Muraski Minutes: 2020 Issue 13

Weekly communication and updates from Muraski

Update from the Principal

Good Morning Everyone,

This weekend I started seeing Christmas decorations, lights, and trees pop up in my neighborhood and community everywhere. Typically, this would throw me into a loop of complaining about how society is skipping Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, rushing through our lives without fully enjoying the present. As I started to give my wife the usual, "I can't believe they are already putting up their ________ (insert decoration here)" speech, she turned on some christmas music and in about 30 seconds I was smiling, tapping my foot, and ultimately in a better mood.

Now, more than ever, it occurs to me why people like to get in the festive spirit so early. It brings joy, hope, and that little feeling that things are going to be ok. Boy oh boy, have we dealt with a year where it makes this so necessary.

Although I know we will continue to show up day in and day out for our kids, doing the work we've been called to do, support our students, I also know that we need to breathe, enjoy time with our families, take time for ourselves, and smile at the little things that bring us pleasure. Over the next several weeks, as the holiday season begins, please do those things for yourselves. Sing Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" at the top of your lungs. Watch Home Alone & Home Alone 2 (not Home Alone 3, that STUNK) way too many times. Bake cookies. Force yourself to put the school work down, because it will always be here. Over the holidays, please make sure you are present with friends, with family, and with yourself. It's been a heck of a year and we all deserve a great holiday season.

Have a great week,


Muraski Staff Meeting: All Staff Welcome

Wednesday, Nov. 18th, 8-8:45am

This is an online event.

We will be using this time as an opportunity to collaborate with our grade level teams to finish goal setting for Trimester 2, and also use Common Assessment Data to identify gaps in learning and ideas for how we can address student learning as we move into Trimester 2.

We are going to be looking at what our students biggest weaknesses are in the area of Reading, Writing, & Math.

Gymnasium Usage

We will begin using the gymnasium for Physical Education classes starting today, Monday, November 16th. This provides students with the opportunity to exercise and move every day, rain or shine. Please bring your class to the gymnasium starting tomorrow and be prepared to pick them up when their special is over.

Progress Monitoring vs Intervention

As we have completed our intervention meetings for reading and begin the small group and individual work we do with the students who need our support in the classrooms, it's important to remember that the focus is the intervention. Yes, the progress monitoring tool is necessary, and documentation assists in us in determining growth, but the most important piece of the puzzle is the intervention, the actual instruction required to meet the individual needs of our students.

To help illustrate this concept I'd like you to think of intervention this way. As many of you know, I would like to lose weight, and have been attempting to do so for several years, where I have been successful, then not, then successful, and not again. Frankly, I need some quality intervention to assist me in this process.

I could continue to progress monitor by stepping on the scale each week, getting excited and then disappointed by small fluctuations in the numbers I see with little to no change in my daily life. Or, I could actually intervene. I could set a goal of working out for 60 minutes 3-4 times per week, while eating more healthy options. It will still be important to step on the scale and monitor progress, but the hard work done in between weigh-ins is what has the capacity to create lasting change. I started a new intervention plan on Sunday, and I hope this one creates change. It will take effort, commitment, and a great deal of consistency.

I say this not to bore you with some anecdotal story. Rather, I believe it puts things into perspective. It is easy to monitor progress. It's incredibly hard to intervene consistently and promote growth through focused and intense work with our most struggling learners. I believe we developed some clear plans and can't wait to see our students learn and grow through our targeted interventions.

Progress Monitoring Using EasyCBM, Reading Comprehension & More

Untitled: Nov 16, 2020 8:26 AM

Using the Online Component of EasyCBM

Progress Monitoring Measures

To assign an online progress monitoring measure, go to the “Measures” tab and click on the grade of the test you want to administer (the numbered box located just to the right of the header “Grade”).

Now scroll down the page until you locate the name of the assessment you wish to administer. On the right-hand side you will see a “Take Online” checkbox (for those assessments that can be administered online).

Click the box, and a list of your student groups will appear. Once you’ve selected the groups you want tested, have students login to: your username, and then take the assigned test (students will have to login using the teacher’s username). Once the students are logged in, their group and individual names should appear for selection along with their test options.

If you are entering student scores instead of having them take an online test, click on the “Enter Scores” column located under the Measures tab next to the name of the assessment, and a pop-up window will appear. Select the group name, then fill in the student responses or scores. Make sure to select the Save button when you are finished entering the scores.

Grades Entered 11/17

Please make sure to have your grades entered into Power School this week. They are due by 4:00pm, November 17th. If you need any assistance with this, please let me know. I will share out some information over the next two days regarding grades and feedback.

Continuing Education & Furthering Degrees

If you are interested in pursuing additional certifications or degrees in education, check out this program here!

Evidence of Student Learning

As you know, the district and individual grade levels have worked hard to develop Common Assessments for all subjects that are administered throughout the school year. The goal of this data is to accomplish a few things:

  • Obtain data about what our students are learning in various content areas, identifying standards that have been mastered and areas that need to be addressed.
  • Drive discussion about our instructional practice and how we can best meet the needs of our students.
  • Create collaborative planning opportunities where we identify a need, develop an action plan, and continuously monitor student progress in regards to learning objectives.

Assessment, both formative and summative, is a means for providing students with the most intentional, individualized, and effective instruction that closes gaps we identify within our students.

HERE is the form that we will use to track data based on Common Assessments:

Evidence of Student Learning Form

Together, we will use this information, as well as information from formative assessment tools, to work on how we can continuously adjust instruction to meet the learning needs of our students.

My Schedule

Big picture

TBT Conversations

I will be around to meet with each of our TBTs this week to continue the discussion on Grade Level Goals, as well as instruction and student achievement. The more intentional we can be in our discussion and planning, the more impactful we can be on our students. Remember, as we have these meetings, our goal is to address the following:

  • What are we seeing in our classrooms that needs to be addressed? Where are there gaps in learning?
  • How can we address this need or concern?
  • How will we know we were effective in addressing the need or concern?

Again, I will be at each of your meetings to support discussion and continue to plan interventions to increase student achievement.

Digital Exit Slips

Thanks to Steve Owens, the link below provides some templates to use in your classroom, regardless of the learning framework we are in, to assess your students' take aways at the end of a lesson. A few things that Exit Slips offer:

  • A quick check-in/formative assessment of the learning for the day.
  • An opportunity for students to reflect on their own learning
  • A tool to drive instructional decisions/differentiation on a more frequent basis.

Again, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW if you are interested in utilizing these templates, Google Slides and Google Forms.

Building Wide Meeting Links