Head U Gator News

Jan. 10, 2016

A grateful heart

My heart is grateful for..

....compassionate folks who care deeply about the needs of people they work with.

....Our tweeting Learning Liaison who has tweeted from every grade level every day this week!

....everyone being willing and ready for Jeanette to tweet from their room.

....great subs. Boy, you don't know how important that is until you need one or don't have one!

...terrific leaders, and that isn't just team leaders. That's anyone of you who lead in your capacity to help us get where we want to go.

Sherlock visits

A few of you have made visits and written them up. There is a definite purpose for requiring these visits, and it isn't to torment you! The research is clear that collegiality is important for schools to be really good places for both staff and students.

A 2010 study commissioned by the Wallace Foundation suggested that adult relationships in a school indirectly affect student achievement by increasing the school's use of "focused instruction." The researchers concluded "Effective leadership strengthens professional community- a special environment within which teachers work together to improve their practice and improve student learning."

They can't just be places where the people like each other and get along, while that is important. They have to include purposeful conversations about practice, which is what we're expecting will happen here at Glenhope. The expectation is 4 visits for the year, and then a short note on the board to share what you saw/learned/observed/discussed.

As you consider where to visit, think outside the box: don't go to your teammates room or to a friend that you've already visited. Go to another grade, to an ASPIRE classroom, a specials class or even a specialist like Cindy Felker.

Allegations of discrimination or harassment

As you are listening to students' conversations or comments during Circle UP, please be cognizant of anything that might have its roots in discrimination or harassment. You are all very good at handling issues in the classroom (we only had 5 discipline referrals for the fall semester) but if you are dealing with something that might fall into the category of discrimination, please let Heidi or I know as soon as you can. Current events in the world make conflicts between people groups evident and in the forefront of everyone's mind, and we want to make sure that if any of our students are feeling tension we address it.

Small group minutes

With great representation giving pretty accurate data for this week:

Small group reading: 82%

Small group math: 73%

Goals for the year: 85/82

Employee survey

Here are the results from our 9 question survey, along with comparisons from earlier in the year and last year. There were 35 responses, which is a really good participation rate. It looks as if we are moving in a really positive direction in the areas we have been concerned with.
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Here are some comments that were left by those completing the surveys:

1) I do feel a lot of negativity when hearing teachers discuss and talk about students. I wish that we had more of a growth mindset for some of our struggling or more challenging students. Saying that they are doomed and that they are "going nowhere fast" is not helpful. We need to have a mindset where we believe in children and do all we can to let them know that we do.

2) I feel that we need to make sure to continue things such as the staff outings because it allows for us to try and connect at least once a month. There are many wonderful and new ideas going on in the building, I would love if there were a document that showed what each teacher's strengths were or what they felt confident in so I knew a good choice when doing my Sherlock visits. I'd like to pick something I'm weaker in and then decide where to go.

3)I think that we do many things very well here. Leaders try to be as creative as they can with the time we get to work on things within the guidelines they have to follow. I chose that I don't work the amount of hours I expect because in order to do my job well I have to spend lots of time at home or after school working on things.

4)It would be nice if everyone would acknowledge you with a smile or a hello 100% of the time.

Thanks to those of you who left comments, because those not only help us understand the results a little better, but they are very specific about things we can either stop or continue doing to improve.

I don't know about you, but comments #1 and #4 make me very sad. I know that we all (including me) get frustrated with parents and students from time to time and say negative things. It is something we have to be deliberate and intentional about- not allowing negative to foster more negative. I try very hard to be extremely careful in my remarks about children because we all know how damaging our words can be. While no one would intentionally allow a child to hear something negative, saying something out loud could make it easier for us to give up when it gets tough. Let's try to hold each other accountable for staying positive, no matter how frustrated we are.

Comment #4 sounds like it should be simple, but I know that all of us can get into our own world where we are not even aware of other people because we are lost in our own thoughts as we walk down the hall. However, it does make a difference to others and should be something we attempt. Consciously greeting everyone with a smile or hello should be an easy goal for all of us to accomplish. Let's work on this!!

Faculty meeting

Last week at CMT, we looked at our vision for this year and talked about progress we had made. I would like at least a portion of our faculty meeting to be similar, so we can all celebrate good things that are happening.

Please be thinking about things that you have done differently this year in your classroom and how to share that with everyone. We will copy our vision that we created last May and have it available for Tuesday afternoon.

This week:

Monday, Jan. 11

Art Club

Tuesday, Jan. 12

La Academia Spanish 2:45-3:45

Faculty meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 13

no choir

Thursday, Jan. 14

KC club 2:45

Friday, Jan.15

La Academia Spanish 2:45-3:45

Bowman 2:45-3:45