Boarding Pass

Your ticket to the happenings at the BEST Greene School

August 23, 2019

Words of Inspiration

In this short Ted Talk, Ramsey Musallam describes his life experiences and how he came to his 3 rules in lesson planning to spark learning and the imagination:

1. Curiosity Comes First

2. Embrace the Mess

3. Practice Reflection

Musallam's 3 Rules to Spark Learning

A Special Applause to...

There was much to celebrate in the Staff Meeting on Tuesday. Our students out perform their peers at an incredible rate. We are also so fortunate to have the resources to identify and intervene with students who struggle. I know a lot of you have taken this to heart. You work so hard with students and the single test on a single day doesn't reflect the body of work and growth you consistently see with students.

I want to give a special thanks to the 6th grade language arts department. Their efforts to drill down into the data to develop interventions for the small percentage of students who need something different is impressive. I look forward to working through this with you and know it will produce better readers, writers, and more importantly young leaders.

PD on the Fly...

This week is a double dose of PD on the Fly!!

In the first article, one of my favorite educators outside of the Greene School, Jennifer Gonzalez (aka Cult of Pedagogy), has a guest post about newsletters. I think most parents have the intention to read information from teachers, but sometimes life gets in the way. In this article, the author provides strategies to design newsletters parents will read. Enjoy!

The second article discusses the need for direct instruction in Project Based Learning. Through our PLC work, it has been evident that direct instruction to small groups of students who need intervention is most effective with our students. The author, John Spencer, talks about failure and reflection in his pursuit to reaching students. He states, "Authentic projects can coexist with direct instruction. If authenticity involves making the learning real and relevant to students, then there might be moments when direct instruction might be the authentic choice. Yes, we want the learning to be student-centered, but as teachers, we still have moments when we need to use direct instruction. True, it’s important to be a guide on the side. However, you’re still the expert and sometimes you need to teach students the concepts and skills they need in order to thrive in an authentic project."

I have observed the incredible levels of student engagement and empowerment as students begin to understand the life skills you want them to learn. As instructors, you have so many tools to ensure students are learning. Consider when it is appropriate to provide students with direct instruction on skills and standards, according to Spencer, "it might just be what students need in order to gain the skills and conceptual understanding needed to access a project — and if that’s not authentic, I don’t know what is." Enjoy!

Information for the Staff

Flex Time

As you get further into the year, I want to take an opportunity to share the Flex Time Expectations. This is a new instruction bell for teachers to intervene and enrich. Teams should use data to group students giving priority to language arts and math. I previously shared a sheet with all student MAP and AIR scores from last year that is sorted by the team they are on this year. If you are looking for that file CLICK HERE. Please make a copy of it and feel free to edit for your team.

MAP Training Opportunity

We have been given 8 seats at an upcoming training on how to use MAP results. The goal of the training is to develop plans that encourage students to own their learning and become resources for their peers. Help them understand how to set goals and monitor progress. This will be incredibly important as we work to make conferencing and goal setting with students a pervasive practice in the building. You can read more about the training by clicking HERE. The training is scheduled for September 11 from 8:00-3:00 at our District Office. If you are interested, please let me know ASAP.

Goal Setting and Conferencing

If you have a process or forms you use to conference and goal set with students, can you please share it with me? We will be setting up opportunities for collaboration as we work on our building goal.

Homeroom Parents

We had quite the discussion about Homeroom parents when we met with teams last week. Based on your feedback, I am going to ask PTO to have someone oversee the Homeroom Parents to ensure consistency and equity. Can the 5th grade teams send the lists you collected Curriculum Preview? I will also need 6th grade teachers to share a list after you meet with parents next Thursday.

Join the PTO

If you haven't joined the PTO, you still have an opportunity. HERE is the form for you to show that we support them as they volunteer to provide so much for our staff and students. It would send quite a message to the PTO if 100% of our staff joined. Help me reach this goal by joining.

Two Therapy Dogs for Greene!

WHAT: WE NOW HAVE TWO THERAPY DOG THAT WILL BE COMING TO GREENE! Fritzie and Peggy are back this year and we are pleased to welcome Tillie and Dorothy to our family. Tillie and Dorothy currently also serve our students at Maple Dale.

WHEN: The dogs and their owners will be coming every Thursday from about 9:30 AM-10:30 AM.

WHO: Any student who would benefit from some special time with Fritzie/Tillie. If you have a student who has encountered a tough situation at school, home, etc., please sign them up on this sheet. Other options might be for an intervention class to read to, a special education lab setting, etc.

HOW: I will rely on you to identify students and then sign them up on the Therapy Dog Schedule 2019-2020. The office can contact the students when the dogs come in as well as you can notify them.

WHERE: Fritize and Ms. Schmidt will be based in our counseling center when they come, but will obviously adjust to the situation (going to a classroom, coming to an administrator's office, etc.)

WHY: The social/emotion/mental health needs at this age are so prevalant and have become an ever-increasing need for this generation of students. This gives us a chance to help support this need.

For the Week of August 23, 2019

Thursday, August 29 - Grade 6 Curriculum Preview - 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Friday, August 30 - SPED PLC Meeting - 7:20 am - Media Center

Upcoming Dates:

Monday, September 2 - Labor Day - No school

Tuesday, September 3 - Greene Machine Clinic - 3:00 pm - Choir Room

Wednesday, September 4 - MAP Testing

Wednesday, September 4 - Greene Machine Auditions - 3:00 - 5:00 pm - Choir Room

Thursday, September 5 - MAP Testing

Friday, September 6 - Staff Breakfast - 7:20 am - hosted by Group A

Friday, September 6 - FIRST FRIDAY

Are you an early planner? Here is the building calendar. You can view events more than a week at a time.

Announce to Students

Monday, August 26 - "A" Day - Girl Scouts - Mrs. Dentinger - 6:45 - 8:15 pm - Ms.Combs' Art Room

Tuesday, August 27 - "B" Day - Lego League - 3:00 - 6:00 pm - MPR

Wednesday, August 28 - "C" Day - Lego League - 3:00 - 6:00 pm - MPR

Thursday, August 29 -"D" Day - 6th Grade Curriculum Preview - 7:00 - 8:30 pm - Cafeteria

Friday, August 30 - "A" Day - Lego League - 4:30 -6:30 pm - MPR

Tuesday, September 3 - Greene Machine Clinic - 3:00 pm - Choir Room

Wednesday, September 4 - Greene Machine Auditions - 3:00-5:00 pm - Choir Room

Happy Birthday!

Evan Lykins - August 24

Brenda Whisman - August 24

Becky Sloan - August 25

Anita Harris - August 28

Lewis Perry - August 31

Jim Kelly - September 3

Tracey Bachmann - September 4

Nick Heckmann - September 7