Bulldog Bulletin

October 11, 2015

Parent Conferences

As we head into the week of parent teacher conferences, we are often flooded by feelings of anxiety. This anxiety includes thoughts of time management (How can I say everything I need to in 15 minutes?), thoughts of how to choose words carefully (How do I deliver difficult messages to parents?), and thoughts of how to build a partnership that will make the rest of the year positive and productive.

I will never forget a conference for one of our girls that forever changed the way I approached conferences as a teacher. Glen and I went to meet with a teacher whose class was one that was full of struggles. The first words out of the teacher's mouth were, "I have a lot to share with you. She is distracted, social, and unmotivated, and her grades show it. She is driving me crazy." As parents, what is our response to that? Any chance of a productive conversation was lost after he delivered his opening words to us. While I know that none of our conferences would begin that way, remember a couple of things. The children we are talking about are the most important people in their parents' lives. What you say matters to them.

Parents also approach conferences with anxieties of their own. You can, and should, speak truthfully to them about the progress of their child. Remember to do that in a way that will promote positive partnerships that will get stronger as the days pass. You are the expert in working with children, but they bring knowledge about their child. I often tell parents that they are their child's first and most important teacher. There is a link below to an article that offers some tips and possible responses to common things said by parents in conferences. It's worth a read!

Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship will be bringing different soups for dinner on Tuesday. They will set it up as soon as dismissal is complete on Tuesday, and they will come back to clean up and get their crock pots around 7:30. Faith Lutheran will be providing pulled pork on Thursday night for dinner. PTO will be supporting both groups in providing dinner for staff this week.

PTO News

PTO met earlier this week. Once again, we had a diverse group of parents attend the meeting, and it is exciting to see the group slowly growing in numbers. A couple of items to note:

1. The date for Fun Fair is set. Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23 from 11-2! The PTO appreciates your commitment to this event each year. As in past years, everyone will need to plan to serve a shift at Fun Fair. Our hope by scheduling the event late in April is that most events and games could be outside.

2. Grade levels will need to be thinking of a theme for the grade level baskets. PTO will put a list in the lounge to sign up for your theme.

Field Trip Transportation

There is a shortage of bus drivers and district is trying to recruit more. The issue is that there have been instances where a field trip has to be cancelled due to this shortage. Be sure to plan ahead. It is required to put the request in 2 weeks prior, however, there needs to be more advanced notice. As soon as you know dates for field trips, go ahead and submit the paperwork to transportation.

Counselor's Corner-Anti-Bullying Week

From Shelly:

Next week we will be recognizing and talking about Bully Prevention Oct. 12th to 15th . During Library all next week there will be books being read about Bullying and they will receive a sicker to wear that says I’m a Bully Buster. Some of you have I’m a bully Buster Button from the past, please wear all week, if not please get a sticker from Mrs. K during Library to wear. I will also be saying some things each morning on announcements about Bullying. Please be going over the Model Bully Zone steps and have discussions about Bullying in the classroom and knowing the difference between friendship issue and Bullying. I have run two Bully lessons in every grade level, just got finished last week so all grades know the language and the Bully Zone steps. Please continue to reteach when you have teachable moments throughout the day. Officer Powell has one water bottle for each class to use as some kind of incentive with Bullying prevention. Some classrooms have their buckets and do a classroom drawing within their classroom one time a week on Fridays. This could be used for that. Please come up with something for next week for a drawing in your classroom on Friday for the one classroom winner. We are looking for acts kindness and taking a stand to Bullying.

Board Update

Two Items of Note
1. The district technology committee will be presenting a recommendation to the Board tomorrow evening about the vision for moving to 1:1 technology across the corporation. The plan proposes that all schools would be 1:1 by the 2018-19 school year. The plan also calls for GMS and Model to be 1:1 next year to align with the move to New Tech and project-based learning. This is only a proposal at this point, but I wanted you to be aware.

2. The October 26 Board meeting will be held at Model in the library at 6:00. We have been asked to spotlight some things going on in our building. The first spotlight will be on the shoe drive. We will also be spotlighting some innovative ways we are using technology in our building. I will be talking to some of you about sharing and having students share that night.

A Reminder.......

Remember to keep classroom doors closed at all times. We do this both for safety and for energy conservation. Thanks for your help!! :)

New Tech Update

We have now visited two schools and are ready to move into a phase where we begin to build background knowledge of project-based learning. At our next collaboration, the team who traveled to Chicago as well as some members of TLT will share our vision and learning timeline so that we can plan our learning together. In the meantime, check out the New Tech website. Model Elementary is in the news section!!

From District Administration

Today’s Focus: Talent

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”
– Mary Lou Cook


New Contracts & Timeline

On Monday, September 28th GEA membership ratified the master contract for the 2015-16 school year. On Tuesday, September 29th the Board approved the agreement. We have already started working to implement this new agreement.

Our first goal is to clean up any/all errors in the current payroll system by the October 9th pay date. This way we can begin making the adjustments to the pay with an accurate foundation. The target date for including the salary increase in teacher pay is the October 23rd pay date. By the end of October, it is our goal to have written contracts out to all teachers.

One of the changes to the contract was an hourly rate increase for teachers who provide “in-house” subbing services. The rate increased from $20.48/hour to $25.00 per hour. Attached is the NEW payroll voucher to be used for in-house subbing. Please STOP using the old ones and remember to print/copy these on YELLOW paper. Thanks!

Expulsion of Students with 504 Plans

We must notify the expulsion officer if a student on a 504 plan is brought forward to an expulsion meeting, because we need to hold a manifest determination meeting first, just like a special education student. Susan, will be speaking to the counselors about this to make certain that all are informed. Thanks all!

Subs for Paraprofessionals

Although our substitute pool is a little wider and deeper this year, we are in no way “out of the woods” in terms of potential shortages. Please remind your paraprofessionals and other classified staff that they should NOT be calling Jamie UNLESS their position REQUIRES a sub for the day in their absence. Remember that this applies to those 1:1 paras or program paras that are required to implement a student’s IEP and/or program. They do not need to report their absences to Jamie. Rather, they just include that on their timesheets or in Time Force, if applicable. If a para calls in for a substitute, Jamie will do her very best to find someone, but our first priority MUST always be to provide subs for teachers first. Let Tammy know if you have a question.

Horace Mann Student Loan Reduction Workshop

Please remember that next week, Wednesday, October 14th, GEA is sponsoring the Horace Mann Student Loan reduction workshop for all GCS employees. This will be at the GHS Auditorium at 4pm. Below, is the email for Andrea Thalheimer, please RSVP with her by this Friday so we can have an accurate count for materials. Walk-ins are welcome, but an RSVP will ensure that we will have enough materials for everyone. Also, Andrea would like you to bring some things to aid in this workshop. What those things are, I do not know. Andrea will contact all who RSVP and tell you what to bring. This workshop is not just for your student loan, but will address your children’s loan(s) as well. Also, this is not just for GEA members or just teachers, ALL are welcome. If you have questions, please feel free to contact:

Scott Garvin



GHS Ext 2470


Thalheimer, Andrea Andrea.Thalheimer@horacemann.com

eSuite HR Portal

Please share this information with your staff again: To access eSuite and paystubs, go to the GCS website under Staff Services, you will see that the first tab listed is eSuite HR Portal. When you click on that, you will find directions and other information.

TAP Update

As a TLT, we were so proud of the depth of the discussion around setting our school TAP goal. You were reflective and forward thinking at the same time. What really showed was your commitment not to numbers, but to students. As TLT learns together and as we learn together in cluster, we will be asking ourselves the important question of how our learning transfers to our practice so that student achievement can be positively impacted. Based on our NWEA data, the TLT has determined that reading will continue to be our focus for the annual cluster goal. We as a team are preparing to begin field testing after fall break.

TLT is also getting ready to dig into post conferences. We are studying how the modeling portion of the conference is impacting classroom practice and how we can deepen and improve that process. To accomplish this we will be studying student work and CODE data.


Monday, October 12 PBIS Meeting @ 7:30
IPLI Principal Cohort Meeting (12:30-2:30 LP's office)
Board Meeting @ 6:00

Tuesday, October 13 K-2 PBIS Assembly (12:55-1:40)
P/T Conferences
3rd Grade Field Trip

Wednesday, October 14 Lynne at Central for training (8:30-11:30)

Thursday, October 15 P/T Conferences

Friday, October 16 Last day before Fall Break