Sipley School Weekly Howl

Week of Monday, March 16, 2015

We learn to walk by stumbling.

Bulgarian Proverb


Thanks to everyone for giving their students the STAR assessments. I hope the data was helpful to your planning. I know that our staff can utilize the data to support learning.

The PARCC testing went well, overall. BIG thanks to Cyndi for being on top of everything! Her organization and foresight is an asset!

Final Math Assessments Will Go Home

In order to better communicate with parents we ask all staff to begin sending home all final math tests (the tests of which scores are entered into the online grade book). We believe having the actual final math assessment, in addition to the student's self-reflection sheet, will help parents understand what their child knows and doesn't know from the unit of study.

Kagan Training

Please consider attending the Kagan Summer Workshop. This will be a great opportunity to engage in an awesome workshop. I attended a similar workshop last summer and it left me energized for the start of the upcoming school year. See Greg's Smore for more information.

Mid-Day Collaborations Need Improvement

Mid-day collaborations are an important part of our day. The time was designated so that teachers can build their capacities by engaging with colleagues. Staff chose to have time with the LRCD, the SW, the Title I TAs, ELL, SPED and their grade level teaching partner(s). Based on the choice staff made, I created a schedule that would accommodate this. As the year has gone on, some of the mid-day collaboration meetings have lost focus. Meetings are now impacted by students in the room and some meetings that lack focus. I need staff to improve their mid-day collaboration meetings and in the month ahead, I will be stopping in to see how each meeting is going and what support I can provide to teams.

Meetings should be in a location that doesn't contain students. The meetings need a focus and someone to lead each meeting. Each meeting should be purposeful.

I know everyone is busy and can use mid-day collaboration to call a parent, help a student, or plan for an upcoming lesson. I get it. I encourage everyone to resist those things and focus on ourselves, something I found that most teachers rarely do, because we love giving ourselves to others. It is important that we grow and this is our time to do that.

Students need to be outside at recess and not inside.

Grade level meetings could focus on co-planning. Work with your grade level partner to plan a great math lesson, reflect on a lesson taught and discuss ways to improve it, or analyze student data collected from an assessment. Work together to share ideas of ways to enhance the great things you already do.

SPED meetings will likely scaffold throughout the year. They should begin with discussion of caseloads, sharing specific information about learning goals and written accommodations for students with individualized education plans. There should never be a time when a teacher says that they didn't know the contents of the IEP. The accommodations and goals must be known by those the student works with. They should also begin with discussion on roles of the teacher and LBS when co-teaching occurs. The role of a teaching assistant should be very clear as well. Once the foundational items pertaining to SPED are taken care of, students who are being progress monitored should be discussed and evaluated at future meetings, which then bring in a sort of problem solving focus, based upon student growth or lack thereof. In addition, upcoming learning topics should be discussed so that support before, during, and after tier I instruction can be targeted. There should never be a time when members of the SPED team do not know what is happening in tier I.

ELL meetings will also scaffold throughout the year. They should begin with a discussion of caseloads, sharing information about language levels based on WIDA and/or ACCESS data along with information about the general descriptions of each language level. A focus should be on bridging language from one proficiency level to the next, within the general ed. classroom. The roles of teacher and ELL Resource Teacher should be discussed for co-teaching purposes. Once the foundational items pertaining to ELL are taken care of, discussion should turn to the student's progress in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. If we are focusing on these areas and sharing ways in which tier I instruction can support language growth within these areas, capacity will be built. For example, Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies, when used properly, will increase listening and speaking skills. ELL Resource Teachers are encouraged to gain comfort with 2-3 Kagan Structures that support listening and speaking, which can be modeled and or shared with classroom teachers.

LRC meetings are already focused on the integration of technology. Those meetings should continue to share ways that technology is used within the SAMR model with an emphasis on creating and extending learning opportunities that align with what we are teaching in the classroom.

SW meetings should begin with discussion of caseloads and students who need social support who are not on the caseload of the SW. Any data, such as DESSA should be reviewed and discussed. Students needing extra support through a Check-In/Check-Out (CICO) system should be planned with an emphasis on using CICO with fidelity. Follow-up meetings could review CICO progress. Another important aspect of these meetings is to focus on the 7 Keys to a Positive Learning Environment and discussing ways to support students using the 3-step process and other behavioral strategies. It is important to not allow meetings to be dominated with the challenges that students present us with.

Gifted meetings should begin with discussion of gifted caseloads. Much of what is done with gifted students occurs during DEB and math. Discussion in these meetings should focus on strategies to differentiate learning such that our gifted students (and perhaps others who need to be challenged beyond the core curriculum) are challenged during tier I instruction. This can be an opportunity to discuss and plan strategies to enrich learning for all classroom teachers as we have students who need to be challenged in all classrooms. If teams are stuck, take out a math lesson and discuss and plan ways to differentiate a lesson.

Title I meetings were suppose to focus on what is happening when students are not in the room. When this meeting was requested, classroom teachers wanted to hear what students are learning and how they are progressing in those classes. Title I TAs could share information about the work students are doing along with information pertaining to progress.

Please take time to plan and improve meetings. If meetings do not become more focused, I will have no alternative but to schedule school-wide mid-day collaboration meetings where half the teachers eat lunch then meet with me and then the two groups switch. This is not ideal as it doesn't get to the individual needs of each team. I don't prefer this, however, change is needed for this not to occur. I am confident that we can use the mid-day collaboration time in ways that are focused and help our students grow. I expect teachers to look forward to mid-day collaboration and thirst for this opportunity to grow. I look forward to stopping in and visiting staff during the mid-day collaboration meetings.

PLC Meeting Agenda

Our PLC meetings this week is going to focus on the growth of our students. I will begin by sharing an overview of student growth over the course of the past three years along with current Winter growth. I will also share the recent phone calls I am getting from perspective home buyers. My goal in these meetings are to ensure that we are focused on the realization of our Academic Transformation Plan and to help teachers live up to our goals set at the start of the year, teaching kids, not content - Not allowing content to drive us, but allow the needs of our children to guide us.

Our classroom teachers are very familiar with ECRA data. I would like each teacher to use the current STAR data in comparison with Spring projections. Are students on track to meet their projections? What changes should be considered such that all students show individual student growth and progress toward college and career readiness? What support can I provide to you between now and May Benchmarking?

Teacher To Do List

  • Sign and submit your Senate Bill 7 Performance Rating Group Sheet(s) - Due by 3/20
  • Turn in your PARCC scratch paper, Student Testing Tickets, and printed Seal Codes.
  • Tenure teachers, schedule your formal observation with me if you haven't yet done so. I can do some evaluations prior to Spring Break. Observations should be completed by the end of April.
  • I hope many sign up for the Kagan Summer Workshop.
  • Recognize at least one positive thing that each student does in the week ahead and give them a PRIDE ticket. "Flood the economy" in the weeks leading up to Spring Break!
  • Celebrate the great things your students are doing.

A Glance at the Week Ahead

Friday, March 13 - I will be out of the building

Friday, March 13 - STP Variety Show - 7:00 at JJHS

Saturday, March 14 - Kim Oster's Birthday!!!

Monday, March 16 - Monday Meeting - ALL STAFF - SPED Collaboration and Individual Staff Reflection

Monday, March 16 - School Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 17 - PARCC Testing

Tuesday, March 17 - Admin meeting in the morning

Wednesday, March 18 - PARCC Testing

Wednesday, March 18 - 6th Grade PLC meeting - 8:25 - 9:15 (Don's Office)

Wednesday, March 18 - 1st Grade PLC meeting - 9:20 - 10:10 (Don's Office)

Wednesday, March 18 - Kdg. PLC meeting - 10:10 - 11:00 (Don's Office)

Wednesday, March 18 - 3rd Grade PLC meeting - 1:15 - 2:05 (Don's Office)

Wednesday, March 18 - 4th Grade PLC meeting - 2:05 - 2:50 (Don's Office)

Wednesday, March 18 - STP Meeting at 6:45

Thursday, March 19 - 5th Grade PLC meeting - 8:25 - 9:15 (Don's Office)

Friday, March 20 - 2nd Grade PLC meeting - 10:15 - 11:05 (Don's Office)

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