The District Dispatch

January 2020

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Half-time Reboot

Hello to all of our Faculty and Staff,


As we pass right through the midpoint of the 2019-2020 school year, I wanted to remind everyone about how we started this year. Our opening days featured a keynote and trainings/discussions on the importance of climate, culture and making "connections before content" with our students.


As professionals, it's important to always be reflective, and, as we run over the 50 yard line of this school year (before Super Bowl Sunday), I was wondering how we're doing as a district with this approach?


How are you doing as individual teachers?...as faculty groups?...as departments?...as schools?


Have you made more connections with your students this year?


Was the training on Character Strong a "game changer" for you at the secondary level?


Are you still as motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of young people as you were when you entered the profession?...or on Day#1 this year?


Have you ever thought about how you might be remembered as a teacher? Will you be remembered as an O.K. teacher? .....a good teacher?.....a great teacher? What is the difference between these adjectives when they're used to describe teachers?


How do you stay motivated?


All questions to reflect upon.....

As John Dewey once said, "We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience" and once again, what better time to reflect and possibly regroup than at half-time? One of the" greats" regarding reflection is Bill Belichick who has a tremendous history of making halftime adjustments which (usually) result in a win(see Super Bowl LI)!


As always, I will consistently remain reflective on how we can improve our school system and I promise to do my part to continue to support the vitally important work that you folks do in every classroom for every student, every day!


Your hard work and commitment to our students, our schools and our district are always appreciated!


Best Regards,

Brian Lynch


P.S. As far as the Super Bowl goes, go __________!!! (fill in the blank)

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SERVE Model and Compliment Creations

CharacterStrong is built around their SERVE model; Start intentionally, Engage relationally, Respond with empathy, Values practiced daily, and Exit intentionally. Compliment Creations are one of many resources available in the CharacterStrong gym and they are aimed at helping with Values practiced daily. The focus behind this aspect of the SERVE model is to provide an opportunity for us all to practice things that are most important to us.


Compliment Creations strive to provide models for how we can compliment each other. It might not be so easy for students to pay an unsolicited compliment to a peer. They might get better at it if we help them practice this skill. If you have ever done Mad-Libs then you can do Compliment Creations. Below are some examples that you could use within your class as an opener to an activity or the like as a way to give our students practice in paying a compliment.

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IMPORTANT - FY21 Payroll Schedules

NASA calculates the length of a year on Earth to be 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. We keep our calendar in sync with the seasons by having most years 365 days long but making just under 1/4 of all years 366-day leap years. This year is a leap year so we have a February 29th.


We like to think of the calendar year as having 52 weeks, but it's actually 52 1/7 weeks (52 x 7 = 364). In some years, the additional fractions add up to create an extra week. The 2021 Fiscal Year which runs from July to June is one such year.


In order to accommodate this, the Business Office has assigned the 26 payroll dates for the 2021 Fiscal Year according to the following schedules:


School Year Employees


Full Year Employees


Administrators With a 10-Month Contract


Please note that there is a three week gap between the August 20th pay date and the September 10th pay date.


Thanks,

Sarah

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Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Dear Educators,


Our administrative team has been participating in professional development throughout the course of the year with Carol Gregory from Ribas Associates to develop our shared understanding of and ability to integrate social-emotional skills into instruction, classroom management, and our school/district culture. We have engaged in reading and discussing "Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom" by Ribas, Brady, and Hardin. We have also participated in learning walks at each school to see how well we are doing with integrating social-emotional learning into our schools.


During our most recent professional development session with Carol, we discussed an article by Katrina Schwartz on "20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions with Anxious or Defiant Students". This article includes the work of Jessica Minahan, a well known Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).


While this article is a good read, I think it is also one to come back to over time when looking for a strategy or ideas on working with individual students. As I read the article I put myself back into the classroom so I could think through the lens of a teacher. With many of the tips I thought...yup, I do that or did that and it didn't work. Sometimes a strategy works for a student and sometimes it doesn't. I think what is key is that we keep trying different ways to connect with our students so we can help make them available for learning. As Robert Hand shared with us during our convocation, it is connections before content. Perhaps trying a tip or two or twenty from the article might help you reach that currently hard to reach student. Maybe these tips won't help you reach that student right now or during this school year, but do not ever give up because you just might be that student's best hope. "Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be." - Rita Pierson, Every Kid Needs a Champion TED Talk


Thanks for reading,

Melanie

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