Friday Focus

October 9, 2015

Spotlight School Visit with Princeton Elementary School

Our time with Princeton School District was positive and appreciated. As part of our Spotlight School award, granted to eligible high poverty schools due to higher than average assessment scores, we host three visiting schools per year. All expenses are paid. Additional funding goes toward professional learning and student resources for Howe.
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After coffee and cinnamon rolls, prepared by our own Val Friday, we provided an overview of the Regie Routman in Residence and the Optimal Learning Model. This frontloading gave the visitors from Princeton a context of what they will see later in classrooms.
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Next, three guides from Mrs. Heyroth's classroom gave an excellent tour of Howe. This was considered an "environmental walk", giving our visitors a broad overview of our school.
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We took considerable time observing and commenting on the student work posted on the walls.
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After the tour and a quick debriefing, it was off to the classrooms. Our guests read the lesson plans and then sat in and observed instruction for thirty minutes at a time in our four host classrooms.
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After lunch, teachers from both schools had an opportunity to share ideas with each other. Princeton has some powerful ways of addressing student needs with an after school tutoring club, based on current formative assessment results.
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Here is a sampling of the comments from our visitors regarding their observations:

  • "You gave your students many opportunities to talk with classmates about their learning during the lesson." - Mrs. Steffes's classroom
  • "How you involved students in writing the summary of the informational text, and keeping their attention for that duration of time, was impressive." - Mrs. Peplinski's classroom
  • "You allowed the students to ask many questions about beat and musical notation, and honored their thinking by listening and responding." - Mrs. Ulrich's classroom
  • "I was amazed at how independent your students were in their literacy work." - Mrs. Heyroth's classroom

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We closed out our day by co-developing an action plan with Princeton. These next steps will hopefully provide a clear pathway toward continuous schoolwide success.
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From their smiles and their written feedback, we could tell that the Princeton faculty really appreciated this visit to Howe Elementary School. Next up: Baraboo on Thursday!


"Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that their students can learn to weave a world for themselves."

- Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach (p. 7)

Spotlight School Visit - Coffee and Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday, Oct. 15th, 8am

Howe LMC

If you would like, please join us in the morning for coffee and rolls as we welcome our guests from Al Behrman Elementary School in Baraboo, WI. Their faculty will be observing instruction in Mrs. Ottery's, Mrs. Pierzchalski's, Mrs. Sonnenberg's, and Mrs. Crubel's classrooms. I'm sure Baraboo will be impressed, as they would in any of our classrooms!

Friday Funny

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