Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Happy Monday, Cordata!

Inquiry is possible in big and small ways throughout every learning day! It can be as simple as the way we frame a question to our students, or the way we encourage students to connect something they learned yesterday to an exploration today. Whatever shape it takes, it requires high student engagement. A glimpse at some highly engage inquirers in the last week . . .

Clockwise from top left...

  • 5th graders teaching one another about native plants in the North Cascades
  • 2nd graders deepening their understanding of place value by modeling numbers with their bodies
  • 1st graders learning to track their progress as readers
  • 3rd graders applying their math skills to play a game in after-school enrichment
  • kindergartners creating with new materials in the art center

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The week ahead - 10/29 - 11/2

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This week's lessons in the Positive Discipline calendar are related to building cooperation skills. If that is something your class needs to develop, I encourage you to explore the Positive Discipline lessons starting on p. 59: Exploring Power, Cooperative Juggling, Rope Activity, etc.

If you are continuing to move forward with the Caring School Community lessons, please be sure to read the email from Trina Hall regarding the shoes lesson. She has some important input about making sure this lesson is culturally relevant and safe for all kids.

Upcoming Dates

  • Nov. 1 - Tentative crazy hair day and all-school dance party
  • Nov. 1 - Popcorn bar in the staff room - Thanks, Sunshine Team!
  • Nov. 1 - 1:00-3:00 - 3rd grade SGC meeting
  • Nov. 2 - all day parent-teacher conferences (other Thursday afternoons in November are available as well)
  • Nov. 6 - Staff Meeting 2:45-3:45 pm - Dr. Baker visiting to share info and answer questions - Classified staff, please join us if you're able!
  • Nov. 8 - afternoon and evening parent-teacher conferences
  • Nov. 9 - Veterans Day Assembly
  • Nov. 12 - No school for staff or students in observance of Veterans Day
  • Nov. 15 - Cordata Family Thanksgiving Potluck - thanks, Sunshine Team!
  • Nov. 15 - 1:00-3:00 4th grade SGC meeting
  • Nov. 21 - Gratitude Lunch in the Cordata Cafeteria! (note that this is rescheduled from Nov. 6 based on teacher input)
  • Nov. 22 - 1:00-3:00 - kindergarten SGC meeting
  • Nov. 30 - Family Glow Dance Party in the cafeteria and gym - a family fun event sponsored by our PTA

Other News and Information

  • Parent Teacher Conferences are coming up quickly. Teachers, if you need help reaching out to families who are not yet scheduled, please let Laura know as soon as possible!

  • This Tuesday, we have a visitor coming to our cafeteria during lunches - Farmer Helen from Sumas River Farm. Classroom teachers, would you please help your students generate a few questions for her? What do we wonder about the job of a farmer? the food that her farm produces? the ways in which foods come from the farm to our tables? In your mailboxes, you will find a few index cards and a discussion prompt from me. Please take just a few minutes on Monday or Tuesday morning to collect a few questions or generate them as a class. Please deliver these to Laura in the office and we will get them to the cafeteria so that our lunch supervisors can facilitate some Q and A with Farmer Helen. Thank you . . . and I apologize for the very short notice!

  • I didn't hear about any concerns, so we are going ahead with Crazy Hair Day on Nov. 1. Please announce to your kids, send Seesaw messages, and make this a fun day for all! We'll announce Pumpkin Fun Run totals as well! The all school dance will take place at 12:25 - listen for music to come through the hallway and classroom speakers. You may have your class dance in your classroom or in the hallways, with buddy classes, or whatever you prefer! The music will last about 10 minutes.

  • As in years past, we will be conducting a district-wide survey about school culture for students (grades 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11), staff and families.
    -Watch for a link to come your way later this week with a link to the staff survey.
    -3rd and 5th grade teachers, we will be reaching out to you to plan for this survey.
    -For families, watch for info to come that you can send to families via Seesaw. We will also send the link via School Messenger, and will make computers available during Parent Teacher Conferences.
    Thank you for your help spreading the word! The more families we have respond, the more meaningful this data is for us.

  • We have a staff meeting coming up on Nov. 6, 2:45-3:45. Classified staff, you are all invited to attend as well! Dr. Baker will be joining us and will have some information to share. This is a great time to ask him questions as well!
    Cert staff, starting with this Nov. 6 meeting, clock hours will now be available for staff meetings. You may sign up in ProDev using course ID #2795. You must sign in to a minimum of three staff meetings in order to earn these clock hours.

  • With Halloween this week, we launch into a string of fall and winter holidays. At Cordata, and throughout Bellingham Schools, we have a diverse population, with students and families celebrating a wide range of holidays, or in some cases, not celebrating holidays in public ways at all. We have worked hard in the past few years to develop a culture in which all students feel a sense of belonging and significance. Because of this, it is especially important that we do not lift up one cultural practice, or accidentally alienate children from non-dominant cultures, by celebrating holidays at school. We do not wear costumes or plan parties for days like Halloween, and I ask that you look carefully at handouts that you prepare to make sure that they do not have a holiday theme. We certainly do things that are seasonal (such as the Pumpkin Fun Run), and draw on themes that are highlighted in holidays (such as our Gratitude Lunch). Let's make sure we pay close attention to our language so that we do these things in ways that celebrate diversity in community, rather than point to a particular holiday! Thanks, everyone, for giving this your careful attention!

  • Finally, I want to give you all a heads up that I will be away from Cordata the week of Nov. 13. This is a 4-day school week (Veteran's Day is on Monday, Nov. 12). I will be attending a bilingual education conference in New Mexico along with a number of other district leaders, including principals from several of our other schools with high ELL populations. I look forward to the learning opportunity, and also want to make sure that you feel supported that week at Cordata! Here's what you can anticipate:
    Nov. 13 - MInh also away, so Dan will be principal designee, and Sam Cousens will be at Cordata as an aspiring admin to support.
    Nov. 14 - 16 - Minh will be your admin at the helm, and we will be bringing in additional cert support to work alongside Minh, Dan and Carissa to ensure that we have enough support to meet any needs that may arise.
    Let me know if you have questions!

In closing . . .

Partnering with Families

In these closing comments, I usually link you to a video, article, info-graphic, or some other learning link outside of Cordata. Today, I want to share with you an updated document that lives right here at Cordata. It's our Cordata Family Partnership Plan, otherwise known as the compact. This is a required document in a Title 1 school, but has recently been updated to reflect our priorities and our focus at Cordata. Take a look below.

Classroom teachers, you will have copies of this at your Parent Teacher Conferences, and I hope you will take a moment to reflect with families on the responsibilities of students, teachers, and families. You may want to take some time to reflect on it with your students prior to conferences as well. We hope that this will also become a useful tool in Child Study Team meetings, as a way to revisit roles and even add some of the unique ways that we support individuals.

Thanks to all who took a look and provided feedback in order to make this document more up to date and useful!

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