11.16.15 Staff Update

A Communication Tool for the Seven Hills Staff

Personalized Learning at Seven Hills: Give Thanks

Give Thanks: (I hope you always read and watch what I include in the S'more...but, I especially encourage you to watch what Shawn Achor has to say in his TED Talk. It is timely and focused on gratitude.)

In his TED Talk, Shawn Achor gave insight into the impact of happiness on success. https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en

He states that the lens through which you view the world shapes your reality. He further explaines that by focusing on the positive, we actually increase productivity up to 30%. He suggested the following strategies to help our brains focus through a positive lens:

· 3 Gratitudes

· Journaling

· Exercise

· Meditation

· Random Acts of Kindness

I truly believe that his view of a backwards image of success is accurate. Success does not yield happiness, rather success hinges on a positive approach and happy outlook! I know that one of the most powerful tools for shaping a positive outlook is a culture of gratitude. I mean, think about it, can you be angry while you are expressing gratitude or writing a thank you note? Last week, I was frustrated by a situation. I kept stewing on what was frustrating me and found myself getting all worked up, so I decided to sit down and write long overdue thank you notes. After writing several notes, I suddenly realized that my perception had completely shifted. I wasn't angry anymore. I was quite the opposite. I was happy and energized (so energized in fact that I did laundry...in the middle of the week...who does that?). As I reflected on this, I was motivated to share my experience and Shawn's words with you. We are working tirelessly to ensure Seven Hills is a successful campus. This kind of work is exhausting, and when results are not immediately evident, it can be frustrating. We have to make sure we are focusing our lens on the right things, and that our work to climb the mountain includes those key factors to help our brains focus on the positive...especially the gratitude component!

Two years ago I read the book Just Listen by Mark Goulston. In his book, Mark challenges readers to stop giving flat thank you's and start giving a fully charged "Power Thank You." Giving a Power Thank You is quite simple...

The Power Thank You:

  • Thank them for something specific they did for you. (It can also be something they refrained from doing that would have hurt you).
  • Acknowledge to them the effort it took for them to do it. ("I know you went out of your way to...")
  • Tell them the difference it personally made to you.

My challenge to you is this...start giving Power Thank Yous to your peers at Seven Hills, and help promote a culture of gratitude by being intentional in your efforts to recognize others for what they have done to help you. To support this challenge, a "Gratitude Corner" will be created in the front office by the Teacher's Lounge. All of the supplies you need to write a Power Thank You will be available for staff, and staff may choose to leave their thank you on a "Blessing Banner" or place the note in the recipient's box. What impact do you think this will have on your work? On your team? On our campus?

Last Week's Learning: The Power of Making Connections...

Last week's staff meeting was powerful! We made lots of connections...connections within our celebrations...connections to our campus instructional focus...connections to attentive listening...connections to shifting perception and refocusing the lens...connections to the impact of relationships on student achievement...lots of connections! I know many of you, like me, need processing time and have more than likely continued to make connections over the weekend. Here are few follow-up thoughts and opportunities for reflection:

Updates and Information

What's Happening Next Week at The Hills?

  • Monday, November 16th:
Wear green or black with jeans for Generation Tx Week!

Fire drill...be prepared...this will be an obstructed exit drill.

4th Grade Data Teams: 11:30 - 3:00 (subs will come to your rooms at 11:15)

  • Tuesday, November 17th:

Wear orange or red with jeans for Generation TX Week!

Grade Level PLCs in PLC room (agenda topics include updating CBA data, unpacking math and science standards, reviewing and revising SMART goals, wrapping up PLT plans in 3-5)

LLI Training, 3 pm in PLC Room

Leslie off campus at Professional Learning

  • Wednesday, November 18th:

Wear blue or purple with jeans for Generation TX Week!

Tanya off campus at Professional Learning

  • Thursday, November 19th:
No Jeans today! District leadership will be on campus all day for professional learning! Wear maroon or yellow for Generation TX Week.

Vertical Team PLC, 3 pm (more information to come)


  • Friday, November 20th:
College Colors Day for Generation Tx Week and Awards Assemblies

Awards Assemblies (see schedule in updates and reminders)

STAR Parties (schedule is coming)

MWC Dance Parties (more details to come)

District SBBB due (Fine Arts)

Save The Date: (please add these dates to your calendars)

  • Thanksgiving Break: 11/23 - 11/29 Due to scheduled maintenance and cleaning, the school will be closed to staff this week. Please plan accordingly, and take this week to relax, rest, recharge, and spend time with those you love!

Happy Birthday To:

Staff Member of The Week!

Kim Brister: Did you know that in high school Kim used to raise and show pigs. At the Tarrant County Livestock Show she won reserve grand champion, and received $1600 for that pig! She was also the FFA president.

Missy Wood: Missy attended k-12 in NISD! She was Co-Captain of the Northwest Sidekicks drill team, and John M. Tidwell Middle School is named after her grandfather! Missy is a true NISD legacy!

Information and Reminders:

  • On Thursday, 12 -18 district leaders (principals, assistant principals, CITs, curriculum coordinators, etc) will be on campus all day for professional learning. We will be visiting specific classrooms (and those teacher's have been notified). That being said, our guests will be walking all of the halls. Please take a minute before Thursday to check your hall decorations and bulletin boards to make sure they "shine". We have a few droopy poppies, some pot holes in the yellow brick road (i.e. it is pulled away from the wall, etc.) and some deco mesh has come unstapled. This is the first time many of these guests have visited The Hills. We want to make sure they are blown away!

  • Information regarding the proposed school calendars for the 2016 -2017 school year is attached to the weekly update email.

  • Student Behavior and Concerns: Please make sure you are communicating concerns regarding student behavior to both Jen and Leslie. We are working on our end to ensure consistency in message and steps to support, but by communicating to both Jen and Leslie, you are helping ensure student needs are being addressed as well.

  • Spelling Bee: All 3-5 ELA teachers need to host a class spelling bee this week to determine finalists for our campus spelling bee in December. The top 10 3-5 graders will participate in the campus Bee. Please see Tanya for any questions and clarification.

  • STAR Party Schedule will be sent by Leslie. She was working on making sure there were no conflicts with playground use, etc.

  • Awards Assembly Schedule: (Please make sure your parents know)
7:50-8:35 - 3-5 Awards
8:35-9:20 - K-2 Awards
9:25-10:10 - 5th Specials
10:10-10:55 - 4th Specials
11:00-11:30 - Specials Lunch
11:30-12:15 - Kinder
12:15-1:00 - 1st Specials
1:10-1:55 - 3rd Specials
1:55-2:40 - 2nd Specials

  • SBBBs Due November 19th: Just a reminder that SBBBs are due next week. If you need ideas for your SBBB, contact Tanya Ledger. She is willing and eager to help you! The district SBBB is due November 20th, and it is a Fine Arts board.

  • Attendance Reporting Incentive: Horace Mann is partnering with Seven Hills Elementary on a number of initiatives, one of the largest being attendance. They generously donated two bikes for a perfect attendance incentive, and are also offering teacher incentives to promote student attendance as well! You are all aware of the importance of reporting attendance at 9:30 daily. Each six weeks grading period, the grade level with the highest number of days with 100% of the teachers reporting attendance at 9:30, will receive a catered lunch. Because we can pull this data for previous dates, we will offer a second six weeks award on Monday, November 16. Congratulations 5th Grade on winning the award for the second six weeks! Don't forget...the third six weeks incentive begins this week!