Monday Memo

November 17th-21st

"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." -Albert Einstein


Dear Team,


This newsletter is packed full of information. Please read it in its entirety as soon as you are able. This week is also full. My hope for you is that you can carefully plan your time so that when you leave on Friday, you can walk away from school and enjoy the entire week with your family.


At the team leader meeting last week, team leads presented each team's problem and proposed solution(s). Some solutions required seeking help outside of our campus, and some solutions still need a bit of planning prior to determining as a campus if we want to adopt the solution. I appreciate the time and energy that was put into addressing your needs and encourage you to continue this process in the future.


In order to facilitate this problem solving cycle, we have a simplified Problem Analysis Form for you or your team to utilize. The purpose is for you to articulate the issue you are having, communicate your proposed solution and turn that into me to present at the next scheduled Team Leader mtg. With this process in place, problems can be addressed in a more timely fashion, and you have a voice in recommending a solution.


One of the most common issues was about not having enough time to plan. I am currently developing a survey monkey to seek your input on some of the solutions proposed, but I also want to remind you that we have already one solution in place to provide each team with extended planning. Please make sure that you are taking advantage of that opportunity, and let us know when you have it scheduled.


Because our team presentations ran long, we were not able to get to the rest of the agenda. Please note that the staff submitted items of staff/PTA children after school, recess/lunch transitions, and staff fundraisers in the MM will be addressed at the next meeting. I apologize for the delay, but did not want anyone to think their topics were ignored.


Make today count!

JL

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Evidence of Supporting Vocabulary Development

As Sylvia and I were conducting Learning Walks last week, I noticed different ways in which you are supporting vocabulary development in your classrooms. Given that vocabulary continues to be a weak area for most of our students, I was hoping that you might be willing to share ideas of how you are addressing this in all content areas. If you are willing to share, please send your ideas in an email, and I will take care of the rest.

Remind for Staff

I have created a Remind for our staff in order to send out just-in-time reminders, last minute notifications of jeans/warm-up days, and/or emergency info. If you haven't already, please click on the link below to join the group.


https://www.remind.com/join/mcgowenst

United Way Campaign

If you contributed to the United Way Campaign, please email or turn in documentation of your donation. I do not need to know how much you donated, but I would like to show you my appreciation in the form of a Jeans Pass.

Volunteers During After School Duty

If you would like to volunteer to help support our positive behavior notes during dismissal, please click on the link below. A jeans pass will be issued for each volunteer slot that you sign up to serve.

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409084faaa929a57-positive1/

Sunshine Thanksgiving Feast

Our Sunshine lunch with be this Thursday. If you have not had a chance to sign up, please click on the link below. We know that you don't want to miss out!


http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409084faaa929a57-thanksgiving/

Understanding Learning Disabilities Through the Child's Perspective

One child in five has learning and attention issues. It's one thing to read about these challenges. It's another to experience them.

Through Your Child's Eyes is a one-of-a-kind tool. Its videos and simulations allow you to experience what it's like for children to struggle with reading, writing, math, organization or focus.

Can you filter out the distractions to complete the puzzle? Can you unscramble the letters in time to decode the message?

Hear stories from children and find out from experts why these tasks can be so challenging for some kids. And learn strategies to help.

While this website is geared to support parents, it is worth exploring if you have a student in your class who struggle with any of these issues.


https://www.understood.org/en
For a printable version of the calendar, please click on the "Calendar" title above.

Please make note of a calendar change in December. December 3rd is now a Vertical Team mtg, and December 10th will be a Faculty mtg.

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Appreciations

  • Bodmer, Sinclair, & Nash - Thanks for meeting with me last week! I appreciate the time and effort you are putting into impacting positive change. -JL
  • Jen D - Thank you for covering for your teammates so that we can meet. You were my hero! -JL
  • Peebles - Thanks for taking the lead on our team donation! I really appreciate it. -JL
  • Sylvia - Thanks for coming to my rescue during story time! You saved me from an epic showdown! -JL
  • Amber – Thank you so much for the math pictures of student work per Alicia's request!!! Holly and Julie, thank you for the offer of yours as well. I am working on it! - Michelle C.
  • Destine – Thank you for all you've done to organize and promote this wonderful service project. I loved shopping for items knowing where they were going (and how they were directly helping) as well as the message it was sending to not just my kids, but all our kids! -Michelle C.
  • Bravo – Thank you for a wonderful observation day on Wednesday. I love working with you! - Michelle C.
  • JL & SL – I sincerely appreciate the fact that you took time late on Friday to help me work through my scheduling thoughts/concerns/issues. I don't know what I would do without your support. Love you both! - Michelle C.
  • Kristi – Thank you for helping me out with Kyle. You're simply fabulous! - Michelle C.
  • Julie- Your Friday morning donuts mean more to me than you know! -KT
  • Jennifer & Sylvia- Thank you for your understanding and flexibility when I had a mommy scare on Friday afternoon! -KT
  • Jalynn- Thank you for always stuffing my mailboxes when you get a chance=- and for just being so flexible all the time! -KT
  • Jennifer, Sylvia, Bonnie, Jaime, & Jalynn- Thank you for taking the time to meet about our friend on Tuesday and for coming up with some great solutions! -KT
  • Bravo-thanks for the surprise lunch. Nash
  • Bonnie-I really enjoy working with you. You are great at running ARDs as well. Nash
  • Bodmer-thanks for organizing the girl cabins for camp. Nash
  • Jenny- thank you so much for the Sonic run when I was in "desperate" need of a diet coke ! - Angie
  • Sharon- thank you for your flexibility and the fun we have even when it's not fun :). You are the best ! - Angie
  • Krystal - thank you for your constant willingness to help me!! I am blessed to call you my friend ! - Angie
  • Jenny- thank you so much for the Sonic run when I was in "desperate" need of a diet coke ! - Angie
  • Sharon- thank you for your flexibility and the fun we have even when it's not fun :). You are the best ! - Angie
  • Krystal - thank you for your constant willingness to help me!! I am blessed to call you my friend ! - Angie
  • Thank you Jen D for the info about progress reports. You are awesome! -Jen
  • Thanks JL & SL for our Warm Up Wednesday! Love some "school appropriate" sweats on a cold day! -Jen
  • Little, Sinclair, Nash ... Thank you for taking extra time out of your day to meet together and problem solve.

Campus Improvement Plan Reminder

Signature pages are due to me by EOD on Wednesday, November 19th. If you have any questions, concerns, revisions and/or suggestions, please share them with me prior to signing off. Your signature indicates your approval and commitment to the plan. If you have not had a chance to read over it, click on the link below to access the plan.


http://mcgowenmondaymemo.weebly.com/professional-information.html

Miss Night's Marbles Blog

Dear Parent: About THAT kid…

BY MISS NIGHT ON 10 NOVEMBER, 2014


Dear Parent:

I know. You’re worried. Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching. And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class.

You’re worried that THAT child is detracting from your child’s learning experience. You’re worried that he takes up too much of my time and energy, and that your child won’t get his fair share. You’re worried that she is really going to hurt someone some day. You’re worried that “someone” might be your child. You’re worried that your child is going to start using aggression to get what she wants. You’re worried your child is going to fall behind academically because I might not notice that he is struggling to hold a pencil. I know.

Your child, this year, in this classroom, at this age, is not THAT child. Your child is not perfect, but she generally follows rules. He is able to share toys peaceably. She does not throw furniture. He raises his hand to speak. She works when it is time to work, and plays when it is time to play. He can be trusted to go straight to the bathroom and straight back again with no shenanigans. She thinks that the S-word is “stupid” and the C-word is “crap.” I know.

I know, and I am worried, too.

You see, I worry all the time. About ALL of them. I worry about your child’s pencil grip, and another child’s letter sounds, and that little tiny one’s shyness, and that other one’s chronically empty lunchbox. I worry that Gavin’s coat is not warm enough, and that Talitha’s dad yells at her for printing the letter B backwards. Most of my car rides and showers are consumed with the worrying.

But I know, you want to talk about THAT child. Because Talitha’s backward Bs are not going to give your child a black eye.

I want to talk about THAT child, too, but there are so many things I can’t tell you.

I can’t tell you that she was adopted from an orphanage at 18 months.

I can’t tell you that he is on an elimination diet for possible food allergies, and that he is therefore hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

I can’t tell you that her parents are in the middle of a horrendous divorce, and she has been staying with her grandma.

I can’t tell you that I’m starting to worry that grandma drinks…

I can’t tell you that his asthma medication makes him agitated.

I can’t tell you that her mom is a single parent, and so she (the child) is at school from the moment before-care opens, until the moment after-care closes, and then the drive between home and school takes 40 minutes, and so she (the child) is getting less sleep than most adults.

I can’ tell you that he has been a witness to domestic violence.

That’s okay, you say. You understand I can’t share personal or family information. You just want to know what I am DOING about That Child’s behaviour.

I would love to tell you. But I can’t.

I can’t tell you that she receives speech-language services, that an assessment showed a severe language delay, and that the therapist feels the aggression is linked to frustration about being unable to communicate.

I can’t tell you that I meet with his parents EVERY week, and that both of them usually cry at those meetings.

I can’t tell you that the child and I have a secret hand signal to tell me when she needs to sit by herself for a while.

I can’t tell you that he spends rest time curled in my lap because “it makes me feel better to hear your heart, Teacher.”

I can’t tell you that I have been meticulously tracking her aggressive incidents for 3 months, and that she has dropped from 5 incidents a day, to 5 incidents a week.

I can’t tell you that the school secretary has agreed that I can send him to the office to “help” when I can tell he needs a change of scenery.

I can’t tell you that I have stood up in a staff meeting and, with tears in my eyes, BEGGED my colleagues to keep an extra close eye on her, to be kind to her even when they are frustrated that she just punched someone AGAIN, and this time, RIGHT IN FRONT OF A TEACHER.

The thing is, there are SO MANY THINGS I can’t tell you about That Child. I can’t even tell you the good stuff.

I can’t tell you that his classroom job is to water the plants, and that he cried with heartbreak when one of the plants died over winter break.

I can’t tell you that she kisses her baby sister goodbye every morning, and whispers “You are my sunshine” before mom pushes the stroller away.

I can’t tell you that he knows more about thunderstorms than most meteorologists.

I can’t tell you that she often asks to help sharpen the pencils during playtime.

I can’t tell you that she strokes her best friend’s hair at rest time.

I can’t tell you that when a classmate is crying, he rushes over with his favourite stuffy from the story corner.

The thing is, dear parent, that I can only talk to you about YOUR child. So, what I can tell you is this:

If ever, at any point, YOUR child, or any of your children, becomes THAT child…

I will not share your personal family business with other parents in the classroom.

I will communicate with you frequently, clearly, and kindly.

I will make sure there are tissues nearby at all our meetings, and if you let me, I will hold your hand when you cry.

I will advocate for your child and family to receive the highest quality of specialist services, and I will cooperate with those professionals to the fullest possible extent.

I will make sure your child gets extra love and affection when she needs it most.

I will be a voice for your child in our school community.

I will, no matter what happens, continue to look for, and to find, the good, amazing, special, and wonderful things about your child.

I will remind him and YOU of those good amazing special wonderful things, over and over again.

And when another parent comes to me, with concerns about YOUR child…

I will tell them all of this, all over again.

With so much love;

Teacher.

The Night Before Thanksgiving

T’was the night of Thanksgiving,

But I just couldn’t sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned,
The dark meat and white.
But I fought the temptation,
With all of my might.

Tossing and turning,
with anticipation.
The thought of a snack
Became infatuation.

So I raced to the kitchen,
Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge,
Full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey,
And buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots,
Beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling,
So plump and so round.
‘til all of a sudden,
I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling,
Floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding,
And a handful of pie.

But I managed to yell
As I soared past the trees
Happy eating to all,
Pass the cranberries, please!!





Focus for 2014 - 2015

· Providing all students with at least one year’s growth

· Closing the achievement gaps in our subgroups

· Utilize data to drive instruction

· Collaborative team planning and lesson design to promote higher level thinking and student engagement

· Posting learning and language targets daily in student friendly terms

Planning Ahead… PTA's Christmas Gift to the Staff

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Happy Birthday!!

November

Sherri Stromness 11/4

Jennifer Little 11/6

Laura Kammerer 11/24

Jalynn Mitchell 11/27

BAD DUDE OF THE WEEK

While there are many reasons to honor these two women, this week, we chose Sharon Butler and Angie Cochrum to recognize the time, energy, and effort they put into a WONDERFUL idea. The board created to recognize veterans and those currently serving is such a lovely tribute. It is amazing to see how many families in our community have loved ones who give so much to protect our freedoms. Many thanks to both of you for bringing this into focus for our entire campus and for the sacrifices you continually make in supporting your own sons who serve our country.

American Heart Association

As part of the Mayor’s Health Partnership and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation we have been partnering with the American Heart Association and their Go Red for Heart Health Campaign. Life is Why is the new anthem of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. We want people to experience more of life’s precious moments, and that is why they’ve made better heart and brain health our mission. Until there is a world free of heart disease and stroke, the AHA will be there, working to make a healthier longer life possible. Thank you for participating in this campaign. If you purchased a shirt to support the American Heart Association, please wear your shirt and jeans on Monday, November 17th.

McKinney ISD's Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Any time we have an idea, concern, solution and/or comment, this is the filter through which we should speak. Let's help each other live up to our vision, mission, and beliefs.


Vision:

We are a cohesive, diverse community providing engaging learning experiences for all.


Mission:
We will provide engaging learning experiences so students can become effective communicators, quality contributors and socially responsible citizens.

Beliefs:
  • Partnerships between students, parents, community members and staff are foundational to educational success.
  • Positive school culture and a safe environment foster growth.
  • Everyone has inherent value and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Learning is an active process requiring engaging tasks and engaging minds.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences ignite continuous, deeper learning.
  • Meaningful relationships enrich learning.
  • Confidence fuels risk taking and higher achievement.
  • Financial stewardship ensures a tomorrow for education.