To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 12: Fri., March 24, 2017

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Happy Spring Break

Phew - what a couple of weeks (who are we kidding...months!). I just wanted to drop everyone a note letting you know how much I have enjoyed the first three-quarters of the school year.


As I heard many, many times when I started working here - Prairie Point is an amazing community with AWESOME teachers! I feel lucky to have landed here and look forward to the last quarter!


I hope that you each have a wonderful and safe spring break. If you are traveling - safe travels! If you are staying local - maybe I'll see you around!


Thank you for all that you do each and everyday for the students at Prairie Point!

Spring Rejuvenation

With our wonky weather this winter, spring seems like it has been here for a while. As we have literally flipped the calendar to spring this week, it is always a great time to take a breath and begin that spring rejuvenation. With spring break a few days a way it is a great time to do a little spring cleaning and mix things up in the classroom a little bit! If you are looking for ways to set the final quarter of the year up for fun and success, take a look at the following article!

AVID for Elementary

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I wanted to continue to pass along information about AVID. Below are some FAQs that are listed on the AVID website. I've included the link to the AVID website below and encourage you to check it out.


AVID – Why that name?

AVID’s founder, Mary Catherine Swanson, believed that if students were willing to work hard, she could teach them the skills needed to successfully complete the rigorous courses that would prepare them for four-year universities. She required students to take ownership of their own learning and futures, hence the acronym Advancement Via Individual Determination.


What is AVID?

AVID Center is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other post-secondary opportunities. AVID Center was founded to support and oversee the AVID System first created by Mary Catherine Swanson in 1980. Established more than 35 years ago with one teacher in one classroom, AVID today impacts more than 1.5 million students in 46 states and 16 other countries/territories.


What does College Readiness mean?

College readiness refers to the level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed—without remediation—in a credit-bearing general education coursework at a college or university. According to research done by Dr. David T. Conley, being college-ready means students understand what is expected in a college course, can cope with the content knowledge presented, can take away from the course the key intellectual lessons, and have both the mindset and disposition necessary to enable understanding.

The AVID College Readiness System works to ensure students are college-ready by equipping them with the skills, academic behaviors, and college knowledge necessary to succeed at every level from elementary school to college. AVID helps students develop a vision for their future, gain confidence in their abilities, and take ownership of their learning.


What is the “achievement gap”?

The achievement gap refers to the difference in the educational performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender. The achievement gap is typically discussed in the context of standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and/or college enrollment and completion rates. AVID is closing the achievement gap, with AVID students consistently outperforming their peers.


Why students in the academic middle? Why do AVID students have to take advanced coursework?

Students in the academic middle often move through our educational systems without any special recognition, positive or negative. While many of these students go on to graduate from high school, since they haven’t been pushed academically, they are often not ready for rigorous coursework in college upon graduation. When a school has AVID, students in the AVID Elective and throughout the school are held to higher expectations and given the support they need to succeed and prepare for postsecondary opportunities. By pushing students into more rigorous coursework, encouraging, assisting, and advocating for them every day, AVID greatly increases the likelihood of students making it to and through college.


Who are AVID tutors, what do they do, and how are they selected?

AVID tutorials and AVID tutors play a vital role in the AVID Elective class, while also benefiting other content area classes in a school. Using their knowledge and experience, AVID trained tutors facilitate learning in study groups by subject that leads to increased student participation and success. Tutors are typically college students, often AVID Alumni that create an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and deepen their understanding of content and concepts in a collaborative, supportive setting. Tutors are essential to the success of AVID, acting as a resource and role model for AVID students both academically and socially.


How does AVID support English language learners?

AVID Excel works to ensure middle school English language learner (ELL) students can succeed in high school college preparatory coursework. AVID Excel interrupts students’ long-term ELL (L-TELL) status and accelerates their academic language acquisition, while giving them the strategies and supports which are the hallmarks of the AVID College Readiness System.


How does AVID help with STEM? (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

AVID Center developed four STEM Math and Science Summer Bridge Programs to strengthen AVID’s support for middle level student achievement in math and science and to encourage student acceleration and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The AVID STEM Summer Bridge Programs offer rigorous math and science content incorporating WICOR strategies in engaging, collaborative lessons and activities.


Where does AVID fit in with the Common Core?

While the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) describe “what” students should know, AVID strategies provide “how” students will learn and master the knowledge and skills needed to meet the standards. The expectations of AVID align with CCSS in many ways and are embedded within the curriculum to meet the rigorous expectations. For example, the higher-level thinking skills required by the CCSS (i.e., analyzing, comparing, inferring) are the exact skills that AVID has promoted and used to design its curriculum for the last 30 years.



My child is not in the AVID Elective. How does he/she benefit?

AVID is designed to impact the leadership, systems, instruction and culture of a school to support high expectations and levels of achievement for all students. AVID impacts students throughout the school when trained teachers use AVID strategies to influence the academic and behavioral skills of their students in all content classes. Although AVID is an elective course for selected students, ALL students will benefit because the methodologies, strategies, and expectations are school-wide and impact the learning environment and culture of an entire campus.

Why is AVID Summer Institute only for AVID members?

AVID Summer Institute provides professional learning for AVID schools and their AVID Elective teachers, content area teachers, counselors, and administrators. AVID District Directors may also attend Summer Institute. The training focuses on learning the methodologies that go along with the AVID curriculum and also provides student support strategies that are part of becoming an AVID site. Summer Institute is also an opportunity for AVID educators to collaborate, network and share best practices. Non-AVID members are welcome to come to the AVID National Conference or an AVID Showcase.


Who can I contact with more questions about AVID?

Please browse the website for great resources about all the facets of AVID and contact one of our divisional offices for more specific information or questions.

Important Information

Mastery Connect Parent Portal

Fourth quarter is here - can you believe it? As you all know, the Mastery Connect portal needs to be open to all parents by April 12th. The district has added some great parent videos to their website. These can be accessed with the following link: http://www.sd308.org/Page/19843


Please pass this link along to your parents through your newsletter or email communication. I will be sharing it with parents in the Panther Press.

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings

WEDNESDAY AM MEETING

Our next Wednesday meeting will be a Faculty Meeting on April 5th in the Community Room at 7:30am.


We will be learning a little more about technology, so you will need to bring a device that has wifi capability (phone, Ipad, Chromebook).

TEAM

TEAM is up and running for the year. As you may recall from last year, RTI is now called MTSS - Multi-tiered Systems of Support.


As we reviewed during the August Institute, we will be updating the process and paperwork a bit midyear. Please don't stress about this - there will be time and training that is given for this transition.


In the meantime, if you need to bring a student up to TEAM, please complete the same paperwork we've had in the past. You can find that at our building TEAM website. Link is below. If you're unsure about how to bring a student up for support, or have other questions about the problem-solving process, please don't hesitate to visit a member of TEAM.


One little adjustment, that will hopefully streamline the process, is that if you have a student who is on the TEAM calendar you will receive an invite to the meeting on your Google Calendar. Not everyone has full access to the weebly calendar, so you should rely on receiving those email invites through Google Calendar.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The file below contains all of the Building, PLC, and SIP day meetings for the year. It will be updated regularly as the plans or schedule changes.

PLCs and Agenda Options

Please know that any specialist, Jen, or I can join your meetings to discuss important topics or answer questions. If you'd like one of us to come to your meetings, don't hesitate to ask. I love to see all the great work that your teams are doing. Go Prairie Point!!!


  • Please remember to share your agenda and notes with me and others who need the information.
  • Before the meeting ends, decide what you will discuss and address at your next collaborative meeting which will take place next week.
  • Enjoy this time with one another.


The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. Please utilize them for your team meetings and 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

News and Info

Congratulations to Billy Warren!

Congrats to Sue's son, Billy Warren on winning the American Collegiate Hockey Association D3 2017 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS this past weekend. Billy plays for Aquinas College, who went on to beat Calvin College for the championship.
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One of the great things about being in a school family like Prairie Point is getting to know each other's families. I loved seeing your families on Holiday cards in the office. It is so fun during Celebrations to hear about your own children's accomplishments, marriages, babies and other big news. It would be even more fun to see it! I'd love to include a picture or two in each newsletter of your loved ones being awesome.


When you or one of your kids does something awesome (gets married, chooses a college, wins a competition, has her first solo in a concert, etc.) snap a picture and send it to me. I'll include it in our newsletter and we can all celebrate a 2nd time :)