Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Happy October, Cordata family!

There's something really special about seeing the photographic evidence of the learning going on all around our school. I'm enjoying getting a glimpse into your classroom learning experiences through Seesaw. I'm fortunate enough to be able to view these posts for all classrooms, and it is inspiring! Kids are posting goals that they've set, explaining their math thinking, posting new math vocabulary, sharing their work time creations, and giving parents a glimpse into classroom reading routines, just to name a few of the posts shared in Seesaw in the last week.

As many of you know, I also like to post photos in our hallways. Kids enjoy seeing themselves, their siblings, neighbors and friends captured in a moment of learning and fun. If you have photos that you'd like to see posted in our hallways, please share them by copying them into this Sharepoint folder. We'll get them printed and posted in our hallways.

The week ahead - 10/1 - 10/5

Big picture

This week . . .

  • Classroom teachers - review hallway expectations - as our hallways begin to fill with student artwork and writing, this is a good opportunity to review expectations.
    Teach the Zones of Regulation concept of Expected and Unexpected behaviors (pp48-50 in Zones of Regulation)
    Continue with Caring School Community work.
  • Specialists and classified staff - support kids in following cafeteria expectations. If you don't regularly visit the cafeteria over lunch, make a point of stopping by to reinforce positive behaviors.

Upcoming Dates

  • October 2 - 2:45-3:45 - Staff meeting
  • October 4 - Fall spread in the staff room - stop by the staff room for some treats hosted by Sunshine Team
  • October 4 - 1:00-2:00 - Data team meeting with Sound Discipline support; 3:00-4:00 Behavior Team with Sound Discipline support
  • October 5 - Pumpkin Fun Run
  • October 7 - final day to enter DESSA mini and DESSA full data into the Evo online tool.
  • October 15 - Pumpkin Fun Run pledges are due
  • October 15 - PTA fundraiser and community event at Mod Pizza
  • October 18 - Sunshine potluck
  • October 19 - no school for students, PD and collaboration at Cordata focused on SEL, Inquiry, and technology integration
  • October 24-26 - 5th graders to Mountain School
  • October 29 - Unity Care mobile dental clinic at Cordata
  • Nov. 2 - all day parent-teacher conferences (other Thursday afternoons in November are available as well)
  • Nov. 8 - afternoon and evening parent-teacher conferences
  • Nov. 12 - No school for staff or students
  • Nov. 30 - Family Glow Dance Party in the cafeteria and gym - a family fun event sponsored by our PTA

Other News and Information

This week, I really have just one big piece of news and information: an update on our plans for Student Growth Collaboration meetings this year. Certificated staff, please read carefully:

  • This is the time of year when we begin to plan our first Student Growth Collaboration meetings; opportunities for grade level teams and intervention specialists to review student performance data and discuss interventions and alignment of Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 instruction. With the help of the Leadership Team and input from many of you, we are making some changes to the scheduling of SGC's. Below is a proposed plan, which we will begin this upcoming Thursday, Oct. 4. You'll see some significant changes here, and even as we get up and running, I am open to your feedback on possible tweaks and changes! I'll be available on Wed. after school to talk in person about SGC's, and am always happy to consider your ideas sent via email.
    Here's the current proposal:

    -All teams will meet on Thursdays from 1:00-3:00. Teachers will be paid for an hour of individual planning time that gets bumped outside of the contract day as a result.

    -The team will include classroom teachers for one grade level, along with reading, math, SEL and ELL specialists. Analisa and/or Minh will join as well. Our focus will be on looking at grade level and individual achievement data in order to make instructional decisions and align Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 instruction.

    -Meeting only on Thursdays means that some grade levels will meet for SGC's as late as Nov. 15. We do not want to wait that long to begin interventions, so intervention specialists will be drafting a plan for students to serve, intervention approaches and schedules, and will connect more informally with classroom teachers. **We would like to use collaborative planning times this Wed. and Thurs. for this quick check-in on initial intervention plans for reading. Please let me know right away if this does not work for your grade level!

    -We are still working out a tentative schedule of meeting dates for each grade level, and will get that to you very soon. We hope to start with an SGC meeting for one grade level this Thursday afternoon from 1:00-3:00. Stay tuned for more on the schedule.

This is a major change to our SGC structure. It will alleviate a number of challenges that we faced last year, when we used sub release time for these meetings. It also presents some new challenges in terms of stretching our SGC's over a much longer time frame. I'm excited to get SGC's underway, and to try this new approach, and we will gather your feedback and adjust our plan along the way as needed.

In closing . . .

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support - the framework behind our SGC meetings

Big picture
Last year, we learned together about the 9 elements of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (the basis for our SGC meetings). It's worth taking a minute to revisit, because SGC meetings are a place where many things come together, including our ongoing focus on SEL, our learning about culturally responsive teaching, and the importance of using data to drive instructional decisions. This year, perhaps we'll find ways to incorporate inquiry as well!

The 9 elements:

  1. All staff - we bring together classroom teachers and intervention specialists across disciplines
  2. Scheduled screening - we use school-wide screeners to identify children needing intervention
  3. Evidence-based - we focus on interventions that are evidence based, and we look for multiple points of data to support our decisions.
  4. Assessment system - the assessment data we use is part of a system that includes screeners, diagnostic tools, and progress monitoring to make sure that our interventions are resulting in growth.
  5. Shared responsibility - During the SGC meetings, and in the weeks between, we share responsibility for all students. This makes alignment of Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 instruction very important!
  6. MTSS teams - The work is facilitated by a variety of people, and teams are convened and reconvened when necessary. This includes not only the large team that meets for an SGC, but also a smaller team that checks in between SGC meetings, or a Child Study Team that meets with a family to address concerns about a particular child.
  7. Contextual factors - We know that learning doesn't exist in a vacuum, so we consider contextual factors when we think about how to intervene to support a child. This includes cultural and linguistic background, strengths and needs in other areas, the culture we develop in our school . . .
  8. Prior to Sped referral - screenings, diagnostics, progress monitoring, interventions - all of these are done for individuals for whom Tier 1 instruction is not proving to be sufficient. In most cases, we will go through several iterations of this process before determining that a special ed referral is the right next step.
  9. District support - MTSS is a district-wide model and it has district-level support. We have people we can call on for support with our systems, and with individual students, when needed

I look forward to SGC'ing with you!