Parkdale Elementary Weekly Update


This Week...

I read a description of the lunar eclipse tonight and I am very excited to see how it turns out. I hope you have an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

Thank you all again for a successful Open House and BBQ. I wanted to thank Jasmin especially for spending time gathering volunteers for our Saturday bake sale tradition. Our PTO is very interested in involving our entire school community in fundraising efforts and school activities. Jasmin was able to connect with many of our Spanish speaking families and gather commitments to help from them.

I'm hoping that Teachers and Instructional Assistants can join our staff meeting this week. We'll be discussing the Check-in, Check-out process as well as some instructional strategies.

Have a great Week!


Teaching the Mountaineer Expectations: Week 4

Here is the Week 4 plan for teaching our Parkdale Mountaineer Expectations:

Week 4:

Homeroom teachers, please continue to reinforce school expectations. We especially need adult supervision as students are finishing their day at their lockers and walking to busses. Teachers, please walk with your students to their lockers and then see them out to the busses. This will help maintain a safe and calm environment at this time.


Growth Mindset at Parkdale Elementary

Here is a Growth Mindset Strategy to consider for the week:

Ensure tasks for students are within their zone of proximal development

As we get to know our students it is critical that we are creating learning opportunities that are just beyond the reach of what they think they can do. When learning tasks are too difficult or too easy we are not creating an optimal growth mindset environment.

Fortunately, the process of designing learning tasks that are within a students' zone of proximal development is directly related to our PLC work. We address this when we answer questions 3 and 4, "How do we respond when students don't get it", and "How do we respond when they've already got it".

Our ideas that we came up with as a staff are linked below:

“Compassionate Discipline: Dealing with Difficult Students” - A review from the Marshal Memo #604

Handling Confrontations with Particularly Challenging Students

In this AMLE Magazine article, consultant Grace Dearborn list some qualities exhibited by teachers who still love their work after 15-20 years in the classroom:

- They use effective tools for handling student misbehavior.

- They empathize with negative experiences students may be having outside the classroom that cause disruptive school behaviors.

- They aren’t discouraged by occasional bad days or bad moments.

- They don’t see themselves as failures when a student doesn’t succeed or change.

“Still,” says Dearborn, “managing difficult student behaviors eventually sucks the energy from most teachers, no matter how talented or experienced… So how can we help our most challenging students without completely depleting ourselves?”

Students with serious behavior problems have learned the hard way that adults are not trustworthy – in fact, will eventually abandon or abuse them, physically or psychologically. Deep inside, these kids hope to find an exception – a genuinely trustworthy grown-up – so they act out, putting teachers through multiple tests to see if they might be the one. “We are only human,” says Dearborn, “and in the face of such a protracted onslaught of negative behaviors that gets worse over time no matter how safe, structured, and consistent we are, no matter what consequences we use, we eventually give up. Eventually we get exhausted… And now we are just another statistic in their growing body of evidence against adults.”

When teachers are on the verge of giving up, Dearborn suggests an unusual strategy: “Imagine that all your students have an invisible subtitle running along in front of them that is communicating to the adults in their lives what they really need. Everything else – the nonsense that comes out of their mouths and bodies during difficult interactions – is just noise, interference meant to get in the way of our reading and responding to their subtitle.” For example, what the student says is, “This is stupid! Why we gotta do this?” The subtitle reads, This is hard for me. Help me to succeed and let me save face, too. Responding to the subtitle, a teacher might say, “Yes. I know this is hard and sometimes hard things feel unnecessary and we want to avoid them. But I’m here to help. Let’s work it out.”

Dearborn admits that students’ outbursts and resistance often tax our patience. “When that happens,” she says, “it’s harder for me to stay calm enough to remember to look for the subtitle, especially if I feel personally attacked.” At such times, she conjures up several default subtitles:

- Please help me!

- Don’t give up on me!

- What can I do right now to behave better?

“Any one of these helps me stay calm and respond productively to their misbehavior instead of unintentionally escalating the confrontation,” she says. “Remember, my baseline assumption is that student outbursts are tests to pass, not a show of disrespect. Consequently, it’s not personal; it’s a cry for help.”

Dearborn recommends a six-step process when a student irrationally resists a request to do something (or stop doing something):

Assume the best. “I can pass the test by being safe, structured, and consistent,” she says. “The student wants me to pass the test.”

Soft eyes, soft voice. Be calm, Dearborn advises. “I need that calm to be expressed in both my verbal and body language. If I concentrate on keeping the muscles around my eyes soft, or neutral, my voice will naturally follow.”

Offer a choice. Kids need to know that they can comply or continue to resist, and whatever they choose, there will be a consequence.

Respect the choice made. This is not personal, says Dearborn. “I am not being attacked or disrespected. It is just a test.”

Give the consequence. This can be positive or negative, depending on the choice the student makes.

Escalate the choice. If the student chooses not to comply, another more uncomfortable consequence is calmly proffered. This continues until the student complies – or is temporarily removed from the interaction or class.

“Struggling teachers sometimes hold the belief that respect is something that should automatically be afforded them because they are the adult authority figure in the room,” says Dearborn, “rather than something they must earn through a series of interactions over time. Or, from the student’s perspective, a series of tests being passed over time… [J]ust because students don’t change on the outside (behavior), that doesn’t mean they aren’t changing on the inside (belief). Some kids are battling a lifetime of not being able to trust adults. Some kids need to experience more than one year of consistent, loving accountability in order to internalize trust.”

“Compassionate Discipline: Dealing with Difficult Students” by Grace Dearborn in AMLE Magazine, September 2015 (Vol. 3, #2, p. 8-11),; Dearborn can be reached at

Front Hall Art Display

Classroom Teachers,

Please sign up for your month to display art work on the board in front of the office. Please follow this link to the Googledoc sign-up sheet.


Events This Week...

This Week:

Monday 9/28


10:00 AM - Fire Drill

2:25 PM - Site Council Meeting - Shelly's room

Tuesday 9/29

7:00 AM – Safety Committee Meeting – Office

2:25 PM – Fun Committee Meeting – Office

2:30 PM - Holly's Coaching Support Day Meeting - Holly's Room

Wednesday 9/30 GREEN DAY (Tech AM – PE with Jenn Lockwood PM in Gym)

8:00 AM - Dental Sealants– Grades 1 & 2 - Stage

2:25 p.m. – Staff Meeting

Thursday 10/1

Math Curriculum Renewal Mtg – COE Mara/Shannon/Rosie/Gus

Friday 10/2


Dental Sealants (finish up)– Grade 1 & 2 Stage

2:10 PM – Reading Intervention Mtg. – Rhonda’s Rm.

Upcoming Dates

· 10/7 GREEN DAY

· 10/7 Grade 4-5 Parkdale Fish Hatchery

· 10/9 Grade K-1-2 – Fire Prevention

· 10/9 Tasting Table - BEETS

· 10/13 PBIS Committee Meeting, 2:25 in Cyndi's Room

Have a great week!!

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