Monday Morning Motivation

Central Elementary Staff News----December 14-December 18

Lessons from the Peanuts Gang!

Dear Staff,

It is really hard to put into words why I love Christmas movies. Is it the wonder of it all? The focus on love and kindness? The bright lights, warm drinks, beautiful winter landscapes, and wool sweaters? I just love them.

If I had to land on one common theme, it would be the lessons of hope found in Christmas movies. The hope George Bailey discovers in It's A Wonderful LIfe when the townspeople of Bedford Falls help him out of debt and teach him to "remember that no man is a failure who has friends."

The little boy from the Polar Express, who is hopeful he will still be able to hear the ringing of the bell on Christmas morning, signifying his belief in the spirit of Christmas. The joy we feel from him when he is able to hear the beautiful ringing, even though the adults cannot. As a viewer, you are happy for his pure joy and innocence.

As teachers one of the greatest qualities we can posses is an undying sense of hope for our students. The greatest gift we can give our students is the sense that education and hard work can take them out of any situation. The week before a holiday is genuinely difficult for some of our kids because they are getting ready to be away from school for the next two weeks. For some, our environment is the most positive, safe, supportive place in their day. As we work with our students this week, be mindful that some will begin to feel very anxious as we near Thursday.

For teachers, this week at Central we are going to Celebrate the holidays by reminding ourselves of a Charlie Brown Christmas. Although much of the show, we see Charlie Brown feeling depressed and less than hopeful for the holidays. We know that in the end he is surrounded by all of his friends, who have decorated his little tree, and given him hope for the holiday season. We can all make someone feel special.

Each day you will receive a small gift relating to a verse from the theme song from the show.

    Christmas Time Is Here

    Vince Guaraldi

    Christmas time is here
    Happiness and cheer
    Fun for all that children call
    Their favorite time of the year

    Snowflakes in the air
    Carols everywhere
    Olden times and ancient rhymes
    Of love and dreams to share

    Sleigh bells in the air
    Beauty everywhere
    Yuletide by the fireside
    And joyful memories there

    Christmas time is here
    Families drawing near
    Oh, that we could always see
    Such spirit through the year

Have a great week and a Merry Christmas!


A Week at a Glance

Central Calendar

MONDAY, December 14

  • Celebrating Central Staff Begins!

TUESDAY, December 15

  • Soft Lockdown drill meeting in LGI at 8:10 a.m.
  • Data conversation with 4th and 5th grade teachers during team meetings
  • Special education training in Mrs. Cavin's room 3:45 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, December 16

  • Cabinet Meeting 10:00 a.m. at Central Office4

THURSDAY, December 17

  • Staff Pitch-in lunch

FRIDAY, December 18

  • Teacher half-day (8:20 to 11:50)

Announcements and Reminders

  • (fyi-most recent information at the bottom)
  • PTO reminder: The PTO will reimburse you for purchases made for your holiday parties. Just place your receipt in the PTO mailbox.

  • Reminder, we do not go outside for recess if it is 20 degrees or below. As it gets cooler, please go out at your own discretion.

  • Make sure you are showing the Central Character Company videos and completing lessons every Thursday. If you have questions, please see Diana.

  • Please put the following dates on your radar: January 5th middle school orientation, January 14th Central Literacy Night, and January Read-A-Thon begins for three weeks. Watch for emails from Kathy Crum regarding the Literacy Night.

  • Please point out to parents the like to Closing and Delays on our Plainfield website. Check it out as well.

  • Begin collecting plastic caps for the "bench project." See Jennie M. for questions.

Curriculum and Instruction

STAR 360 Updates from Winter Benchmark

Several teachers have shared concerns about student STAR scores going down. A couple were concerned that students were not focused while taking the test and had asked to have students retake the test. We reached out to Amber, our data coach and learned the following:

  • If students rush through the test, it is o.k. to take again. You can see the amount of time taken on the Diagnostic Report. Average time is between 18-22 minutes.
  • If a student retests the same day, the second score automatically overrides the first.
  • If they wait until the next day, both results will be on their record. (This could be why some students have more scores than others. Incorrectly, I thought within the window the second score would override.)
  • Some fluctuation in the test is normal.
  • Please read the document below which helps to explain this. It was only two pages and I found it very interesting. Let me know your thoughts as well.

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Celebrate Staff

  • Shonda Meranda for working with students in the computer lab on fun, holiday related activities!!
  • Celebrate the Central Kindness Chain!!
  • Great job with STAR 360 benchmark testing. It went smoothly and we continue to learn more about the program.
  • Congratulations to Courtney Carmichael for being awarded a Legacy Grant, "Learning Palettes for 5th Grade Math."
  • Congratulations to April Miller for putting together a wonderful 3rd grade music program. It was obvious you and the students put in a lot of hard work to make it happen. All those who attended had a great time; I received many compliments about April's work!
  • Kindergarten teachers for decorating the display case in the office with adorable, homemade gingerbread houses.
  • We had a really successful Santa Shop. Thank you to the PTO volunteers for organizing and making this event a positive experience.
  • We celebrate Ashley K., Courtney C., and K-Kids for volunteering on a Saturday night at Barnes and Noble. Thank you for representing Central in such a positive way.
  • Celebrate Central kindergarten parents for helping the teachers with all the holiday celebrations!
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Kindergarten Students Make Gingerbread Houses!

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Soft Lockdown Drill

Let's take a moment to review what we do for a soft lockdown drill.
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Central Christmas Card!

We will send this out to all our students and parents on Thursday, wishing all a happy holiday. Isn't Rhianda's baby adorable? Thank you for coming.