Principal and Superintendent’s Report – April 29, 2013
Discipline (Student Climate)
At the end of March, our PBIS leadership team greatly enjoyed meeting to plan our universal prevention system. In the coming weeks, we will meet with the staff to share the fruits of our labor.
Paraeducator Appreciation Day was held on Wednesday, April 17th. Teachers brought in lunch and goody bags for paras to enjoy during their duty-free, hour-long lunch.
We are using some of the leftover Fun Fitness Friday money to send the 4th and 5th graders to Petra Cliffs for some fun fitness and team building in May. The remainder of the left over grant money will be used to provide a fitness opportunity or fitness equipment to our younger students.
Curriculum and Instruction
The Math Steering Committee has been working on identifying “non-negotiables” for mathematics at each grade level for all WCSU students. These key skills and understandings are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
Pam Chomsky-Higgins has visited twice in recent weeks. She finished her second day with us by saying to me, “what a great school!” She was happy to see just how embedded the ISA (Interactive Strategies Approach) decoding and comprehension strategies are in our classroom instruction. She was also impressed by our students’ reading and writing skills.
We have scored our second All School Writing Prompt. After break, we will hang a mural showing the range of the responses from each grade level in the staff room. We have also begun planning our final prompt for the year. In the coming weeks, we planned a task for students that has them writing informational text (we have used the other two Common Core text types, narrative and opinion writing, with previous prompts). It is great that OUR students’ work has provided the foundation for discussion of the continuum of expectations and target skills from kindergarten through sixth grade.
Here’s an update from Eric about what he’s been working on in each class:
Kindergarten – Students used digital cameras and Speechable.com maketo images with speech bubbles. Students then added their own dialogue to the speech bubbles.
1st Grade – Students went on a virtual field trip to The Royal Tyrrell Museum as part of their dinosaur study.
2nd Grade - Type to Learn. Students are making great progress in their familiarity with their accuracy and proficiency. We used World Book Online to explore individual topics and explore more information on Aesop and the characters in his fables. We have started getting familiar with the tools in Microsoft Word such as font, size, spacing, etc.
3rd Grade – Type to Learn. Students are making great progress in their familiarity with their accuracy and proficiency. Google Earth. Students researched countries and made Google Earth Tours focusing on three places of interest. During this project we collaborated with classroom parent/EMES librarian &tech integrationist, Aryln Bruccoli.
4th Grade – Students enhanced their Microsoft Word skills, focusing on spacing, inserting images, and using text tools to put emphasis on writing. Students created PhotoStories as a way to illustrate and digitize their personal narratives.
5th/6th Grade – Students have been using Google drive as a way to create documents and presentations. Students have continued to enhance their blogs and blogging skills.
Class Configurations for 2013-2014
Marissa has been talking with faculty members throughout the school and has found there is an easy consensus around optimal class configurations for 2013-2014. We will continue to have “straight grades” for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. For fifth and sixth graders, we will have two 5/6 classes. Given student needs and numbers, Damien, Candace, and Marissa all came to the table thinking two 5/6 classes was by far the best option. Both socially and academically, our 29 rising fifth and sixth graders will benefit from smaller “homerooms” of at least slightly new combinations of students. Parents of current fifth graders were informed of this configuration plan at spring conferences and were understanding, and in some cases, even supportive of the plan. They were also assured that they would be given a chance to share their thoughts on their students needs before any decisions on class assignment were made. To this end, parents of all current fourth and fifth graders will receive a letter and a “Student Needs and Interests” form, soon after we return from break. This letter and form will look very similar to the letter and form that have traditionally been sent to all fourth grade families each year.