Wm. Adams Middle School

Faculty and Staff Newsletter • October 12, 2015

Benchmark Testing This Week

Please pick up your testing materials in room 207 by 7:30 each morning.
Remember, students will report to their first period class, as usual, and they may have breakfast if they wish. During that time, you will let them know to which room they should report for their test. Room rosters should have been emailed to you and/or placed in your mailbox.

As with all testing, have students turn their cell phones off and collect them; place a Post-It note with the student's name on it so they are not returned to the wrong person. Do not return the phones until just before students are released from testing.

When students have finished testing, they have only 2 options:
1. Put their heads down with their eyes open
2. Put their heads down with eyes closed.

Students need to become accustomed to the testing environment and students need to not feel pressured to finish because their classmates have finished and everyone wants to talk. Only when ALL students have finished may they engage in quiet activities. Do not allow them to access any paper, pens, pencils or materials until absolutely everyone is finished. You may have students keep their test and answer document in their desk Until you are ready to collect them. This allows them the opportunity to check their work if they wish. Once materials have been collected, they may not have acces to them again.

You have to set the tone in the testing room so that students know the importance of the exams.

Thank you in advance for following these procedures.

Monday, October 12: Reading-grades 7 and 8
Tuesday, October 13: Math and Algebra I-grades 7 and 8
Wednesday, October 14: Social Studies-grades 7 and 8
Thursday, October 15: Writing-grades 7 and 8
Tuesday, October 20: Science-grades 7 and 8

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Professional Learning Communities

A Professional Learning Community, or PLC, is educators who are committed to working together to achieve better results for their students. They engage in an ongoing process of inquiry and action research in an effort to be continuous learners themselves in order that they can improve the educational experience of their students and themselves.

DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many (2006), pioneers in Professional Learning Communities, agree that PLCs are identified by six characteristics:
1. Shared Mission (Purpose), Vision (Clear Direction), Values (Collective Commitments), and Goals (Indicators and Timelines) focused on Student Learning
2. A Collaborative Culture with a Focus on Learning
3. Collective Inquiry Into Best Practice and Current Reality
4. Action Orientation-Learning by Doing
5. Commitment to Continuous Improvement
6. Results Orientation

A PLC is a means of not only continuous learning, but continuous support for one another. We have completed a full six weeks now and we can see some common behaviors being exhibited by some of our students. Let's commit to working together in Professional Learning Communities so that we can help all students---even the most reluctant---achieve more. This may mean a closer analysis and introspection of what we each do in the classroom, how we plan our lessons and so forth. PLCs allow us to do just that in a safe environment.

Please watch your email for more information on starting our PLCs.

Fire Drill Review

Last week's fire drill went very well. We were able to evacuate the building in 3 minutes and 21 seconds. It was actually a bit shorter but one station could not hear the radio call when we checked for clearance. The next one will be much shorter, I'm sure.

Please remind your students that if they should be in the restroom, in the clinic, or hallway, that they should follow the directions of the nearest teacher and not try to make their way back to their classroom.

To avoid confusion, everyone should evacuate through the doors on the east and west sides of the building, either in the near the front or in the back of the building, depending on where their classroom is located. No one should come through the cafeteria unless the usual route is blocked. It is important that students walk close to the wall in a single-file line.

Be advised that we will practice building evacuations where a usual exit is blocked. We have to make sure students know alternate routes and that they remain calm should something like this happen. We will have one more fire drill this month so that we can get caught up and then we will have one each month.

Your response to the fire drill, by all measures, was outstanding!

Managing Student Behavior

When dealing with classroom misbehaviors, have you tried asking these 4 questions:
1. Excuse me...what are you doing?
2. What are you supposed to be doing?
3. Are you doing it?
4. What are you going to do about it?

For most students, to go to them and quietly ask these questions, in succession, about what they are doing, thereby not involving the rest of the class, might get better results. Speaking in low tones and privately, you may accomplish one or two things:
1. You won't embarrass the child; and
2. Speaking softly and privately will not give the child the attention that they may be seeking.

Your goal is to let them know that you know they are off-task. Remember, some students believe that they will get into trouble anyway and therefore they might as well do that which will get them in trouble. Let's help redirect them.

And as always, follow through with our PBIS protocol when necessary.
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Food for Thought:

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You are fabulous!