Friday's Rewind

A look back, some time to reflect, and a look ahead...

Take Time To Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Teaching is HARD, especially when you are doing your job the way it needs to be done to truly support student learning. All of us at one time or another have talked about wanting/needing more time or the ability/power to stop time. The overwhelming feeling of having so much to do can sometimes prevent us from accomplishing anything at all. During times like these, what we need most, is to remember all of the amazing things that we have already done and are currently doing. Each of you have spent a lot of time reflecting on your past practices and have made modifications/adjustments to learning experiences for students that have made your classroom much more relevant for students who come to us needing to be equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in 2015 and beyond. While you may still have dozens of ideas bouncing around in your head about what still needs to be done, you should really take time to reflect on where you have been and the journey to where you are now, and let where you swirling ideas of where you want to be sit still for a moment. You need and deserve time to focus on your achievements and let everything else drift away. As I reflect, here are just a few things that came to my mind when thinking about all the things that I have observed over the past three years:

  • Improved RtI and Intervention Programming Improvements (Schedule, Intervention Delivery Models, accountability for ALL students, collaborative/shared student approach)
  • Improved PST process and student tracking/identification methods
  • Strong PLC growth and improvements
  • Utilizing Data to Make Decisions and improved data discussions through implementation of Collaborative Inquiry
  • Mobile Devices at close to a 1:2 ratio in every classroom and how that has changed your instructional practices.
  • Utilizing Google Applications for efficiency at work (Docs, Calendar, Forms, etc...)
  • Utilizing Google Applications with students
  • Student Learning Spaces vs. assigned desks in rows
  • #theMESway and telling our story - changing perceptions of MES and the work we do
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more at both the school and classroom level
  • Our MES YouTube channel as a way to deliver our morning announcements, enhanced through greenscreen technology.
  • Widespread Small Group Instructional Delivery
  • Coding experiences with Kodable, Scratch Jr,, hour of code, @gosphero, unplugged coding, and more
  • Makerspace Mornings and other opportunities to create, make, collaborate, and solve problems.
  • Genius Hour experiences for students allowing them to explore their passions
  • Genius Hour experiences for staff, allowing each of you to explore your passions as they relate to improved opportunities for student learning.
  • PBIS initiative and implementation, celebration of student success, and an overall culture of recognizing each of our students for their positive attributes
  • Outstanding Family Nights planned by staff each year
  • Academic growth and success - Named a 2015 REWARD school by MDE
  • Seesaw implementation for providing feedback for students about their work
  • Checks for understanding with Kahoot and Plickers
  • And more...

This list could really continue on and on. I want you all to know just how much I recognize these accomplishments. These things do not occur without staff like you who want to transform traditional educational experiences and help reengage students in their learning. We aim to keep kids excited about coming to school each day. So today, while it may feel like there is not enough of it, please make some TIME to reflect on your own growth and accomplishments. I think you will find it very rewarding.

Teacher of The Year

I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of your colleagues that was recently nominated to be a candidate for "Teacher of the Year" in the state of MN. I think what is telling, is that you will not need to know her name to identify this individual, as her consistent actions are witnessed and observed by each of you daily. Every once and a while you come across someone truly special in the world of education, and this person is nothing short of a lifesaver for many of our students and staff at MES. She is selfless, hard-working, positive, caring, nurturing, and extremely effective in getting the most out of some of our most challenging students. Kids truly are #1 in her days at MES. It doesn't matter if it is her lunch, her PREP, or if she has extra paperwork to complete, she always has time to support her students. When students are experiencing challenges, she is the first to respond and ensure that a plan is put in place to help that child be successful. When her students are feeling sad, she is the first to be there with a hug. When her students are disrespectful and rude, she is always respectful in return, never taking it personally, and always focused on giving the student the help that they need so that learning can continue. Her work is a perfect example of how developing positive relationships with tough students can be incredibly successful. All of her students have very specific needs, all of which can be very different. While it would be easy to "lack the time" to differentiate lessons for the many different learners, at different levels, and in different grades, she always ensures that her students' needs are being met. She doesn't just teach the subject matter, she ensure that her students are learning it. When students are struggling, she reflects on her own practices and how they may be impacting student learning, and never puts the blame on the child. As an example, when students struggle with their behavior at recess, instead of punishing students for these behaviors, she instead schedules herself to attend recess daily to help practice the social skills that her students are lacking. In all honesty, nothing that I write today can truly do justice for the job that she does for the students and families of our school. Congratulation mystery teacher of MES! I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition. I learn so much from you every day.

Holiday Breakfast - Dec. 23rd (7:45 - 8:30 am)

Please mark you calendars for our annual Holiday Breakfast that will take place in the music room on Dec. 23rd from 7:45-8:30 am. Our talented students will be providing some musical entertainment during your breakfast. Thank you Ms. Walsh for sharing you space and planning the music festivities!