Lance's Ledger

January 18 - 22 at Central Elementary

Writing PD Wisdom

On January 13 Dr. Danielle DeFauw presented strategies for teaching writing. Writing is one of those areas where teachers often express lack of training. Education majors do not have a methods class in writing during their teacher education preparation. How then do we teach writing? Is their a "magic bullet" for the teaching of writing? Most of us would say "No!" So what might be most important in the teaching of multiple writing styles? Dr. DeFauw explained that the most successful student writers have the "opportunity to see their teacher as a writer."

Modeling revision of writing is linked to higher writing proficiency among students. A metacognitive approach which orally shares editing strategies helps students develop as good writers. Open discussion using anchor papers that show various levels of writing can be key in developing the ability in students to recognize solid writing. So it seems that many opportunities to write and revise writing plays a major role in helping students hone their writing skills over time. In the case of writing the ability of the teacher to share his/her thinking as he/she revises a writing piece has a major impact.

CAP Nominations

Teachers, just a reminder that CAP nominations from parents are due to special services on January 22. If you are approached after that time, please refer the parent to me. Teacher nominations of students for CAP have been extended to February 5. After some discussion with current CAP teachers it was determined that the timing was off and could be adjusted. First of all, completing and submitting the nominations the same week that teachers are completing semester report cards is very difficult. Secondly, completing the nomination immediately after completing the DRA, DIBELS, NWEA and report cards will provide teachers with all of the data they need to do a stellar evaluation of students and determine which students would be best served by all that the CAP program has to offer. It is very important to Mrs. Halabicky and to all of us that we are providing the opportunities available to this special population of students. It is a priority to ensure that every student who deserves a nomination has one.

Teachers, please know that the information on student nominations is ONLY used by the Special Services Office. Specific information from your forms is not shared with parents. Also, please know your input is on every nomination (whether it is a nomination that is teacher initiated or parent initiated) is important! The more information the committee has the better. The CAP committee needs to know about work ethic, persistence and perseverance, organization, particular strengths and weaknesses as well as parent involvement etc. Draw the parallels between this and a special education referral because in actuality, this is a referral for specialized instruction.

Thank you in advance for your careful and thoughtful involvement in the CAP nomination process!

Purchase Cutoff Announced

Director of Business Affairs Leslie Young has notified principals that Friday, February 26 is the purchase cutoff date for this school year. Having a cutoff date ensures all purchases for the present year are received and in use so they can be charged to this year's budget.

Generally, this does not cause a problem because supplies needed for this year have already been purchased. After the cutoff only emergency purchases are approved and I must go through the business office or Mr. Brown for approval.

Exceptions to the cutoff include Student Activity Account funds (your PTO accounts) and end of year field trip expenses that have been budgeted. This year I also need your help in adhering to a building purchase cutoff date of June 1 for Student Activity funds. That will allow Amy to balance accounts. Additionally, I will allow teacher room accounts to retain up to $100 to carry over into the next school year. Accounts that have in excess of that amount will be redistributed for building needs (Exception: Monies raised by teachers through pancake, movie, etc, nights will be exempt from the redistribution). If you feel you have an account that will be affected by the redistribution please make an appointment to see me so we can establish a spending plan. It is not my intent to play "Robin Hood,," however, it is important to spend funds earned in a given year on the student population that helped raise the funds.

M-STEP Reports

M-STEP parent reports were mailed to parents of our present fourth graders (last year's third graders) and our fifth graders at Hahn last week. The MDE has not released any data for us based on individual teacher's groups or school copies. Before mailing the M-STEP reports we made a copy so that "claim data" may be reviewed. Looking at the claim data is a process we can accomplish during a PLC or after-school PD depending upon the preference of Grade 3-4 teachers.

There is some discussion in the educational community that state testing may move away from the present M-STEP test on down the road and be replaced by a test such as NWEA. Looking at this year, however, M-STEP is still the state test and will take place from April 25 - May 13 for Grade 3; May 9 - May 27 for Grade 4.

This Week at Central

Monday, January 18

  • No School for students and staff/Office closed

Tuesday, January 19

  • Lockdown Drill today (PM)
  • DRA Assessment
  • PTO Meeting (6 PM)

Wednesday, June 20

  • CST Meetings in AM
  • CAP PLC (2-3:20 PM)
  • DRA Assessment

Thursday, January 21

  • Principals' Mtg. (9:30 AM)
  • DRA Assessment ends

Friday, January 22

  • T.E.A.M. Grade 2
  • STAR Math Assessment deadline extended to January 28
  • Data Entry due today

Looking Ahead

January 2016

  • Jan. 25...ACC (4:15 - 6:15 PM)
  • Jan. 26...PLC Day (TBD); Data Day rescheduled to Feb. 9
  • Jan. 27...Staff Meeting (Why Do you Come to Work Every Day ? : A Perspective; Behavior Data Review; M-STEP Overview); Data Day Rescheduled to Feb. 10
  • Jan. 28...End of 1st Semester; STAR Math Assessment ends; CAP nominations due to Special Services Office from teachers by February 5 (extended).
  • Jan. 29...No School for students; Teacher Work Day (Teachers may work from home)

February 2016

  • Feb. 1-5...Cardinal Code Celebration & Rejuvenation Week (part of our Promoting Positive School Climate or PPSC project)
  • Feb 1...All Grades due by 4 PM/Specials report grades this marking period; Hearing & Vision Screening Feb. 1 - 5 in Alumni Room; DPA CMC (4:15 - 6:15 PM); Board of Education Meeting 7 PM (Mrs. Romzek's room leads Pledge and sings under direction of Mrs. Bolton)
  • Feb. 2...Report Cards Printed; CST Meetings
  • Feb. 3...Troubadors Assemblies
  • Feb. 4...Principals' Mtg. (9:30 AM); Report cards go home with students; Pancake Dinner Night
  • Feb. 5...T.E.A.M. Grade 2; CAP Nominations from Teachers due to Special Services...Teacher Comments on Nominations Appreciated & Important!!!!!
  • Feb. 8...Mrs. Stuart, Mr. Kennedy to Sloan
  • Feb. 9...Data Day Grades 1 & 3
  • Feb. 10...Staff Meeting 7:35 - 8:15 AM (Agenda: School Improvement Work); Data Day Grades 2 & 4
  • Feb. 11...Team Leader Meeting (7:40 - 8:10 AM)
  • Feb. 12...Mrs. Fritz, Mrs. White, Ms. Holder to Sloan; Valentine's Parties
  • Feb. 15...President's Day (No School for students/staff)
  • Feb. 16...P.T.O. Meeting (6 PM in Library)
  • 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
  • Feb. 25...Principals' Mtg. (9:30 - Noon); Grade 4 Music Concert - 7 PM @ DHS
  • Feb. 29...ACC (4:15 - 6:15 PM)

Understanding Our Language Through Word Study

The Language Arts Committee has been at work studying ways to move us forward through the ACC process and adoption of curriculum. One of the areas of discussion has been the need to move from a traditional spelling program that focuses on memorization of word spellings toward a word study approach which teaches students to recognize and apply linguistics in order to develop stronger command of our language. The following video shows one type of word study in action.
Word Study in Action: Spelling Patterns

Thought for the Week

"If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important."

-Barbara Colorose

Wishing you the discipline, determination and dedication to realize the importance of your calling!