The Bare Necessities

October 18, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Here we are, over half way through October. It has been a busy and productive month! I especially appreciate your engagement in our October in-service on the 11th. The ideas that flowed from our data analysis and restorative justice work was inspiring. I look forward to planning next steps with our implementation of Restorative Justice, and working with individual departments on the implementation of our School Improvement Plan. It was also helpful to hear about the current supports we have in place for students within our multi-tiered systems of support. In this newsletter, I will provide links to the resources that Glenna and Melanie shared.


Another bright spot in this past month was during the classroom circles that I facilitated in the College and Career Readiness classes with seniors. It has been exciting to hear each of their voices, and get to know them better. Their insights into attendance will be helpful in informing our next steps.


Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude for your hard work in developing thoughtful goals and action plans based on your self-assessments as part of our growth and evaluation process. I had some engaging, interesting conversations with many of you, and so appreciate the growth mindset that so many of you demonstrate every day.


Happy Halloween, Happy Conferences, and Happy Fall!! All the best,

Erika

Conferences

Conferences are coming! As you know, we will be hosting parent-teacher conferences on November 1st and 2nd. On November 1st teachers will be available from 11:00 to 7:00, with a dinner break from 3:30-4:30. On November 2nd teachers will be available from 9:00-11:30 and then 12:00-2:30. This provides teachers two of the hours from open house. PAC did decide to return to arena style conferencing this fall. That means all teachers will be in the upper and lower commons. Teachers will sit by department. If you do not have a laptop, and will need access to a computer, please e-mail me ASAP so I can make sure we have a machine available to you. We will have power strips available. If you are a part time teacher (or spent part of your day with us and part of your day at the middle school), please e-mail Becky the hours you will be at conferences so we can inform parents.


The counselors are providing some informational meetings that are grade level specific sprinkled throughout the conference times in an attempt to bring more parents in.


We are encouraging you to reach out to all parents, but particularly parents of students who may be struggling, to provide them a special invitation to attend conferences. Hearing that your student is failing class for the first time, while at conferences, makes for a hard conversation. Please consider being proactive and reaching out to them with both an update on their progress, and a plan on how to turn things around.


To add a little competitive excitement, the member from each department with the most parents who visit them will win a prize! Keep a sign-in sheet at your table, and we will announce the winners in our November staff meeting.


There are so few times when we gather as a parent community. Thank you for doing your part in making this a successful couple of days.

Teacher Leadership-Lead with Professional Development!

The school has been allocated a specific budget to support teacher leadership opportunities. In PAC we discussed a possible way to leverage those funds to share your expertise with your colleagues, and the group came up with an awesome idea. We would like to offer workshop style courses led by teachers. Imagine leading or participating in a book club, exploring engagement strategies, implementing restorative practices in the classroom, the possibilities are endless! The topic would have to relate to the school improvement plan (increasing graduation rates, reducing achievement gaps). If you have interest in teaching a 3-6 hour course, please send me a course proposal, along with when you would like to teach it. Depending on the topic, it could be broken up over multiple weeks in short sessions, or it could be seminar style on a weekend. Both the leader and the participants would be paid to attend. The leader would also be paid for prep time. We would need at least 8 teachers to sign up for a course to make it viable. Please send me your proposals by November 8th.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

For a complete look at the PowerPoint that Melanie and Glenna presented in our Professional Development on October 11, you can find it on the counseling SharePoint Site (available in AHS staff space). You can also find the AHS Tiered Response to Interventions, and the SST Referral form. I linked both of those documents below as well.

Building Community

As we explored restorative practices, it became clear how important our classroom community is to individual student success, along with the classes success as a whole. I was struck by the simplicity of the actions suggested in the article below. It also ties directly into the information that Elijah and Ryland shared with us at the start of the year. It really does all boil down to relationships. Thanks for reading.

PLCs

I wanted to thank those PLCs who met on Wednesday and recorded their notes in the PLC notebook. I was able to listen in on some great conversations, and watch practice move forward. I did have difficulty finding a number of PLCs. As a reminder, I am expecting to find PLCs in the location that you indicated. Please let me know if you have changed location, or if for some reason your PLC is meeting at a different time.

Cell Phone Policy

As you know, part of our School Improvement Plan is to be consistent with several policies, with cell phones being one of them. I have included the policy below. Part of our charge is to teach students digital responsibility, which includes appropriate and inappropriate times to pull out these magical devices. If you have any questions regarding the policy, please don't hesitate to reach out to Glenna.

Ted Talk of the Month

I hope you are as inspired as I was after listening to the Ted Talk below. It relates directly to our work with restorative justice.