Team Meadow Update

Staff Update - August 18, 2019

Team Meadow,

Thank you for the attention and detail you provided as you crafted wonderfully rich experiences for this students during the first full week of school. My observation of your attentiveness to students' needs confirms my gut feeling of the wonderful things in queue for the 2019-2020 school year.

The coming week provides a variety of events and happenings at "The Meadow". Please read carefully about all that is in store. Be mindful of the wonderful opportunities available through these experiences.


First Pop-in! "Listening to Our Students"

As discussed, our first "Pop-in for PD" is on Monday afternoon, immediately following dismissal until 3:30ish. Popcorn, soda pop, PopRocks, and of course professional dialogue will be present at our new and improved "coffee talks".

Here's the copy of Kara & Kim's email that they sent last week:

This Monday, August 19th, from 2:40 – 3:30 we will host the first Pop-in in the Family Room. Our conversation topic and learning focus for the first go round is “Listening to Our Students”. We believe that one of the best ways to build relationships and learn about our students is by listening to them. We will explore this idea across different subject areas and through different lenses. Come to get new ideas and strategies, share your own strategies, and to confirm and validate this core belief.

Mark your calendars for our upcoming Pop-ins:

Septemeber 16

October 28

November 18

December 16

February 3

March 16

April 20

May 18

Remember, pop-in for one, pop-in for all, pop-in for as much as you can on any given topic. We are excited to start this new structure!

Kara & Kim

Talking Points - Curriculum Night

Curriculum Night – This Thursday, August 22nd, is an important evening as we welcome families to the table in order to discuss the inner workings of our classrooms. As you place the final touches on your content you wish to share, please consider yourself in the role of the parent/guardian. What would you want to know?

PRIORITY ITEM: Parents desire to walk away knowing they understand you more fully and have a confidence in you as a human, as a teacher. What are your hopes, dreams, and vision for the learners in your space? Let them know a bit about you and your passions in life.

To spark and guide thinking, I’ve brainstormed a few items below. This isn’t a checklist, per se, but a compilation of what might be meaningful to infuse within and throughout your sharing. I readily recognize that your personal list is probably much stronger than mine.

  • Encourage Families to visit our Related Arts team any time between 6:00-7:30. They will be prepared to share their goals and visions for the upcoming school year.
  • Brief overview of the day – I wouldn’t spend much time on a schedule, but think of this as an opportunity to answer the question of “Why do we spend so much of our day on _________?” Your schedule reflects what is important to you and what you believe to be important for your learners.
  • What are some dynamic learning experiences for our students, and more significantly, why are they important? What's the purpose?
  • Second Step - Don't forget to include the use of the Second Step curriculum as it pertains to our intentional support for students- not only academically, but in their social and emotional growth as well. The Second Step curricula is an integral part of instruction throughout all ZCS elementary and middle schools and was funded via a comprehensive counseling grant from Lily Endowment.
  • Workshop model – What are some of the underpinnings that are foundational to this model? For example: (1) mini-lesson components -demonstrations/model, shared practice, and independent practice, (2) conferring with learners to determine next steps that are unique to individuals, small groups driven by needs, & (3) purpose - developing life-long readers/mathematicians/scientists with a love for reading and reading life, etc…
Note* - If you reference the Units of Study or receive questions about the resource we use, I kindly ask that you not refer to them as "Lucy Calkins Units of Study" or simply "Calkins." I know it may sound picky, but I think it is important for us to reference the units as the Units of Study developed by the "Teachers College at Columbia University." This gestures toward credibility that extends to a team of high quality educators and a university steeped in research rather than a single individual who happens to be the director. (If you are so inclined, it is technically "The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project" @ Columbia University - often referred to as "TCRWP")
  • Math – We focus on conceptual thinking, explaining why approaches and strategies work, focus on real life problem-solving, etc… (I’m sure your EDM set gives you a better list. Like I said, I’m brainstorming here…)
  • RACE Day - Once again, I placed some explanation in the Friday Flyer. With our discussion we had last week as a staff, I hope you feel comfortable with responding about the opportunity we are providing our students. If you need any clarification or ideas, please feel free to chat with Lauren, the Related Arts Team Members, or me. NOTE: Thank you, thank you, thank you Related Arts team for making the day a tremendous success! You ROCK!
  • Standards Based Student Progress Reporting – What do you think a parent needs to know to understand our report card, and what can they expect? What is mastery? How do we measure it? (Formative and summative assessments, how do you track the learning of their student?)
  • Homework: As a staff, we are committed to making learning fun, engaging, and interactive. During the 6 ½ hours students are will us at Boone Meadow, students should be diligently engaged to develop their academic, physical, and social skills. Outside of nightly reading, homework should be kept at a bare minimum, if at all. Carefully filter what is expected of students as we are to encourage and support families’ goals and needs that encourage outside activity and engagement. As a general guideline, students should have no more than 10 minutes (maximum) of homework per night per grade level. In other words, if third graders would have 30 minutes of homework/project work or less. If a child is regularly spending more than that per night on homework, discuss this matter with the parents to discover possible causes and solutions.
  • Please do not spend time sharing lunch prices, start and end times of the day, etc… These items don’t usually reflect why families got a sitter and loaded the car to spend the evening with you.

Again, priority: Express how you feel about their children, as you convey what faith you have in their abilities and intentions – I know how much you love what you do, and I know how much you love these children. What are your hopes and dreams for the learners in your room this year? Do the parents get a sense of that when they meet with you this week? Infuse language about our Life Goals/Lifelines, SiEW, etc… What do you want your learners to have in their toolkit once they leave you at the end of the year?

As I said, these are just a few items that pop in my mind. Feel free to share with me (and your colleagues) any items you feel especially important or valuable. I don’t want to dictate a list, but merely spark thinking to make this a meaningful experience for families. I have no doubt that the parents will see the beauty in the work you do. Go get ‘em, and have a wonderful time connecting with your families.

Important Dates & Information

August 19 - Second Step collaborations begin; Literacy Coach meeting @ BME (11:45-2:00); Pop-in for PD (2:35-3:30)

August 20 - 4th grade PLC/RArts Enrichment begins

August 21 - 2nd grade PLC (CHAMPS); EvacuTrac Training w/ ZFD - All 2nd floor staff req'd to attend after school. All others welcome

August 22 - District Wellness Mtg; Curriculum Night

  • Kindergarten: 5:30 - 6:00 PM
  • Grade 1: 6:00 - 6:30 PM
  • Grade 2: 6:30 - 7:00 PM
  • Grade 3: 7:00 - 7:30 PM
  • Grade 4: 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM (Camp T meeting to immediately follow)

August 23 - Kindy PLC (AM); Bus Evacuation Drill (@ dismissal); EagleFest @ ZCHS (see flyer below)

August 27 - Leadership Team mtg in AM (Tom & Lauren out of building 9:00-noon)

August 29 - Grade level collaborations w/ Kyle

August 29th & 30th - 4th grade to Camp Tecumseh

August 30 - Kindy PLC (AM)

September 2 - Labor Day (no school)

September 25 - Jog-a-Thon (PTO fundraiser)

October 14-18 - Fall Break

November 11 - Veterans Day Program

November 13 & 14 - Student Conferences

  • November 13th - 3:00-5:40
  • November 14th - 11:00 AM-7:00 PM (also an E-Day)
  • Teachers will be allowed to leave at 2:45 on a few days surrounding conferences (more info/details at a later date)

November 27-29 - Thanksgiving Break

December 23-January 3 - Winter Break

January 20 - MLK Jr. Day (no school)

February 5 - Global School Play Day

February 17 - Presidents Day (no school)

February 18 - Staff Professional Development Day (no school for students)

March 25 - Kindergarten Round-Up

March 27-April 3 - Spring Break

May 22 - Last Day of School

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