Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School

Staff Newsletter-Week of September 3rd

Don't Let Up

While there is no doubt that the beginning of the school year is the most important time of year for establishing routines and procedures, classroom expectations, etc., it's essential to maintain those same standards moving forward! Even though you've practiced the routines and procedures and taught your expectations or come to a shared agreement for class behavior, it's necessary for us to remind students of these as we move forward. This time of year, just like the first couple of weeks, can make or break a classroom as everyone is becoming "comfortable". Pre-correcting behavior, reinforcing positive behavior, and quickly redirecting undesirable behavior will help remind students that even though we're in a familiar schedule now, the standards of behavior and effort have been set. We've seen a lot of good things at the beginning since the beginning of the year, so don't let up!

Reading Logs

We are going to start using reading logs school-wide to encourage student reading at home! We've attached a reading log that can be used to record student progress. Please send home the logs at the start of each week. We'll also discuss in the near future some ideas for incentives for individual students, classes, grades, and as a school. Thank you for your help in promoting the love of reading!

Attendance

As a reminder we'll begin our perfect attendance initiative for the month of September starting the Tuesday September 3rd! For those students who have missed, please mark it in their attendance log sheets. Teachers will be responsible for making calls home after the 2nd and 4th absences. If you're in constant contact with families and you've discussed absences due to planned doctor visits, extended stays in hospitals, or other extenuating circumstances, please still be sure to mark the logs. After the 4th absence, you'll turn your log for that student into the office.


In addition to the attendance logs, attached to the email is the student attendance tracker. Please have students keep track of their attendance using this. K and 1 teachers (especially K), if this is something that is difficult for students to do, we can figure out something else.

Work Sampling

A new practice we're implementing as a district for reading and math is work sampling. While not as delicious as food sampling (you should see me at Costco on the weekends), it serves an important purpose: to develop consistency in what standards we see and in what standards we set in our classrooms, grade levels, schools, and across the district as a whole.


More information will be coming out regarding work sampling over the next week. Teachers of reading and math, you'll be asked to turn in examples of low, medium, and high levels of work for each subject twice monthly for a total of 12 artifacts monthly (yeah, 3rd grade math!). Work samples will be kept in the PLC room and submitted to the district for review. Again, we'll provide you with more information as we get this rolling.

Grades

Can you believe that we will be sending out a Progress Report in a little over two weeks?!?!?! Please make sure that we're putting grades into Skyward and starting to get momentum going with this if you haven't already done so. Parents and students like to know where they stand, so keeping an accurate grade book is essential. Please let us or a team member know if you have any questions or issues.

PBIS Incentive for September

We do not have a specific school-wide PBIS focus for the month of September, so you can decide to do one for your class or your grade level. Continue to teach and reinforce the behaviors for common areas of the building and your classroom. The PBIS committee will meet near the end of September and have a focus for October.

Student Autonomy

In the last newsletter, the term rigor was defined as being the combination of cognitive complexity + student autonomy and we also took a look at Marzano's Taxonomy. This week we'll take a look at student autonomy.


As far as student autonomy is concerned, an easy way to look at it is by looking at two different instructional styles: teacher-centered and student-centered. Here are just a few characteristics of each.


Teacher-Centered Classroom

  • Teacher does most of the speaking and teaching.
  • Classroom arrangement is not conducive to collaborative structures (e.g. desks in rows).
  • Students passively receive information.


Student-Centered Classroom

  • Students do most of the speaking and working.
  • Classroom space is arranged for students to move around and work with each other.
  • Students process information with each other.


This isn't meant to be a knock on teacher-centered practices. There are still appropriate times for direct instruction and some other teacher-centered strategies, but much like those lower level areas of the Marzano Taxonomy, we can't live there too long. Having a student-centered classroom built on strong collaborative structures can help create a strong culture of learning in a classroom. And when a strong student-centered classroom is in place, coupled with higher levels of cognitive complexity, you will start to see rigor.


We will look more at student-centered classrooms in the upcoming weeks and ways that we can support them.

Open House

Open House is Wednesday September 4th from 6-7 p.m.!!! We will start in the gym, introduce staff members, and release teachers back to the rooms while we speak with families for just a few minutes. Please have a sign-in sheet for your classrooms and turn them into me at the end of the night. This is a great time to connect with families you may have not yet had the chance to meet. This could also be a great time to update contact information if it needs to be updated. Let's keep this fun and welcoming for our families!