Jag News

Words for this Week from Ms. Keag

Week of October 19, 2015

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Growth Mindset

"Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence."

-Colin Powell

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

-African Proverb

As we all grow together this year, we will be successful because of our hard work, taking risks and growing as professionals, learning from failed ideas but reflecting and trying again, loyalty to implementing gradual release of responsibility and using e-CLASS, and persistence and commitment to the work until all students master the learning targets exceeding their target growth.

"I Do" from the October Ediction of Literacy Connection

What are the important instructional moves that need to be considered when planning the "I do it" in the Gradual Release Model? Establishing purpose, modeling or demonstrating, and thinking aloud need to be visible for our students. Noticing, where the teacher watches carefully to see if the cognitive shift has successfully moved from teacher to learner, happens in the teacher's mind. Fisher and Frey stress that, "teachers need to recognize that a learner who understands the purpose of a new skill and gets an opportunity to see it executed by an expert is going to grasp the details more thoroughly" 919). Often students assume that the teacher is an expert who never struggles with learning. Instead, teachers need to ensure that students hear how their teachers, "unpack" their "own thinking processes" by thinking aloud during modeling and demonstration. Students begin to learn the academic language of the content area from an expert. Students understand how the purpose of the focused instruction is not just about what they are learning today but how they will apply this knowledge or skill today, as well.

How do we play for the "I do it"?

-Always start with the AKS, which may require new knowledge demands and/or new cognitive demands. What is the focus of my lesson? Create a learning target based on the AKS.

-Determine the best instructional strategy fro this learning target. Think aloud? Model? Demonstrate? Students need to be able to transfer this strategy or skill to new scenarios.

-Choose the most appropriate resources to sue for this lesson.

Vision Update

Great news! This year we have 17 teachers attending VISION from our school. This is a record for Suwanee Elementary School. I am so excited about this learning opportunity with you! I can't wait to see you at PRHS this coming Saturday, October 24. Look forward to growing together in our knowledge of Gradual Release of Responsibility!

SAM Innovation Project-Note from Ms. Keag

Recently, I registered to participate in a Principal Staff Development opportunity known as the SAM Innovation Project. Below there is a description about what is SAM? Basically, SAM is a process that provides formative data about where and how I spend my time as an instructional leader. Just like you use data to evidence the value of your efforts in the classroom, I will have a daily time tracker that keeps me focused so I know if how I spend my time equates to effective support of teaching and learning at our school. Mary Cimino and Dee Dee Stagman accompanied me to an orientation to learn more about the SAM Project. If you have questions about it, you can ask one of the three of us. In order to set goals for myself, I need baseline data on how I currently spend my time. Therefore, on November 2, 3, 5 & 6, a retired principal who is SAM trained will shadow me all day coding how I spend my time (instructional vs. management). Please carry on as usual. They are not writing down anything you say or do; they are simply coding instructional or management based on my actions. Their purpose is to be a shadow, so they will not talk or interact with us. Again, they are only recording data every 5 minutes based on my work. As I progress through this program, I will share my data with you. Just as I ask you to make data driven decisions each day, I, too, am going to do the same.

For more information, please go to www.samsconnect.com

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JOhn Willis

On Thursday, October 22, John Willis, Instructional Coach from the Office of Staff Development, will be at Suwanee working with us. During the day, he will be visit classrooms, observe our coaches working with you all, and attend staff development. Please extend a warm welcome as you see him in our school building.

Making a Difference

Kudos to everyone who supported Tiffany Hutchinson in her walk this weekend. We are proud of our friend and colleague who participated in this annual event! We are all members of our community, so I encourage everyone to find a cause and give your time and talent. Together we create hope and make a difference in the lives of those in our community.

If you are involved in a community service effort, please send it to Ms. Keag so she can highlight this cause in our newsletter. Sharing your story just might get others engaged.

United Way-Why should I donate?

We all live "united" in our community. United Way provides support for our families who need assistance. When all families thrive, our economy thrives, our community thrives, and our children thrive. Let's give this campaign our all because we are all connected and living united!

Please go online and donate to United Way through the employee portal. Present your $50 receipt to Julia Sarnowski and get jeans passes!

Great Days of Service

Please encourage your students to participate in the Great Days of Service by bringing in canned goods. We are collecting canned proteins for the food drive. Please see Ms. Barnard with questions.

Gradual Release of Responsibility Observations

Here's a confetti celebration for the following members of our team:

Laura Thomas and Brandy Taylor were teaching their students the phases of Gradual Release of Responsibility. Language is important, so your clear communication and outline of expectations for student engagement in each phase enhances student ownership of learning. Great job!

Lorel Hayes had a small group and each student was drawing a picture to prove their thinking during math workshop. Your questions were specific for each student based on their reasoning. Way to go!


On November 3, voters will have an opportunity to go to the polls. ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds capital projects that support Gwinnett County Public Schools and Buford City Schools, such as building projects and technology retrofits. This ESPLOST is not a new 1-cent sales tax. It would continue the current 1-cent sales tax for 2017-2022. For more information, please go to our website and click on the link to learn more about ESPLOST. Please remember that early voting began on October 12. If you have questions about voting locations, please see Dorothy Brown-Townsend or Mary Cimino, as they are our deputy registrars at Suwanee.

CCRPI on Tuesday, October 20 & CLT This Week

This Tuesday, October 20, Georgann Eaton will be at Suwanee Elementary to teach us about CCRPI and Growth Measures. This training will be from 3:15-4:30. Please meet promptly in the Jaguar Cafe at 3:15.

As a result of this meeting being rescheduled, CLT meetings will need to take place at an alternate time this week. Please submit your CLT minutes form to Ms. Keag by Friday, October 23, reviewing DA data and making plans for future instructional moves with students. Thank you for being flexible and making instructional planning with your team a priority.

Professional Learning on Thursday, October 22

Please meet in the Mind Meld room during your planning to revisit the work we began, asking the question, "What does rigor look like in the classroom?" Kristin Drake, Instructional Coach from the Gifted Program, will join Hilary Pinter to facilitate our reflection on rigor at Suwanee.
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November 10

Please talk up our e-CLASS Parent Night: E-CLASS Essentials on Novermber 10 from 6:00-7:00 with your students and parents. Childcare will be provided that evening. Please look for an invitation to come from Dee Dee Stagman with an RSVP address so we can account for the number of families attending. You can include this invite in your newsletter.

E-CLASS Teacher USAGE: Leaders at Suwanee

Last week, you all met our e-CLASS goal for teacher usage. Keep up the great work! The data pull is every Tuesday morning, so once I have this on Tuesday, I will send it out. It takes everyone engaged in the strategic and authentic use of C&I to meet our goal. Way to go team!

Please continue to plan effective uses of e-CLASS tools to personalize learning for our friends and engage them in collaborative tasks in C&I. If you need assistance or ideas for how to use a tool based on your effectively planned lesson, please see Dee Dee or Lara for their help.

PTA Carnival Update

On October 30, the PTA Carnival will be held for all students. The plan is as follows:

1. An altered schedule for this day will be sent out this week, scheduling each grade level for a 40 minute time that day on the playground. This will serve as your recess time. Teachers are asked to supervise student behavior on the playground as you normally would during recess.

2. Students in the VIP section top earners ($100 or more) will attend the carnival on the blacktop. PTA volunteers will get these students from class prior to your transition to the playground and walk them back to class after your grade level's scheduled time.

3. PTA will be responsible for securing the permission slips for the VIP section students.

4. Classroom teachers will be asked to secure permission slips for their students who are not VIP participants. The carnival for all other students will be located on the playground.

5. On the playground, PTA volunteers will supervise a couple of jumpy houses for all students. For safety in the jump houses, we need permission slips on file for all students. All students must wear socks to jump.

6. VIP section students will not be able to come down to the playground and students on the playground will not be allowed to go up to the VIP section on the blacktop due to safety and security reasons.

7. Ms. Keag and Ms. Martinez will be slimed at 2:30 on a live broadcast for all students to watch in their classrooms that day. The top 5 earners will slime school leaders.

8. Students earning $200 or more are eligible for the limo ride on November 13. More information to come soon.

Week At-A-Glance

  • Great Days of Service
  • National School Bus Safety Week

Monday, October 19

GA School Bus Driver Appreciation Day

ITBS - 2nd & 5th

2:45 - Girls on the Run

Tuesday, October 20

ITBS - 2nd & 5th

2:45 - KidzKey Club

Wednesday, October 21

ITBS - 2nd & 5th

NO - Chorus Practice

NO - Chess Club

2:45 - Guitar Club

2:45 - Tech Club

Thursday, October 22

ITBS - 2nd & 5th

2:45 - Girls on the Run

2:45 - Orchestra Club

3:00 - Good News Club

Friday, October 23

NO - Readers Rally

ITBS - 2nd & 5th

Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework- Every Classroom. Every Lesson. Every Day.