Principal's Newsletter

December 18th, 2015

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Thank you Angie Regan for the Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino! It made my day!--Alicia Baehler

Thank you Nancy Jeffrey for taking charge and knowing what I needed when I was too exhausted and stressed to decide for myself.--Kim Whitworth

WOW to Grant – great job cleaning things that haven’t been cleaned in a long time. Always cheerful and ready to do what’s needed.--Ruth Zerface

I want to give a WOW to several people for ALL of their support for helping STUCO with Winter Warehouse, without the volunteers it would have not been possible…..Shanna, for letting us use the library and helping set up the new schedule for shoppers. Tessa, for being available every day to work and keep things moving smoothly. Jane, for keeping all of our money and listening to me daily. Grant, for putting away the tables. Of course Sue and Debbie who were a HUGE help moving and getting everything set up, and all the other people who were involved. It was a success because of everyone who helped out!!--Cheri Hosea

WOW to Dr. DeWeese for the amazingly delicious sweet treats!! Thank you for spending a busy holiday day thinking of us! ~ your staff

WOW to all of our teachers taking the plunge into the 2:1 technology pilot! Bayne, Jeffrey, Highfill, Crawford, Masterson, Giacommara, Baehler, Cervera, Lewis, Whitworth, Gotsch, Pryor, Scheffer, Arnold, Klimkewicz, Stricklin. Thank you for your growth mindset and willingness to take a plunge to benefit us! ~ your students ;)

WOW to Shanna Bradley for facilitating the Nexxus tablet home check outs for 3rd grade. We look forward to expanding to other grades soon! ~ Eleanna

WOW to Shanna Bradley and Tina Williams for their hard work and innovative approach to integrate ELA and technology into the LC for our 1st and 2nd graders! ~Eleanna

WOW! To Jane for helping keep release dates straight!!! It’s a monumental task!!!!--Susan Adams

WOW to Daisy Skelly for stepping up and volunteering to organize and itemize the storage side of the portable! Going way above and beyond! --Jane Hepler

WOW to Shaunna for being an excellent library/media expert in the midst of a very busy week in the learning commons! So excited to see the Spelling Bee highlighted!!- Shelly Gotsch

WOW to the admin. team for always being available to support and encourage us!--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to the 7 days before Christmas Beak! – very thoughtful!!! Thanks!--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to the kindness shown by the kindergarteners in Mrs. McCarthy’s class! Thanks for the goodies!--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to the counselors – always ready to serve!--Shelly Gotsch

WOW to Nikki Lovelace for helping with one of my students.--Karen Brockland

A WOW to Karen Brockland for going above and beyond to provide additional support to one of my students.--Joyce Highfill

WOW to Nikki Lovelace for staying with a student and keeping him busy when he was brought back from the bus.--Dr. DeWeese

WOW for Candy Gehricke! She is not only a wonderful colleague to collaborate with on a daily basis, a person who goes above and beyond when times are busy and stressful...offering to fill in for duty, creating/uploading rubrics on mastery connect, and always there for moral support! Thanks Candy! -Sarah Giammanco, Art

I would like to send a Wow for nurse Deb. She is awesome. She always has a smile on her face even when her office is filled with sick kids. She also always offers to help students in any way she can. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful lady.--Linda Carr

WOW to Denise Ayres for her hard work! HR looks great!--Angie Regan

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We have 16 teachers who are excited (okay, and maybe a little nervous) to participate in our 2:1 pilot program. They will complete an online course, and participate in ongoing PD and a mentor support system. Over break many of our underutilized existing technology carts will be broken apart to provide each pilot teacher with a ½ class set. Remaining devices will be on the Outlook calendars for check out. Each time you check out a cart, please continue to place your reservation on the corresponding calendar (including a brief explanation in the “Notes” about what the students are using the devices for.) The usage data collected will help guide future decisions to purchase additional or continue to distribute carted devices.

If you’re itching to learn more about how technology can be integrated into your curriculum, you’ll be excited for 2nd semester! Your Technology Committee is coming together after TechFest to compile a list of new learning we want to bring back to The Ridge. They’re considering some fresh new ways to structure PD, including SPEEDTeching, so all are welcome at their January 12th meeting to let them know your learning style. Stay tuned for opportunities to explore how to increase student engagement and incorporate 21st Century Skills in your class!

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When we Return from Break

When we return on January 4th we will start at 8:00. This is a half meeting and half work day. The meeting sessions and times are listed below.

The rotating sessions that everyone will attend are:

Technology (Eleanna Liscombe and Susan Adams)

Climate Update (Natalie)

Achievement Update (Joni)

Behavior Update (Behavior Committee)

8:00-8:45 PLC time to update Smart Goals

8:50- 9:30




January 5th is Tech Fest at Francis Howell North. You should have signed up for sessions. On January 7th we will have our first faculty meeting of the new year. Dr. Buckman will lead out a PD session on cognitive engagement and begin working with us on some cooperative learning strategies. Cognitive engagement and cooperative learning are action steps in our SIP plan to improve student achievement.

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Administrator Data Day

The Harvest Ridge Administrative Team will be taking another data day on Monday, December 21st. We will have a Leap Intern fill in while we work in the portable. Below is our schedule of tasks to complete.

  • Update/Analyze SIP Data for Second Quarter
  • Analyze Data- Aims Web, Galileo, Climate, NEE, Subgroup Achievement
  • Plan January 4th Break Out Sessions
  • Prepare for EDC Chats on January 4th
  • Review PLC input about walk throughs
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Who Are Objectives For?

There was concern raised about varying messages regarding objectives and whether they are for the teacher or for the student. Below is information regarding objectives taken straight from McRel's research. In a nutshell, objectives serve a purpose for the students and the teacher.

Imagine that you had to go to a city you haven't visited before. You know that cities have a variety of services and attractions, but you don't know exactly what you are supposed to do in this particular city. Should you provide a service for someone, gather information about a particular person or place, or do something else? Without a specific objective, you could spend your time on something that isn't important or that makes it difficult to know whether your time in the city was worth the trip.

Being in a classroom without knowing the direction for learning is similar to taking a purposeless trip to an unfamiliar city. Teachers can set objectives to ensure that students' journeys with learning are purposeful. When teachers identify and communicate clear learning objectives, they send the message that there is a focus for the learning activities to come. This reassures students that there is a reason for learning and provides teachers with a focal point for planning instruction. Providing feedback specific to learning objectives helps students improve their performance and solidify their understanding.

Setting objectives and providing feedback work in tandem. Teachers need to identify success criteria for learning objectives so students know when they have achieved those objectives (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Similarly, feedback should be provided for tasks that are related to the learning objectives; this way, students understand the purpose of the work they are asked to do, build a coherent understanding of a content domain, and develop high levels of skill in a specific domain. In this chapter, we present classroom practices for setting objectives and providing feedback that reassure students that their teacher is focused on helping them succeed.

Why This Category Is Important

Setting objectives is the process of establishing a direction to guide learning (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). When teachers communicate objectives for student learning, students can see more easily the connections between what they are doing in class and what they are supposed to learn. They can gauge their starting point in relation to the learning objectives and determine what they need to pay attention to and where they might need help from the teacher or others. This clarity helps decrease anxiety about their ability to succeed. In addition, students build intrinsic motivation when they set personal learning objectives.

The results from McREL's 2010 study indicate that the strategies of setting objectives has positive impacts on student achievement. The 2010 study provides separate effect sizes for setting objectives (0.31). This translates to a percentile gain of 12 points, respectively.

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Technology At Home Check Out

I am excited to share that we have started an at-home technology check out system. It has started in third grade based on the high volume of students who need support with working at home. Students can check out a nexus tablet just like a library book! So far it has been very successful and we have a waiting list of students who want to bring the tablet home.

Our fabulous ITS has set up the nexus tablets so that all of the educational apps and passwords are easily accessible for students. This program allows students to have access to reading and math materials that align to the curriculum when they are at home. Stay tuned as we plan to extend this opportunity to other grade levels.

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Do I need to bring something to the SPED meeting? What is my role in the meeting? Do I matter? The answer is YES! Your role in any SPED meeting is vital. You play an important role. You know better than most in the room:

a. possible changes to the educational program that will help the child learn and achieve

b. the strategies that have been attempted to help the child with behavior, if behavior is an issue, including positive behavioral interventions; You know if our interventions work or not or if they can be realistically done in the regular education classroom.

c. Additional supports that can help the student advance toward his or her annual goals

d. Ways to get the student more involved in the general curriculum as much as is reasonable

e. Possible participation in extracurricular and other classroom activities

f. Have the knowledge of what students with and without disabilities can do in a classroom. You can make that comparison. You know the expectations.

-So please bring this knowledge to the meeting.

You also have the data and the scores of how the student is performing in the classroom (i.e. district assessments, classroom assessments, anecdotal notes, etc.). Please bring those to the meeting. You know what peer relations look like in the classroom as well. You have the BIG setting perspective which is important and what we need to know.

Who is responsible for completing the actions written in the IEP?

Everyone involved with the student has a stake in the IEP. Though the SPED education teacher is responsible for the specialized instruction, the regular education teacher is responsible for ensuring the accommodations and modifications on the IEP are done as the IEP is tended. Regular Ed. and Special Ed. teachers are partners in the learning of the student. The learning does not fall on one person or the other. The regular education teacher must ensure that the SPED student is receiving or exposed to the general education curriculum as much as is reasonable and possible.

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PLC Check In Follow

Thank you again for all of your feedback regarding walk throughs. You gave the administrative team a lot of ideas that we will be working through on Monday. We will plan some next steps especially about a process for communicating schedule changes to administrators. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

Your EDC's will be sharing this with you soon, but the decision was made today during the EDC meeting to table EDC walk throughs until next year. The option for teachers to observe other teachers is still available if a teacher request it. Administration will set up classroom coverage for a teacher who wishes to observe another teacher.

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New Custodian

Please welcome Rob Singleton as our new opening custodian. He is joining us from Francis Howell Central. He will start with us on Monday, December 21st.


Minutes from the Behavior Committee and the EDC meeting have been posted to the building calendar.