This Week

Fahari's Weekly Staff Memo: 10/16/2015 - 10/22/2015

A Message from Fahari's Principal: Stephanie Clagnaz, Ed.D.

How can you use a game to increase the Joy Factor in your classroom?

“Games take advantage of young people’s love of challenges, competition, and play. They also give kids...the opportunity to “one-up” their teacher. Check for understanding of the rules before you launch the game. If points are involved, explain how (for what behaviors) they will be awarded. Here are some game examples:

  • Contests to see who can “roll their numbers” (that is, do repeated addition) the fastest

  • “Bees” in spelling, geography, math, and so forth

  • Relay races

  • Jeopardy

Some teachers model appropriate “winner” and “loser” behavior and narrate relevant thoughts, saying, “I can’t believe I lost - I’m so angry.”

-Teach Like A Champion Field Guide, p. 418

Here are a few references that provide you with ideas about academic games to play with middle school students:

Algebra Tic-Tac-Toe:

Citation Hunt:

Integer Flash:

Jeopardy, Scavenger Hunt, and more:

More Math Games:

ELA Games:

Science Games:

Social Studies Games:

Concentration Review Game:

Secret Word:

Number Line Game:


  • Which game can you implement this week to increase the Joy Factor in your classroom?
  • What is your next step make the J-Factor more evident?

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On Culture with Jared Roebuck - Assistant Principal

It’s football season. In the United States Friday nights are owned by high school football teams in Texas, Saturdays belong to Pop Warner and college football, and of course Sundays and Mondays are home to the NFL. I’m not too much of a football fan myself, but it is interesting to consider how much the game of football is attached to American culture, and how much the game is tied to education at every level. I came to reflecting on football this week because football became the story of my Saturday this weekend.

It began Thursday when one of our new 8th graders made a pretty big mistake. The student came to Fahari this fall, with a long history of struggling in school, which included a brief stint at Fahari many years ago. His behavioral challenges plagued him at each school he has attended since, and have also come to dominate his home life. In the spring he became court involved and spent time away from his home at a detention center. When he arrived at Fahari, his old patterns of behavior soon emerged. We reacted quickly, holding a conference with his mother in order to put supports in place. What stands out most about our initial meeting with his mother were the stories of him “walking out” into the streets, with no plan, and bad intentions. His mother also shared, in an attempt to punish him for his behavior, that she had taken football away from him and had barred him from joining his old team.

In the weeks since this initial meeting we’ve seen intermittent progress from the young man. On the plus side, his attendance has been consistent, he’s formed positive relationships with several staff members, and he joined our peer leadership program, Peer Group Connections (PGC). There have still been issues related to bullying, sleeping in class, and a few instances of serious, out of control rage. On Thursday, we saw all this--good and bad-- come together. He arrived to school early wearing his PGC leader shirt, ready to teach his first class to our 6th grade students. He greeted adults warmly, and participated in a circle with the other PGC leaders. He was ready. And then, the period before he was to stand before the 6th graders, he blew it. In a fit of rage, he cursed at and was threatening to a teacher. As he de-escalated in the Culture office, his fellow peer leaders proudly walked into 6th grade classrooms to become teachers. His mother soon arrived to take him home. In our conversation, she again revisited that he was “walking out” into the streets on weekends with nothing to do. Despite the progress we were making with him, we are still losing him to the streets.

On Saturday morning I arrived at a park in Crown Heights for Fahari’s first Flag Football game of the season. It was this team’s first game together, and Mr. Ascona’s first game as a Coach. I found the Coach surrounded by a small number of 6th and 7th graders who already appeared defeated. As it turned out we were about to forfeit the game because we didn’t have enough players to participate. More than half the team was late. After 15 minutes or so, the rest of the team arrived and league arranged for us to play a truncated game. The other team was better prepared, had arrived on time, and had an opportunity to warm up. In short, it was a thumping.

In the huddle after the game the kids reflected on what they needed to do better. They committed to practicing more during the week, arriving to games early, and coming ready for next week. The faces on the children conveyed a sense of urgency, purpose, and focus. I wondered: What might they learn from their experience with football this season that may apply to other areas of their lives? How will the game of football prepare them for the game of life? What will it mean for them to have a commitment every Saturday morning?

As I thought about this, I got a text from Ms. Watson. It was picture of the 8th grade student described above dressed in a football uniform. Ms. Watson-- a 5th grade teacher--met him in the halls a few weeks back. She’d heard of the incident from earlier in the week and wanted to help. I had told her about football being “taken away” from the child and the streets that had since taken its place. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Ms. Watson hastily contacted his mother and within hours recruited him onto her husband’s football team. I wondered again: What might he learn from his experience with football this season that may apply to other areas of his life? How will the game of football prepare him for the game of life? What will it mean for him to have a commitment every Saturday morning?

And finally:

What does it mean for a family or a child to find a community that starts from children’s strengths?

Thanks for all that you do,

Jared Roebuck

Assistant Principal

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From the Desk of Traci L. Douglas, Assistant Principal

Team, many of you have logged on to Skedula and have already begun to enter grades, if not already completed your grade entries for quarter one Progress Reports. Thank you! Others have not yet made that leap but certainly need to right away. Please remember that by Tuesday, October 20th at 12 noon, all PRIDE grades must be entered into Skedula.

Below is a timeline for completion and distribution of our first quarter Progress Reports:

  • Tuesday, October 20th, 12pm - Teachers must enter all PRIDE Grades into Skedula

  • Tuesday, October 20th, 12-4pm - Operations team will perform a school wide mail merge for Progress Reports.

  • Tuesday, October 20th, 4-6pm - Operations team will print all Progress Reports in preparation for Parent Teacher Conferences

  • Wednesday, October 21st, 12pm - Operations team will deliver Progress Reports to teachers.

It is extremely important that PRIDE Grades are entered by 12 noon on October 20th. Grades not entered by this deadline will delay the school-wide mail merge and printing process. Thank you in advance for this collaborative team effort!

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Family Engagement Updates

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Family Conference DO’S and DO NOT’S

DO NOT…...

  • Focus on the NEGATIVE

  • Dominate the entire conference

  • Use vague phrases such as “Get his act together”

  • Allow students/families to leave without suggested next steps


  • Begin with the positive

  • Ensure that family member and student have a voice

  • Suggest next steps towards reaching student’s Quarter 2 goal

  • Pace yourself / Exercise time management (use phone timer)

  • Set up follow-up meeting, if necessary

Family Conferences Protocol

10 minutes

Welcome/Introductions - 1 minute

  • Explanation of Protocol

  • Year Goal towards Student Led Conferences

Family Member - 2 minutes

  • Student background/interests

  • Student strengths/weaknesses

Student - 2 minutes

  • Self-reflection on progress

  • Goals

    • PRIDE goals

Teacher - 2 minutes

  • Progress report grades/Initial Overall Progress/Expectations

  • At-home Partnership suggestions

Wrap-up / Next steps - 3 minutes

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This week's schedule updates

Will it be an A or B week?

We will be following an A schedule this week.

Who will be out this week?

Please check the daily schedule for coverage updates*

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Stephanie Clagnaz

Jared Roebuck (PD)

Shana Williams (AM OUT)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Stephanie Clagnaz

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Brandi Robinson

Angie St.Louis

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Juan Ascona

Robin Singleton

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

P.R.I.D.E grades due in Skedula

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

(Critical Day)

Parent Teacher Conferences

@ Fahari Academy - 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

October Board Meeting

@ Fahari Academy - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

(Please RSVP by emailing

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Peer Group Connection (PGC) Outreach - 9:00 AM

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Funny Business

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