11:30am)

24 RTI Meeting @THS Math Lab (3:30pm)

25 Miller Staff Meeting @Miller Library (3:20pm)

26 NO SCHOOL - Turkey Break!! - Enjoy

27 NO SCHOOL - Turkey Day!! - Eat Up

28 NO SCHOOL - Shopping Day

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Just in case you needed a good laugh:

Evolution of Dance