Head U Gator News

December 12, 2015

A grateful heart

My heart is grateful for..

...teachers who invest in students over and above again and again. Last Saturday I ran into a family in the grocery store, who insisted on showing me a picture of their basketball team with Mrs. Foley cheering them on. I know many of you try to attend games, recitals, birthday parties and competitions that your students compete in, and I appreciate the extra time and effort it takes.

...Pam Fredeck, who has an amazing attitude for her new duty in the computer lab in the mornings. She is so invested in the progress of the students who are coming in, and I believe we are seeing some very positive results in the IStation results because of the extra work students are doing. She's making it a happy place to come and they are enjoying it.

...Jennifer DiScenza fortaking on some new approaches at the same time she's having to complete some classes. That's a lot of new for anyone to tackle!


I was excited to see or hear about some examples of differentiation this week during classroom observations.

One that clearly stands out was in Andrea's class where she worked with 4 different groups during math rotation. The students were working on identifying coins and value. For the first two groups, they pulled random coins and tried to identify and tell the value. She had posters available for them to check if they got stuck. The third group was asked to add the coins they had pulled and use the hundreds chart to help them determine the total value. The last group was given choices of cards with total cents on them (.45, .09, .30, .50, etc.) and asked to represent the total with coins.

This is a great example of pretty simple differentiation, but so much more meaningful to the students who didn't all need the same thing. Part of the reason I was so grateful was that on Wednesday our principal's meeting was an instructional rounds day, and I watched a first grade class do the same activity all at the same time. I was about ready to hit someone...and I have great impulse control. Imagine being a first grade little boy who already knows all your coins!

The second example was from Karen's room, where each math group also had different levels of subtraction with regrouping. When I talked to Karen about it, she said, "Well, any reasonable person would know that every child is going to need different things." I am so glad that you all understand the importance of that belief. Every child does need different things and I believe that our increasing skill in meeting those needs is a major reason in the reduction in our behavior issues. When kids are actively engaged in learning things that are meaningful to them, they aren't nearly as inclined to act up.

I also realized that our use of SBRC is a contributing factor to our increased ability to differentiate. When you don't have to worry about grades for different assignments, you can design instruction that requires different things from different people.

I am so proud of the progress you have made in trying to make sure that at Glenhope "everyone gets what they need!"

Personal business

Please remember if you are going to take a personal business day, you need to send me an email at least 3 days before hand. That's a new district policy that was changed at the beginning of this year. The purpose is so that we have a better idea if there is going to be an issue with obtaining subs on a particular day. It has seemed to be difficult the last two weeks to get subs at the last minute, and there's nothing we can do about that. Sometimes, however, we might be able to ask someone to adjust a personal day if we are anticipating lots of people being gone.

If you have to be gone before a holiday, be sure and get written approval from me before doing so. (Send me an email and I'll respond to you and copy LeeAnn Messina). They definitely keep records of that because we've been called to verify before.

Miscellaneous items....

Children can do squirrelly things right before the holidays! It isn't uncommon for us to have to spend time with discipline issues that pop up right before the break. Hopefully you will be able to intervene before something comes up, but if not we'll be ready to deal with it.

PTA is working on getting approval for a digital sign before the break. They will have to have an "emergency" vote in order to get the contract approved and take advantage of some discounts, but if everything goes well we may be fortunate to have a new digital sign this spring.

It was really exciting to look at Istation data this week after students had taken their December assessments. We have a very few students at each grade (typically less than a half dozen) who are at tier 2. For the most part, the only students on tier 3 are those identified as needing special services. Your work with small groups is definitely paying off!

This week:

Monday, December 14

2:45 Art Club

Tuesday, December 15

Spelling Bee pretest 1:00


DI and Spanish

Wednesday, December 16

PJ day

5th grade choir to Wells Fargo

Thursday, December 17


K: 1:30

1st 1:00

2nd: 12-1

3rd: 1:45-2:45

4th: 1:45-2:45

5th- 1:00

Friday, December 18

8:30 sing a long

11:45 dismissal

12:30 (or when you can get there!) lunch

3808 Cambridge Cr. West, Bedford, 76021

817 545 4269

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