Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 1/14-1/18

Put Students First • Seek Growth • Be Open to Change . Do Great Work Together • Value Differences

Principal's Message for the week:

grat·i·tude - noun

  1. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

    "she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support"

    synonyms:gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, appreciation, recognition, acknowledgment, regard, respect;

As I was driving back from my professional development today, I was stopped at a red light and caught myself smiling out the window. When I brought myself back to paying attention to driving, I realized that I was distracted with this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Not everyone gets to have a job that doesn't ever feel like a job but rather fuels a passion.

I found myself thinking about how lucky I am that I have been given this opportunity to make a difference in our staff and students' lives on a daily basis. Just thinking about this week, I was feeling grateful for the our instructional leadership team who is going on a new journey of design thinking. I was feeling thankful for our teachers who have opened their doors to our many visitors as of late and to those that have taken a risk and shared that risk with their peers. I was feeling appreciative for our teacher assistants who have gone out of their way to make a special connection with some of most difficult students in which has made a huge difference in their daily success. Lastly, I was feeling grateful to all who have shown me grace, patience, and feedback within my first months of principal-ship.

Thank you!


Shout Outs

Shout out to Al Doss for coming into our class with a smile on your face and helping the students get on Schoology. You and your positive are refreshing and even make snafus ok! - Abbe

Shout out to Mrs. Olds for always helping us out with our PreK kiddos! You make the long walk across the field for fire drills run so smoothly! You rock! - Stacey and Lisa

A big thank you to Al Doss for helping me with a few different things with my computer!! - Ally

Thank you to Ms. Bussiere for helping to fix a squeaky door! - Ally

Thanks Robin M. for helping with our log-in issues! - Ally

If you have any shoutouts, please send them to Ms. Backer and Mrs. Jacobs by Thursday.

Please note the changes!

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Schedule for upcoming weeks

PLCs - LA focus

Monday, January 14th

· 9:00 Meeting with London Baptist Mentors

` Ms.Backer out 10-1:30

· 2nd grade PLC

Tuesday, January 15th

· 3rd Grade PLC

· 3:00p - 4:00p PBIS team meeting (Library)

· 3:00p - 9:00p PTA Chuck E. Cheese Cashola Night

Wednesday, January 16th


· Backer out AM

· Porter out PM

· 1st Grade PLC

Thursday, January 17th

· 1st Grade MOCA program

· 5th Grade PLC

· 2:40p-4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

· 3:00 PTA Meeting

Friday, January 18th

· 1st Grade MOCA program

· 4th Grade PLC


Jan 21st - Jan 25th

PLC Focus - Math

Monday, January 21st

· Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No school)

Tuesday, January 22nd

· 10:30 - 12:30 Schoology Mtg at Plaza

*3rd Grade PLC

· 3:00p - 4:00p Faculty Meeting - PBIS Training (Library)

Wednesday, January 23rd

· 8:00a - 11:00a Library Closed - Principal Meeting


· 1st Grade PLC

5-7 Paint Night @ Lucky Oyster

Thursday, January 24th

· 5th Grade PLC

· 2:40p -5:00p Eco Club (Cafeteria)

· 2:40p - 4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

Friday, January 25th

· Watch D.O.G.S Dad (Dorsey Wizotskey)

· 4th Grade PLC

· 6:00 - 8:00pm Father Daughter Masquerade Ball

***Mark Your Calendars***

Week of Jan. 28th - No PLCs - please start working on report card final grades and comments

February 1st - Staff Day - Please note all staff must attend on this day.

February 8th - Formative Focus and Goal Setting for Student Progress Mid-Year Review

Room 7 Use

Next week Thursday and Friday, 1st grade will be using Room 7 for their MOCA Program. If you were planning on using the room for any testing, please refer to the schedule below to make sure the room will be available.

Thursday, January 17th

8:30 - 9:30 Kernodle

9:30-10:30 Torres

11:15 - 12:15 Doyle

Friday, January 18th

8:30 - 9:30 Frierson

9:30 - 10:30 Cooley

Colored Printers update

The ESI bill has come in and it is down to a reasonable amount! I appreciate all of your attention and respect to this matter. As long as the bill continues to stay at this reasonable amount, we will keep the open colored printing. I want to ensure that teachers understand that this does not mean NO colored printing but rather a continued conscious planning of what should be printed in color vs what should be printed in black and white vs if it even needs to be printed at all :)

Check out these article below regarding ways to ditch the worksheet and add in more student communication and collaboration:

Colts Pride in Action

As part of our purposeful work to design a school culture where our PRIDE is encouraged and celebrated, each week a staff member or group of staff members will be highlighted for demonstrating one aspect of P.R.I.D.E

Kudos to Mrs. Frierson for jumping in with two feet, working diligently to build community and positive relationships. Taking over a well-established classroom midway through the year can be a difficult task. However, Olivia has joined our staff and immediately started to make a positive impact. Her calm demeanor along with her strong self-reflection skills have made her instructional intentions purposed and student driven. Well Done!

PBIS tip of the week

Below is a quote that was written in George Couros and recently he wrote a blog post on it. This quote drew me into the blog post as I am often thinking about are, our students engaged or are they just being compliant? Take a moment to read the blog below and reflect on your classroom practices. Are you promoting compliance or engagement?

This was written in my book “The Innovator’s Mindset,” and since then, my thoughts have evolved on the question. I will get to that in a minute.

Here is one of the challenges I received on the question: I believe all 3 are key to success. Without compliance, there’s no opportunity to develop the disciplined mind for engagement and empowerment.

I agree to some extent with the comment. I don’t believe that these are an “either/or” scenario but empowerment is the end goal, yet compliance and engagement are steps in the process, not a final destination.

The word I want to focus on here is “discipline.” From what I have read in many comments, “compliance” and “discipline” get used interchangeably where there is a crucial distinction between the words. In my view, compliance is done to you by others. Discipline is something you do to and for yourself. If you look at through the perspective of sports, compliance is listening to my coach and doing what I am told. Discipline is doing things that make me better when my coach isn’t necessarily asking or watching. That will separate the good from the great.

When I think of “discipline,” this Muhammad Ali quote says it well: The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.

Doing something challenging when you are not asked or pushed by others is not compliance; it is discipline. Helping our learners develop that internally is crucial if we want “empowerment” to lead to success in the short and long term.

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Don't forget about trying out our Colt Tracker!

This link will, also, be in our handbook along with our flowchart!

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Mid Year Testing Windows

Please look at these dates carefully. If you grade level needs to change a test's date range due to pacing, please let me know.

  • EDK & PALS Mid-Year Testing: Begins January 2nd – January 30th
  • Developmental Spelling Assessment DSA (Grades 3-5): January 7th--January 18th We will be using PALS data in conjunction to the DSA but not the quick checks.
  • DRA2 Assessment (Grades K-5): January 2nd--January 25th (All Kindergarten students should be tested. Students who were below grade level in 1st through 5th during the Fall testing window, should be retested. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not need to retest a student, you should enter his/her independent level in Synergy based on the student's current instructional level.)
  • Reading Inventory (Grades 3-5): January 2nd - January 25th
  • TenMarks Mid-Year Grade Level Assessment (Grades 1-5): January 22nd - January 31st
  • Quarter 2 Reading Benchmark (Grades 2-5): February 4th - February 8th (give it over 2 days like the SOL)
  • Quarter 2 Math Benchmark (Grades 2-5): January 28th –February 1st
  • Quarter 2 Content (Science and Social studies) Benchmark (Grades 2-5): February 8 – February 22

Career Day

Christopher Farms Elementary School will be hosting a Career Day on our school campus Thursday, March 28th from 8:00-10:00am. We are looking for men and women from a variety of occupations to share their careers with our students. If you know anyone who would be interested in participating please have them fill out the form below and return it to Mrs. Yoshida

National Board Certification

Have you ever thought about pursuing National Board Certification? Did you know that the process recently changed, allowing teachers more time and flexibility to achieve? Becoming an NBCT is a professionally and financially rewarding process. If you’d like to hear firsthand about what it entails from colleagues who either completed it or are currently immersed in the process, please see Bevin Reinen, Jackie Cochran, or Claire Love!


1/25 - Marcus Bellamy

1/26 - Abbe Torres

1/28 - Amanda Van Wagenen

Important Links from the principal packet


Keep these coming!

Please check out our form below to see how Mrs. Porter and myself will be celebrating our students and continuing our positive culture and environment.