Weekly Notes

September 19- October 3

What's Happening this Week:

Make sure to display your classroom flags in the main hallway by the art room for the next week or so so that all of the students can see the different classrooms in our Eagle Community! Please let your students take some time to look at them.

When the flags come down, please display them outside of your classrooms so that they are always visible. When we come to assemblies, always bring your community flag with you.

Monday 9/19

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, Ashley!

8:00- Parent Meeting Maurus

8:00- Training with Debbie Highe in the media center (1st grade student team- those who have not been trained or need additional training/clarification from Debbie) Chapman, Anthony, Nykamp, Frisk, Compton, Woodham, J. Paulisin, Hempton, Muse, Wilde

10:00- Tornado Drill

Tuesday 9/20

**Tomeka is back on Tuesdays, starting today- stop by to say hello!**

8:00- Parent Meeting Maurus

9:00- Brenda and Sue Meeting

10:00-11:30- Maurus @ central office

Wednesday 9/21

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, Dave!

Thursday 9/22

Maurus @ RESA all day for Danielson training- Brundage In

Friday 9/23

10:50- BIP Meeting Compton, Nykamp, Anthony, Frisk, Woodham,

**Maurus leaves for China on Saturday 9/24 and returns Saturday, 10/1**

Monday 9/26

Brundage in office

Tuesday 9/27

Brundage in office

Picture Day (Brenda will email you with your schedule or the general plan)

Wednesday 9/28

Brundage in office

Thursday 9/29

Muse in office

Fire Drill #1 @ 10AM

Friday 9/30

Assessment Window Closes Today for iReady, DIBELS, SRI

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, Jan!

Muse in office- AM only

Make sure to practice your drills, as we have our first tornado drill Monday at 10:00. If you do not have an emergency map posted in your room, let Brenda know ASAP.

Drill and Emergency Reminders (fire and tornado)

Remember that you are required to have the following during ANY drill or real emergency situation:

  1. Updated class roster
  2. When you are in a location outside of your classroom, have paper and a writing utensil handy.
  3. Walkie Talkie located close to your ear and on full blast so that you can hear communication from me.
  4. Walkie Talkie set to channel 3. I will go through each classroom and you will indicate whether or not you have all students accounted for. Please make sure to pause for a couple of seconds after pressing the button so that I can hear the full message. When you begin talking right as you push the button, there is a delay in the walkie receiving the signal and your message is partially heard If you need to talk to Brenda, please go to channel 2 then switch back to channel 3 to hear any messages from me. Do not use channel 3 for ANY communication other than direct communication to me. That channel must ALWAYS be left open.
  5. If you realize that you have forgotten your walkie, or it is not working, immediately let a nearby colleague know and indicate to them if you have any students missing (this is where you use the paper to write down specific names so that they can read them instead of having to remember).

Students are to be SILENT during this time-- if you need to have your students repositioned so that they are silent, please do so. They must understand that there is little room for error during an emergency and that their silence is required and expected.

Behind the scenes...

During this time, Brenda is operating with two walkies (channel 2 and 3) and is like a 911 dispatcher. If there were to be an actual emergency, Brenda would be the one calling emergency crews to the school and communicating to them.

During this time, my primary function is to ensure that all students and staff are safe and accounted for. I communicate directly to Brenda so that she can inform emergency crews of anything.

During this time, Compton's and Hrit's primary function is to assist me with ensuring student safety. You may see them walking around and checking doors and rooms as well. If they are with students in a group, they will return those students to their teachers so that they can assist with the emergency.

Behavior Data:

Administrative Interventions: 20+ (Please read Crisis Response below and give your Special Education team a HUGE hug and pat on the back, as they have gained many miles on their tennis shoes responding to many kids).

ISS: 1

OSS: 1 (send home)

Noticings: Students who do not know how to do "school" are getting settled. The honeymoon phase goes very quickly for those students and they need us as much as possible. For our students who have a very difficult time, a send home is the LAST resort, and is only done for safety purposes or severe disruption. When you see some kids having a very difficult time and are remaining in school, it is done intentionally so that the students understand that school is a safe place and you are expected to learn how to do school.

A HUGE shout out goes to those of you who have worked very hard to accommodate some of our little Eagles who are learning "school." The times that they need us the most are rarely convenient, but the work you are doing will pay dividends down the road.

Crisis Response

Since we have a few students who have significant needs when it comes to safety, here is a recap of the expectation when it comes to crisis response.

We have a small staff where many of us wear many hats. When it comes to crisis, we ALL must lend a hand to our colleagues when our students need us.

  1. Teacher with the student in crisis calls Brenda or other office personnel by phone or walkie to indicate location and that there is a "Team Meeting" in that location.
  2. Brenda or other office personnel goes over the PA to indicate that there is a "team meeting" in the location specified.
  3. ALL available staff members report to that location (if you have a small group of students and are able to have students go directly back to class, please do so. If you are with a whole class, then stay with your students).
  4. When you arrive to the location, you will be given directions as to what you need to do. Sometimes, it is under control with a student's team, and your support is not needed, and you can be sent back. However, when we have had concussions or broken limbs, when we need to call an ambulance (which unfortunately happens when you work in elementary world), the principal in charge will give directives as to what you need to do. Always defer to the principal in charge for direction in these situations. In the event that an ambulance is called, office personnel will go over the PA to indicate that students need to be kept in their classrooms until further notice. If a student REALLY needs to go to the bathroom, call Brenda to make sure that it is okay. When students see a peer on a stretcher, which happens in the case of broken bones, it can be very upsetting and cause the rumor mill to spin.
  5. Brenda or the other office staff will indicate when students may enter the hallways once again.
  6. At the end of the day, a meeting may be called to plus/delta the process, depending on the event. If you were part of the response team, your attendance is required so that we can have your perspective and noticings to improve our process.

Your compassion and understanding are greatly appreciated at the beginning of the year as we are getting to know many of our students. The transition to go to school for many of our students who require crisis response is extremely challenging.

Thank you for your support for ALL of our students- as a part of the Jefferson team, we work together for ALL of our kids, not just the ones on our rosters!

Every action we make at Jefferson will always be put through the filter "is this what is best for our kids?" Sometimes what is best for kids is difficult and/or uncomfortable for adults, but we will do it anyway!

Chinese for grades 3,4,5

We have Ms. Mabel Chang at Jefferson this year to help with Chinese instruction for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. She will be teaching Chinese to all SRSD 3rd, 4th and 5th graders this year.

When I go to China next week, I will be visiting Tongshenghu Experimental School, where Mabel is from. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen the partnership between SRSD and Tongshenghu so that our SRSD students can become worldwide citizens and the Chinese students can do the same.

One of the most exciting things that I have come to learn is that our secondary students have the opportunity to become exchange students in Tongshenghu, and the only cost to them is a student Visa. Tongshenghu pays for all expenses! What I love about this is that for some of our kids, who have NEVER been out of the Detroit area, this experience is something that can change their lives. Some of our kiddies will never be presented with an opportunity like this IN THEIR LIFETIME (Ashley, Tim and I are astounded by the amount of fifth graders who go to camp who have never been out of Redford- imagine what an education in China would do for them).

Another exciting opportunity that I hope to explore is the SRSD teacher exchange. Tongshenghu is very eager to bring our educators to China to teach for a period of time... stay tuned! I'll let you know more when I return!

Check out some images from Tongshenghu

Meet our newest members of the Jefferson Tribe!

Meet Emily Marshall- 2nd Grade Teacher

Emily graduated from Eastern Michigan University with an elementary education teaching certificate with minors in math, science, and language arts (6-8). She was a student teacher and parapro in Milan Area Schools before coming to Jefferson.

Emily has a fiancée named Harry, and they have a 9 year old Terrier Mix named Jax.

Fun Fact about Emily: She loves snowboarding, wakeboarding, and soccer! In January, Harry and Emily went to Breckenridge, CO to snowboard, and that's where he proposed :)

Meet Adam Perlaki- 4th Grade Title Para

Adam attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science as of May 2016. He intends to use this degree as a stepping stone toward future enrollment into Law School, Fall of 2017. His goal is to practice law within environments where individuals of low-economic status have very little access to adequate representation.

Adam isn't married, but has two teachers in his extended family who have always encouraged him to pursue this direction, however working in a school is new to him.

A very interesting fact about Adam is that he has an absolute obsession with mechanical watches and owns several within his modest collection. Check out his latest watch the next time you see him!

Meet Rita Chapman, 1:1 paraprofessional

You may have seen Rita in the role of lunch monitor (which I like to call the gateway job, because many of our best people have started out in this role).

Rita is now working as a 1:1 paraprofessional with a student in Charles' classroom.

Rita has two daughters and is a Redford resident. Her positive attitude and focus on providing support is a huge asset to our team and I am excited to have her on board!

Make sure to give Rita a pat on the back as you see her fly past you in the hallway!

Meet Alicia Nykamp, Resource Room Teacher

Alicia was just married in July :-) Alicia's husband is studying dentistry at U of M.

Alicia taught 4th grade for two years in Hudsonville (yes, the place where they make the fabulous ice cream). Her 4th grade experience is wonderful for the work she is doing as a resource room teacher, as she has a lot of experience integrating students who receive special education services into the general education curriculum.

Meet Sophie Pierce, 3rd Grade Title Para

Sophie is working to complete her early childhood certificate and was employed last year in the SRSD employee childcare center.

Sophie comes to us with previous experience as a paraprofessional and has worked with children extensively in her career.

Sophie's dedication to children is exemplary (I was able to see her connect with my youngest, Gemma, at employee childcare and Gemma ABSOLUTELY loved Sophie). Sophie's passion is working with young children.

Meet Brenda Wilde, Secretary

Brenda is a parent to Landen (5th grade) and Logan (2nd grade). Brenda started off as a monitor and moved to a 1:1 paraprofessional in May 2016.

Brenda is a veteran of the US Navy- her job duties in the Navy are quite impressive, as she was in charge of all Navy women on the ship during deployments as well as serving in the military police (so, this means that she is DEFINITELY qualified to run the office- especially during crazy situations).

Brenda has a degree in management and is also a beautician and massage therapist (so, be very, very, nice to her ;-)

Brenda recognized through beginning her work at Jefferson last year that her passion is working with children. She is over the moon to know that even though she is not in the classroom this year, the work she is doing in the office impacts our kids.

Meet Marybeth Attard, Special Education Student Teacher

Marybeth is working with Emilie Frisk to complete her 6 week coursework in Special Education.

Marybeth is a student at U of M Dearborn and was connected with SRSD by the mock interview series last year in the spring. Her vision of education and advocacy for students who receive special education services is extremely inspiring.

When you see her in the hallway, make sure to say hello!

Deep Thoughts with Maurus...

When I was in the classroom, one of the most important things that I taught was character education. I still believe that it is the most important work that I do, because character is what will carry our children through their lives and serve as a compass for them when life gets tough.

You may have heard me talk about the analogy that sometimes I think about our Jefferson staff just as I thought about my classroom when I was a teacher.

We all have different personalities, different learning styles, different lives outside of this building, different beliefs, different emotional triggers, and different struggles that some or no others know of. The differences that we have can become the lens that we view others through.

We are all on different life paths and are in different seasons of our lives. Some of us are just starting out in life with marriage and families, and others are seeing their children grow into adults and are sending them off to the college and military. The season we are in can become the lens that we view others through.

Our lives growing up and into adulthood- our family and life dynamics- have shaped the way that each of us enters conflict, celebration and challenge. Our personal life dynamics can become the lens that we view others through.

When I was into my 6th year of teaching, I team taught with a new colleague, Kacie. Kacie grew up in a very traditional home, with her mother staying at home and her father going off to work every day. Kacie was very skilled at teaching math and prided herself on being a strong teacher of content, which she was. Kacie became my go-to when I was clueless on how to teach the relationship between fractions, decimals and percents. Kacie taught me how to teach kids how to understand math better than anyone I ever worked with.

Kacie came to me one day, frustrated as to why a group of our students was constantly missing homework. "I just don't understand how they KNOW they have homework every single day, but they STILL refuse to do it!" No amount of bribing or consequencing was getting them to give Kacie their looseleaf papers with diligently completed math problems each morning.

The group of students that Kacie talked to me about just happened to be my unofficial recess basketball team. It was my team of misfits- the kids in the neighboring trailer park whose parents were rarely at home- the kids who were making themselves and their siblings dinner every night.

Instead of going into the staff lounge at lunch recess (which is another story another time), I would often hang out with my misfit team and shoot hoops. I enjoyed talking to them and connecting with them while we played and many of them just wanted to talk about "stuff" while we played basketball.

Basketball wasn't about playing basketball. Basketball was really a support group for these kids. The stuff they talked about would have made some adults' mouths drop open. Stuff that is only seen on HBO or Netflix, definitely not NBC. CPS calls were made as a result of some of these conversations, and sadly, one of our misfits was placed into foster care midway through the year.

I knew that in order for Kacie to understand my misfit basketball team, I had to give her an experience of what it was to be a misfit.

After school on a Friday, I asked Kacie if she wanted to go on a drive. She, thinking that we were going to a local establishment (which we were), quickly agreed, and jumped eagerly into my car. As we drove down the dirt road, past the huge homes where our kids with professional parents lived, Kacie recognized where we were going on our way to the local establishment.

"Um, I am really nervous. Why are we going here?" Kacie asked me as I turned into Old Dutch Farms, the trailer park behind our school.

"Well, you said that you wanted to understand why the kids aren't doing their homework, right? I'm showing you why they don't do their homework." I drove down the first street and slowed down as we rolled past the lopsided trailers.

Kacie and I had many conversations about how drastically different our lives were growing up. While she had the Leave it to Beaver experience growing up, my experience was more like the series Shameless (okay, not that crazy, but definitely NOT Leave it to Beaver). She listened to me tell her stories about washing my own clothes in 1st grade and about how I figured out in Kindergarten that I needed butter on bread so that I didn't burn my grilled cheese and how frustrating it was when all you had to eat for a week straight was cereal (and then dry cereal when you ran out of milk). She would question me as to whether or not I was kidding when we would talk, because she was in her mid twenties and her mother still came over to do her laundry and cook sometimes.

As we drove through the neighborhood, Kacie teared up. "I swear, this looks like a third world country." We stopped in front of the trailer where I knew one of our kids, Dorian, lived. I told her he lived there and she just stared at the metal structure. The broken blinds bitten by Dorian's pit bull covered finger smudged windows, and the trailer door hung open an inch. Dorian wasn't in sight, but I guessed he and the misfits were playing in the woods that were behind the park- which they often did right after school.

"Okay. I get it." Kacie sat silent as we pulled away.

From that point forward, instead of keeping the problem of complaining that the kids weren't doing homework, and being angry with them, Kacie approached the problem with understanding and worked at solving it with them.

Their circumstances didn't absolve them of the responsibility to do homework, but it definitely created a new lens that Kacie viewed them through.

Just like our classrooms are composed of a large amount of different human beings, our staff is composed of different human beings. Human beings that snap at each other, human beings that are flawed, human beings that make mistakes.

I really do care about each and every one of you and I do know a lot of your stories, but not all of them. I understand that we are not at our best every single day and that we will slip up from time to time. I definitely have my days when I come in and don't react in ways that are outlined in the principal handbook. I definitely have nights when I wake up at 3 AM and realize that I need to apologize to someone.

All that I ask is that we be honest with each other and strive to work together as a team, or tribe. I ask that we take a drive through what each others' experiences might be to try to understand each other and I ask that we approach our differences with the spirit of being problem solvers, not problem keepers.

I ask that even if your voice shakes and you are scared, that you go to each other to talk about differences. I ask that you listen to each other. I don't ask that you agree, but I do ask that you are kind to each other and that you understand that there are multiple viewpoints.

I ask that when you have issues with each other, that you go to the source instead of muddying the waters and comaraderie of our tribe. I ask that you hold each other up high and be honest with each other without the intention to hurt. Start your conversations by saying "I want to talk to you and I am scared, so forgive me if I slip on my words, but I want us to be strong colleagues..."

Remember that the conversations you have in the staff lounge and in hallways have the potential to make it to the person you are talking about, and even though that person is an adult, that person still has feelings.

Remember that you can CHOOSE to talk about things and be angry, but you can also CHOOSE to work at your relationship with each other.

Be problem solvers, not problem keepers.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Now, if any of you guys want to start a misfit basketball team, let me know- I'll be the captain- I have all the necessary credentials!

I love you guys- be good to each other.