Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Welcome back to school, Cordata Family!

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing spring break!

The week ahead - 4/8 - 4/12

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On the SEL calendar this week are lessons that will continue to build your class' proficiency in working together to solve problems. Whether you are using Caring School Community resources, or Positive Discipline resources, these class meetings should be a regular event at this point in the year. We will see changes over time at Cordata when students experience this community practice year after year!

Here are the lessons to consider from Positive Discipline in developing class meetings:

o Introducing Class Meeting Format p.150

o We Decided: guidelines for Class Meetings p. 151

o Our Class Meeting Agenda p.152

o Introducing Class Meeting format – Group Problems p.158 – repeat this multiple times for group problems

Introducing Class Meeting Format – Individual Problems p.160 -
note: the lesson notes that Classrooms are ready for individual problem solving when the teacher is confident that students can be helpful, not hurtful. Go at your own pace for this. It’s possible that not all classes will get to the point where they can solve individual problems this year, and we will honor that.

Upcoming Dates

  • April 9 - 2:45-3:45 in the library - Cordata staff meeting
  • April 11 - 1:45-3:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff) (note that this time was originally published incorrectly, 1:45 is the correct start time)
  • April 18 - 2:00-3:00 - Cert staff collaboration/PD time
  • April 19 - Spring Social, hosted by Cordata PTA
  • April 22 - Promise K Family Night
  • April 23 - 2:45-2:00 - FOURTH Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • May 13 - DESSA window open through end of May
  • May 23 - Spring SGC's - 1:00-3:00 grades K and 4; 2:00-3:00 grades 1, 3, and 5
  • May 21 - 2:45-4:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff)
  • May 24 - Bike Rodeo, grades 3, 4 and 5
  • May 30 - Spring SGC's - 1:00-3:00 grades 1 and 2; 2:00-3:00 grades 3 and 4
  • June 7 - 5th grade track meet
  • June 13 - Spring SGC's - 1:00-2:00 grades 2 and 3; 2:00-3:00 grade 5
  • June 19 - Field Day - this is tentatively being planned with the support of Cornwall Church volunteers . . . much more info to come. If you have ideas, send them to Analisa.
  • June 20 - last day of school - morning assembly followed by all-school recess and yearbook signing

Other News and Information

  • April is the final month for TPEP Inquiry Cycles. Teachers, please check your calendars - if you have not yet completed the observations needed for your inquiry cycles, it is time to get them scheduled! Please also check on your progress with Student Growth Goals. In May, we will have several days of roving subs to release you to meet with Minh or Analisa for end-of-year TPEP conferences. You may also choose to meet during your planning time of before/after school. To prepare for those meetings, you will want to revisit your self-assessment using the TPEP rubric, and prepare the data for your student growth goals. Watch for sign-ups in the staff room.

  • It is hard to believe, but it's time to start thinking about forming preliminary class lists for 2019-20! Grade level teams, I'd like to ask each of you to select a time to collaborate on this work during one of the following times. Please sign up for your time in the staff room. I'll ask that grade levels do not overlap times, as we have several people who will be attending as many of the meetings as possible (Dan, Jennifer, Minh, Carissa for primary grades...). Laura is preparing the 1-pagers with student data and will get those to you so that you can add any additional information. We will be cancelling our April 18 school-wide collaboration time in order to make space for these planning meetings.
    April 18 - 1:00-2:00 or 2:00-3:00
    April 25 - 1:00-2:00 or 2:00-3:00
    May 2 - 1:00-2:00 or 2:00-3:00

  • Teachers, take a look at the upcoming dates above, and you will see that Spring SGC's have been added. Based on the feedback we received from spring of 2018, we are repeating the format we used at that time. Each grade level will meet with the intervention team for one hour to review current data and discuss the information that will be important to pass along to the next grade level. Additionally, each grade level will meet with the grade level to whom they are sending students for one hour. We will have a protocol to support the conversation and help us be efficient in passing along information. Having our preliminary class lists prior to these SGC meetings will help us to share relevant information with one another.
    May 23 - 1:00-2:00 K and 4th grade meet separately to look at grade level data
    May 23 - 2:00-3:00 K meets with 1st grade; 4th meets with 5th grade
    May 23 - 2:00-3:00 - 3rd grade meets to look at grade level data
    May 30 - 1:00-2:00 - 1st and 2nd grade meet separately to look at grade level data
    May 30 - 2:00-3:00 - 1st meets with 2nd grade; 3rd meets with 4th grade
    June 13 - 2:00-3:00 - 2nd meets with 3rd grade; 5th meets individually to look at grade level data

  • While we're thinking about next year, there are many ways that we can build community this spring and help children anticipate moving ahead a grade level. Here are some ideas that I encourage you to think about, and talk with your colleagues to plan together:

    • -Plan classroom visitations for upper grade teachers to come visit the lower grade classes - could be done with a teacher-swap or during a planning time.

    • -Plan for younger grade class to go visit upper grade classrooms (for example, so the 3rd graders could tell the 2nd graders what they will learn next year)

    • -Plan an outside event - kickball or cooperative game - swap teachers during this time, or get two grade level classes together.

    • -Students could look through books and choose familiar books that will be in their book box the following year. Or students could color a card with their picture on it that will go on their book box next year and they could write some of their favorite books on it.

    • -Students could write a letter to students from the previous year, or a letter to their future teacher

In closing . . .

How might grade level looping support teaching and learning at Cordata?

One of our core beliefs at Cordata, evident throughout our school and in our dedication to SEL, is that strong relationships between adults and children are paramount in developing a strong learning culture. "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationships," in the words of James P. Comer, researcher at Yale University. With that in mind, I have begun to have conversations with many of you, individually and in Leadership Team, about the idea of looping. By looping, I mean having one teacher stay with a class of students over two grades. Ideally, this is done by working with a looping partner - another teacher who also loops, so the two can move back and forth between two looping grade levels. In some schools, this is done for all students in two grade levels. The spring plans described above (Spring SGC's, forming class lists, transition ideas) are all based on starting fresh with a new community and new teacher in the fall. Looping would be a different way to address the challenges that we are addressing with those plans.

This article does a nice job of describing the potential benefits, and the potential obstacles of looping. I encourage you to read it in anticipation of our staff meeting on Tuesday, where we will take some time to discuss looping. I will put a key excerpt here as well.

First, the potential benefits. The author points out that the benefits of looping for children who live in poverty may be particularly important.

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The article also addresses potential obstacles. It points out that teachers must have the desire and willingness to move from one grade level to another. Although the article doesn't go into detail, two areas of concern in our school could be the need for teachers to develop proficiency with curriculum at multiple grade levels, and the challenge of developing collaborative practices with a new team. Additionally, research has found that parents' concerns about looping tend to focus on teacher effectiveness. Obviously, strong teaching practices, in addition to solid relationships, are key in making looping work well for students. Again, I encourage you to see the article in full for more detail.

At our staff meeting on Tuesday, we will take some time to talk together about the potential benefits of setting up looping at Cordata. Classroom teachers, please give this some thought. Email me to let me know if you are interested in exploring looping for the 2019-20 school year, and let's set up a time to talk!