TES Staff Update

For the week of November 12-16

Our Mission

Lapeer Community Schools is a dynamic community organization embracing our students with a quality learning environment, developing independent and confident learners for the future.

Non-negotiable Goal

Collaboration, Compromise and Commitment

We are "Turrill Tough"

#TurrillTough means...

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...at Turrill we're not just building things. We want to work with our parents to build better people!! A Community of Success!

We think that each one of us is strong individually but we are even stronger when we work together.

Keeping our school safe including the parking lot is...

being Turrill Tough!!

Teacher Day:

  • The teacher workday for Turrill teachers is from 8:40 – 3:45.
  • On Collaboration or SIP/Staff Meetings the teacher workday is 7:50 - 3:45.
  • 1-Hour Professional Development Days are from 7:40-8:40.
A Further Look Ahead - Click here for School Calendar

Building events will be posted to the calendar on our school website.

Nuts and Bolts for the Week

Pledge Helpers this Week - Badyrka (Ruhlman on deck)

Monday, November 12 -

  • Select November Young Scholars (click link below)
  • I'll be at a K-12 Admin meeting in the AM
  • Strategic Plan Focus Group at Zemmer this evening

Tuesday, November 13 -

  • AM Collaboration at 7:50

Wednesday, November 14 -

  • TAG from 7:50-8:35
  • Turrill's Home Team Advantage Dinner Night at Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Parent Information Night at 6:00

Thursday, November 15 -

  • Morning PD at 7:40
  • Good News Club after school
  • End of Season Turrill Football Team banquet after school

Friday, November 16 -

  • Staff Potluck
  • SERVPRO Box Delivery to classrooms for the Christmas Donation Drive (see below)
  • November Young Scholar pictures

November 19-23 Thanksgiving Break

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Young Scholar Dates

Lower Elementary 2:00-2:30

Upper Elementary 2:45-3:15

  • All classes dismissed at the same time
  • Designated areas for classroom
  • Honoring the Reader (certificate and Hungry Howie's certificate), Author (certificate and Hungry Howie's certificate), Teacher selected Student of the Month (certificate and Pizza lunch with the principal)
  • Picture time at the end for parents with students on the stage
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The Debate About Leveling Texts – and Students

In this Cult of Pedagogy article, Jennifer Gonzalez follows up on a much-discussed Twitter message sent by balanced literacy gurus Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell: “The classroom library should NOT be organized according to level, but according to categories such as topic, author, illustrator, genre, and award-wining books.” (See Marshall Memo 714 for a full article on this by Fountas and Pinnell.) Gonzalez interviewed literacy consultant and author Jennifer Serravallo, whose book on the subject was published last summer (Understanding Texts and Readers, Heinemann, 2018). Some key takeaways:

For starters, what’s up with leveled texts? In the 1960s and 70s, SRA kits attempted to provide teachers with passages at different levels of difficulty. Looking back, says Serravallo, the SRA cards didn’t provide very interesting storylines or authentic language; they weren’t real children’s books, which are not written with levels in mind. Then in the 1990s, two ways of pegging the reading levels of real literature emerged:

- Quantitative leveling using computer programs measuring text length and complexity – for example, Lexile levels;

- Qualitative leveling done by humans, considering not only technical characteristics but also idea density and background knowledge required – for example, Fountas and Pinnell’s text level gradient.

Almost all children’s books have now been leveled using these and other methods.

Serravallo goes on to describe what she believes are common mistakes that schools make with leveled texts:

Mistake #1: Leveling students by text levels– “Levels are meant for books, not for kids,” she says. “There’s really no point in time when a kid is just a level, just one. There’s a real range, and it depends on a lot of other factors.” When students know their supposed reading level, it can cause unhealthy competition, students racing through levels, as well as embarrassment, even shame for students reading at levels lower than their classmates...

Rather than focusing narrowly on text levels, says Serravallo, teachers should get to know students from a variety of angles: “Factors such as motivation, background knowledge, culture, and English language proficiency should all be on our radar when considering how to help students find books they’ll love, and how to evaluate students’ comprehension and support them with appropriate goals and strategies.”

Mistake #2: Restricting book choice based on a single assessment– Some teachers use a computer assessment on a short text, or a running record, to peg students to a narrow text range, and then tell students they can only pick books from that level range. But that doesn’t take into account all the other variables that kids bring to the table – motivation, prior knowledge, stamina, command of English, and familiarity with different genres.

Instead, says Serravallo, teachers should take all those other variables into account and allow students to read a wider range of books. “So I have a kid who knows a lot about dinosaurs who typically reads books around level O-P,” she says. “If it’s a dinosaur book and he wants to read it, and it’s a Level R or S, maybe that’s okay.”

Mistake #3: Inflexibility– “Saying to a student, ‘You’re a Level __, so you can only read Level __ books’ is deeply problematic,” says Serravallo. “We can use reading levels to help guide student choice, but levels should never be used to shackle a reader.” Sometimes students want to challenge themselves with a book that will require more support to get through, and sometimes students want to read easier books for fun – and teachers should support those choices, while guiding students to books that will help them grow.

Mistake #4: Organizing books by level– Serravallo admits that she had bins of leveled books in her classroom years ago, but, she says, “I’ve changed my thinking after seeing the consequences of what that does to kids’ reading identity. What ends up happening is kids go to the classroom library and they say, ‘I’m a Q. I’m going to pick a Q book.’ And they go to the Q bin and they only look in the Q bin.”

Instead, as Fountas and Pinnell advised in their tweet, books should be organized by topic, genre, author, etc. so that the first thing students see is types of books rather than levels. “And they think about themselves first before they think about level,” says Serravallo: “Who am I as a reader, and what am I interested in reading?”

She does advise recording each book’s level in an inconspicuous place, like inside the front cover, for the teacher’s reference. “That way,” she says, “when a child is holding a book, it’s not like everyone can see the level on the book, so it’s a little bit more private. But I like having them on the book, because if I haven’t read that book, I can peek at the level and be like, oh yeah, okay. Complex characters in this one. And I can use that to guide my discussions when I’m working with kids.”

“What Are the Best Ways to Use Leveled Texts?” by Jennifer Gonzalez in The Cult of Pedagogy, October 21, 2018, https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/leveled-texts/

Building Collective Efficacy

  • Build instructional knowledge and skills
  • Create opportunities for teachers to collaboratively share skills and experience
  • Interpret results and provide actionable feedback on teachers' performance
  • Involve teachers in school decision making
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Important Dates

Additional Professional Work Time Requirements

Seven hours of required professional development time shall be provided in accordance to the schedule that follows. Absences during this professional development time which are covered by sick leave or personal business leave shall be deducted from such accrued leave. Absences relating to student competitions (not practices) are allowable with prior approval of school business leave.


  • October 18 one-hour PD
  • November 15 one-hour PD
  • February 28 one-hour PD
  • March 14 one-hour PD
  • April 11 one-hour PD Elementary Only (K-5)
  • May 16 one-hour PD

Four additional hours of online professional development are required to be completed no later than June 1, 2019. Topics for online professional development sessions will be reviewed and approved by the evaluator no later than the conclusion of the Initial Teacher Evaluation Meeting in the fall. Topics for online PD must support building and/or District School Improvement Plans. Documentation of completion of online sessions must be submitted in June. Online professional development may not be completed during times assigned for student instruction, teacher collaboration, professional development, or SIP.

K-5 Collaborative Planning Days are scheduled as follows:

  • October 2 changed to Oct 9
  • October 16
  • October 30
  • November 13
  • December 4
  • December 18
  • January 8
  • January 22
  • February 5
  • February 26
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 9
  • April 23
  • May 7
  • May 21
  • June 4

General School Improvement activities and staff meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • October 4 changed to October 11
  • November 1
  • December 6
  • January 10
  • February 7
  • March 7
  • April 25
  • May 9
  • June 6


Content Area Building Level Leads

ELA - Jessica Oliver

Math - Crystal Hoganson

Science - Dave Chaffin

Social Studies - Jennifer Christian

Technology - Jennifer Christian & Jennifer Palecek


Emergency Drills (Updated on 6-27-18):

Three Lockdowns (one during lunch/recess)

  • Monday, Sept 17

  • Friday, November 9

  • Thursday, March 14

Five Fire Drills (three before Dec 1 and one during lunch/recess)

  • Thursday, August 9

  • Friday, September 7

  • Tuesday, October 9

  • Wednesday, April 24

  • Monday, May 13

Two Tornado Drills (one in March)

  • Tuesday, Sept 11

  • Tuesday, March 5


Purpose: called in Emergency Situations when Staff and/or Student Safety is at risk.

Emergency Situations:

1. Is there an ongoing emergency?

2. Does the student's behavior pose an imminent risk to student's or others' safety?

3. Does the situation require an immediate intervention?

Protocol for Summoning the Team:

  • Classroom teacher will contact the office by any means necessary
  • Secretary (or available office staff) will use Walkie Talkie to call for "CARE Team to Room (include teacher's name)

Team members:

  • All Level 2 CPI trained staff
  • Custodial Staff
  • Office Staff

Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT)

Purpose: called in emergency Medical situations.

Protocol for Summoning the Team:

  • Classroom teacher will contact the office by any means necessary
  • Secretary (or available office staff) will use Walkie Talkie to call for "MERT Team to Room (include teacher's name)

Team Members:

  • Robert Downey - CPI, CPR, Epipen, AED
  • RaeAnne Fielder - CPI, Epipen
  • Shannon Newton - CPI, First Aid/CPR, AED
  • Dennis King or Rick Martin