The Monday Message
Office of the Principal; Monday, April 27, 2015
The Week Ahead
Gold Week - Classes Meet 6-2-3-4-5-1
American Red Cross Month, Music in our School Month, National Autism Awareness Month, National Poetry Month
Monday (27th) - International Tell A Story Day, Admin Meeting (9:30am, Cafe')
Tuesday (28th) - G40 StuCo Mtg (7:45am, Rm. 812), ACT Aspire Writing & ELA Test (8:30-10:30am, All Classrooms), Data Teams (3:50pm, Designated Classrooms)
Wednesday (29th) - International Dance Day, ACT Aspire Reading Test (8:30-10:30am, All Classrooms), Magnet Monthly Meeting (1:00pm, IMS, Media Center), Elementary Technology Task Force (4:30pm, DO)
Thursday (30th) - International Jazz Day, Grounds Maintenance (Park Vehicles Away From Curb), ACT Aspire Math Test (8:30-10:30am, All Classrooms), Chorus Concert (7:00pm, IHS Auditorium)
Friday (1st) - ACT Aspire Make-Up Exams
IMS Expeditionary Learning Summer Institute
Thursday, June 4th, 8:30am to Friday, June 5th, 3:30pm
Center for Advanced Technical Studies (Chapin, SC)
ACT Aspire Tests (ELA and Math)
Tuesday, April 28th, 8:30am to Thursday, April 30th, 11:30am
6051 Wescott Road
SC PASS Tests (Science and Social Studies)
Thursday, May 7th, 8:30am to Friday, May 8th, 11:30am
6051 Wescott Road
Tasks to Complete This Week!
2. Attend and actively participate in Tuesday's Data Team Meetings.
3. Incorporate the topics specified in the weekly calendar in your lesson plans and activities. Make sure you are making specific connections to the experiences of our students as well as cross curricular planning and connections.
4. Everyone report to duty as scheduled. See roster here.
5. Read the Monday Message in its entirety (including the articles linked and inserted). Also view the video clips, reflect, and adjust your practices where needed.
6. No Crew this week.
7. Get your classrooms ready for ACT Aspire (Seating Charts, Covering Walls, Do Not Disturb Signs, etc...)
8. Continue working with your bubble kids and planning additional instructional activities and supporting lessons to ensure that they meet their goals on the ACT Aspire and SC PASS exams.
March Staff Birthdays
January Cisco, April 1st
Cheryl Harrison, April 6th
Richard Geiger, April 7th
Jennifer Cook, April 8th
Elizabeth Magee, April 8th
Deborah Ware, April 9th
Willette Wise, April 11th
Sandra Dupre, April 16th
Nancy Robbs, April 16th
Calvin Eargle, April 21st
Natasha Smiley, April 27th
Susan Day, April 28th
Shanika Smith-Oypio, April 28th
Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.
1. Sheila Inabinet, Scott Thur, Shannon Avery, Willette Wise - For the past several months, Mrs. Inabinet and Mr. Thur have been putting in enormous hours preparing for the administration of ACT Aspire. They have been attending trainings, sorting through student rosters, and planning logistically for this new assessment. In addition, we would also like to thank Shannon Avery and Willette Wise for helping with the logistics of ACT Aspire. Their support and availability haven proven to be instrumental in our readiness. I am confident that because of their hard work, our students and staff will have a successful assessment experience. We are so fortunate to have them as members of our Crew. iAM so proud of Mrs. Inabinet, Mr. Thur, Mrs. Avery, and Mrs. Wise for being examples of excellence this week. Please join me in recognizing them for being GOLDEN. Let's give them a huge iAM shout out.
2. Lisa McNeil and Mrs. Waters - Mrs. McNeil and Mrs. Waters have been burning the midnight hours working to manage the complex process of scheduling spring IEP's. As you know, coordinating everyone's schedules and working with parents to find available slots is quite a laborious task. Not only does Mrs. McNeil work to make sure IEP's are scheduled but she mentors numerous students throughout the day who are having issues in classes. In addition to managing the daily absence load, Mrs. Waters also helps in securing coverage for IEP meetings. We are so fortunate to have Mrs. McNeil and Mrs. Waters at IMS. iAM so proud of them for being examples of excellence this week. Please join me in recognizing them both for being GOLDEN. Let's give Mrs. McNeil and Mrs. Waters a huge iAM shout out.
3. Glenn Hutto - Team UN@IMS would like to give Mr. Hutto a shout out! Mr. Hutto is always super supportive and encouraging, but he outdid himself on Friday! Our team needed some guidance in how to communicate with several parents who were upset about a couple of things. Mr. Hutto not only met with us, but then offered to speak with the parents himself. We appreciate him meeting with us amidst this busy IEP meeting time! We are so appreciative of all that he does and continues to do for our students, teachers and parents! iAM so proud of Mr. Hutto for being an example of excellence this week. Please join me in recognizing him for being GOLDEN. Let's give Mr. Hutto a huge iAM shout out.
We are one school day from this standardized assessment. I know that everyone has been working with students daily. I am asking that everyone remind the students of what we have riding on the assessment (High School Preparation, College and Career Readiness, School Performance, and RESPECT). Our students are so big on being respected. Remind them that the only way they will ultimately get respect is to perform on the ACT Aspire and EXCEED expectations. A reminder for all teachers - no tests or quizzes are to be administered during standardized testing (ACT, SCPASS, EOC). Also, during final exams, the only assessments that students should be taking are those that are on the assessment calendar.
I am proud to report that District Five earned the distinction of Accreditation by AdvancED. As a school system, we received an overall score of 291.87, well above the average of 282.45 for the more than 32,000 educational systems AdvancED reviews worldwide. Moreover, the committee commended District Five for “Powerful Practices” in three areas: attracting and retaining top educators, professional development, and leadership by the principals, superintendent, and school board. Accreditors recommended the district design and implement a grading process that would cross all grade levels and design a means for further student mentoring. Thank you for all of your hard work that lead to this extremely positive outcome. Click here for the exit report.
Attendance (Staff) - Update
Last week the teacher attendance rate was 91% (23 absences) and the entire staff attendance rate was 95% (31 absences). We fell short of accomplishing our goal this week;. As always, it is absolutely critical that everyone make every effort possible to be here each and every day especially with the test period looming. I will join you in those collective efforts. When you need to be out, please follow the proper "new" protocols and prepare excellent plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute as well. Final note - April 27-30, I am not approving any leave due to ACT Aspire testing. I need all teachers and staff personnel present so we can provide our students with the best testing experience possible.
If you are taking a group on a field trip, please notify teachers at least week in advance of the departure date so that teachers can plan instructionally. Also, remind them a day before the trip so they can plan accordingly.
Reminder - Late Start (2015-16)
As communicated in earlier editions of the Monday Message, Irmo Middle will have 6 late start Wednesday's next year for students so we can have more teacher/staff professional development and planning time. The final published dates are as follows: September 23, 2015, October 21, 2015, November 18, 2015, February 3, 2016,
March 2, 2016, and April 13, 2016. We will communicate more information when we return in August regarding the logistics of this additional planning/professional development time for teachers.
The Magnet Minute & EL Corner
Crew: A few people have shared with me their plans to provide their Crew members with small "good luck on testing" treats at the beginning of next week (i.e. a pencil with an attached note, a small bag of mints with an attached note, etc.). I wanted to share this great idea with all facilitators - what a powerful, thoughtful way to build-up your Crew community! Because you may not see your Crew members during the regular day, I'm happy to help with distribution logistics (if needed). Remember, no Crew this week because ACT Aspire Testing.
Upcoming data collection tasks: Part of our commitment as a magnet school and an Expeditionary Learning school is related to data collection and analysis. This is a good thing! It's a chance for us to really think about our work and progress over the year and set real goals for next year's work. We've all been involved with different school reform efforts that are blasted out with very little follow up - and we are left wondering, "did that even work?" Fortunately, the implementation of our magnet (through Project ACCESS funding) and EL disrupts that pattern. Several data collections will occur over the next few weeks - from all stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators) - so that we can dig deeply into what really worked? what really didn't? what should we focus on next year in order to maximize student growth, teacher effectiveness, overall health and happiness of the IMS community?
Here's an overview of what to expect is included below as an image.
Over the course of the next month, you may want to scream, "NO MORE SURVEYS!" That's an expected reaction because there will be several. But draw comfort in knowing that the surveys are grounded in the deep want and need for YOUR feedback. Not a top-down interpretation of how things are going - but an honest, grass-roots evaluation of this year's work. The purpose is to grow and improve, and that growth is nurtured only through critically honest, humble reflection on our greatest strengths and most sensitive weaknesses.
Reminder - Needed for the Summer Institute:
-Three examples of student work (the finished product that resulted from your project)
-The documents that you provided to kids in order to guide them through the process (i.e. project description, rubric, supporting documents, slides, etc.)
From Mr. Thur
ACT Aspire Update
- Thank you to everyone serving as a Test Administrator for special education students in a small group capacity. We sincerely appreciate your help.
Transition Plan for Day #1
- Only for T.A.’s of students with small groups - thank you for providing me with your feedback the other day. A transition plan has now been developed, and I will plan to share with you tomorrow.
IEP Annual Update
- Thank you for your assistance in developing the annual IEP. Your feedback has been so awesome. Please continue to share and provide your ideas and perspectives on developing the plan for next year.
- In some select instances, in addition to developing next year’s Annual IEP, there will be changes made to this current year’s IEP. Other times, a re-evaluation will also be taking place. I just wanted you to be aware.
- Please continue to check your calendars for dates, times, and locations. Thank you so much.
From Mrs. Inabinet
From Mrs. Young
If you recall, the last edition of the Monday Message focused on EL Design Principle #9 Solitude and Reflection. You were asked:
1. How are you engaging in the practice of solitude and reflection to improve your practices?
2. How do you create time in your classrooms for students to sit in solitude and reflect?
3. When you have students to reflect, what product do they normally create (journal writing, sharing thoughts, LT tracker)?
4. If you are not creating time for reflection in your classes, what will you do to improve this practice?
This week, everyone is asked to focus on Design Principle # 10 - Service and Compassion. With this design principle, EL teaches us that the notion that "We are crew, not passengers." As a result, we know that students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others. In all classes, we must prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service to one another, their community, and the world.
We know from our work with EL that students solve problems and surpass expectations when they know their work is meaningful and will benefit others. When students engage in meaningful work (void of the daily drudgery), they arrive at the intersection of intellectual and character development where they not only will learn the skills necessary to solve real world problems but they also develop the habit of being active and compassionate community members.
The most powerful kinds of learning experiences happen when knowing and doing are bound together; that is abstract concepts are taught in the context of situations where their meaning and real world application are apparent. Service helps middle school students see this connection between academic content and the problems people encounter in everyday life. Moreover, service (connected to learning outcomes) has been shown to improve students sense of social and personal responsibility, and attitudes towards adults and others.
This brings several reflective questions to mind:
1. How are you engaging students in meaningful service that is directly connected to your learning targets (standards, indicators)?
2. How are you connecting the learning in your classes with the needs of the community so our students can engage in relevant, meaningful work?
3. In what ways are you bridging the gap between in-and out-of-school learning?
Remember, working on culture and character is not a sometimes thing. It is a every minute, hour, day thing. Part of embracing the EL spirit is living the spirit that we are all in this together and we must work cohesively as a unit every day. While we are doing this very important work, we must not put students on the outside looking in, we need them on the inside, helping us to solve problems by owning their work and striving to produce better outcomes. We will accomplish this as long we consistently display a We Are Crew, Not Passengers spirit.
Remember, Together We are Smarter!
Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal