To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter - October

Volume 4, Issue #2: Monday, October 1, 2018

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If you are looking for some laughs to help destress before tonight's Do or Die game, you might enjoy the following YouTube video.

Go Cubs!

The Growth Mindset Coach

With August and September behind us, it is exciting to jump feet first into October. Our focus for October is: My Brain is Like a Muscle that Grows! We will continue saying our October mantra during morning announcements. I hope that as you dig deeper into this month's chapter, you will be pulling activities and information to share with your students regarding their brains!

Our goals for September will focus on:
1. Teaching yourself and your students about neuroplasticity.

2. Testing and developing brain-based teaching strategies.

We will not have time to walk through the lessons on pages 57 - 67, however, I encourage you to read through them and try them with the students. There is great value in helping students understand how their brains work and what better way than with a hands-on approach. I have a model of the brain, in my office, that you are welcome to borrow.

Trauma Informed Schools

Thank you to all who have filled in the 1-5-9 challenge. While we are a few weeks into the challenge, keep in mind that it is never too late to add a student. As you get to know your students better and notice students who might benefit from a more intentional adult connection, feel free to add him or her to the list. This is a working document and can grow as our students continue to grow. Please note, that if you notice a student who might benefit from being picked up for a 1-5-9 challenge, and you aren't the right fit, let Noelle or me know and we will help find someone to fill the role.

Hopefully at this time, you have established your beginning of the day and end of the day routines and those are starting to solidify for you and the students. You may be noticing that even with some intentional planning, routines and supporting individual students, you may have some students who are still struggling in the classroom. I have attached an outstanding PDF that outlines several different strategies for supporting students with ACEs in the classroom. It is an easy read and has some very practical ideas for classrooms. I encourage you to flip through it and pull out any ideas that might work in your classroom.


I shared our official goals for our AVID Site Plan in September's To the Point. If you have a chance, you may want to review them, as we are now well into the plan. We will be focusing on Collaboration during our Wednesday Faculty Meeting with some hands on activities that can be taken back and used with students.

SPOILER ALERT: I am going to introduce a new plan in the next few paragraphs that we have not yet talked about. I am going to try to provide some background information, as well as a vision for how we will implement it so that we can use our time on Wednesday morning diving and and collaborating. Please don't get overwhelmed with the wordiness of my explanation. I anticipate that it will all come together on Wednesday morning.

We have targeted Collaboration in both our AVID Site Plan as well as in our School Improvement Plan. As we build and finalize our ACEs plan, we will pull collaboration in as well. With all of these pieces in mind, we will be establishing Buddy Grade Levels this year. Buddy Grade Levels will have the following goals:

1. Buddy Grade Level Teachers will meet three times a year to collaborate and plan activities for students (the first of three meetings will be on Wednesday during our Faculty Meeting).

2. Buddy Grade Levels (students) will meet three times a year and participate in collaborative activities.

Our Buddy Grade Levels are as follows:

Kindergarten and 3rd Grade

1st Grade and 4th Grade

2nd Grade and 5th Grade

Our goal is to keep these relationships in tact throughout three years. This means that as students progress from year to year the partnerships will remain the same. The kindergarten students will be paired with the same group of students until 3rd grade, when they become the older students and buddy up with the new kindergarteners. They will then stay with that group of students until 5th grade. I hope that these buddy relationships allow students to have a few more connections, or students that they know, throughout the building in an different grade level. Hopefully, these relationships deepen each year as the program builds.

Another benefit of Buddy Grade Levels is that at 3rd - 5th grade, we have at least one AVID trained teacher to help support the Buddy teams in practicing and implementing Collaboration or other WICOR Strategies for the students to participate in. As more and more teachers become AVID trained and as AVID spreads throughout the building, we will continue to collaborate and support each other with these partnerships.

Please note that Buddy Grade Levels are not meant to take the place of other grade level collaboration. It is totally appropriate to keep reading buddies or any other cross grade level collaborations that are already in place.

We will spend our Wednesday Faculty Meeting talking about how to partner up (class by class, whole grade level or other ideas) as well as practicing three collaboration ice breakers that can be used for our first Buddy Grade Levels meeting.

Important Information

Congratulations to Paul Magnuson

Congratulations to Paul Magnuson being recognized from the Illinois Board of Education as Those Who Excel.

The Illinois State Board of Education annually sponsors Those Who Excel to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our state's public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Awards of Excellence, Meritorious Service, and Recognition are presented in seven categories: school administrator, school board members/community volunteer, educational service personnel, student support personnel, team, early career educator and classroom teacher. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Anyone can nominate an individual for any category; however, only one nomination per category per school district is accepted. Visit for more information.

Paul will be celebrated next Tuesday at the SD308 Board of Education Meeting and again at the end of the month at the ISBE Banquet.

Congratulations to Paul!

Welcome Kim Tully

I am happy to share that Kim Tully will be joining our faculty as our permanent floating special education sub. Kim will be working at Prairie Point on Tuesdays - Fridays supporting our special education programs. In addition to covering for special education teachers and teaching assistants, Kim will be available to support our resources, DHH and EC programs.

In Every Issue...

Field Trip Information

There is new field trip information on the district website. You can access this through the intranet in the Teaching & Learning (T&L) tab. Click on Field Trips and then 2018-19 Elementary Field Trip Information.

On this page, you can select their specific grade level to see the available field trips and the cost. If a bus is needed, the cost per student is highlighted in yellow. Please reach out to the contacts on the sheets if you have questions about the field trips.

MTSS Information

We will be following the same MTSS process that we followed last year. I have included the Problem Solving Request Form below. You are also able to access information on the intranet by going to the Teaching & Learning (T&L) tab and downloading the School District 308 MTSS Plan.

I do want to let you know that we are reviewing MTSs throughout the district this year. We have a lot of good things in place at Prairie Point, as well as at the elementary level. Our hope, through our committee work, is to assure that we have a solid continuum of interventions from elementary through high school to support students at all levels.

In our building Tena and Noelle facilitate our MTSS process. If you have any questions, please reach out either Tena or Noelle.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule has been shared with you and is available by clicking below.

PLC Information

Please remember to share agenda's with Noelle and Jennifer. Agendas and resources are located on the intranet. Click on the Professional Development tab and then on the PLC link. There are agenda templates, as well as videos and information about making the most of your PLC time.

As a building, we are shifting our focus back to data. During our August Faculty Meeting, teams shared information about their comfort level and needs as it relates to looking at data. We will be working, as an admin team, to support these needs. I shared our first data resource in this week's Weekly Update. If you haven't had a chance to check out the State Standards Report in STAR it is a really good one to gauge where your students are in terms of the standards. I will continue to share different reports or data sources with you each month. If you ever have a question about one of them, please reach out to Noelle, Tena, Maureen or me. We are happy to help you navigate the sites!