To the Point
Prairie Point Staff Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue #2: Friday, September 2, 2016
As educators we have the great privilege of partnering with parents to build upon that foundation that has been nurtured in the home. Some of our parents have backgrounds in education and are running a "mini school" at home, others rely on technology to fill the gap by providing access to educational games and apps and some have their own unique ways of promoting literacy and helping with homework. As a parent, I am able to best help my child at home when communication is strong between school and home.
Here are a few things to consider as we conclude our 3rd week of school and prepare for our first formal meeting with parents:
1. Parents want to know who is teaching their child - I hope that by this point, everyone has sent out initial communication introducing yourself to our families, sharing a little about yourself and your experiences and sharing your love and passion for teaching and for our students. If this got by you at the start of the year, Curriculum Night is a great opportunity to share a little of yourself.
2. It is important to parents that you like their child - Each parent is sending us the single most important person to them. They unconditionally love, and regardless of their shortcomings, think that their child is AWESOME! Parents want to know that you do as well. I know it might seem funny, but over the years I've talked to parents and one of their concerns on parent-teacher conference day is wondering of the teacher likes their child. I also hope that your first communications with parents have been positive. I know that none of us want our first phone call home or note home to be one that shares bad behavior or a problem. While we certainly have students who will test the limits at the start of school, please consider how you have or will communicate with parents so that their first message from you isn't a negative one.
3. Do parents know what to expect? Parents can best support what we do in the classroom when they know the expectations. If you have a weekly test or assessment that you give every Thursday - make sure that parents know. If you want students to read 20 minutes every night, be sure to reinforce this with our parents. I know that our planners serve as a tool for writing down daily homework, however, some of those ongoing expectations might need a little more attention.
4. Our kids learned nothing today! Many of our students are guilty of telling their parents that they didn't learn anything at school today. I certainly hope that our parents hear this and know that it is ridiculous. We work tirelessly to engage our students, tap into prior learning, make math and science come alive and spark excitement through literature! If we, however, are not out there sharing the good news and awesome works in our school, some parents may believe that we did nothing today! How are you sharing the good news in your classroom?
5. How do you plan to continue the great communication that kicked off the school year? I am as guilty as the next. I plan to send out biweekly and monthly newsletters...but as the weeks get busy and I'm pulled in so many different directions sometimes biweekly can slide to triweekly. Following my communication plan is a huge goal for me this year. I am prioritizing communication and making sure that slide to next week does not happen. One way that I do this is letting everyone know when they can expect this communication. By setting a deadline and letting everyone know, I am holding myself accountable. Do your parents know when they can expect to hear from you? Are you sticking to sending weekly emails, putting a newsletters in a take-home folder or posting classroom communication? This might look different in every classroom or grade level - but one thing needs to be consistent: Parents should know how you will communicate with them and where they should look for this communication.
I am excited for Curriculum Night and know that we will continue to partner with our parents! Thank you for all that you do!
sharing the good news
Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 8, 2016 from 6:30 - 8pm.
As we did last year, there will be two sessions during Curriculum Night.
Session 1: 6:30 - 7:10pm
Session 2: 7:15 - 7:55pm
Below is a power point that is provided by the district. You may use this or you may create your own. Thank you for all that you do to make this evening meaningful for our school families!
Wednesday Morning Meetings
Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule
Agenda for next week's meeting
FOR THIS MEETING:
- If you remember from our first Faculty Meeting, I spoke a little about my personal beliefs in education. Please take a few minutes between now and Wednesday to think about what beliefs you have, which one or two really stand out to you and are your most important. Please write down one or two of your beliefs on a piece of paper to turn in (no need to include your name). We will take a few minutes at the start of the meeting to share a couple if you would like.
- Heidi has generously taken time out of her busy schedule to come to our faculty meeting and help answer questions that you might have regarding student growth goals. We want to make sure that you get the most out of this time. I have shared a Google Doc with you, so that you can jot down any questions or areas that you might need clarification on. We will be able to look at this doc before our faculty meeting so that we are able to address specific areas of need. I have attached the Google Doc, for your convenience.
- Please see the attached Agenda for our Wednesday morning meeting.
PLC Agenda Options
Thank you for sharing your PLC Agenda/Notes with Jen and with me. It is helpful for us to be kept in the loop and respond if there are questions or ideas that come up during this time.
Just as a reminder...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.