Team Thomson News & Notes

August 27, 2017

Important Information for You!

Solar Eclipse Follow-up

What a wonderful experience Monday was for our students. While our little ones only viewed the solar eclipse for a few minutes, I am confident that with all of our staff and volunteer help they did so safely and knew what they were looking at. Thank you again to everyone involved for making this a positive experience for our kids. From what I heard, we will get to do it again in 7 short years.

Cardinal Code Lessons, Positive School Culture, & Restorative Practices

One of the most important tasks during the first days of school continues to be setting expectations and developing a common understanding of what following Cardinal Code looks like. The degree to which teachers are working to ensure students understand Cardinal Code in their own terms is impressive. Your diligence and time teaching now will have a profound impact on the rest of your year. Thinking back to Dr. Wesson's presentation on how we learn it appears many on our staff embrace the power of helping students "experience learning by doing. Additionally, it was wonder to see teacher truly implementing the morning meetings in circle format as shared with us by Mrs. Halabicky at our district PD. I was even able to participate in one with a class where students were already using the 'math talks' hand movements to agree with my favorite animal. Thank you for taking the time to building those positive relationships now with your students.

Positive Parent Phone Calls

Speaking of positive relationships, don't forget that you should all be making those positive first phone calls to the parents of your students. I would hope that by the end of this week but definitely by the end of next week (September 9th) you would have made a personal phone call to each parent. This includes our specials staff who should make at least 25 positive parent phone calls. When you have done so, please let me know.

Allergies & Medicals

It is important that classroom and certified staff be knowledgeable of all students with allergy or medical concerns. While information is confidential, it should be shared with any staff member that would have a 'need to know' because they work with or supervise the student. Classroom and playground staff should confirm with each other everyday for at least the first three weeks to ensure strong knowledge and understanding. if there are any questions or concerns, please see me.

5D+ Inquiry Cycle-Step 1

Self-Assessment to be completed by: September 8, 2017

Teachers/Certified Staff will login to Pivot to access and complete their self-assessment.

You will assess your instructional practice using the 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning (5D) instructional framework and the 5D+ Teacher Evaluation Rubric, citing evidence (in the comments area) from your day-to-day classroom practice to support your assessment for each rubric indicator. You will use this self-assessment to observe/collect data to help identify which indicators are strengths for you and which are learning/growth opportunities.

Step 1: Go to website:

Step 2: Username: the username you use to log into your computer with. Password: the password you use to login into your computer with. Click: LOGIN

Step 3: Click on “Evaluations”, then “My Evaluations” and then “New Self-Assessment.”

Step 4: Select the 5D+ Rubric for Instructional Growth and Teacher Evaluation, check all 6 boxes to select all of the dimensions and then select “Begin.”

Step 5: You are now at the screen where you will begin your self-assessment. To reveal the performance language for each indicator click on the performance level word: Basic, Proficient, or Distinguished. The performance language will appear on the right of the screen. Start by reading the performance language for the Basic performance level. If you do not do all of that in your daily practice then rate yourself as Unsatisfactory. If you think you do all of that in your daily practice then go to and read the Proficient language. If you don’t think you do all of that in your daily practice then rate yourself as Basic. If you think you do all of that in your daily practice then read the language for Distinguished. If you don’t think you do all of that in your daily practice then rate yourself as Proficient. If you think you do all of that in your daily practice then rate yourself as Distinguished. Click on the “Select” button to indicate your self-rating. Once you have rated yourself add anecdotal comments in “Comments” about your daily practice as to why you rated yourself at the level you did. To advance to the next indicator select the “Next” button at the bottom of the screen. Continue this process until you have rated yourself for each indicator in each dimension. Once you have assessed yourself on each indicator in each dimension select “Summary” at the bottom of the screen, then select “Finalize Self-Assessment” and then select “I’m sure, Finalize.”

Congratulations you have completed your self-assessment! Please make sure to logout of Pivot once you are finished.

Lesson Plans

While I know that there is continued concern about doing lesson plans 'right', I want to assure each of you that I am here to work with you to understand the process and the components, not just do them 'right'. By truly understanding the process and components, you will ensure that your lesson plans are well thought out and hit the target that you want to hit. In addition to continuing to include information in the staff newsletter and future discussions at staff meetings/PD, if you would like me to come to your PLC I'd be happy to do so. Please just ask Anna to put it in my calendar.

Staff T-shirt Order

I will be purchasing staff t-shirts for all new staff members. If you are new to Thomson, please make sure to get your t-shirt size to the office by Thursday, August 31st. If there are staff members that would like to purchase new staff t-shirts or other Thomson Teddy Wear, please fill out the form from Cheri and write 'STAFF' at the top. This will help us ensure that 'STAFF' is added to the back of the items you purchase.

Quotes Worth Reading

"Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent."


"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think."

-Albert Einstein

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

Birthdays: I know that we had lots of summer birthdays...please read next week's newsletter for a complete list!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday, August 21st-First day of School!, Solar Eclispe viewing beginning at 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 25th- No School; Handbook Forms are due to the office...please see Anna if you need help accessing the form on the District website.
  • Tuesday, August 29th-DIBELS Testing begins
  • Wednesday, August 30th-DIBELS testing
  • Friday, September 1st-No School, Thomson office will be closed
  • Monday, September 4th-No School-Happy Labor Day!