To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue #1: Wednesday, August 24, 2018

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We are two full weeks into school and I wanted to share a few celebrations with you.

1. Our morning routine for dismissing students from the main hall, bus line and gym, is AWESOME! Students are getting in the routine of walking in lines throughout the main hallway and are much more patient and quiet.

2. I am really impressed with way in which we are celebrating our theme, The Power of Yet, throughout the building. It is on our bulletin boards, it is in our classrooms, we say it in our language and it is written across our chests on our two t-shirts :) I love to see us living our theme!

3. Noelle and I are both extremely grateful for the "all hands on deck" attitude that we see all throughout the building. We cannot tell you how wonderful it is to work at a school where everyone pitches in and steps up when we have a need. Thank you for helping out, lending a hand and problem solving ways to make things run a little smoother throughout the day.

4. We loved hearing the different ways that teachers celebrated the Significant 72 in the classroom. We know that taking the time to get to know students, share about ourselves and building relationships with students during the first 72 hours is critical for meeting SEL needs, establishing a culture for learning as well as setting a foundation for academic success. Thank you for commitment to building relationships with your students!

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If you haven't started reading The Growth Mindset Coach, I would encourage you to jump in. The book is broken up by month and provides some really hands-on ideas for building a growth mindset within your classroom.

August focuses on Teaching is a practice, not a perfection. In addition to providing an overview of growth mindset, I absolutely love that we start by reminding ourselves to have a growth mindset about our own work and profession. The foundation and the reflection that Chapter 1 provides will set the stage for the work that we will do throughout the year.

As we move into September, we will focus on Everyone can learn. As I shared in my Weekly Update, after Labor Day we will start our morning announcements by asking all students to repeat after me: Everyone Can Learn.

Our goals for September will focus on:
1. Teaching students about their mindset.

2. Establishing your classroom as a growth-mindset zone.

3. Creating a climate of growth mindset with parents and students.

As educators we learn that research supports that just learning about growth mindset, even if it is only one 45 minute lesson, increases student achievement. If we accept what the research shows, imagine how our students will grow with a year-long focus on growth mindset!

During our September 5th Faculty Meeting, we will work through the lesson plans on pages 31 - 42. My hope is that you will have some take-aways that you are able to share with your students. If you have time to read Chapter 2 - September before we meet, great! If not, Noelle and I will bring you up to speed during our Faculty Meeting.

Trauma Informed Schools

It is exciting to move into our 2nd year of moving toward a Trauma Informed School. Our team will be at the final training tomorrow with the goal of setting our plan for the year. As Noelle and I shared during the August Faculty Meeting, we will have two action plans this year.

The first being our 1-5-9 Challenge. We will dive deeper into this at our Faculty Meeting next week.

Our second goal, as a school, is to have intentional arrival and dismissal routines where we are connecting and building relationships with kids everyday. I loved hearing a teacher tell me about her "High Five, Hug or Handshake" at the end of the day for all students.

For me, I find it easy to be out and visible at the start of the day. I tend to greet students at Door #2 or in the hallway where the bussers sit. I struggle getting myself out at the end of the day to say goodbye to students. I have to keep reminding myself of the importance of the end of the day connection. In addition to connecting with and building rapport with students, there are benefits to having strong end of the day routines. Check out the article below for some of the benefits of end of the day routines, as well as some cool ideas you might want to try.

AVID Updates

It was exciting to complete my second year at Summer Institute in Minneapolis this summer. As a team we were able to dive deeper and really plan a solid second year implementation.

I wanted to share our official goals for the school year:

1. By the end of November, Grades 3-5 will implement a binder system that will include tabs and pencil pouches, periodic binder checks (one formal per trimester, others at teacher discretion), and plans for reflecting at the end of selected units.

2. By April, all AE 5th grade teachers will provide opportunities and structures for students to participate in focused note-taking.

3. By the end of September, the AVID Site Team will create a calendar for site team meetings, data collection reminders, data collection due dates, and data review dates.

4. By the end of April, we will establish grade level mentor classrooms that will meet periodically to develop collaborative relationships across the building and reinforce the AVID culture.

Like last year, we will continue to share AVID information, ideas and strategies during Faculty Meetings throughout the school year. This year you can look forward to spending time learning about focused note-taking, SLANT, grade level mentor classrooms and of course more WICOR!

Important Information

Copying Information and Updates

Please know that Dr. Smith is very aware of the copying center concerns and is working with them to get them solved as expeditiously as possible. We are so grateful for your patience as we work through these issues.

I want to reiterate that no one will be denied copying that is needed for curriculum needs and student learning. If there are things that you need and the copy center is not meeting your needs, please reach out to Noelle or to me. While color copying is off in our building, if you need something in color for student learning, please send it to Noelle or to me and we will approve and print it.

We do have a special education printer that is available for any special education teacher. This printer is located in the hallway by Sue Craig and Beth Gioiosa's classroom. Please note that this printer should be limited to small jobs that are essential to instruction. Any large jobs need to be sent to the copy center.

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Field Trip Information

There is new field trip information on the district website. You can access this through the intranet in the Teaching & Learning (T&L) tab. Click on Field Trips and then 2018-19 Elementary Field Trip Information.

On this page, you can select their specific grade level to see the available field trips and the cost. If a bus is needed, the cost per student is highlighted in yellow. Please reach out to the contacts on the sheets if you have questions about the field trips.

MTSS Information

We will be following the same MTSS process that we followed last year. I have included the Problem Solving Request Form below. You are also able to access information on the intranet by going to the Teaching & Learning (T&L) tab and downloading the School District 308 MTSS Plan.

I do want to let you know that we are reviewing MTSs throughout the district this year. We have a lot of good things in place at Prairie Point, as well as at the elementary level. Our hope, through our committee work, is to assure that we have a solid continuum of interventions from elementary through high school to support students at all levels.

In our building Tena and Noelle facilitate our MTSS process. If you have any questions, please reach out either Tena or Noelle.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule has been shared with you and is available by clicking below.

PLC Information

Please remember to share agenda's with Noelle and Jennifer. Agendas and resources are located on the intranet. Click on the Professional Development tab and then on the PLC link. There are agenda templates, as well as videos and information about making the most of your PLC time.

As a building, we are shifting our focus back to data. During our August Faculty Meeting, teams shared information about their comfort level and needs as it relates to looking at data. We will be working, as an admin team, to support these needs. I shared our first data resource in this week's Weekly Update. If you haven't had a chance to check out the State Standards Report in STAR it is a really good one to gauge where your students are in terms of the standards. I will continue to share different reports or data sources with you each month. If you ever have a question about one of them, please reach out to Noelle, Tena, Maureen or me. We are happy to help you navigate the sites!