GES Winter Newsletter

Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Ready to Learn

Principal's Corner

Dear GES Families:

Happy New Year and Welcome Back to 2017! A new year is a time to look back at progress toward meeting goals that were set when the excitement of a new school year brought a sense of refreshed optimism. It is also a time to renew the commitment of "our growth for theirs" which compels our faculty and staff to continue to deepen our professional learning, to work collaboratively to ensure students benefit from our shared understanding,and to take risks to reach each child's unique needs as learners.

Our professional growth has deepened as a result of using our time collectively to gain greater understanding of the six teacher standards that comprise the Educator Effectiveness plan. As a staff, we review those indicators that identify what constitutes effective in each of the six standards (Professional Knowledge, Planning and Preparation, Instructional Delivery, Assessment, Learning Environment, and Professionalism) and assess which of the indicators are considered strengths and which are opportunities for growth. We then study research and learn what our colleagues are doing that is considered best practice. Just recently we studied Standard #2, Planning and Preparation, and learned that teachers make over 1500 decisions a day! Consequently, since it is impossible to anticipate certain spontaneous occurrences that happen throughout a school day, it is critical to plan with purpose and intent in respect to those influences that have the greatest impact on our students' achievement.

GES's faculty has also identified 5 different books that groups have selected to study. They include Lost at School by Dr. Ross Greene, How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie, Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler, and Math Running Records in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton. A blog has been set up that will enable participants in each book study to respond to their reading and interact with their colleagues regarding what they've learned.

Soon our students will take the winter session of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment as well as other periodic assessments that help us to measure growth. Our investment in and renewed commitment to our growth for theirs" will be measured as well based on our students' results. We look forward to ending the 2017 school year with the same sense of commitment we began the 2016 school year with!

Respectfully yours,

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What is GES's Wolfpack Up To???

There has been an increased interest in following The Wolfpack Way this year! In fact, data shows that over the past 3 years, the number of major incidents have remained the same or been reduced in November and, for each of the remaining fall months (September, October, and December), there have been a reduction in the number of incidents. Major incidents constitute such things as physical aggression, inappropriate language, disrespect or defiance.

A number of factors may contribute to this positive trend. For example, consistency in having the same system now for GES's third year of implementation certainly will improve our students' ability to follow expectations. However, it appears, from our students' excitement at assemblies, where our monthly drawings occur, that they are very motivated to earn as many DoJo points as possible to increase their chances to win. The added incentives and the fact that our drawings are done when the entire school body is in attendance certainly appears to be having an impact on our students' positive responses.

One of our new rewards is GES's Victory Lap that was experienced during the month of December by two of our students! Three students earned the award and two raced around the inside of the entire GES building through the halls to the cheers of their schoolmates while the theme from "Rocky" played. Our lucky winners were Brayden Brennan, Graysen Bollech, and Ty Mekelburg!

A picture is worth a thousand words and it is certainly easy to see the enthusiasm our students had about this new, exciting incentive. We are hopeful that the same positive trend will continue as we reward our students for their continued efforts to make GES the best, most positive school it can be!

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Grafton Elementary School Winter Concert

Friday, Jan. 13th, 2-3pm

Grafton High School Auditorium

The theme this year is, "Here Comes the Snow" and, as is typical, our talented Mrs. Andrews and GES's K-5 students have a wonderful experience in store for us. Join us as our students showcase their musical skills and their talents as performers!

Opportunities for Growth!!!!

During the month of January, our students will be taking their winter MAP among other assessments that help us to monitor their growth over the past several months. We are anxious to obtain their results in order to see if we are progressing in the areas that we identified as GES's School Learning Objective. This portion of the Educator Effectiveness plan requires all schools throughout the nation to provide evidence of instructional supports and strategies that will address areas of growth for targeted students. Targeted students can be any student, at either end of the learning continuum, who is "at-risk" of not making a year's growth in a year's time.

In September, the academic performance of K-5th grade students were analyzed to determine what strands within both reading and math were areas that needed to be strengthened. The common areas of mathematics across most grade levels were Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Number and Operations. In two of the grade levels, geometry and measurement and data were areas that a greater percentage of students had a relative weakness.

In reading, the predominant strands that are areas of need for our K-2 students are language and writing. Literature is a focus for our upper elementary students with the exception of informational text at the 4th grade level.

"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can't measure something, you can't understand it. If you can't understand it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it."(H. James Harrington).

Measuring our students' growth is our greatest priority in determining how best to control their future success.

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The Importance of Being Mindful!

Mind the Bump - Mindfulness and how the brain works
GES's staff has been part of mindfulness training over the past several months. The entire faculty has had 6 hours of learning how to be mindful ourselves in order to support our students' ability to calm themselves and be able to regulate their emotions. We are looking forward to the remaining 6 hours of training that will continue in January and February. A tremendous thank you to our GES PTA for supporting this important professional development!

GES Photo Album