Monday Morning Message

Excellence and High Expectations With A Commitment to All

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August 31, 2015

Happy Week 2 of school!!

Good Morning Leaders! I hope everyone took some time to enjoy the weekend and weather. This past week I took time to get out for an early morning bike ride and a jog. Greeting the sun each day was wonderful! I am going to ask each of you to be my accountability partner - as some of you know I used to be an avid runner. Earlier this year I signed up for the 70.3 IronMan in Austin which is scheduled for early November. Personally I have been struggling to make the time to get in the needed workouts (running, biking and swimming). My goal = to get a little in each day before the big race. Be sure to check in on my progress and grow me to make the time.

CONGRATS EVERYONE for a great start to week 1 of school. As I visited schools, it is evident that each of you have taken time with your staff to define expectations around a Culture of Learning. I look forward to continuing our Focus Walks around the school and planning next steps as we prepare our teachers and students for success!

I personally enjoyed visiting with students, teachers, parents and most of all...seeing all of the artifacts on #SuccessTPS. Many of you are still having parent / community events. If you are in need of interpreters be sure to complete the Site Interpreter Request Form. Laura is currently working to get additional people certified; however, if you complete this form you can rest assured she will work to get you the support needed for the community.

During our site visits these next weeks we will focus on drilling down the 2nd Order Change Goals. Keep in mind the 2OCG should be:
1) leader specific (focused on you)
2) practice specific (what practice will you focus on that will improve your leadership and impact)
3) Have an impact on student achievement (the RELAY Super Lever forms passed out in our Principal Binder will help align the practice to an impact on student achievement)

I look forward seeing the great work!

Have an Amazing Monday!

-Your ILD, Julio César Contreras

FYI - be sure to send me an invite to any school events you have scheduled for the month of September.


Attendance and Enrollment

During this week, please continue to monitor attendance and enrollment. Take time to visit with your attendance clerk and leadership team to review the attendance taking data at your school. Specifically ensure that all teachers are taking attendance and reporting to you students not on their roster.

I would like to take time to shine the spot light on three schools:

- East Central Jr showed tudent attendance for the past week above 95% KUDOS!

- East Central High School showed student attendance above 92%

- McLain High School showed student attendance above 91%

GREAT JOB! Keep it going. Our Goal as a Portfolio is 95%. With this strong start I am confident we can share best practices and assist each other with getting our students to school for learning.

Click here to access the current attendance data image

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Building a Culture of Learning - Tracking and feedback

This past week during our site visits, we took time to visit classrooms with a focused lens on the school culture rubric: Physical Space Classrooms. As we walk in and out of classrooms there are three big questions we grapple with:
- What does the room tell us about our readiness for student learning?
- What agreements have been established throughout the school?
- Who are the exemplars that can be celebrated and leveraged as a support for other teachers/departments?

I have created an excel spreadsheet can help you track your data and identify the actionable bite-size feedback you will support your teachers with. Click here for the form.

District Resources
- School Culture Walkthrough Timeline and Guidelines
- School Culture Rubric 2015-2016
- Culture Walkthrough Data Collection Tool
- School Culture Resource Document

The TPS Culture rubric is the tool we will use this next month as we review the physical environment of the school: common areas and classrooms (see pages 1 & 3 of the rubric).
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SRI Lexile Band Cheat-Sheet

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As SRI testing continues, I thought it would be beneficial for you each of you to have the lexile band cheat-sheet. I cannot stress to each of you the importance of messaging to our students, parents and teachers the value of this assessment. (Click here for the image)

WIth your teachers:
- work collaboratively to ensure a proper testing environment is provided
- continue to check in for input on concerns with the testing

With your students:
- Take time to communicate the importance of taking their time on the assessment
- Remind them of the best practices for an assessment
----- Eat breakfast
----- Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep
----- Read the questions carefully to identify the focus and the best problem-solving strategy to apply



Have You Heard???

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Helping close the achievement gap with cultural competency...

I recently participated in a conversation regarding the impact on student learning when we take time to grow ourselves in respect to cultural competence. In thinking of district resources, I engaged Stephanie Andrews on finding some resources. She found a great article (see below) and I found a great article online while researching this weekend from NEA (National Education Association). I hope you take time to review both resources that are provided below.

Article online:

American classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse. As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has noted, “Educators with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to value the diversity among students will contribute to an educational system designed to serve all students well.”

Cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with students from cultures other than their own.

Cultural competence is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families. It is the ability to understand the within-group differences that make each student unique, while celebrating the between-group variations that make our country a tapestry. This understanding informs and expands teaching practices in the culturally competent educator’s classroom.

click here to see the rest and read the article

A GREAT article provided by Stephanie Andrews:

Culturally Competent Schools: Guidelines for Secondary Principals

District Information

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READ 180 / SYSTEM 44 Training (scheduled for September 1,2 & 9,10

READ 180 and SYSTEM 44 professional development is available now for all new intervention teachers who were unable to attend the July series of workshops. The upcoming workshops will be held from 4:30PM to 7:00PM at Wilson Teaching and Learning Center. Stipends will be paid for attendance when both Part 1 and 2 is completed. For those teaching an Integrated R180/S44 class, you will need to attend Part 1 and 2 for each program. Find all the details and sign up now on My Learning Plan!

· READ 180 Part 1 on September 1

· READ 180 Part 2 on September 2

· System 44 Part 1 on September 1

· System 44 Part 2 on September 2

· READ 180 Part 1 on September 9

· READ 180 Part 2 on September 10

· System 44 Part 1 on September 9

· System 44 Part 2 on September 10

POWERSCHOOL 101 Training

PowerSchool 101

Learn the basics of PowerSchool plus many of the reporting features. This is a great review for seasoned administrators and a “MUST DO” for new administrators. The facilitator will be Jim Provenzano, the TPS guru of PowerSchool. Enroll on “My Learning Plan” to be admitted to the class. The class will cap at 25, so enroll today!

The class will be held next week, September 3, 3:30 – 5:00, Wilson Teaching and Learning Academy. You would spend more time than this class takes trying to figure out a report!

Enroll Today!

Write, text, or call me if you have any questions. Please share this information with your administrator colleagues.
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HELP GET THE WORD OUT....Know someone interested in being a Reading Partner?

Become a Reading Partner - just one hour per week
- No classroom experience required
- Commit to just one hour a week
- Reading Centers are open Monday - Thursday

The Reading Partner curriculum is easy to follow and there is always a site coordinator available to will train you and provide hands-on support (as needed).

Let's help our 17 sites get 100 percent volunteers!

For more information or to sign up visit the website:
Or contact them directly

Click here to download the flyer

Important Dates

8/20-9/11 SRI assessment
8/20-9/11 SMI assessment
9/1-9/2 Read180 / System 44 Training
9/3 PowerSchool 101 training @ Wilson
9/3 Financial Workshop (new secretaries and first year financial clerks)
9/9-9/10 Read 180 / System 44 Training
9/10-9/11 LDD @ WIlson
9/10 Portfolio Meeting [Principals] (location being finalized)
9/11 2nd Order Change Goal Due
8/31-9/18 Culture Walk (BOY)
#140conf Des Moines 2012: Angela Maiers, "You Matter"