EAGLE MOUNTAIN NEWS & NOTES #7
SEPTEMBER 28 , 2015
Thank you very much for the thoughtful birthday cards, treats, & wishes! You always make me feel appreciated, & I am grateful for your kindness & support.
Congrats on achieving 100% PTA membership! We really appreciate that, & I know our PTA does too. Thanks also for your hard work on your SMART goals!
We have a great week ahead of us! EME’s Fund-Run is on Thursday & on Friday we have some exciting professional development planned for you with Mamie McCullough!
GREAT BRANDING FROM MRS. ADAMA
Important Information this week!
- Please talk up our Fund-Run & do what you can to support that.
- Our Technology committee will meet this afternoon – we hope to send the agenda to you ahead of time if time permits this morning.
- We will be starting Eagle Mountain 25 again in the next week or two, & I’m going to ask Sheryl if she can make posters for us again as some of the 25 have been changed.
- The Education Foundation’s Because We Care campaign is in full swing & thank you for contributing to a worthy cause. Drew & Cathy will send us some information this week to let us know how we are doing as a campus. Remember, our goal is 100% participation as a campus which we feel confident we can achieve! Thanks for giving what you can!
- Please be thinking about what club you want to lead for Eagle Mountain University. I encourage you to consider using Clubs that are on the DIY.org website – but you are not required to select a club from there – we want you to teach something you are passionate about. Parents have suggested adding a Spanish club, a sign-language club, & an etiquette club if any of you are interested in those subjects.
CHECK OUT WWW.DIY.ORG/SKILLS TO GET CLUB IDEAS.
- We’ve hired Sonya Smith as our new lunch monitor, & we hope she’ll be ready to start next week. We’re asking that you review our Cafeteria expectations with your students again as we have some work to do in improving our noise level in there.
- We’re thrilled to let you know that we’re happy to welcome Tammie Willingham back with us! I hope you’ll let her know you’re glad to have her back at EME!
- This Friday is an Early Release day for our students at 11:40 & professional development for us, & I am anxious to introduce you to Mamie McCullough, the “I –CAN” lady, who worked with Zig Ziglar for 10 years.
- Mamie has two presentations to share with us: The first presentation is called “I Can, You Can Too” & is Encouragement & Inspiration. Then we’ll take a break & her second presentation is called “I’m not Waving –I’m Drowning!” (The “How-to” keep professional & personal life in balance) which I think we can all appreciate! Mamie will discuss working together, creating a climate for both students, staff & parents, professionalism, & value of educators. We will begin at 1PM in the library on Friday, & it will be a great afternoon!
- If you have items for our October calendar, please have that to me today so I can finalize our monthly calendar – get ready for another busy month! (Christmas will be here before we know it!)
- Debbi is needing a few volunteers to help plan our Veteran’s Day ceremony. Please let her know if you are willing to serve on the committee to start making plans for that special day.
PLC PRACTICES FROM LEANDER ISD
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
Teachers at BHC have developed a multitude of ways to monitor student learning. Through the initiation and implementation of the PLC process, our teachers and administrators have discovered that protected dedicated time is essential to aiding teachers in student monitoring. Developing common formative and summative assessments has given us the data to reflect not only on the students who are in need interventions, but also students who require remediation and enrichment. Teachers have collaborative discussions and look at each student’s skill level to determine what instructional strategies are needed to achieve mastery and meet the needs of the whole child across multiple disciplines and settings. A district non-negotiable of flexible student grouping, or “Flex Time”, is a 30 minute concentrated small group time built into every day and allows us the opportunity to instruct students based on their specific needs, therefore giving us a more detailed picture of student learning, as well as determination of SMART goals and tracking of our RtI students. The Flex Time schedule is determined by each grade level but is set so teachers may utilize any extra staff members as additional tutors to work with either small groups of 3 – 4 students or one-on-one if needed. Instructional Aides, Special Education teachers, the Instructional Coach and even the Principal and Assistant Principal take on teaching assignments during this precious time of the school day to insure that every student’s needs are being met. The tools used by teachers are learning plans, learning checks, data tracking in ‘AWARE’, anecdotal records, and Kid Watch grids. Students are also required to maintain data binders showing student ownership through the use of capacity matrices and assessments of their own learning.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
To begin the process of intervention, we determine which students need additional time and support by analyzing common formative assessment data, student work samples, and historical data. After this analysis and reflection, groups are created for targeted small group instruction during a dedicated “Flex Time” where the focus is intervention and challenge. Teachers are assigned to groups of students from the entire grade level based on their teaching strengths and the student’s needs. In addition to the “Flex Time” setting, teachers can make instructional adjustments to insure best practices. In the classroom setting those changes include, differentiated instruction, Cognitive Guided Instructions, Number Talks and use of many tools and manipulatives, including technology. Tracking these interventions helps us identify students who may need the additional support the RtI process offers. Campus and community support is used to supplement intervention efforts. Specifically, instructional coach, administration, intervention specialist, special education teachers and the librarian have been used to aid small group targeted instruction. Other resources include, Watchdogs, peer tutors from other grade levels, high school mentors and Literacy Partners. Support at home is fostered through Family Nights where parents observe their child’s learning in context and can leave with resources to utilize at home.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
Having at least half of our campus teachers trained in the PLC at Work™ process (DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker), Block House Creek Elementary has created a positive culture that supports instructional growth beginning with a shift towards a true collaborative mindset.
Teacher capacity to improve student learning has been fostered through campus-wide expectations that have established a dedicated time, place, and protocol built into the school day for building our campus’ PLC’s. To acquire this “sacred time”, our PE and Fine Arts teachers provide extended class periods and dismiss students at the end of the school day (2:40pm) to allow the team meeting to have a 2 hour block of uninterrupted time (1:45pm – 3:45pm) every other week on the same day of the week. Here is a monthly sample of our current PLC schedule. Times listed are when teachers have their conference time and PE/Fine Arts have their classes.
Other “tight” items required by all teams are completion of common agendas, team norms, SMART goals (both 9 week and yearly), common formative and summative assessments given to entire grade level, data tracking templates, data and instructional reflection sheets, celebrations, administrative support and a bank of resources. These non-negotiable areas are all utilized to ensure efficiency and effectiveness to increase student achievement and also allow for team accountability within the system.
Areas allowing for more “loose” implications are team assessment timelines, classroom instructional practices, common assessment formatting, and Flex Time set-up (i.e. small groups within the homeroom teacher’s class or swapping students with other teammates based upon teaching strengths determined by common assessment data reflection).
Grade level team leaders also come together with campus Administration, the campus Instructional Coach and Region 13 Educational Service Center consultant once every 9 Weeks to reflect on how PLC is impacting instruction and student learning throughout the campus. This time is also utilized to present new strategies for leadership skills, best teaching practices, data tracking, etc. as they relate to our PLC continuous improvement.
Thanks to this specific PLC model, isolated team awareness has now transferred vertically to all grade levels and is dramatically impacting how, when and to what rigor skills are taught. Examples of this include:
- vocabulary alignment
- TEKS awareness and scaffolding of skills from one grade to the next
- analysis of the scope and sequence of when to best teach specific skills that are most challenging for students
- realization that certain Essential Outcomes are more apparent across all grade levels and strategies are being vertically discussed to address the gaps within those skills
As Stephen Barkley suggests, teachers should “own their students” for three years - the year before, the year of and the year after they serve them within their own classroom.
By accepting this philosophy, we have collected, analyzed and reflected on student data from both formative and summative common assessments which has lead to the following across all grade levels:
- teams recognize strengths and weaknesses of instructional practices
- teams now have open communication and trust to learn from each other in perfecting their own best practices
- teams collaboratively build both formative and summative common assessments complete with assessment administration scripted protocol to ensure alignment of results
- teams analyze student errors made on assessments in a timely manner to quickly correct misconceptions
- students are grouped into targeted skill-based groups aligned with teacher strengths for both intervention and enrichment
This PLC journey is contingent upon targeted professional development based on both teacher and student needs. This continuity allows us to build upon the positive impact that PLC has and will continue to have on our campus.
October 12th is a district professional development day that you will have some good offerings to choose from & October 13th is a campus day & we’ll allow for some vertical team time as well as some ICLE work that day.
Give students sentence strips and let them write their own tweets in response to a question you post on the wall.
Students will need to begin the tweet with your twitter name then answer the question.
Change the question every week or two.
All grade levels could do this.
HIGHLIGHTING SOME GREAT TWEETS OF THE WEEK!
This tweet shows that Mrs. Williams has a great sense of humor and is building relationships with her students.
This tweet show that students in Mrs. Beal's class are learning and enjoying what they are learning.
This tweet shows Mrs. Meadows' kinder learners using technology and collaborating with each other to find shapes.
Week 6 – Set up your Canvas Profile Page. (If you didn't do this during the Canvas training with Cindy Tucker, do it this week. Should take about 5 mins.)
Week 7 – Set up your You Tube Channel. (If you were on campus last year then you have one already. If you're new then you will need to set up an account. Should take about 5 mins.)
Week 8 – Create a Flipped Lesson that you can use with your learners. (This will be modeled for you before our Fundamental Five faculty meeting at the end of the month.)
Week 9 – Create a presentation for your class using one of the following presentation tools: Prezi, Powtoon, Emaze, Power Point, or another one that you like.
DOWNLOAD THE CANVAS APP
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Monday – Grade level PLC meetings, Technology committee meeting - 3PM
Tuesday – Vision & Hearing Screening for K-1, & 3 & 5
Wednesday –Bryan & Kelli’s RISE presentation, Faculty meeting – The Fundamental Five
Thursday – EME’s Fund Run – we will email you the schedule
Friday – Early Release Day – 11:40, Professional Development with Mamie McCullough 1-3PM
Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time."
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:
·· Suzanne Morgan, Dedra Jones, Debbi Roest, & Pam Engish are to be commended for the incredible job they do each & every day with our dismissal. We truly appreciate the way they work as a team to direct cars & get kids home safely. They both go the extra mile in this capacity – Take a bow ladies! Our thanks to the teachers out back as well as they’ve worked hard to improve their system - which is going much smoother.
· I want to thank our PBIS committee who met last week & had a productive meeting as we laid out some plans for PBIS this year. Drew did a great job of leading the group & our thanks to Lynnette Darden, Bethany Miller, Pam English, Hope Howell, & Jennifer DeCorte & Suzanne Morgan for their participation & contributions. Strong team!
· We want to give a shout out to the amazing people who stepped up to help out at our Dad’s Club Kick Off last week: KUDOS to Drew for doing a fantastic job of organizing it – his planning paid off as we had over 200 dads & we’ve had over 70 dads sign up this year to be a watch-dog, & we expect to have more along the way.