Spot On!

A Monthly E-Newsletter for Spotswood Educators

November 2013 Vol 2, Edition 3

Your Students, My Students, OUR Students!

Dear Colleagues,

November is here already. As we start the third month of school I’m excited to announce David Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate, will present to all staff at the November 4th in-service day. David’s message is a positive one about the importance of a teacher’s role in the success of our students. He is an enthusiastic presenter whose message supports our district theme of Your Students, My Students, OUR Students! It’s my hope you find value in his message and try some of his instructional strategies. I found his message to be inspiring when I read his book and I know your peers, who joined the summer book study, did as well.

This month you will also find in this newsletter the minutes from the two district committees, FACT and LLC, that met in October. Taken by a member of the committee, you will be provided with these minutes each month as a way to keep you informed of the discussions happening at the district level.

Finally, one of the things I enjoy most about November is Thanksgiving. It’s truly an American family holiday. So, with that in mind, I wish you a relaxing Thanksgiving break and I hope you enjoy time with your family.


Educational Articles and Resources for Your Review

EdcampNJ - Free PD for New Jersey Educators

Saturday, Nov. 23rd, 8am

25 Linwood Place North Brunswick Township,NJ 08902

Edcamp is a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs.

Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference, Edcamp has an agenda that’s created by the participants at the start of the event. Instead of one person standing in front of the room talking for an hour, people are encouraged to have discussions and hands-on sessions. Sponsors don’t have their own special sessions or tables, all of the space and time are reserved for the things the people there want to talk about.

Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions. Teachers who attend Edcamp can choose to lead sessions on those things that matter, with an expectation that the people in the room will work together to build understanding by sharing their own knowledge and questions.

Edcamps are:

  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the edcamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

If interested, register here:

FACT Meeting Minutes

Please find below the minutes from the October FACT meeting:

Faculty Advisory and Consultation Team (FACT) Minutes from our 10/7/13 meeting.

This new committee was formed by Mr. Rocco to discuss topics relevant to staff. If you have any questions, comments or concerns that you would like discussed with Mr. Rocco, please contact: Barbara Silvers, Dawn Hyland, Jessica Marciano, Carol Kuhn, Heather DeLollis or Jeannie Gersten. Your name can be withheld if you choose.

Genesis - They are still working the kinks out of the Genesis Lesson Planner for elementary staff. A committee determined that Genesis would better suit district needs since some staff members were having issues with OnCourse.

SGOs are not meant to be a "got you" system. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or issues, please do not hesitate to contact a committee member.

New systems being implemented simultaneously are causing stress in buildings. It would be nice to have new systems implemented at staggered times.

Kindergarten classes are larger this year due to a late in the summer unexpected increase in student enrollment .

To avoid issues with future district calendars, proposed school calendars will be reviewed by various committees before they are finalized.

There is a new mandate stating that all K- 3 teachers, LDTCs and speech therapists need to receive two hours of dyslexia training annually. The district is still waiting for clarification from the Department of Education as to when this will go into effect.

The district anticipates our computer system will be wireless by January 2014. This is to help prepare us for future computerized standardized testing. The district is waiting to see if we have been chosen to pilot computerized testing in two classes.

Staff members would like to get into their schools a little earlier next year to prepare for the new school year.

The Schoenly staff spoke positively about their experiences with the transition to a new principal.

Lead Learner Committee Meeting Minutes

The following people attended the LLC meeting on October 17, 2013 at 3:20 in the Board of Education Conference Room:

Mr. Scott Rocco

Ms. Jennifer Calabria

Mrs. Betty Cantora

Mrs. Barbara Furman

Mrs. Debra Generelli

Mrs. Marti Hanna

Ms. Melissa Jennings

Mr. Rocco began the meeting by explaining the goals and objectives of the Lead Learner Committee. He believes the use of technology will make life easier for teachers and can improve lessons and make them more interesting. Mr. Rocco presented videos about the use of technology. These videos support his vision of getting teachers to use technology in the classroom.

Discussion followed. Ms. Furman would like to use technology to show how students perform. Ms. Jennings explained the Khan Academy and how it is good for centers and differentiating in math. Everyone was in agreement that technology is good for differentiating in the classroom. Mrs. Generelli suggested looking for, or creating an app to help with various routines in the classroom, that is child friendly (checking in, lunch count, etc.)

Mr. Rocco invited any other interested teachers to attend the meetings. He would like to see a representative from the middle school and another person from the high school on the committee. Ms. Calabria noted that there is a good range of people on the committee with various grade levels being represented.

Mr. Rocco handed out district computer policies to the committee members. He would also like everyone to bring an app to the next meeting having to do with education.

The next agenda will include reading the policy.

The meeting adjourned at 4:15.

What is Spot On?

Spot On! is a monthly e-newsletter for the educators in Spotswood Public Schools. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide you information on our profession, student learning, technology and interesting items in the educational world. Articles and links provided are for informational purposes only and are pulled directly from Social Media resources.

Send e-newsletter ideas, articles or resources to