To the Point

Prairie Point Staff Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 7: Friday, November 11, 2016

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Veteran's Day Celebration

I am blown away by our Veteran's Day program. There were so many moments that just gave me chills. What a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about and understand the sacrifice that so many have made for our country. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our student to be respectful and to honor those who served.

A big "thank you" to Cindy Niles for planning and coordinating such an important event. Thank you, as well, to the teachers and staff who helped and supported this program throughout the day today, as well as throughout the past few weeks.

With the presidential election at the start of the week, I know that there have been many thoughts, emotions and some discussion about the direction of our country. I am grateful for your professionalism with our students and providing a supportive and safe environment here at school. I felt that today was a wonderful reminder about who we are as Americans. Thank you.

Important Information


I try to be very mindful of your time and know that our face to face time during faculty meetings is limited. My hopes are that I pass along email-able information in emails or newsletters and use our face to face time to delve deeper into a few areas that we are targeting: using data, SEL, and technology. That said, there are a few housekeeping things that I have been meaning to pass along to you.

1. For teachers who are on cycle this year, please be sure to upload examples of your lesson plans in Evaluwise artifacts. It is helpful for me to begin reviewing and getting to know your planning styles, as well as providing support for Domain 1.

2. As a reminder, we will be hosting a cyber bullying presentation: Act on Bullying on Tuesday, November 15th from 6:30pm - 7:30pm for all parents. Please encourage parents to attend this important event, regardless of the ages of their child. With devises (phones, iPads, and Chromebooks) getting into younger and younger hands, it is never too early to begin learning about the implications of having children plugged in and online. Encourage parents to click on the following link and to RSVP for this presentation: As a reminder, all staff are welcome to join us as well.

3. Please remind students of the expectations in the hallways before school. I have tried to have a greater presence in the halls before school, reminding students to be seated and quiet as we prepare for the day. It would be helpful if we could all review these expectations and help set the tone for a positive school day.

In Every Issue...

Wednesday Meetings


TEAM is up and running for the year. As you may recall from last year, RTI is now called MTSS - Multi-tiered Systems of Support.

As we reviewed during the August Institute, we will be updating the process and paperwork a bit midyear. Please don't stress about this - there will be time and training that is given for this transition.

In the meantime, if you need to bring a student up to TEAM, please complete the same paperwork we've had in the past. You can find that at our building TEAM website. Link is below. If you're unsure about how to bring a student up for support, or have other questions about the problem-solving process, please don't hesitate to visit a member of TEAM.

One little adjustment, that will hopefully streamline the process, is that if you have a student who is on the TEAM calendar you will receive an invite to the meeting on your Google Calendar. Not everyone has full access to the weebly calendar, so you should rely on receiving those email invites through Google Calendar.

Wednesday Morning Meeting Schedule

The file below contains all of the Building, PLC, and SIP day meetings for the year. It will be updated regularly as the plans or schedule changes.


Next Wednesday, November 16, 2016 will be a PLC Meeting. Please be ready to meet at 7:30am with your teams.

Enjoy your time together.

PLCs and Agenda Options

Please know that any specialist, Jen, or I can join your meetings to discuss important topics or answer questions. If you'd like one of us to come to your meetings, don't hesitate to ask. I love to see all the great work that your teams are doing. Go Prairie Point!!!

  • Please remember to share your agenda and notes with me and others who need the information.
  • Before the meeting ends, decide what you will discuss and address at your next collaborative meeting which will take place next week.
  • Enjoy this time with one another.

The link below contains files for 3 different templates for PLC agendas/notes. Please utilize them for your team meetings and share them with Jennifer/Jen and any specialists that you have working with your team.

The video below shows you how to save the agenda templates to your own Google Drive.

SD 308 PLC Agenda Video

News and Info


Okay, I do realize that this is not really relevant to education or even to Prairie Point, therefor I will officially retire the #FlyTheW column after today.


Sports rank pretty high in the Groves house. Both my husband and I were very involved in athletics throughout our lives, both at a recreational level as adults and a pretty competitive level as kids. I am so grateful for the opportunities and lessons that sports have given to me. When I reflect back, some of the most important lessons that I have learned in life are those that were taught in a cold ice rink. As a family, we are intentional with our decisions to include youth athletics in our kids' lives. With two pretty competitive kids, we spend quite a bit of time talking about the important lessons that sports teaches us and we try to keep the competition in perspective.

I loved the World Series this year because so many of those lessons that we hope our kids pick up during youth sports were on display. Mattix and I had a long talk, on the way home from a rough lacrosse tournament this weekend. I shared the following from the WS and tried to related it to a tough loss on the lacrosse field.

Leaders are within all of us. There are kids on teams that stand out each day as leaders. They rally the team, they set the tone and they are a positive presence day in and day out. Every team needs that kid, but not everyone on the team is going to be that kid. What is amazing, however, is that each of us have the ability to step into leadership when needed.

I don't think there is a better example of this than when Jason Heyward called a team meeting during that 17 minute rain delay of Game 7. J-Hey (as we call him in the Groves house) is not someone who we generally think of as a leader on the team. I've read that he is actually pretty soft spoken and not one of the hype-men, like some of the other players. But after watching a lead slip away and seeing the crying and sad looks on the faces of his teammate, Jason called that meeting.

He reminded the Cubs that they are the best team in baseball and that they have overcome adversity all year. He reminded them that on a team we pick each other up and that no person and no play is to blame during a 9 or 10 inning game. He told his teammates he loved them. He told them that they are not giving up and that they are going to get a W.

Jason may not be the first Cub you think of when you think of the greats who lead this team to the World Series...but in that moment in time, his heart, his passion and his leadership make him one of the greatest teammates and leaders in baseball! Each and every one of us has that within us, the ability to step up and show leadership - especially when our "go to" leaders might be faltering.

On a team, we pick each other up. This is a big one in our house. I try to help my kids understand that there is no one person responsible for a win or a loss. Be it a good one or a bad one, there is not one single play, goal or mistake that defines a game or a season. It might seem like the weight of the world is sitting on the goalie's shoulders when he lets the final goal in for a loss in overtime...but there were many missed shots before that, lots of dropped passes and some missed scoops (this is lacrosse talk) throughout the game. Every single player contributes to our wins and is accountable when we lose. We don't blame our goalie...or our once invincible closer when the lead slips away in the 8th inning. We pick them up, someone else steps up and we rally together.

At the start of the rain delay, Ardolis Chapman left the dugout in tears. He had let a 3 run lead slip through his fingers. Many fans at home were screaming and throwing things at the television (hopefully, this wasn't just my home). As the team headed into weight room for an impromptu meeting, Theo Epstein was outside the door. This is what he heard:

“We’re the best team in baseball, and we’re the best team in baseball for a reason,” Heyward said. “Now we’re going to show it. We play like the score is nothing-nothing. We’ve got to stay positive and fight for your brothers. Stick together and we’re going to win this game.”

Other players began to speak up.

“Keep grinding!”

“Chappy, we’ve got you. We’re going to pick you up.”

“This is only going to make it better when we win.”

The best teammate have each other's backs. When someone falls, someone else picks them up. "Chappy, we've go you"!

It's not over until it is over. Imagine if everyone on the Cubs gave up after the 8th inning when the Indians tied the game. Giving up a big lead or falling behind can be frustrating, discouraging and upsetting - especially to a kid. Learning to fight through adversity, even when the cards seem stacked against you is a skill that not only builds character, but also sets apart the winners from the quitters. One of my favorite running quotes is "Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever." I tell both my kids, when you feel like it's a lost cause, take a deep breath and take a few more steps, concentrate on the next play, just think about getting the next pass. Focusing on the next step, the next play or the next mile and doing it well brings you one step closer to getting back on track.

Respect the Ref and accept the things you can not change. This is also a big one for both of my kids. Believe it or not, I caught Molly arguing with a ref in a lacrosse game because the ref called off one of Molly's goals. Molly was right it should have been a goal, but she needs to understand that the refs are human and they do miss things. It's part of the game. Sometimes they miss things to your advantage and sometimes it's to your disadvantage. Learning to keep your cool is part of the game.

I had to talk to Mattix between games on Saturday. There was a ref who wasn't calling anything and the other team was pretty dirty. Mattix was worked up because the ref was allowing kids to extend their arms when they hit. This is not allowed in lacrosse. Mattix took a big hit that sent him flying. He got up and was asking the ref for the a not so calm way. Between games, I reminded him of Game 7. Right before Kyle Hendricks was pulled from the mound in the 5th, he pitched a perfect strike over the plate to end the inning. Only problem was, the ump called it a ball. Fox put up the strike zone and it clearly should have been the 3rd strike to end the inning and Hendricks knew it. But did he lose it, start yelling at the ump? Nope, he knew it was part of the game and kept his cool. I asked Mattix what would have happened if Hendricks began yelling at the ump and threw his glove on the ground? Might not have been the same outcome.

There are always things that you can't control...the weather, the refs, the other team. All that you can control is how you react to those things. Keeping your cool and remembering that refs make mistakes allow you to move on and refocus on the game.

My final thoughts on the Cubs season is that for every year of my entire life the Cubs season has ended with a "Wait until next year..." This year, the season ended with "Wait until next year!" Oh, what a little punctuation and a World Championship will do! I can't wait to do this again next year!

Go Cubs Go!

PS - If you didn't know that my family is full of crazy Cubs fans, the picture below is proof. This is the favor that my sister handed out at her wedding two years ago. She hand-painted these little pictures as favors and table markers for each of her wedding guests. Our family was seated at the Wrigley Field table :)

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