Principal News and Notes

Friday Focus

Staffing Update:

Please welcome Anthony (Tony) Fix to Garden City. Tony begins Monday as the 3rd grade long term teacher for Maizong. I would like to also welcome Lynn Fellows, Special Education Pre-K ESP and Cindy Martin, Pre-K ESP. Lynn began this week and Cindy will start the week of September 26th. I am interviewing for the Pre-K Teacher opening on Monday. If you would like to be on the interview team please let me know.

Jenny Savitski rejoined the kindergarten team on Thursday. This is great news for the kindergarten team but not so great for the Title One team. This leaves us with some challenges with our Title One services program model. I will be sharing the new school wide plan for academics and social emotional learning to the ILT. This plan will cover both core, intervention, and social - emotional learning at Garden City. In the meantime we will be deploying the Title One staff that we have equitably across the school. If you support at a specific time during the school day please connect with Melissa or me.

Equity Corner by Sharla Foster, Equity Specialist

Equality, Equity, Access

I believe equality, equity, and access has a purpose but I also find it interesting that reference to this sidebar image has come up twice this past week. I have used this image with adults as well as students as an illustration of the difference between Equality and Equity. Over the past few years we’ve been given some tools to examine our beliefs, thinking, feeling and actions. I’ve recently spent some time in my thinking quadrant around this image in asking questions about the bigger picture and access. Noticing the main event is a baseball game, culturally is this something that is relevant to the scholars and families I’m serving? I’ve noticed that the need for equity exists because there is a wall or barrier. Which makes me wonder, what are the barriers, distractions, mental models that are blocking the access to the main event for our scholars and families? What are the ways in which I as a Black educator am either creating access points or perpetuating the barriers that exist? How will these noticing’s drive my actions and if necessary shift my beliefs?

I recognize that what I’ve heard many refer to as “the work” is the journey of discovering my own racial identity and the reflection as well as the impact that reality has on those I serve as a Black educator. I also recognize I will not always get “it” right but I believe if I don’t acknowledge my beliefs, thinking and feelings the journey will be slower than our system needs for transformation. The motto that I’ve been going by this past year is “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” Are you willing to be fed?

Assessments at Garden City

District Mandatory Assessments: All teachers are expected to complete the mandatory district screening assessments. Expectations were originally outlined in the September 14 CIES Wednesday Envelope. Dibels Timeline: Scores need to be entered into iCue by September 20th, January 25th, and June 2nd.

Garden City Mandated Assessments:

We will continue to use the Oral Reading Record (ORR) at Garden City. The ORR directly aligns with the Balanced Literacy Framework and is the primary tool for differentiating our Guided Reading groups within the Balanced Literacy Framework. Using the ORR allows teachers to use formative data and teacher knowledge of students to flex guided reading groups throughout the school year.

Minimally, students are expected to be assessed using the ORR three times a year. Teachers in grades 1 – 5 are expected to assess their students before beginning their Guided Reading group rotations. Kindergarten teachers are only expected to use the ORR in the spring of each year. Teachers can use other assessments to assist with developing Guided Reading groups e.g. Dibels and NWEA MAP RIT scores to help find a starting point for your ORR assessments. ORR/RIT correlation chart will be placed in your mailboxes. This chart is also available on the CIES website.

ORR Timeline:

  • Fall (within the first 30 days – or by Fall Conferences (October 6, 11, and 13) and shared in the Fall Report Card
  • Winter (completed by Winter Conferences – January 23, 26, and Feb.1) and shared in the Winter Report Card; and
  • Spring (completed by June 2nd) and shared in the Spring Report Card. Kindergarten students will also have an initial ORR assessment each spring.
  • ORR scores need to be emailed to Melissa Johnson and me by October 13th, February 1st, and June 2nd. We will get the Dibels scores from iCue.

If a student is below grade level, SPED, or receiving Title One interventions you are expected to assess them more frequently (every 2-3 weeks) to ensure that we are meeting the needs of these learners. It allows teachers to adjust and modify in a timely manner.

Supports for implementation:
  • Additional ORR Training is being offered next Tuesday morning. Ryan and Jamie will be leading this training.
  • Title One support: T1 team members (ESP and Teachers) can provide you with classroom support and coverage while you assess your students [both ORR and Dibels]. Please connect with Melissa Johnson if you need classroom support while you are assessing students.

Fall MAP - only students NEW to Osseo schools or for some reason do not have a spring MAP score they will be assessed by Melissa. She will work directly with grade level teachers on scheduling these assessments.

If you have any questions about Dibels, ORR, or MAP please see Melissa, Ryan, Jamie, or me.



ENVoY Gems by Johanna Mueller, Internal Coach/3rd Grade Teacher

ENVoY Gems-Decontamination

At the start of the school year, many of us are focused on the getting attention gems: Freeze Body and Above Pause Whisper. This week, I’d encourage you to focus on another honorary gem-decontamination-to help you successfully create a healthy and positive classroom culture.

Decontamination is a skill that allows you to discipline the group without hurting the positive culture in your classroom. To begin working on decontamination, pick a spot in your classroom where you can consistently discipline your group from. Make sure that this spot is different than any teaching spots that you have in your room.

During the coming week, when you have to remind your class of expectations, move to your decontamination spot and remind your students of what they should do to be BLUE. Then, move back to your teaching spot, and continue teaching with amnesia of the discipline event. This will allow students to associate teaching with one space, and reminders with another space, and transition more easily between the two.

Have more questions about Decontamination? Feel free to check in with me, Johanna Mueller, at any time, or consult pg 58 of your ENVoY book.



David Branch, Principal

Our mission is to inspire and prepare all students with the confidence, courage, and competence to achieve their dreams; contribute to community; and engage in a lifetime of learning.