Lance's Ledger

February 8 - 12 at Central Elementary

Troubadours Strike A Chord

On February 3 Central students were treated to a performance by the Flint Institute of Music and Flint Symphony Orchestra Troubadours centering on respect and pulling together. Sponsored by a grant from FIM the group shared a musical story of what it means to respect one another and live in harmony. Students and teachers seemed to enjoy the experience which was timed to coincide with our PPSC Celebration Week.

Chris Cakes Pancake Supper

Thanks to all the teachers and library parapro who helped make the return of Chris Cakes Pancakes a huge success. Over 500 students, parents and family members attended the event. Efforts of the team netted approximately $1800 in profit which will be used by teachers to provide additional supplies and learning opportunities for Central students.

Along with the relationship building between students, parents and staff I was moved by the show of camaraderie among staff working the event. While people were busy there was a healthy dose of laughter and a sense of accomplishment. You all made me smile! Thanks for the team effort and for personally touching the lives of our school family.

PPSC Survey

As part of the requirements of our participation in the Promoting Positive School Climate Grant we must survey students, staff, and parents. This past Friday (February 5) a survey link was sent out to all staff and parents by Michelle Edwards. A follow-up email was also sent as the survey was not allowing non-teacher staff to complete the survey unless you checked "prefer not to answer" in some categories that did not apply (like grade you teach). With the clarification of directions in the last email from Michelle Edwards I encourage everyone to complete the survey.

As with everything we do there are areas where we shine and areas in which we would like to grow. The input of a wide range of staff will help us pinpoint priority areas. Your particular experiences and perceptions can help us. Likewise, teacher assistance in the administration of student surveys will help us gain insight into the perceptions help by our primary stakeholders...STUDENTS. Thank you in advance for your efforts in helping gather the feedback we need to focus on continuous improvement.

Behavior Expectation Lesson Schedule

Looking in your "green behavior plan notebook" you will note that this weeks Cardinal Code lesson focus is playground. Last week's focus was cafeteria expectations. Some discussions with monitors coupled with direct observation lead me to believe we could really use further review of cafeteria expectations. Specifically, how students leave the condition of their tables and exit the cafeteria as they are dismissed merits review. Please take some time at the beginning of this week to reteach the cafeteria expectations by taking your students to the cafeteria and encourage them to pull together as a team (a follow-up from last week's Troubadours assembly).

Regarding this week's "playground" focus I would ask teachers to work in how we show sportsmanship and mutual respect and caring for each other when playing games such as tag, soccer, and football. Our biggest challenge is in getting kids to stop and take a breath before striking out when they feel they have been "tagged" too hard or "pushed down on purpose." I am working with playground monitors to assist them with appropriate supervision and intervention to help children learn how to deal with the normal things that happen in competition versus hurtful aggression. Teacher support in weaving this discussion in during class meetings would be very helpful. Thanks so much!

Staying the Course

During the past two weeks we have, admittedly, faced challenges due to increased student behavioral needs. Many of these instances involved students in crisis and required a great deal of individual attention. Complicated by staff illness, medical emergencies and multiple priorities it stretched our staff thin and sometimes caused frustration and anxiety on our part as well as that of students and parents. In reflecting on the past two weeks I can honestly say that I am thankful for many staff members who stepped up to take on additional duties. My sincere thanks to those who responded to the challenge with the knowledge that people reached beyond to find that extra energy and time to help kids and colleagues.

Secondly, but not of less importance, I appreciate the extra effort staff expended to support one another. Responding to critical needs of children is emotionally draining and exhausting. Taking care of each other so we live on to successfully deal with another challenge is important to our mental health and welfare. Know that the efforts and care we show for each other makes a difference to us and to our students!

As I have had some time to process the past week I can say that we are not alone in the experience we have had during the past two weeks. Our colleagues in sister schools both within and outside of our district are dealing with the same types of priorities . So what can we do to help us pull back from operating in crisis versus problem-solving mode when it comes to student behaviors? One practical point may rest in our need to review whether we are following our school-wide behavior plan with fidelity. Are we relying on individual people to make the plan work or do we have the plan "systematized" to make sure it flows when key support persons are absent? In an effort to determine how to best proceed with ensuring we are systematic in our approach I will be making time to personally touch base with you as to your thoughts on the following questions.

  • Do I believe I am the captain of my classroom and am the primary person in charge?
  • Do I understand the 4-Step Process for TEACHING and RETEACHING students as outlined in our behavior plan?
  • Am I following the 4-step process with fidelity?

Earlier in the year we were cautioned that we would encounter challenges during the implementation of our school-wide behavior plan. This is one of those times. I believe we have the collective skill, commitment and perseverance to stay the course and see the benefits for our students and our school community. Hang in there! You are key to our success!

Maximum Engagement in Data Day

At the beginning of Data Days we pledge to be open, take ownership for challenges as well as celebrating successes, be respectful and engaged. With so many demands on our time it sometimes seems that we feel the need to multi-task during professional meeting such as PLCs and Data Days. Recent research indicates that multi-tasking may not be all that is made out to be. It seems that our brains shift some of the focus to the other tasks so that while we do more things the quality of that effort is reduced.

The full engagement of the Data Day Team benefits teachers as professionals as well as the kids they serve. Accordingly, I ask that (as you review norms) you make a commitment to focus and participate in the discussion at hand and leave the paper correcting and other duties for a more appropriate time. You are the experts and we need your full concentration on helping your team develop a plan to remediate or expand student learning based on data. Go team!

Update on Staff

With permission from two of our staff members I share the following information with you.

As you are aware, Amy has been out after her foot surgery was more involved than she expected. We have been emailed and she had her staples removed last Thursday. She hopes to be able to return around February 22. Please keep her in your thoughts as she recovers and gets off crutches.

On February 11, Patty J. will be going in for knee replacement surgery. She expects to be out for about 8 weeks. During her absence Gwen Lindsay will be taking over for Patty. Gwen's availability is of comfort to Patty and a great advantage to us as she has been part of the Central team,covering for Ashley for much of the first semester. Thus, Gwen knows the kids, is familiar with the second grade curriculum and with the dynamics of the second grade team.

Please join me in wishing Amy continued recovery and Patty a successful surgery and quick recovery.

This Week at Central

Monday, February 8
  • Mrs. Stuart, Mr. Kennedy to Sloan
  • Playground Monitor Meeting from 10:40 - 11:10 AM in the lounge

Tuesday, February 9

  • Data Day: Grade 3 from 8:35 - 11:35 AM; Grade 1 from 12:20 - 3:20 PM

Wednesday, February 10

  • Feb. 10...Staff Meeting 7:35 - 8:15 AM (Agenda: School Improvement Work on Tri-fold)
  • Data Day: Grade 4 from 8:35 - 11: 35 AM; Grade 2 from 12:20 - 3:20 PM

Thursday, February 11

  • Feb. 11...Team Leader Meeting (7:40 - 8:10 AM)
  • Lance @ Administrative Meeting (9:30-Noon)

Friday, February 12

  • Feb. 12...Mrs. Fritz, Mrs. White, Ms. Holder to Sloan
  • Valentine's Parties
  • Restorative Justice Seminar @ Baker College (Leonna & Maida attend)

Looking Ahead

February 2016

  • Feb. 15...President's Day (No School for students/staff)/ Office closed
  • Feb. 16...P.T.O. Meeting (6 PM in Library)
  • Feb. 18...John Hattie Seminar @ MSU (Lance)
  • Feb. 19...T.E.A.M. Grade 2
  • Feb. 23...PLC Grades 1-4
  • Feb. 24...Staff Meeting (Agenda: School Improvement Work) 7:35 - 8:15 AM; CAP PLC from 2:00 - 3:20 PM
  • Feb. 25...Principals' Mtg. (9:30 - Noon); Lance Reads at Thomson Reading Night (5 PM); Grade 4 Music Concert - 7 PM @ DHS
  • Feb. 26...Principals @ seminar in Bay City
  • Feb. 29...ACC (4:15 - 6:15 PM)

March 2016

  • March 1...Midterm of 3rd MP; Lance @ seminar in Livonia
  • March 2...Early Release Day: students dismissed at 1:28 PM
  • March 3...Team Leader Meeting (7:40-8:10 AM); District Grade Level PLC: Grade 4 (8 AM - 3 PM @ Williams Center)
  • March 4...Bldg. Rep Meeting (7:30-8:10) Bosses Luncheon/Program (principals & central office admin. from 11:30-1:30)
  • March 7...DPA CMC (4:15 - 6:15 PM); Board of Education Mtg. @ 7 PM
  • March 8...PLC Grades 1-4; PTO @ 6 PM in Library
  • March 9...Staff Meeting (agenda TBD) ;CST Meetings
  • March 10...Admin. mtg. (9:30-Noon); Family Reading Night (5:30 - 7:30 PM)
  • March 11...Lance out of bldg. in PM
  • Grade 1 Music Concert @ DHS (7 PM)
  • March 16...All day ACC (8:30 -3:30)
  • March 17...Principals' Mtg. (9:30-11:30)
  • March 18...PTO Book distribution and craft
  • March 21...Mini-QAR
  • March 22...District Grade Level PLC: Grade 2 (8:00 Am - 3:00 PM @ Williams Center)
  • March 23...Staff Meeting (agenda TBD); CAP PLC
  • March 24...District Grade Level PLC: Grade 3 (8:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Williams Center)
  • March 25...Good Friday (holiday), No School for students & staff (building closed)
  • March 28...Brainstormers Assembly Part 2: Student Writings Come Alive!
  • March 29...Data Day Grades 1 & 3
  • March 30...Data Day Grades 2 & 4
  • March 31...Building Rep. Meeting 7:30 - 8:10; Principals' Mtg. (9:30-11:30); End of 3rd MP

April 2016

  • April 1...AM PD (3 hours)/PM Teacher Records Day
  • April 4-8...Spring Break
  • April 11...Classes Resume; Report Grades & comments in Synergy by 4 PM
  • April 12...Report Cards printed and to teachers
  • April 14...Parent/Teacher Conference 4:30 -7:30 PM for Central (Open conferences)
  • April 20...District Grade Level PLC: K (8:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ William's Center)
  • April 27...District Grade Level PLC: Grade 1 (8:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Williams Center)

Need Your Help

All of us know how crowded our parking lot can be during student arrival and dismissal. Lately, however, I have received several complaints from parents regarding access to parking spots when they come to do business during the school day. Over the past couple of weeks I have observed that some of the problem may be due to the fact that several of us (staff members) may be parking in areas we tried to reserve for parents and visitors in a plan developed a couple of years ago. Therefore, I need your help.

We have 67 full and part time staff members (including GSRP, coordinators, and District assigned personnel) at Central and approximately 104 parking spots. I have posted "Staff Parking" signs designating the two rows closet to the fence as reserved for staff. I know it is not a perfect system but I ask that staff return to the practice of using the designated parking spots so that our "public" has access to spots closest to the main entrance. Thank you so much for your cooperation and help!

The hardest thing to teach is how to care.

Remember, your students must know you care before they care about what you know! Few will remember who actually taught them to multiply. Most will remember how we treated them as people.

Recognizing the "whole child" is the most important subject you will "teach." From your example students will "learn" to care.