The Freedom Flyer

August 4, 2014

Welcome Back!

Dear Freedom Team,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year! It is going to be a wonderful year of collaboration and learning together. For me, this summer has been a time of reflection, refocusing, and recharging. I am proud to be part of our Freedom Team; committed to student success!


In June, I had the amazing opportunity to attend several conferences; one being the PBIS conference in Houston. The keynote speaker was Adam Saenz who wrote The Power of a Teacher. He said, "All kids want to know two things about a teacher: Do you care about me? ( Which is all about love) and Can I make my own rules? (Which is all about respect) He went on to talk about the dynamics between a student and a teacher, and he explained it like this: It's all about a follower and a leader. The follower has to surrender control. Where there is no love and no respect, there is no surrender of control. Before teachers can be incredible, they have to be credible. Teachers have to prove themselves daily to students by treating them with dignity, respect, and love...no matter what! From his book on page 19, he shares the following statistic. In 2010, the global financial institution conducted a survey in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Award. They found that 88% believed that a good teacher can change the course of a student's life. In fact, teachers were second only to immediate family as the group having the greatest, positive impact on the the lives of those surveyed as they grew up- even ahead of close friends. Thank you for choosing Freedom Elementary as your place to change the course of a student's life.


Our PBIS team met last week, and I'm excited with what they have to share with you for the upcoming school year. It has been said that we are at our best when we are learning and/or helping someone else learn. What a blessing to be in a business where that is what it is all about!


Please read through this new format of The Freedom Flyer in preparation for our upcoming PD week. Look for our next newsletter on Friday afternoon.

PD Week- Also see attched spreadsheet

Thursday, August 14th- All staff meet in FRES library at 8:00 AM for donuts, coffee, and juice. 8:00-12:00 Community Building, PBIS, Guided Reading, Writing Workshop. 12:00-1:00 Lunch provided by PTA. Bring $8.50 to join PTA. Our goal is 100% staff participation. 1:00-3:00 Finish morning session and nuts and bolts.


Friday, August 15th- K-4 teachers meet at Willis Lane at 8:00 AM. 8:00-11:30 Collaborative Planning for Math Formative Assessments with Willis Lane and Ridgeview. (Co-curr and specials see attached spreadsheet.) 11:30-12:30 Lunch on your own. 12:30-3:30 Grade Level Planning at FRES.


Monday, August 18th- K-4, Resource, Life teachers meet in FRES library at 8:00 AM. 8:00-11:30 HMH Science and Math Materials Training. (Co-curr and specials see attached spreadsheet.) 11:30-12:30 Lunch on your own. 12:30-3:30 Edmodo/Google Docs/Tech Aps in FRES Library.


Tuesday, August 19th- K-4, Resource, Life teachers meet in FRES library at 8:00 AM. 8:00-3:30 KISD Curriculum Overview. (Co-curr and specials see attached spreadsheet.) 11:30-12:30 Lunch on your own.


Wednesday, August 20th- Wear Super Hero Spirit Shirts and dress pants such as khakis for convocation. K-4, Resource, Life, Fine Arts, PE, IST teachers meet in FRES library at 8:00 AM. 8:00-11:30 Formative Assessments with Eagle Ridge teachers. (Specials see attached spreadsheet.) 11:30-12:30 Lunch on your own. 1:00-2:30 Convocation at Timbercreek High School. 2:30-3:30- Planning.


Thursday, August 21st- Wear Super Hero Spirit Shirts and jeans for staff picture and Meet the Teacher. All Staff picture at 9:00 AM in cafe. Work in your room day. You may change into shorts, etc to work in your room. Lunch on your own. Meet the Teacher at 6:00 PM-7:00 PM.


Friday, August 22nd- K teachers meet at ELC at 8:00-11:00 for Positive Discipline in Kindergarten. 1-4 teachers meet at Heritage at 8:00 AM -4:00 PM for Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites with Marcia Tate. (Co-curr and specials see attached spreadsheet.) K teachers join us at Parkview at 11:30. Lunch provided from 12:00-1:00.


Monday, August 25th- 7:30-3:30 First Day of School- wear your Super Hero Spirit Shirt with dress pants. Meet after dismissal in the library for a treat.


Dress for the week is professional unless otherwise indicated.

The Power of a Positive Educator By Jon Gordon

When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life I realize they were all positive. Mrs. Liota smiled every day and made me feel loved. Coach Caiazza believed in me while Mr. Ehmann encouraged me to be my best. Years later as I think about the impact these teachers had on my life it’s clear that being a positive educator not only makes you better it makes everyone around you better. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young minds to believe they can and will change the world. In this spirit here are seven ways we can all choose to be a positive educator.



1. Be Positively Contagious – Research shows that emotions are contagious. Sincere smiles, kind words, encouragement and positive energy infect people in a positive way. On the flip side your students are just as likely to catch your bad mood as the swine flu. So each day you come to school you have a choice. You can be a germ or a big dose of Vitamin C. When you choose to be positively contagious your positive energy has a positive impact on your students, your colleagues and ultimately your school culture. Your students will remember very little of what you said but they will remember 100% of how you made them feel. I remember Mrs. Liota and her smile and love and it made all the difference.



2. Take a Daily Thank you Walk – It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to feed yourself with positivity. How does it work? You simply take a walk... outside, in a mall, at your school, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. By the time you get to school you are ready for a great day.



3. Celebrate Success – One of the simplest, most powerful things you can do for yourself and your students is to celebrate your daily successes. Instead of thinking of all things that went wrong at school each day focus on the one thing that went right. Try this: Each night before you go to bed think about the one great thing about your day. If you do this you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. Also have your students do this as well. Each night they will go to bed feeling like a success and they will wake up with more confidence to take on the day.



4. Expect to Make a Difference – When positive educators walk into their classroom they expect to make a difference in their student’s lives. In fact, making a difference is the very reason why they became a teacher in the first place and this purpose continues to fuel them and their teaching. They come to school each day thinking of ways they can make a difference and expecting that their actions and lessons will lead to positive outcomes for their students. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their students.



5. Believe in your students more than they believe in themselves – I tried to quit lacrosse during my freshman year in high school but Coach Caiazza wouldn’t let me. He told me that I was going to play in college one day. He had a vision for me that I couldn’t even fathom. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. I ended up going to Cornell University and the experience of playing lacrosse there changed my life forever. The difference between success and failure is belief and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else. Coach Caiazza was that person for me and it changed my life. You can be that person for one of your students if you believe in them and see their potential rather than their limitations.



6. Develop Positive Relationships – Author Andy Stanley once said, "Rules without relationship lead to rebellion." {Tweet That} Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school. I’ve had many educators approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement. To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give them your best.



7. Show you Care – It’s a simple fact. The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. Standardized test scores rise when teachers make time to really know their students. Teacher performance improves when principals create engaged relationships with their teachers. Teamwork is enhanced when educators know and care about one another. Parents are more supportive when educators communicate with their student’s parents. The most powerful form of positive energy is love and this love transforms students, people and schools when it is put into action. Create your own unique way to show your students and colleagues you care about them and you will not only feel more positive yourself but you will develop positive kids who create a more positive world.



If you commit to being a positive educator I encourage you to read and commit to The Positive Teacher Pledge.


The Positive Teacher Pledge


  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.


  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.


  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.


  • When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.


  • When I feel fear I will choose faith.


  • When I want to hate I will choose love.


  • When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.


  • When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow.


  • When faced with adversity I will find strength.


  • When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.


  • When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.


  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.


  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.


  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.


  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.


So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!

Tip of the Week

Greeting your students at the door with a high five, handshake, or a hug sets the tone for the day. This simple gesture creates that moment when you and the student make eye contact, speak directly to each other ("good morning"), and have a connection. This may be the only one-on-one you have that day with the student, but it has great value. When you model a respectful way to greet another human being, you are implicitly telling each student that this is how we will communicate with each other.