Pow Wow Principals Press

October 28, 2016

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Peer Accountablity

There isn't a school in the country more committed to a vision. I believe there isn't a staff of teachers and support staff that out work our tribe. We hope you enjoyed the warrior wampum celebration, raffle, and breakfast this morning recognizing all the hard work each of you put in every day at VBE.

At the beginning of this year we discussed holding our team accountable. Accountable to learning, growing, and collaborating. November always breeds escalated emotions and #failforward moments. Our data starts rolling in, report cards go out, and we start really being able to pinpoint areas of concern.

In order for us to continue learning and growing, we have to hold each other accountable.

The question is...

How accountable is your team?

When feedback and opportunity for growth emerge, how does your team handle it?


According to Harvard Business Review, the best teams hold themselves accountable.

  1. Set expectations. Let new team members know up front that you want and expect them to hold you and others accountable.
  2. Tell stories. Call out positive examples of team members addressing accountability concerns. Especially when they take a big risk by holding you accountable. Vicarious learning is a powerful form of influence, and storytelling is the best way to make it happen.
  3. Model it. The first time your team hears you gripe about your own peers to others—rather than confronting your concerns directly—you lose moral authority to expect the same from them.
  4. Teach it. The best leaders are teachers. Codify the skills you think are important for holding “crucial conversations”—and take 5-10 minutes in a staff meeting to teach one. In these teaching episodes, ensure the team practices on a real-life example— perhaps one that happened recently. Trust me, they’ll complain, but this will make a huge difference in retention and transference to real life.
  5. Set an “It takes two to escalate” policy. If you struggle with lots of escalations, set a policy that “it takes two to escalate.” In other words, both peers need to agree they can’t resolve it at their level before they bring it to you together.

Overall trends are showing that planning time may need to be addressed. The DA will be here in November and we will get specific feedback on areas of concern. We still have time now to address potential concerns.

Questions we need to ask our team-

What is each member bringing individually to contribute to planning?

Are the tasks and activities we are having student do driven by the standards?

Do our assessments match the rigor and extent of the standard?

Are our plans detailed enough that every member of our team can execute them with fidelity on a daily basis?

It is our collective responsibility to come prepared each day with a plan.

Please expect a strong administrator and coach presence in the next few weeks. We will be asking to see daily lesson plans, if we see areas of growth that need to be addressed.

However, we must hold each other accountable as well. Please address concerns with each other and help each other move forward.

We can do this together.

Collaborative Unit Planning

Grades K-5 have been scheduled for another session of Collaborative Unit Planning.

ALL team members are responsible for bringing the following materials to contribute to the planning:

  • A copy of your LAFS/MAFS standards and item specs.
  • Copies of your scale(s).
  • A learning activity or example for each level of the scale (foundational, meeting the standard, and exceeding the standard)
  • Any curriculum resources {Wonders, Go Math, Science Fusion} that you plan on using
  • Copies of any texts that will be incorporated into the unit.

Grade Chairs: Please e-mail Sarah and Elaine the week before your planning session to let them know which standards you will be covering. This will allow coaches time to pull resources that will benefit the entire group.

Messages from Ms. Van Brimmer, Your Literacy Coach

Finding Resources for Standards Based Instruction

There are a lot of great websites you can use to find resources that will help you plan collaboratively with your colleagues. Here are some of my go-to favorites!


Florida Center for Reading Research

Whole Group & Small Group Instruction:


ELA Formative Assessments for K-8 {Note: Use your single-sign on credentials to log in}

Anchor Texts



Common Core Appendix B Exemplar Sets

100% iReady Usage

Congratulations to the following classes with 100% of their students meeting iReady usage targets!

  • Ms. McMillan
  • Ms. Wilson
  • Ms. Fiori
  • Ms. Robinson
  • Ms. Castillo
  • Ms. Tuck
  • Ms. Zissel

Moonshot Library

Our books that we requested from The Learning Alliance for our units have arrived! These were purchased with a generous grant from the John's Island Foundation. Ms. Fox and Ms. Peterson have been hard at work cataloging and labeling all of our books. Books will be available to check out immediately. Please see Ms. Van Brimmer or Ms. Fox if you have any questions. You will be asked to complete a short, online survey after you check the books out. Thank you so much!

Storybook parade!!!

Don't forget to remind the students to dress up on Monday for our story book parade!!! Please meet at 8:00 am Monday morning in the media center for our group pic!
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STEM- Ms. Keeley


I know that many of your students are already collecting data with their science fair project. There is a great website https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/ that you can use to display your data. Choose what kind of graph is appropriate for your data collection and then input your data. The graph will be automatically created. This is a great tool to add the graphs to your science fair board. I will be around to your classrooms by the end of next week to give you your science boards. Please remember to write your grade level and teacher name on the back of the board. Fourth and fifth grade students will need to add their name also if they are presenting. I have put out completed boards outside of my office for you to look at if you need an example.

If you know of any community members that would like to judge, please have them call me at 564-4549.

The Power of a POSITIVE Phone Call!!

Don't forget the power a positive phone call and post card can make.
We challenge you this upcoming week to celebrate the successes.
Always strive for 5 positive interactions for every negative one.


Data and How We Use it by Elaine Ragley

Henry Ford said “If you don’t measure it, you won’t improve it.”

I found a short video entitled The Key to Educational Improvement: Data and how we use it.

Now that we have completed the Benchmark Assessment what do we do next.

Let’s begin with:

• Assessing our own work and its impact on students

• Diagnose strengths

• Diagnose areas which we need to modify instruction (standards that need to be covered more thoroughly or taught in a different way)

• Identify students who are not mastering particular standards

• Awareness of School District Scope and Sequence, Standards, Scales, Item Specifications and Item Types

• Create a plan for your RTi Math Instruction

• Create a plan for your RTi Math Enrichment for the students who get it

This week we will have the opportunity to dig into our Schoolwide Data, analyzing this data, and problem solving. If you do not know how to access your Benchmark Data, please ask.

Please watch the video below:

TEDxCincy - Jeff Edmondson - The Key to Educational Improvement: Data and How We Use It

Moonshot Updates!!

Great news!

We will have an embedded residency taking place with Ms. Kincus and recording artist, Konshens. They will be working on a 3 day writing experience next week in her class!!!

Konshens will also be working with our 2nd and 3rd grade moonshot academy after school.

Please invite the students and parents to our family night, sponsored by the learning alliance next Thursday night. It's totally optional for staff, but should be fun!

The moonshot bus will be here at 5:30 serving pizza and Konshens will be doing a program with our families! Our Little Indians are so lucky!!

If interested, you can sign up for the Saturday experience Nov 5th. Don't forget to enter promo code SDIRC.

Moonshot Spotlight

They are coming back for more!!

The learning alliance will be here on Nov. 14th observing our school. The founder of AOL along with other finders will be observing classes and checking out our vibe. ;)

Veteran's Day Salute

VBE is celebrating Veteran's Day on Thursday, November 10th at 9:45am in the courtyard. Everyone is encouraged to wear their most patriotic red, white, and blue and invite your veteran family and friends. Breakfast will be served to our visitors at 9:00am, hosted by the safety patrol and fifth graders.


Thank you so much to all the staff that stayed to support their PRIDE OF THE TRIBE winner.
I hope we didn't miss anyone!
Mr. Trevisol
Ms. Mathews
Ms. Poplar
Ms. Fiori
Ms. Kincus
Ms. Robinson
Ms. Swink
Ms. Bucknor
Ms. Bidlgen
Ms. Williams
Ms. Craner
Ms. Belford
Ms. Berwick
Ms. Walters
Ms. Smith
Ms. GonzaleZ
Ms. Sitkowski
Ms. Kachele
Ms. Power
Ms. Tuck
Ms. Martin
Ms. Lucarelli
Ms. Glickstein
Ms. Paulk
Ms. Singewald

Our parents were blown away by the staff presence!