The Monday Message

Office of the Principal; Monday, October 6, 2014

Quote for the Week!

“We should expect mistakes and welcome them, because mistakes are students’ way of showing us what they (and we) still need to learn.”

~Joanne Kelleher

The Week Ahead

Gold Week - Classes Meet 6-2-3-4-5-1 / Crew Thursday / International Fair Trade Month / National Principal's Month

Monday (22nd) -World Habitat Day, Perfect PASS Breakfast (8:00am, Media Center), Admin Meeting (10:00am, Cafe'), G20~Shared Leadership Team Mtg

Tuesday (23rd) -Team Meetings (at designated times), PD Workshop (3:50pm, Cafe'), C-Team Volleyball (H) vs. Carolina Springs (5:30pm)

Wednesday (24th) -International Walk to School Day, C-Team Football (H), vs. Carolina Springs (5:30pm)

Thursday (25th) -Crew, EL PD w/ Sarah (see assignments here), C-Team Volleyball (H) vs. Meadow Glenn (5:30pm), D5 Foundation Gala (6:00pm; Saluda Shoals), NY Trip Parent Informational Meeting (6:00pm; Cafe')

Friday (26th) -EL PD w/ Sarah (see assignments here), PITSCO Education Visiting IMS (8:20-11:20), PBIS Committee Meeting (2:45pm; Katie Manning's classroom)

District Professional Development Day

Monday, Oct. 13th, 8am-4pm

Pre-Determined Locations

Data Team Fishbowl

Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 2:30-3:30pm

Irmo Middle School; TV Studio

Tuesday October 14th, we will be visited by Melissa Biggerstaff, Christina Melton, and Reggie Dean for our Data Teams Fishbowl exercise. 8th Grade ELA will be inside the fishbowl. 8th Grade Social Studies will be on the outside of the fishbowl. The fishbowl exercise will be held in the TV Studio. All teachers received shared documents to help us prepare to shine. All administrators visited Data Teams on 9/23 to assist and answer any questions. Finally, we participated in a conference call with Mrs. Biggerstaff (Friday October 3rd) to help us prepare. Below are the final readiness documents. If you have any questions, see me or Mr. Hutto!

New Link Readiness Materials - Important Information!!!

October Staff Birthdays

Haley Calore, October 3rd

Sheila Inabinet, October 5th

Shannon Avery, October 8th

Katie Manning, October 8th

Deborah Burkett, October 14th

Janet Hudson, October 20th

Clare Bellucci, October 22nd

Cindy Peek, October 22nd

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

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We have several shout outs this week:

1. Coach Hardy - A student has been struggling with PE for many years. It got to the point where she dreaded going and would cry every day. Mrs. Hardy worked to build a rapport with the student and create the type of environment in her classroom where all students could thrive and develop. Her mother sent me this note: "In 6th grade she asked me why PE teachers weren't nice in the middle school. THIS year, the first thing my child talks about after school is the awesome things she did in PE. I love seeing her feel confident in playing traditional sports and getting outside her comfort zone." - Great job Coach Hardy! Join me in giving Coach Hardy a shout out.

2. Ms. Goeckner - During outdoor activity time, Ms. Goeckner spent some valuable time talking with students and engaging in their interests. The students were so appreciative of Ms. Goeckner taking the time, showing interest, and being sincere that they told their parents "the teachers at Irmo Middle really care about us." These types of relationships extends classroom learning and builds relational trust with students. Way to go Ms. Goeckner! Join me in giving Ms. Goeckner a shout out.

3. Mr. Lee - During outdoor activity time, Mr. Lee took some time to actively supervise students by joining in on a game of basketball. These may seem like little things but they mean so much to students who are seeking affirmation from teachers they respect. Way to go Mr. Lee! Join me in giving Mr. Lee a shout out.

Please join me in giving each of these individuals a big shout out!

Duty Roster for the Week

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group on Duty (Major-Murphy PM)

Tuesday - R Group on Duty (Thur/Inabinet PM)

Wednesday - M Group on Duty (Young/Hutto PM)

Thursday - O Group on duty (Sava/Jackson)

Friday - R Group is on duty

Note - At the request of several teachers, everyone will get a remind message on Thursday evening of each week, calling attention to the Friday duty assignments.

Tasks to Complete This Week!

1. Teach like a champion every period, every day!

2. Incorporate the International Fair Trade and/or the International Habitat Day (Monday) into your lesson plans.

3. Everyone report to duty as scheduled. See roster here

4. Attend "Expeditionary Learning" PD (Thursday or Friday - see schedule here).

5. Attend Faculty PD Workshop (Tuesday, 3:50pm; Cafe')

6. Review in its entirety Thursday's Crew lesson to prepare

7. Try to attend our home Girls Volleyball Matches (Tuesday vs Carolina Springs, Thursday vs. Meadow Glenn) 5:30pm {Gymnasium}

8. Try to attend our home C-Team Football game vs. Carolina Springs (5:30pm; Stadium)

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Attendance (Student)

Continue to take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Ms. Crumlin. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. I am seeing a slight decrease in the number of teachers who are not taking attendance each period. We are still seeing too many teachers who are not taking attendance every period. Remember, everyone is expected to record attendance every class period so we know where students are located. We don't want an issue where we can't find a student because someone didn't take attendance.

Attendance (Staff)

Our staff attendance has been down for the past two weeks. This past week (Sept. 29th - October 3rd was 91% and the entire staff attendance rate was 95%. Our goal remains 97%. In next week's Monday Message, I will share September's attendance report by teams and categories. It is absolutely critical that everyone make a concerted effort to be here each and every day. I will join you in those collective efforts. When you need to be out, please follow the proper protocols and prepare excellent plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute as well.

Class Changes

Let's continue to get out in hallways and outside doors during class changes, and moving students on to class. We have a few loose areas that need refinement during certain times of the day. We will be discussing those during team meetings this week. Remember, we control the campus common areas. Students should not be loitering, hanging out, or using this time to socialize. Let's usher students to class. They only have five minutes to get to class.

Emergency Preparedness

Have you reviewed your lock down and fire drills? Have you made adjustments from the last drill? This will be a great week to be ready. During evacuation drills, everyone must be out of the building and in their assigned areas in ninety seconds. Remember your vests, paddle, rosters, and color coded signals. Let's hustle to safety in an orderly fashion.

Again, a reminder... I expect all classroom doors to remain locked at all times. Assign a student to be the designed door opener. All exterior gates must be locked at all times. Any visitor to our campus must check-in the front office first and register with our lobby guard system. Remember, everyone's safety is our top priority.

Leaving your classroom

If you are relocating your classroom for any reason, you must notify the front office and attendance so we will know everyone's whereabouts. If you have any questions or concerns, see your assigned administrator.

Student Dress Code

Continue to inspect what we expect as it relates to the student dress code. Report any and all violations to the administrators. Keep in mind that every second students miss class creates an opportunity for us not to meet our goals. Exercise good judgement in sending students out of class for these violations. When needed, call an administrator to your class to handle. Believe it or not, it is a student strategy to wear inappropriate garments...they know we will pull them out of class.

Teaching and Learning

As we segue into October, our observational focus will center on the following categories:

1. Instructional Activities

2. Student Engagement (Use of EL Protocols) ~ less teacher talk and more student talk.

3. Rigor

4. Relevance

5. Use of iAM Diplomats

As you are planning your lessons, make sure you are giving special attention to:

1. strictly adhering to engaging your students in deeper learning of your standards,

2. providing more opportunities for students to grapple with information,

3. creating more opportunities for "on task" student talk by decreasing teacher talk time.

4. Using planned "higher level" DOK verbs in your learning targets, classroom questions, and assessments.

5. Make relevant connections in your lessons to other content areas (math to science, ELA to social studies, Arts to Core Content areas, to student experiences and real world examples). Remember, this is not you making the connections but asking questions in such a way that forces them to make the connections.

Numerous studies have shown that teachers talk 75%-80% of the time in class. We have noticed the same trend during many of our observations at IMS. We are working HARD but our students are not. Yes, at times the teacher needs to be doing the talking, but we need to gradually release the conversation over to the students and facilitate so they can assume ownership of their learning. If you find it hard to release the floor to your students try some of these EL protocols and engagement strategies so our students can work harder and get smarter. If you have questions, remember, Sarah will be on campus this week. Pull her aside and ask her how to start making this transition.

The Magnet Minute & EL Corner

Crew: Here is the link to next week's Crew lesson, which will be taught by team leaders prior to Thursday morning.

What are you doing to integrate our magnet theme? A stroll through the hallways indicates that teachers across campus are integrating global connections into activities, lessons, units, enrichment/homeroom activities, and team procedures and norms. As we segue into October, please remember to document any global connections you make by uploading lesson plans, activities, and evidence of student work (pictures, documents, etc.) in this Google Drive folder -Magnet Theme Sample Lessons.

Upcoming EL PD: Please mark your calendars for October 9 and 10. Sarah Boddy will return to campus to conduct deeper learning workshops focused on the criteria for well-written learning targets, daily use of DLT's throughout lessons, unpacking DLT's at the beginning of a lesson, assessing them during closure (debrief), and using LT's in the context of project planning. for our high quality projects (remember the EL work plan goal states one standards aligned project per classroom, in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your students).

Each teacher must attend PD during the designated time on either 10/9 or 10/10. See schedule here.

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First in-service training

Thank you all for your participation in completing the special education topics survey that I had recently shared with you. In response to your feedback, the first in-service training will be on the topic of Accommodations and Modifications. While this was the majority topic, there were other topics that were of interest to you as well. As I mentioned previously, these secondary topics will be addressed in future in-service sessions. I will email out the topic of the second session at a later date, after the completion and focus shifts from this one.

This in-service will take place this Tuesday, October 7. It will be held in the Media Center, on the side by the SmartBoard. It will take place for the first 30 minutes of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th periods. (Note: There will not be a 1st period session.) This staggered schedule will allow you to attend during one of your planning periods. Dr. Long will be the co-presenter in this in-service. Since the survey data showed there to be a varied range of knowledge on this topic, along with providing you some introductory information, we will also be discussing tangible, specific information and strategies. Please note that roughly the first 10 minutes will be spent reviewing the oral administration procedures to review the process with you. This session will also be a good opportunity to answer any specific questions you may have.

Behavior Checklists

You may have received teacher checklists from some of the case managers for some of their students. Not all students require them, but if you have received them for particular students, can you please continue to complete them. I believe most (if not all) are a google form document to allow for very quick, easy completion. This feedback is invaluable, and allows the case managers to track goals, behaviors, classroom issues, etc. Thank you so much for your continued efforts in work with students with disabilities!

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  • Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through some issues with wireless connectivity and the content filter.
  • Early this week, we will divide the current Chromebook carts between teams. Within your teams, you can decide on a rotation schedule or other method for determining who will have access to the Chromebooks each day. Please begin thinking about how and where you will secure and charge these each afternoon.
  • Chromebook care - This presentation discusses the basic Chromebook care tips that were shared with students.
  • From this point, Chromebooks will only be distributed on Mondays during homeroom - with the exception of new students. This will occur during homeroom to avoid pulling students out of classes.
  • Thursdays will be designated as our Technology professional development days. Training be be provided throughout the day to accommodate the various planning periods. The topic and agenda for this Thursdays PD will be shared with you Monday afternoon. I am sharing this IMS Technology folder with you to help as we move through the year. It is a work in progress.

Friendly Reminders:

  • When you have students that have log-in issues, please forward their name via e-mail to Ms. Williams in the media center so we can submit a ticket. We cannot fix that on our end. Please remember to provide their student ID number and birthday as well.
  • The i5 Hive (student technology desk) is open from 8:00-8:20 and during all four lunches (11:30-1:20). Students must have a pass.
  • Students were instructed during their Chromebook orientation to leave their power cord and adapter at home. Please do not tell them to do otherwise. If there are specific student situations that make charging the device at home a challenge, please make Mrs. Young aware of that and we will make other arrangements.

Closing Thoughts

This week's Friday Forecast contains a calendar to guide our week ahead, PD videos, and events on the horizon. On Friday, I had a moment to learn with Dr. Todd Whitaker. He is one of the nation's foremost scholars on teacher and principal leadership. During our time together, he referenced several time the work of Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson on nurturing student motivation. The past three years, we have always come out of the gate strong (in September) then we began to experience frustration (in October) as student motivation slowly faded. In this Educational Leadership column, Carol Ann Tomlinson (University of Virginia) says that when a student is unmotivated, something is amiss. “Either we can’t see what motivates the student in question,” she says, “or the student’s life is dangerously off course. In either case, ‘unmotivated’ behavior should register to educators as a call for help.” Teachers are crucial to motivation, and they should tune in to students’ unspoken questions in three concentric circles of their school lives to help build self-motivation:

• The personal sphereDoes the teacher see me? students wonder.How does the teacher see me? “Some students feel invisible in their classrooms,” says Tomlinson. “Some feel judged and found wanting.” Good teachers combat low expectations and provide all students with visible support and an appropriate amount of voice and autonomy.

• The social sphere Do I belong here? students wonder. Am I valued? Do I have something meaningful to contribute? Good teachers help connect isolated students to peers and they model and insist on mutual respect.

• The academic sphereIs this stuff worth my time? students ask. Can I do what’s being asked of me? Good teachers build wonder, imagination, and curiosity into lessons, link the curriculum to students’ lives, challenge students to work beyond their current level, and support all students to listen, ask, find out, reason, disagree, self-correct, and start over. This excerpt shared above come from:

“Releasing the Will to Learn” by Carol Ann Tomlinson in Educational Leadership, September 2014 (Vol. 72, #1, p. 86-87),; Tomlinson is at

I have included some links (below) from Dr. Whitaker's PD sessions for your review, reflection, and adjusted practice. We Are Crew, Not Passengers; Together We are Smarter!

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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What Great Teachers Do Differently: Part One
What Great Teachers Do Differently: Part Two
Strategy: Exit Tickets
Strategy: Praise, Question, Suggestion
Chalk Talk
Take a Stand
Give One, Get One, Move On (Go Go Mo)
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