Nuts & Bolts

April 8, 2019

Welcome Back

I hope everyone enjoyed their spring break and experienced joy at some (or many) points of this past week. We had a close family friend visiting with us all week and we had fun showing her all of our favorite places and just spending time with her. I'm hoping to get a family ski day in tomorrow to close out a fantastic spring break for my family.


The agenda for Monday's staff meeting is below. Every person needs to please bring:

  • a small white board
  • dry erase marker for the white board
  • some sort of eraser for the white board
  • clipboard (or other hard surface) to write upon
  • pen/pencil
  • device to complete the online survey


Have a beautiful and peaceful week,


René

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Staff Updates

Avonlee is no longer employed at MMA. We thank her for her contribution to MMA and wish her the best moving forward.
Teachers, click here to complete the PL Feedback Form.

This one feedback form will cover the curriculum discussions and work completed on March 15th and 18th.

March 15th and 18th PL Feedback Form

Please accept my apologies for last week's professional learning feedback form not being open to accept responses. I am very surprised that not one person told me it was closed.


It is now fixed. Please complete these three questions asap by clicking the link above.

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G&C Challenge - Excusing Oneself

I frequently hear that there is a lack of grace and courtesy in our building. Most recently, this was discussed at our advisory meeting. There were several reasons brought up that could be causing this phenomena. I would like us to try to address this by recognizing grace and courtesy when we see it happening.


Thank you for practicing and recognizing G&C when asking permission.


This week I would like to pose a challenge for you to recognize students, families, and colleagues who excuse themselves with grace and courtesy.
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General Statements

It has come to my attention that some people feel uneasy or uncomfortable when general statements are made because they do not know if the situation applies to them or not. I'm referring to statements like - closing your door during fire drills or be at your carpool station on time.


It is not my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable. It is my intention for these statements to be a friendly reminder for everyone to reflect upon and for behaviors to change accordingly. When you read the statement, if it applies to you - fix it; if not, great job and thank you. Sometimes thank you statements have a similar function. If I make a general thank you statement and you're not doing that thing - fix it.


For example, with the closing door during fire drill statement - I made a general statement because I was not sure if the people who did close their doors did so intentionally or not. In my brain, making a general statement reminds everyone of the expectation in a non-threatening way.


I assume that everyone follows procedures and expectations. I assume the best in people and if I see people not following expectations, my assumption is that you are not aware of the expectation, hence the reminder.


If, after reading the reminder, general statement, someone is still not meeting expectations, I will assume intentional insubordination and can address that situation on an individual basis and in a much different way.


If you're confused about a general statement or expectation - don't stress over it and let negative feelings ruminate. Please seek to understand, ask for clarification, and move on to spend time and energy on things that matter.

Montessori Monday

Montessori Monday for this Monday, April 8th is cancelled. Thank you for your flexibility.

Outdoor Supervision

It feels as though there have been more issues on the playground recently, especially with larger group gatherings and during upper el's time outside. Do not let your class go outside without an adult from your class; do not even let them run outside ahead of you. If you are the first one outside and there is not adequate supervision in all corners of the playground - you will need to instruct your class to only play in a smaller area where you can see all of them.


Most recently and specifically, there was an issue with a large group of upper el students gathering in a circle with two children boasting, yelling, and pre-fighting. During this scuffle, a hat was thrown over the fence and then students were attempting to climb under the fence to retrieve the hat. I have heard recently from a handful of parents whose children report to them that similar instances have happened and always ask - where were the adults. In addition to these reports, I have witnessed this first-hand from the interior of the building when sitting in other meetings, usually with parents also watching the mayhem.


If we need to permanently close part of the outdoor yard, we can do that. I am hoping that this blanket statement is enough for everyone to bring their a-game when it comes to supervising outdoor play. Please also review playground expectations with your classes as well.

Restoring Our Environment

Please restore all spaces that you use and also ensure that students working outside your classroom restore the space they occupy as well. This has been especially noticeable in the learning lab off of the north kiva. A blanket statement is being issued here because we have not witnessed who is disrupting these areas and not cleaning up after themselves.

Communicating Re: State Assessments

The last MMM family newsletter had significant article about MMA's testing philosophy and procedures parents are asked to follow if they choose to opt their child out of testing. It is very important that you communicate a consistent message to both students and parents regarding the importance of testing, regardless of your personal philosophy on the subject. This consistency is also mentioned in your employee agreements where it says that you will support all initiatives put forth by MMA. Please familiarize yourself with the article in the MMM if you have not done so already.


It is against the law to counsel only certain students whom you did not feel will do well on the assessment to not take the assessment. If your communication regarding assessments is consistent with MMA's, this is not something about which you will have to worry.


Please share your class testing schedule with parents on your blogs and share it again right before your students test so that everyone is prepared mentally and physically.


Share the following on your blogs:


UT state standardized assessments (now called RISE and Aspire Plus) will be on the follwing days for our class. These assessments are important to us for several reasons.


The state assessment data are important to your family because the results are one way to communicate how much your child has learned in English language arts, writing, math, and science. At MMA, we know that these tests are but one indicator of a child's progress in these content areas.


The state assessment data are important to us because determining what a student knows or does not know is a vital cornerstone in individualizing learning experiences, which is the basis of a Montessori education. The results help us to identify needs for new and additional materials, tailor professional development for teachers, and determine where to best invest school funding.


Taking tests is a practical life skill, required for college entrance as well many professions. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, contractors, nurses, and cosmetologists (to name just a few) all must take tests in order to enter their professions. Standardized testing in school provides a valuable opportunity to practice taking tests in a low-stakes environment, better preparing our students for future assessments - which is why we encourage all students to participate.


If you choose to opt your child out of testing, please complete the Parent Exclusion from State Assessments Form. This form must be handed from you to either Ms. Lana or Ms. René, who will take 5 minutes to review this form with you. We ask that these forms are submitted no later than April 12th. Thank you for your cooperation and support.

Thank you

Thank you for ceasing to send students to make copies in the work room. We have noticed the difference and appreciate it.


Thank you, part time staff, for all completing your time sheets correctly, with signatures, and on time. It is much appreciated. It saves us hours of work on Fridays when all of this is in order. This coming Friday is the end of the pay cycle, so we get to do it all over again!

Reading Course

I encourage all elementary teachers to sign up for the course described below. It will position you very well to meet our school wide goal for next year to increase reading ability in our students. Plus, it's free, self-paced, earns USBE credit, and you don't even had to put pants on to attend class.


Elementary ELA: Effectively Teaching Phonological Awareness and Phonics
. In this self-paced course, participants will learn different strategies for effectively teaching phonological awareness and phonics, as well as how to successfully use assessment information and intervention. This course has continuous open enrollment. The material and modules will open and become available as participants work through different tasks. Participants will receive 1 USBE credit for completing the course. Those interested in enrolling in the course may do so at this link https://uen.instructure.com/enroll/RXWK4X.

Honoring the Child

Respect the dignity of the child by not speaking about them in a negative way around other staff, students, their family, or the child themselves. Excuse yourself from the classroom or ask the other adult with whom you are relaying information to step into a private area to speak or schedule a time to speak later.

Staff Cell Phone Use

General statement ahead . . .


Staff members should not be on their cell phones while students are in your classroom. There are, of course, very few exceptions to this and admin should always be notified if this is the case. For example, if your significant other is in the hospital and you are awaiting a call regarding their status - is a valid exception to this expectation.


I understand that sometimes staff communicate amongst themselves using cell phones and this also the case with admin and support staff. The admin and support staff try very hard to not be on their cell phones when around students. There is a school phone accessible to every teacher if you need to call the office or make other phone calls. I realize that it is convenient to be able to communicate to other staff members and not have students overhear your phone conversation - which makes texting very appealing. Instead of texting on your cell phone, please use the Google chat feature on your computers.


Thank you for modeling appropriate cell phone usage for our students and for modeling how to follow school policies/procedures.

Save the Date - 9th Grade Graduation

All full-time are expected to attend 9th grade graduation in the evening of Friday, May 17th.

Dumpster Expectations

Thank you Jen, Jess, and especially Martha, for cleaning out the dumpster area. There was about a 1/3 of a dumpster full of trash outside the dumpster that is now inside the dumpster. This is not the first time early childhood staff have cleaned up this area; however, I am hoping this is the last time the area will need to be cleaned.


Since early childhood plays in this area every day, it is unfortunately common for these teachers to correct students unaccompanied at the dumpsters. Often times, those unaccompanied students are disrespectful to the EC staff when they are asked their name and/or teacher and refuse to provide this information.


We are asking, yet again, for staff to accompany children when they take the recycling to the dumpster. To keep everyone equally accountable, now, junior high students must also be accompanied by an adult when delivering materials to the dumpsters - effective immediately. Plus, every child should be under the supervision of an adult at all times when in school.


If we become aware of who the students are going to the dumpster unaccompanied, we will take appropriate, individual action with the teachers involved.

Playground Repair

There will be a person out on Monday to repair a piece on the new playground. We are not sure what time they will be at school. We will have to be flexible if they are present during recess.
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Upcoming Events

4/8/19 - Staff Meeting, 3:30-5pm

4/9/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

4/9/19 - Board Meeting, 5:30pm

4/11/19 - JH Stomp after school

4/12/19 - MAPA Meeting, 8:45am, conference room

4/15/19 - SIT Meeting, 3:30pm

4/16/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

4/17/19 - Pizzapaloosa, 3:30-5pm

4/22/19 - Early release, Professional Learning

4/22/19 - JH Musical Performance, 6pm at Southwest Library Branch

4/23/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

4/23/19 - JH Musical Performance, 6pm at Southwest Library Branch

4/30/19 - Evacuation Drill

4/30/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

5/1/19 - Original Works reimbursement forms and receipts due

5/3/19 - MAPA Meeting, 8:45am in Conference Rm

5/5-11/19 - 6th and 9th Grade Field Trips

5/6/19 - Staff Meeting, 3:30-5pm

5/7/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

5/13/19 - Montessori Monday

5/13/19 - SIT Meeting

5/14/19 - Fire Drill

5/14/19 - PLC Meetings

5/14/19 - Board Meeting, 5:30pm

5/15/19 - Box Top Store

5/17/19 - 9th Grade Graduation

5/20/10 - EC Bridging Ceremony

5/20/19 - Advisory Meeting, 3:30pm

5/21/19 - LE Bridging Ceremony

5/21/19 - PLC Meetings, 3:30-5pm

5/21-24/19 - Early Release, PTCs

5/22/19 - UE Bridging Ceremony

5/24/19 - Last Day of School for Students

5/27/19 - School Closed

5/28-31/19 - Teacher Professional Learning

ICYMI - March 25, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - March 18, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - March 11, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - March 4, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - February 25, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - February 18, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - February 11. 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - February 4, 2019

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ICYMI - January 28, 2091 N&B

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ICYMI - January 20, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - January 14, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - January 7, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - January 3, 2019 N&B

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ICYMI - December 17, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - December 10, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - December 3, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - November 26, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - November 12, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - November 5, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - October 29, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - October 22, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - October 15, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - October 8, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - October 1, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - September 24, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - September 17, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - September 10, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - September 4, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - August 27, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - August 18, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - August 13, 2018 N&B

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ICYMI - July 20, 2018 N&B

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