To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue #9: Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year!

I hope that your time off has provided much deserved rest and relaxation, as well as opportunities to celebrate and spend time with your family. While it is hard to believe that we are heading into the second half of the school year, it is evident by the subarctic weather, that we have made it this far!

I wanted to offer a huge thank you for a wonderful 2017. I am so grateful for the enthusiasm and support during the first half of the school year, I recognize that we have overcome several changes and challenges.

One of the biggest changes to our school family was welcoming five EC classrooms to our school. I absolutely love having some of our earliest learners within our school walls, however, I know that there were many changes that came from this addition. First and foremost, we welcomed 13 new staff members to our family. One of the challenges that we face is that we don't have the same schedule for EC as we do for our K - 5 program, making it difficult to all come together as a full staff. I was so grateful for the opportunity on December 22nd to finally bring us all together and to take the time to get to know each other a little better. I hope that everyone walked away feeling a little more connected and sharing in fellowship that comes from spending time together.

Another change that we faced was the midyear hire of our Assistant Principal. I am a firm believer in the cliche, "everything happens for a reason." I remember when I was looking to make a career change in 2016. I had put off that decision for a few years because I was worried about uprooting my own kids. Looking back, kids are resilient and Mattix and Molly would have been fine had I changed positions sooner...however, had I done that, I wouldn't have landed here. After only a year and a half, I couldn't be more thrilled to be part of the PT family and know that putting that decision off for a few years put me exactly where I am meant to be. I feel that the same was true for Janet and Noelle. While a midyear admin change is certainly a challenge at times, we had the great fortune of having two amazing APs work with our students, teachers and families and make connections that have benefited all. I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Noelle over the next several months and begin to find our own leadership style that will best meet everyone's needs. One of the first priorities that we will face (now that we have the PT Talent Show behind us) is reviewing our discipline procedures and communication tools and assuring that they meet the needs of our students, teachers and families.

Another priority that I have set forth over the next several months is supporting each of you as we continue to work toward a healthy budget. I am committed to advocating for what is best for our students, as well as providing you with transparent and honest information. I will attend all School Board meetings and I am always available if you have questions, want additional information or just want to vent. My door is open and I will do all that I can to support you.

I am so looking forward to the second half of the school year. While we have much work to be done, I cannot be more grateful for the Prairie Point family and the everyday collaboration and fun that takes place within the walls of my home away from home!

Trauma Informed Schools

I have spent a lot of time providing resources and information that focuses in on what ACEs are and what characteristics students who carry high ACE scores might look like. As we move into the new year, I want to change our focus to what a trauma informed school might look like. One of the major characteristics that stands out in a trauma informed school is the way in which we approach student behavior. Specifically, trauma informed schools look beyond traditional discipline to a restorative justice model. This is quite a paradigm shift and I hope to provide resources through my newsletters to give you some background and information. Please see the article below that provides an outline of what restorative justice can look like in a school setting.

AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination

The start of the second semester is a great time to revisit those classroom basics and make sure that everyone is on the same page moving forward. With that in mind, I though it might be helpful if we took some time to learn a new AVID strategy, SLANT. SLANT is an acronym that stands for:

Sit with proper posture

Learn forward and listen

Ask pertinent questions

Nod you head "yes" or "no"

Talk with your teachers

We will do a SLANT exercise during our Wednesday Faculty Meeting that you are able to bring back to your classrooms. You many want to bring some markers or crayons to our meeting in order to do the activity.

Important Information

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks...AKA More Communication

So they say it can't be done...but if there is one thing that I respond to it is positive reinforcement.

That said, I sent an email at the start of December called "A Few Updates". I put it together because there were so many things happening in a short amount of time, I wanted to make sure that the info was in one place and that you could easily access it. While everything that I put in that email was available in the Google Calendar and in my To the Point newsletters, I wanted to make sure that nothing was overlooked and we were all on the same page.

What I heard back from many of you, was how helpful an email like that was. While I will still continue to send out To the Point and Laurel will continue to keep the Google Calendar updated, I will add in another communication tool via weekly email updates with information as to what is happening each week.

In 2018, you can look forward to Weekly Update emails that will have the basics of what is happening at Prairie Point for the week. My goal will be to hit send on that you have it with plenty advance notice for the upcoming week.

Copiers and Copying - Updated

Thank you for all that you are doing to reduce our copying. I am grateful for many of you who have talked to me about color copying and feel confident that we are able to continue to provide copies that are appropriate for instruction and reporting.

I wanted to provide you with the following updates from the document center. The document center has completed their move to DAC (Eastview) during December and is fully operational to complete all copy requests in the new year! Please note that there is a staff change in the document center. The Doc Center Site Supervisor is changing and a new employee is being hired by Ricoh. This is not anticipated to impact the center's ability to complete copy jobs in a timely fashion.

Please continue to submit their jobs via digital store front Visit the Online Copy Center Website to save copy costs for the district.

Technology Update

Technology Update - I wanted to share with you that our Home and School Association has offered to cover the entire cost of the Chromebook cart and Chromebooks with funds that remained from last year's budget as well as from fundraising from the Panther Fitness Challenge. This is so generous and exciting for our school. Home and School still plans to do teacher grants in the spring.

It has been exciting to see how often the Chromebooks are being used throughout the building. I am excited to share that we will be purchasing another Chromebook cart with 36 more devices! This is due to the fundraising that we do throughout the year. We are hopeful that the new cart will arrive in January/February. This should increase the amount computers available for students to use and help streamline assessments.

January 10th Faculty Meeting

I shared the agenda for Wednesday morning's faculty meeting, as well as provided a link to it here. As we are kicking off a new year, we are going to go back to basics with AVID and focus in on SLANT. This acronym stands for:

Sit with proper posture

Lean forward and listen

Ask pertinent questions

Nod your head "yes" or "no"

Talk with your teachers

We also hope to have time to revisit some ACES ideas and principles. I am looking forward to our time together.

In Every Issue...

Field Trip Information

MTSS Problem Solving Request Form

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

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

PLC Agenda Options

You should have a PLC Agenda Template in your Google Docs.

The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. You are able to choose to use one of these as well. Please remember to share them with Jennifer/Jen and any specialists that you have working with your team.

The video below shows you how to save the agenda templates to your own Google Drive.

SD 308 PLC Agenda Video

Prairie Point Family Celebrations

Remember to send me any celebrations that you are celebrating or that your family may be celebrating so that I can share them!