Staff Memo

April 18, 2014

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Using a Growth Mindset - Exercising Writing Muscles

I love Jane Yolen's book Encounter. She couldn't have written it without a growth mindset. She would have had to write, rewrite, recognize her mistakes, learn from them, and persevere though writer's block. She says it much better than me when she says:

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” ~ Jane Yolen

We need to help our students exercise their writing muscles and their learning muscles each and every day.

Kid Snippets: "Too Sick For School" (Imagined by Kids)

Reflecting on the BSE Visits

Dana Kaminski, principal of BSE, uses the words "authentic, purposeful posting" to talk about what goes up on the walls at BSE. How do those words strike you? How did the visit challenge you?

As we continue to find ways to make our school welcoming and inclusive, how can we make our postings even more authentic and purposeful?

Kudos to Team K

Two thumbs up to the K Team who hosted Kindergarten Round-up on Thursday. It took oodles of planning and energy to welcome our newest Roadrunners. I watched many come in hiding behind their parents and leaving with smiles. Thanks for the warmth and care you communicated.
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Working on Our School Improvement Plan - Our SIP

The DOE is giving us the freedom to craft our School Improvement Plan (our SIP) in a way that makes the most sense to us. I don't know what the end product will look like, but I do know that along the way we will look at what we are already doing and find ways to refine and improve. I am not planning on the SIP being anything new. Finessed, yes. Brand new? No. The district has been clear that next year will be the same kind of year for the district. The district will continue to refine and finesse what we've already been working on.

For us, that means continuing with growth mindset, Rock Solid Teaching, Principles of Learning, HSE21, and diversity. Our School Improvement Plan will include collaboration, data, and Learning Clubs. The purpose of the plan is to make our goals clear so that we are all headed in the same direction.

Chip and Dan Heath, the Heath brothers, who write Made to Stick, talk about goals this way:

“Stephen Covey, in his book The 8th Habit, describes a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries. He reports the poll's findings:
* Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why
* Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team's and their organization's goals
* Only one in five said they had a clear "line of sight" between their tasks and their team's and organization's goals
* Only 15 percent felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals
* Only 20 percent fully trusted the organization they work for

Then, Covey superimposes a very human metaphor over the statistics. He says, "If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.”
Chip Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

The goal of our SIP is to make sure we all shoot at the same goal and play on the same team. Two of you have volunteered to be a part of the process of crafting the SIP. I invite others of you to consider it as well. Please let Janet Chandler know if you are interested.

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Looking Ahead

Monday, April 21 Day 1
  • Secretary's Week
  • Pledge - Cook
  • PD room in use all day for district-wide 5th-6th grade PD
  • Author Visit - Drew Daywalt - in library
  • 3:10 Collab - K

Tuesday, April 22 Day 2

  • Author Visit - Drew Daywalt - in library
  • 8:30-11:30/1:00-4:00 District-wide PD 4th grade and 3rd grade REACH
  • 3:10 Collab - 1
  • 4:00 Kristin Young bridal shower

Wednesday, April 23 Day 3

  • Spring pictures
  • PD room in use all day for district-wide 5th-6th grade PD
  • 1:30-4:00 District Diversity mtg - Board Room
  • 3:10 Collab - 2

Thursday, April 24 Day 4

  • 8:00 Office mtg
  • Road Runner Rally - all day
  • 3:10 Collab - 3
  • 4:15 Staff Handbook mtg - Lisa gone
  • 6:30-8:30 Nutrition Showcase

Friday, April 25 Day 1

  • Mid-term
  • $1 Hat Day
  • 8:00 Discussion mtg
  • 3:10 Collab - 4
  • 5:30-8:00 CRES Fest

Monday, April 28 Day 2

  • April 28-May 13 ISTEP Multiple Choice
  • Pledge - Young
  • 10:45 Fire Drill
  • 3:10 Data collab - K
  • 4:00 Math Study Group - Chapter 7

Tuesday, April 29 Day 3

  • 8:00 Interest Group PD - HSE21 - Thick and Thin Questions - PD room
  • 3:10 Data collab - Team 1
  • 7:00 PTO Exec bd meeting - Lisa attends

Wednesday, April 30 Day 4

  • 3:10 Data collab - Team 2

Thursday, May 1 Day 1

  • May 1-31 Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage month
  • May 1-31 GLobal Health and Fitness Month
  • Better Hearing and Speech/Healthy Vision Month
  • May 1 - Law Day - Recognizing the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all
  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 3:10 Data collab - Team 3

Friday, May 2 Day 2

  • CRES Spiritwear
  • 3:10 Data collab - Team 4