01.18.16 Staff Update

A Communication Tool for the Seven Hills Staff

Personalized Learning at Seven Hills: Goal Setting, Grit and a Growth Mindset

January is prime for engaging in goal setting. Personally, many set goals in the new year for improved health, financial management, organization...the list goes on...In schools, campuses revisit the goals set at the beginning of the school year, checking on progress made to date, revising plans and adjusting action steps to promote continuous improvement. And, in classrooms, teachers help students set achievement goals focused on ensuring a year's growth. Everyone is motivated and eager to get moving toward accomplishing their new goals. There is a positive energy encouraging everyone to take on the world...or at least their new goals! Yes, January is prime for engaging in the goal setting process. But, does this momentum sustain our efforts in February, March, April, and May? What happens when we are met with our first challenge or failure? Do we abandon our goals and slip back in to what we know and is comfortable?

I believe that goal setting can be a significant leverage point for student achievement - in fact, I can get quite passionate about it. When students are able to identify where they are in their learning, set a goal to help them move forward, and develop an action plan for achievement, they are developing self-regulation. And, if they can learn to persist when met with struggle they are developing GRIT. At the same time, when teachers are focused on using data to help support students in their goal setting, they are acutely aware of each student's individual need as well as patterns observed across the classroom/grade level. This knowledge is powerful! Teachers can use this to design instruction, intervention, enrichment...it can be used to personalize learning!

Seven Hills has taken significant steps this year to embrace a personalized approach to learning. I am excited to see evidence of student goal setting and data driven instructional design across each grade level. It is becoming "the way we do business" at The Hills, and I am confident that if we can persist through the struggle, we will will see a positive impact on student achievement!

The education world is resource rich on the impact of student goal setting, the Growth Mindset, and grit. I recently came across multiple blog posts connected to the topic, and will be sharing several throughout the next few weeks in PLCs, S'mores, etc. But, I wanted to share a few just to help sustain our momentum! I hope one of these helps you power through the struggle!

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Updates and Information

What's Happening Next Week at The Hills?

  • Monday, January 18th:

School Holiday

  • Tuesday, January 19th:

Grade Level PLCs

Susan Padgett, TEA, will be on campus for PLCs and Classroom Visits

  • Wednesday, January 20th:

  • Thursday, January 21st:

ILT, 3 pm

TEA School Report Card goes home - class sets will be placed in boxes on Wednesday

  • Friday, January 22nd:

SBBB Due: K-2 Math and 3-5 Readers Response

Awards Assemblies & College Colors Day

Awards Assembly Schedule:

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

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

  • Susan Padgett, TEA, will be on campus 1/19 and 1/26 for classroom observation and PLCs.
  • Jump Rope for Heart Week in PE - January 25 - 29 - please read the email communication from Marcia Wood regarding additional details for Jump Rope for Heart. Thank you Marcia for leading our Stars through this healthy living campaign.
  • February 15 is designated as a bad weather make-up day. Should we not need to use this as a make-up day for students, students will have a holiday and staff will have a staff development day. This will be a district day, not a campus based day of professional learning.

Happy Birthday To:

Communication Reminders (from last week's S'more):

Effective and efficient communication is a priority and has been a campus goal and Principal goal this year. Every effort is made to make sure staff, students and parents are appropriately informed, and when gaps in communication are identified, intentional efforts are made to ensure we bridge those gaps.

We have had several gaps in communication recently - from the Principal's office as well as within classrooms and as a campus. This week's S'more is a great example. When I lost the original S'more that I had been working on throughout the weekend, I quickly worked to recreate. There were typos and missing information. It was an honest mistake, but it did create a problem for some. We all make mistakes, but we need to learn from them and move forward making an intentional effort to prevent future mistakes.

Please make sure you are helping support communication goals by remembering the following:

  • Place a copy of all communication sent home to parents in the binder in the front office. This includes days, times, and teacher sponsor name of ALL after school practices,etc. (i.e. UIL, Battle of the Books, clubs, etc.). This simple step helps the office know the answer to commonly asked questions when parents call, and helps prevent classroom interruptions.
  • Inform the school nurse any time a parent makes you aware of a health related issue. Do not assume that the parent has also informed the nurse. Often, there are parent notifications and/or additional follow-up steps that must be taken by the nurse. She cannot act accordingly if she doesn't know.
  • When in doubt...ask or inform! Again, please do not assume everyone is aware of a specific circumstance or situation. And, the office/admin team will do the same. It is important that everyone have accurate and timely information. For example, if there is a change in family dynamics that may affect who can and cannot visit or pick up a child.
  • Check your mailbox at lunch and planning periods daily for any important notes to go home. We will deliver anything needing to go home that day if it is not prepared by the first lunch period of the day.
  • Check your email before you leave each day to make sure there isn't communication needing to be sent to parents. If Administration needs specific or time sensitive communication to be sent, you will receive the subject, text, and any attachments in an email (for example the health notice sent last Friday). Any general reminders, etc. needing to be communicated will be in the S'more (for example, early release dates, etc.)
  • I am working diligently to consolidate communication efforts for parents and staff. Please help me with this by sending emails with any announcements you want parents and staff to receive to both myself and Wilma (Wilma will serve as a check point, making sure I get all important information). I will put them in the S'more and Star News Updates for you. This is especially important for parent communication. Parents are bombarded with information, and when information is delivered in an inconsistent manner, parents eventually become desensitized to everything they receive. When we can focus our efforts, we increase the likelihood that information will be received and read.
  • Remember that we are trying to encourage parents to go to the campus Facebook page for information, reminders, and storytelling. The Seven Hills Family and Friends page is the PTA page. Both Q and I have the ability to post on this page. Let us know if you have an announcement or story to tell! :). We are trying to grow this page, and are looking for stories to tell!
  • Read communication sent by the office and administrative team. It is your responsibility as a professional to be informed. Please make sure you read the S'more carefully each week and read email in its entirety. I know everyone is very busy. To respect your time, I work to consolidate information. It is easy to simply scan each piece of communication, but please make sure you are reading everything carefully. Again, ask if you have a question.

Thank you for your continued efforts to support campus communication goals!

Staff Member of The Week!

Meghan Tucker: Did you know that Meghan is a twin? Meghan has a twin brother! Being a twin is certainly interesting, but even more interesting is that Meghan and her husband raise goats.

Tammy Nash: Tammy's youngest daughter, Heather, was in a hurry to make her debut! Tammy's husband called the midwife at 5:55 am, and Heather made her grand entrance at 6:20 am! Had Tammy been headed to the hospital, Heather would have been born on Hwy 287! Interestingly, both Tammy and her midwife now work in NISD.

Learn more about Tammy and Meghan when you stop by the "Star Staff" board in the Teacher's Lounge!

Information and Reminders:

  • New ORIGO Math Resources: The new Think Tanks and Box of Facts resources have been cataloged through the library. The Think Tanks were checked out to Team Leaders. The Box of Facts will reside in the library, and the smaller boxes, etc. can be checked out as needed. This was a challenge to determine the most effective system for keeping track of who had the resources. Please do not let the fact that you have to check them out from the library prevent you from using them!
  • Homework Hub Needs Your Help: If you are interested and available to help support our Stars at the Homework Hub, please sign up: https://docs.google.com/a/nisdtx.org/spreadsheets/d/1z1WK-MOoB5c88hWqn3YYxgU7LGgeG1Ig9lDhCnA-VAM/edit?usp=sharing
  • Power Thank You Challenge of the Week: Can you write one Power Thank You this week? Don't forget that the supplies needed are ready for you at the sitting area just outside the Teacher's Lounge.
  • TELPAS Training: Yes...its that time again...time to complete the training for TELPAS. More details will be coming soon, but save the date for February 2nd during planning (this was not originally a PLC - we will move the PLC scheduled for February 16th to February 2nd for this training)
  • SBBBs: A campus from Birdville ISD will be visiting Seven Hills the first week in February to look at SBBBs. This should not stress anyone, as I have been impressed with the boards we have look at so far. After careful consideration, I have decided to extend the SBBB due date to Friday, January 22nd so that you can work to make sure the task is aligned, student work is authentic and reflective of the rigor of the standard, commentary is meaningful, and board presentation is engaging. We will discuss the components of the rubric with our guests, and I encourage you to consider the rubric as you prepare your new boards. Please let me know if you need a copy of the rubric. Tanya sent an email to staff offering support with SBBBs as well.
  • Congratulations 5th grade for winning the 3rd six weeks attendance snap shot contest!! Third grade was in a close (very close) second! As a reward, Horace Mann will be providing lunch for 5th grade on Tuesday the 19th! Get ready to start the next contest Tuesday! I would love to see several grades tie for a win! J