December 3, 2012

By Allan  

Howdy Everyone,

Just three more weeks until winter break!

Ten items of note for this week:

• Pilot Teachers – Formal Observation Dates – For teachers who are part of the Eval Pilot, if you haven’t done so already, please email me a date and time to conduct our one Formal Observation and also a date and time for our Mid-Year Meeting. Formal observations need to be complete before Spring Break, though I’d like to complete them well before then if possible. Mid-Year Meetings should happen either in January or February. If you prefer, I can also simply assign you a date and time. Just let me know. And please let me know if you have any questions.

• Mentor List Reminder – Teachers, if you haven’t done so already, send me the names of students to be a part of the mentor program by the end of this week. Once I have the lists, I’ll come around to staff to start matching mentors to students. If there are certain students you would like to “claim” and work with, just send me an email so I can be sure to match you up with that particular student.

• Science Vocabulary – Science hasn’t been a major focus at Howard or district-wide, but one 4J principal asked the rest of our group if anyone had done work in the area of science vocabulary. The science TOSA, Angie Ruzicka, responded by sharing the following link to the complete glossary of terms for the science kits and also shared the test specifications for the Science OAKS assessment. I don’t expect this to be a major focus of ours anytime soon, but I did want to pass these resources along to folks.

• Sara Cramer Visit Dec. 12th, 10:00-2:00 – Sara Cramer is meeting with all of the elementary principals to review our school improvement plan, master schedule, student achievement data and specifically students who are struggling. She and I will then shadow one of those students for approximately 60-90 minutes in order to see things from the student perspective.

• How Should Teachers Handle Tattling? – In this thoughtful Responsive Classroom article, Margaret Berry Wilson describes a mistake that many well-meaning teachers make: to avoid the annoyance and wasted time of dealing with students who are constantly telling on each other, they have a rule against tattling. Wilson believes this approach ends up causing more problems than it solves, actually creating a “culture of silence.” See this article for tips on how to better address tattling.

• ACLU Report – Oregon’s School To Prison PipelineAttached is a report from the ACLU about how students of color are disproportionately punished both at schools and also by the courts compared to their white peers.

• How fanfiction can develop better student writers – Although written from the perspective of older students, I found this article to have some good ideas for getting students excited about writing and literacy. Teachers can use fanfiction — fiction pieces written by the fans of a work from books, movies, TV or video games — to build their students’ writing skills, college professor and author Christopher Shamburg writes in this guest blog post. Shamburg offers examples why teachers should allow students to write about their interests outside of the material they cover in class. “It validates where they are developmentally, but it demands that they take different perspectives on familiar situations and stories,” Shamburg writes.

• Parents Make a Difference – I found this an informative short article regarding the importance of parent involvement related to student academic achievement. I might highlight this in a future school newsletter, but at the same time I NEVER want us to view the lack of parent and family support as an insurmountable barrier to student achievement and learning. To understand why I believe this, see the next article.

• High poverty, high success – A new report from Public Impact investigates why some schools in high-poverty communities produce remarkable success where others fail. The report examines how principals, teachers, parents, and students define the keys to success, and highlights specific strategies and decisions in these high-achieving schools. It also looks at how schools sustain effective practices and what helps them weather reductions in funding.

• Schedule of Events for the Week – Here are the events of note for the week:

Dec. 3 (M)
8:30-4:00, Pilot School Teachers to PD with Dr. Jon Saphier (Ed Center Auditorium)
Easy CBM Winter Benchmark Testing
PBIS Monthly Focus: Generosity

Dec. 4 (T)
8:00-4:00, Allan to All Principal PD with Jon Saphier
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 10)
4:00-5:30, Elementary Literacy Leaders (Ed Center)

Dec. 5 (W)
12:00-3:00, Allan to potential site visits with directors and administrators
2:30-3:30, Social Team Meeting (Staff Room)
4:00-6:00, PD Session #2 “Building A Classroom Climate of Community” with Jon Saphier (Sheldon High School cafeteria)

Dec. 6 (H)
Teacher Leader training with Jon Saphier
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Staff Room)

Dec. 7 (F)
8:00-4:00, Allan to required OIS (Oregon Intervention Systems) certification training (Ed Center)

Have an fab week, everyone!