Millbrook Elementary Staff Notes

Week of Feb. 8-12, 2016

Thought For the Week

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs. ~Vance Havner

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Cassidy works on reading like a BOSS!

Survey Says...

We appreciate all the feedback received on our mid-year survey. The admin team met to synthesize the data into broad themes, which included:
1. PLT Structure and Functioning
2. Role of Coaching
3. Student Culture (School-Wide Systems for Managing Behavior)

4. Adult Culture/Morale

Each of these will be expanded upon below, including Action Steps/Follow Up. We will have opportunity for further dialogue on the survey data during our staff meeting on Monday, 2/15.

But First - What Is Going Well!

Positive Feedback:
*Feel inspired by the leadership direction; "We Believe!"
*I can go to the admin team - they are approachable
*Feel supported by the coaches working with my grade level
*The admin team is working hard to be responsive to needs
*The admin team is keeping the well-being of students in mind
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PLT Structure and Functioning

Synthesis of Feedback:
*Too many documents
*Still lack clarity of roles/responsibilities (admin, coaches, grade chairs)
*Need to ensure PLTs include data discussions
*Need to build structures for kid talk & collaboration with SpEd, ESL

Action Steps/Follow Up:

*Keep building the capacity of the SIP/Leadership Team with distributed leadership and clarity of roles
*Coaches will follow up during next PLT cycle to discuss: What do you need? How can we support?
*Need to add spot on agenda: Questions/Needs for Admin to allow teams to streamline communication
*2nd Semester - will assess PLT schedule implemented this year (with floating special to allow 2 hours uninterrupted time) - Pros? Cons? Changes for 2016-17?

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Role of Coaching

Synthesis of Feedback:
*Staff as a whole needs better understanding of coaches' roles
*Grade levels feel supported by work of the coaches
Action Steps/Follow Up:
*Individual coaches will receive the feedback directly from the teams they support
*Continue building grade and school-wide relationships through open dialogue
*2nd Semester - work to define clear Vision of Excellence at MEMS for literacy, math, IB, and student culture as part of SIP rewrite. Continue working to build shared understandings among all stakeholders
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Student Culture

Synthesis of Feedback:
*Need clear school-wide system for major and minor behavior issues

*Perception: admin may not respond to issues strongly enough
*"Sending student to office" - when we should? When we shouldn't? How does that process work? What happens?
Action Steps/Follow Up:
*PBIS team is rebuilding foundational processes; be sure each grade level is communicating with their PBIS rep

*March 4 Early Release: PBIS will present defined majors/minors and processes to follow for rest of this school year
*Jennifer Weickum, behavior coach, will come for "Minute Clinic" 2/9 to meet with interested teachers
*Looking ahead to 2016-17: Need to align as a staff around whole-school approach to addressing underlying student needs (i.e. Responsive Classroom, Conscious Discipline, Mindfulness) as a supplement to PBIS. Will build this into SIP planning process as we need to ensure we are reaching/teaching the whole child/addressing root causes of behavior problems with school-wide systems/structures (morning meeting, conflict resolution, community celebrations)

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Adult Culture/Morale

Synthesis of Feedback:
*Want/need affirmation
*Want individual feedback when visiting classrooms
*More opportunities for dialogue - whole staff, mixing up groups
*Continue working to build relationships and trust
Action Steps/Follow Up:
*Admin will implement walkthrough notes when visiting (details will be shared on 2/15) - "I Noticed....I Wondered...I Appreciated"
*Will build more opportunities for dialogue in upcoming staff meetings (has already started with SIP/Leadership team)
*Will build more opportunities for appreciation (snacks, shout outs, etc.)

WHAT WE NEED: More open dialogue with grade levels/individuals regarding what you need - Please ask/advocate! We also need to continue dialogue about systems that are not working so we can identify if they need to be tweaked/removed/enhanced.

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Clarification - 3rd Grade Building Issues

I realize the challenges we've gone through recently with the 3rd grade building are a pain point, and I want to ensure we all know what has been done/shared with the teachers housed in that space. Here is where we are:
1. Additional air quality tests were done after the mold was discovered in January. The building IS safe for students and adults.
2. Additional cleaning measures were taken and will be continued to prevent recurrence of mold.

3. Adjustments were made to the existing system to better control humidity levels where possible.

4. Our area superintendent is gathering additional information regarding when MEMS will get building renovation/replacement of building.

5. There will be some system control upgrades for the heat and A/C systems for both the main building and 3rd grade building this calendar year. The control upgrades will allow for quicker response to outages.

6. We will examine options for minimizing use of the 3rd grade building next year by sharing options for how to bring all classrooms into the building. This will be a shared dialogue with the leadership team this spring.

7. I will continue to be an advocate for our needs and share all information transparently and promptly!

Logistical Updates

  • CHANGE FOR CHANGE! This student-led taking action to raise BUCKS for BOOKS is going phenomenally well! :) We will continue coin collection all this week so keep encouraging your students to bring change.
  • MEN NEEDED! On Wednesday, Feb. 24 we will host a "Real Men Read" breakfast where we invite fathers, grandfathers, uncles...any man in our kids' lives, our community, or our staff members' come in and read aloud to classrooms. Please recruit your friends and family, as well as spreading the word among your students' families! We will serve them a light breakfast from 7:15-7:45, then assign them to go read to students! Spanish-speaking men are also invited....what a treat to have them read to our students whose native language is Spanish. We will provide books for the men to read.
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Schedule of Events

Monday, 2/8: B Day, 4th Data Step Back, 1:30-3:30; Intervention Team Meeting, 7:15 AM (Room 101); SIP Team Meeting, 3-4:15

Tuesday, 2/9: C Day; K Collaborative Planning Day; 2nd Data Step Back, 1:30 - 3:30

Wednesday, 2/10: D Day; 3rd Data Step Back, 1:30 - 3:30; K Parent Meeting, 3:15-4:15

Thursday, 2/11: E Day; 1st Data Step Back, 1:30 - 3:30; 4th Collaborative Planning Day;

Friday, 2/12: Specialist Collaborative Planning (AM); Early Release Day; Math Discourse PD, 12:30-2:30 (Media Center)

Learning Corner

As we continue to examine whole-school approaches to student culture, check out Responsive Classroom:

This Week's Inspiration

An inspiring true story about innovation, creation, and believing you can make a difference!
TMB Panyee FC short film