The Friday Forecast

Office of the Principal; Friday November 15, 2013


This is the seventh edition of the 2013-14 Friday Forecast. A reminder for all staff members, we use the Friday Forecast to communicate pertinent news, weekly happenings, and outline specific things that we need the teachers and staff to address so we can work collectively to meet our goals. Every member of the staff is expected to read the Friday Forecast, follow all prompts, engage with shared researched based documents, and apply recommendations into your respective roles.

Quote for the Week!

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.’

Author Unknown

The Week Ahead

Gold Week Schedule - 6,2,3,4,5,1

American Education Week

8th Grade Science Benchmarks

Monday (18th) - Guidance IGP's, G20 (Teacher Leadership Meeting - 3:45 SDR), IB Program Presentations

Tuesday (19th) - Guidance IGP's, G40 (Student Government Meeting (7:45am - SDR), Admin Team Meeting (10:30am), SIC Mtg (5:30pm), PTO Mtg (7:00pm), NY Trip Parent Mtg (6:30pm), Jr. Leadership Program During Enrichment,

Wednesday (20th) - Guidance IGP's, Safety and Security Assessment (CRMS/IMS), IB Program Presentations During Enrichment

Thursday (21st) - Guidance IGP's, School Choice Fair (Center for Advanced Technical Studies 6:00pm-8:00pm), Jr. Leadership Program During Enrichment,

Friday (22nd) - Orchestra Assembly in Gymnasium (Click for Schedule), Guidance IGP's, Student Health Screenings

Upcoming Major Events

(FREE) Global Education Conference

Sunday, Nov. 17th 2013 at 12pm to Friday, Nov. 22nd 2013 at 9pm

This is an online event.

The Global Education Conference is a free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, held Monday, November 18 through Friday, November 22, 2013 (Saturday, November 23rd in some time zones). The entire conference takes place online in webinar format.

The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for connecting classrooms while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity and educational access for all. Last year’s conference featured 400 general sessions and 20 keynote addresses from all over the world with over 13,000 participant logins. Click here for more information.

To attend this year's conference and to be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, please join this network!

D5 School Choice Fair

Thursday, Nov. 21st 2013 at 6-8pm

Center for Advanced Technical Studies

District 5 "Teacher to Teacher Trailer"

Teacher 2 Teacher trailor

October Staff Birthdays

Jane Koon – November 3rd

Melissa Texin – November 5th

Channing Anderson – November 8th

Vance Lipe – November 10th

Phillip Dorley – November 12th

Juliette Greenlee – November 13th

Mary-Graham Harris – November 17th

Cynthia O’Reilly – November 22nd

Theresa Holland – November 24th

Kim Blitch – November 29th

Debbie Slice – November 29th

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

October Absence Report

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Nuts and Bolts

After-School Academic Assistance

With November in full swing and student's having received grades for the first nine weeks, some of them need extensive after-school assistance, I am asking teachers to utilize afternoon academic assistance as an intervention with students. I am already beginning to hear concerns from parents regarding their student's underperformance and not receiving contact from teachers. Please contact parents of students who are experiencing failure and utilize the PM academic assistance with those students. Remember we have busses running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after-school so transportation should not be an issue. Many of you already stay after school to work with students. I want to encourage everyone to identify a day during the week where, if students need assistance, they can stay after-school to work with you and also have transportation home.

Attendance (Student)

Take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Mrs. Wilds. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. I am still seeing instances where teachers are asking for students to be excused late to class because of mismanaging instructional time. No teacher's class takes priority over another. Everyone's subject area is important. Let's refrain from infringing on each other's time and make certain that you don't run over and cause a student to be late to another teacher's class.

Attendance (Staff) - Share report

As promised, the October absence report is above. Kudos to 8th Grade Math for their exemplary attendance during the month of October. If you recall, our goal was to have less seventy-five total absences for the month of October. As you can see, we had 117. That is 42 more than we needed. It is absolutely critical that everyone to make every possible effort to be at school every single day. I will join you in the effort to be here daily for our students and staff. I certainly understand that things will come up that will necessitate an absence. When you absolutely have to be out, you are reminded to follow the proper protocols and prepare appropriate plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute.

Cell Phone Policy

If you recall, we adjusted the cell phone policy for students this year. Remember, students are allowed to use cell phones during breakfast, lunch/enrichment, and in classes when directed/approved by the teacher. Cell Phone usage is not permitted during class changes. During your enrichment times, remind students that they should not be taking photographs of other students without the parental permission of all students in the photograph.

Class Changes

Thanks so much to everyone for standing at your doors between class changes. We must unite and be consistent with this practice. Remember, not only do we control the classrooms but also the the campus common areas as well. Students should not be loitering, hanging out, visiting vending machines, or using this time to socialize. They only have five minutes to get to class. As it relates to lunch dismissals, make sure you follow the approximate time frames for the beginning and ending of each lunch period. Refrain from sending students to lunch early. Doing so causes a lot of congestion in the cafeteria and invites chaos and understaffed supervision ratios.

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group

Tuesday - R Group

Wednesday - M Group

Thursday - O Group

Friday - R Group

Make sure you are at your post prior to 7:45 am. The students start moving at 7:45 and our supervision posts will eliminate any disruptions. I expect every to be up and circulating around students to make sure their behaviors are consistent with our expectations.

Dress Code for Staff

I want to commend everyone for looking their professional best everyday. Continue to model for our students how they should prepare for school and work.

Emergency Preparedness

Reminder...I have placed an appointment on everyone's calendar regarding an Active Shooter training that will be held in January. I wanted to give as much advance notice as possible. We will have a drill or two this month. Make sure you stay aware of our evacuation routines. I wonder what would happen if we had to evacuate from a large event like a pep rally or an assembly? To stay prepared, please review the procedures and make sure you practice them with your classes. During evacuation drills, everyone must be out of the building and in their assigned areas in ninety seconds. Let's hustle to safety in an orderly fashion.

Again, a reminder... I expect all classes with exterior doors to remain locked at all times. Assign a student to be the designed door opener. All exterior gates must be locked at all times. Any visitor to our campus must check-in the front office first and register with our lobby guard system. Remember, everyone's safety is our top priority.

ID & Tardy Cards

All students should properly display their ID and have in their possession a tardy card each and every day. Teachers with first period classes are responsible for ordering temporary ID's for those students that do not have one. A student should not make it to second period classes without an ID. Let's work together to ensure that this policy and our practices are followed by all students and staff personnel.

Leaving your classroom

If you are relocating your classroom for any reason, you must notify the front office and attendance so we will know everyone's whereabouts. If you have any questions or concerns, see your assigned administrator.

Student Behavior

It has been brought to my attention that we have several students who are displaying behaviors that are gang related. I will absolutely not tolerate any behavior of this sort. Please be vigilant and report those students to the grade level assistant principals. Keep me abreast of what's going on so I can stay on top of this situation and use every intervention at my disposal to eliminate all occurrences.

Student Dress Code

Let's not get soft on the dress code. Continue to inspect what we expect. Report any and all violations to the administrators. Keep in mind that every second students miss class creates an opportunity for us not to meet our goals. Exercise good judgement in sending students out of class for these violations. When needed, call an administrator to your class to handle. Believe it or not, it is a student strategy to wear inappropriate garments...they know we will pull them out of class.

Teaching and Learning

As we continue to navigate November/December, we will be making a concerted effort to observe our progress in classes. Remember, our focus in on teacher-to-student, student-to-student, and student-to-teacher questioning, feedback, and how you are integrating magnet themes in your lessons. I am confident that we will see some amazing things going on in classes. Remember that we have to lessen student dependency on teacher provided answers and more on student's researching and collaborating to learn processes and find solutions.


Don't forget, make sure the following is on your board:

Learning Target (I Can...Statements) for every prep taught



Upcoming Projects/Assignments

During your lessons, make sure you are asking challenging questions that invoke inquiry and process not just rote memorization. Are you using appropriate DOK Question STEMS? Here are five simple questions that you can ask students to deepen their level of learning:

1. What do you think?

2. Why do you think that?

3. How do you know this?

4. Can you tell me more?

5. What questions do you still have?

Finally, remember as a district, this year we are focusing on two major concepts through the data teams process:

1. Explicit Direct Instruction

2. Higher Order Questioning

The Special Education Corner

Oral Administration

Thank you for continuing to help make oral administration testing run as smooth as possible. We appreciate all of your advanced notifications of upcoming tests, quizzes, etc. This has continued to help Mrs. Boland plan and coordinate tests, prepare for iPad planning, and help with logistics. For teachers of ELA and Math co-taught classes, thank you for continuing to work so closely together your to determine how to best facilitate testing. If you have any questions or concerns about oral administration, please speak to a special education teacher.

Schedule change update

A handful of students may be changing classes in the next few weeks as casemanagers and IEP teams continue to evaluate placement and setting. As the team meets to discuss progress, a student need might arise where a schedule may need to be adjusted. We just wanted to make you aware as IEP meetings are continually being held.

IEP meetings

We wanted to extend our continued gratitude for your wonderful participation in IEP meetings. Your active contributions helps to make the meetings more productive, run smoother, and allow for the team to share richer information. Parents are very appreciative of your professionalism and perspective on their child's progress in your classroom. The meetings are student-centered, and your participation shows just how much you have the student's best interests in mind. Thank you also for your punctuality, your patience, and your understanding when some meetings are longer than may have been expected.

The Magnet Minute

Magnet Minute:

This month’s theme is Cultural Diversity! “As our nation grows increasingly diverse, there has never been a better opportunity to learn to live respectfully together and benefit from one another’s wisdom and experiences,” (Mena, 2013); thus, this month’s theme will allow you the flexibility and creativity to approach your content standards through the lenses of diverse cultures and cultural practices. As you design engaging lessons and performance based experiences for students, consider questions like: What does a scientist (or mathematician, composer, etc.) look like in India (or another country of interest)? What cultural traditions are popular in Mexico and how are these events celebrated (Mrs. Ellis has already provided great insight for this one!)? What do “coming of age” rituals look like in Kenya (Ms. DuPre, you can answer this one!)? Consider your specific content standards and pacing guides, and then “think outside of the box!”

This month’s overarching Learning Target is: I can respectfully evaluate cultural differences from people around the world. *Because there is no theme for December, this Learning Target will extend into the Christmas holiday.

Reflection on the 11/11 "Amazing Face" Professional Development Expedition: Thanks again for your willingness to "think outside of the box" and participate in last Monday's teacher expedition at The University of South Carolina. The International Bazaar was an excellent, experiential way to begin framing our thinking about Cultural Diversity - the magnet theme for November and December. Expeditionary Learning, as a pedagogical framework for teaching and learning, is all about rethinking traditional teaching methods and using the natural world to inspire and create authentic learning experiences. Thus, all of our future PD experiences will be re-purposed and redesigned to align with EL's ideology - relevant, authentic work that matters, where teachers are positioned as learners and creators (not just passive participants in a "sit-and-get" style workshop).

Complete Survey Feedback: In the spirit of growth mindset, please take a few moments to complete the reflection survey regarding your experience. Any feedback you provide will assist with future planning.

Complete Lesson Documentation: Also, please take a moment to document the date of your Cultural Diversity lesson(s) on the Google doc spreadsheet.

The learning process, which positioned you as learner and creator during the 11/11 PD experience, will be extended when you facilitate the lesson and allow students to participate in the creation role (see diagram below). As often as possible, the administrative team will use these lesson dates to align their Classroom Mosaic observations.

iNSIDE iAM: A special THANKS goes out to Mrs. Zhao and her Mandarin students for all their hard work preparing the performances for last Thursday's inaugural "iNSIDE iAM." Also, thanks to all of the teachers and staff who attended the event. There were over 100 parents and community members in attendance, along with Sarah Boddy, our EL school designer, and Ryan Pettitt, the owner of The Bubble Tea Cafe and newest iAM business partner. Check out this video trailer for more information about the evening.

District Magnet Recruitment Fair: On Thursday, November 21, District 5 will host its first Choice Fair at the CATE Center. The purpose of this fair is to publicize the five new magnet schools and recruit new families to the International Academic Magnet. Our "larger than life" display will be revealed at this exciting event.

International Classroom Libraries: There are considerable funds allocated in the Project ACCESS grant for the increase of internationally themed texts in all classrooms across our campus. Please begin compiling "wish lists" of texts (print, digital, audio, visual, etc.) that support our magnet theme of globalization for your classroom. Mrs. McKenzie can help with the process of selecting texts. Please begin sending your "classroom wants" to your department leaders.

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The Inaugural iNSIDE iAM

Closing Thoughts

As we continue to navigate November, I would like for us to remember the importance of a positive outlook and the need to work through problems and concerns in productive ways. Remember, I am never interested point fingers and casting blame on anyone. I am only interested in working collaboratively with everyone to find the best solutions possible so we can continue to improve personally and professionally. If you have concerns, frame those into ideas and/or solutions. Share those with your grade level content leaders and/or your department chairs. If it is what's best for kids, we will work towards the adoption process.

Student Adjustments - By now, all students have figured out our routines. Remember we must be consistent in our adjustments and implement our programs and practices with fidelity, clearly articulate campus and classroom norms, and expect nothing but their very best.

Teacher Adjustments - As I have shared with you countless times, it is in student's DNA to display excitement for middle school and challenge our routines. We must match their excitement with clear norms in our supervisory roles and intervention efforts. Remember, tools and strategies for curtailing this excitement can be found in setting clear expectations, repeatedly rehearsing routines, consistently providing engaging instructional experiences, utilizing all of our collective resources, and regularly contacting parents (positively and seeking assistance). Be cautiously watchful in your supervision roles and report disruptions and things out of the ordinary immediately.

Finally, Mr. Cooley and I had a very productive experience at the Corporate Headquarters of PITSCO Education. We learned so much about the Introduction to STEM Systems and Algebra 1 laboratories that will be installed this summer at IMS as a critical component of iAM. I am including the video links below for your review and preparation.

It is my hope that the readings above, videos below, and tasks integrated will ignite innovative ideas and help illuminate the path ahead.

Stand by me....iAM...#IrmoSTRONG

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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Pitsco Algebra Intro
Pitsco Education STEM
Pitsco STEM Lab at West Craven Middle School