Calais Elementary School

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Principal's Report

Principal's Report October 2014

E-mail Print PDF

Principal and Superintendent’s Report – October 27, 2014

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing

  1. Literacy

On Friday, October 10th, grade- and subject-alike teams from across WCSU met. All elementary classroom teachers received training in entering Fountas & Pinnell reading data into our student information system, InfiniteCampus. Teachers were also shown how to use InfiniteCampus for progress reports. Most teams were charged with setting objectives and an agenda for the other parts of their day. Among the exceptions were the elementary literacy specialists, who began work on the student achievement non-negotiables for reading.  Plus, the 5/6 teachers spent the morning working with WCSU math coach, Ellen Dorsey.

The Writing Committee has been moving forward with their CIP work. Their current focus is the development of a scope and sequence for writing conventions, and the creation of a corresponding assessment protocol and data tracker. Happily, the student achievement non-negotiables for writing are quite clear and have provided much of the foundation for the scope and sequence document.

The CIP indicators for September 1, 2014 are listed below. Action steps will be updated by the November board meeting.

Blue/italic text =   indicator that was not met.

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date.

“Did We Make It?”   column: Text will be black/bold if indicator has been met.

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By October 14, 2014

A.      Finalized first   version of K-6 writing conventions scope and sequence in place

B.       Rubrics, nine writing   prompts, writing prompt and instruction schedule finalized

C.       Fall F&P   administered; results analyzed for class- and school-wide trends,   income/special ed status/gender trends, and individual student needs

D.      Intervention   documentation in place for students in booster groups (reading)

E.    Documented scope and sequence for basic computer skills and   typing in grades 2-6 for the 2014-2015 school year (to ensure we have a plan   for minimum SBAC readiness)

F.     Plan for creation of the following documented:

a.        All nine K-6 writing   prompts and finalized rubrics

b.     Coherent, comprehensive K-6 computer skills and typing scope   and sequence

c.      Coherent, comprehensive K-6 writing conventions scope and   sequence

A.      Somewhat; we will use   the conventions in the writing non-negotiables. Assessment plan is developing   - checklists will be used periodically on small writing assignments as well   as on formal pieces like writing prompts and final projects. Plan for when to teach   each skill is still under construction. Will be created and presented to   staff by end of November.

B.       Yes.

C.       Somewhat;   administration was completed on time. Students performed well! Many   demonstrated key growth over the summer and are at grade level at the start   of the school year for the first time. Data tools do not yet allow for   analysis of trends referenced in indicator. Marissa will work with tech folks   and other colleagues to develop these tools. Additionally, tools to analyze   F&P data via Infinite Campus software are under construction. Local tools (those not   tied to InfiniteCampus) will be created and in use by end of December.

D.      Somewhat; reading   specialist continues to collect data every 2-3 lessons on students in   interventions. A new, standardized form has not yet been created. As we play   catch up on curriculum documents and data analysis tools, this indicator will   be of lower priority and may not be completed in the next couple of months.

E.    Jill has begun; she and Marissa will finish up by the end of   October.

F.       Plans may not be   documented, but work has begun. Documentation of that current and future work   is below:

a.        Already completed

b.       The grades 2-6 version   Marissa and Jill finish by October 31st will be expanded both within grades   and to cover younger students by the end of December.

c.      See “A” in this section.

  1. Mathematics

As noted in the literacy section, the 5/6 teachers spent half a day working with Ellen Dorsey on October 10th. A major focus was using Cuisenaire rods and other strategies to help struggling students understand the standard algorithm for multi-digit multiplication.

The CES Math Committee had time to “show and tell” their products so far this year at the October 1st staff meeting. The fact fluency assessments and trackers are in use and are being used to plan individual interventions and whole class instruction. The intervention binder for place value was a big hit and the committee is chipping away at creating a similar resource for number concept.

The CIP indicators for September 30, 2014 are listed below. Action steps will be updated by the November board meeting.

Blue/italic text =   indicator that was not met.

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date.

“Did We Make It?”   column: Text will be black/bold if indicator has been met.

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By September 30, 2014

A.      Finish K-6 fact   fluency/number sense trackers

B.       Fact fluency/number   sense trackers in use

C.       First version of   intervention forms and procedure created

D.     Math practice assessment tool and schedule created

A.      Yes. Math Committee   finished these at 9/10 mtg. Kate has set aside time to show these tools and   establish administration schedule with math teachers not on Math Committee.

B.       Yes.

C.       Yes on forms, no on procedure. The   procedure desired is one that outlines the conditions, including assessment results   that indicate a need for intervention. This step will be put on hold until   the new SU-wide math assessment tool is administered for the first time early   this winter.

D.   Mostly no. Last year’s   assessment still exists, but a schedule for its administration and use has   not yet been made. Further, the existing assessment emphasizes student   awareness of the practices rather than their consistent use of them.

The next checkpoint for math is rapidly approaching, so a preview of those indicators appears below.

By October 31, 2014

A.      First quarterly   assessment administered; results analyzed for class- and school-wide trends,   income/special ed status/gender trends, and individual student needs (goal is   for 80% proficiency)

B.       Evidence of whole (or   nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas indicated by quarterly assessment

C.       Intervention   documentation (showing the instruction provided and progress monitoring data)   in place for students who began year with known gaps in math

D.    Fact fluency/number sense trackers in use

  1. School Climate

Wednesday, October 15th marked our first All School Celebration of the year! Students were treated to lunch at the Cougar Café, featuring a wait staff that is highly trained… to educate students. Following lunch, we had an outdoor disco party. The moves of Mr. Fish and Mr. Middelton made this event one to remember! This celebration was a great new idea that still met our goal of having rewards be fulfilling, affordable experiences, affectionately known as “no money fun.”

Last month we reported that a Fun Fitness Friday survey had been recently sent out to parents. We received 46 responses and have about 90 families who participate in the program. We were hoping for a higher return rate and even tried sending paper copies home a couple of times. The results do, however, appear to reflect a range of viewpoints. FFF Coordinator, Liz Knapp is in the process of creating a summary of the results that will be shared with parents in an upcoming newsletter. Overall, the results indicate general satisfaction and a desire to keep the program largely the same (no one had any ideas for weather controlling devices, unfortunately). We will include an update regarding the final programming decisions in November.

Parent-Teacher conferences are around the corner. This year, the entire SU is shifting to a two half-day model for conferences. Data from all schools indicated that around half of all conferences were happening outside of the in-service day set aside from conferences. The half day model allows teachers to schedule more before school and evening conferences and also provides an extra in-service day during which teachers can collaborate and grow as professionals without missing time with students. An additional new feature of conferences is that the 1/2 teachers will be having joint conferences. Parents will have twenty minutes with BOTH teachers in the room the whole time. This was a request we heard loud and clear at our info session in June, and also a structure that just makes sense. In these early grades especially, parents need to connect with both the math and reading teacher.

The CIP indicators for September 1, 2014 are pasted below. These same notes were shared last month. The next checkpoint is October 31st, so those indicators are provided as a preview.

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By September 1, 2014

A.    Updated crisis plan complete and distributed

B.     Climate survey administered and results analyzed

C.     PBIS refresher/updates meeting held during August in-service

D.    Tier 2 supports up and running for students determined to be in   need in June 2014

E.     Revised discipline section of family and staff handbooks that   clearly explains both tiers of PBIS

F.     1-2 teachers have schedule and system for co-planning and other   collaboration in place

A.    Somewhat. Staff trained in updates to all existing plans during   Aug. in-service. New procedures including off-site evacuation and response to   threat when students are outside still needed. New procedures to be written   and distributed by 9/30.

B.     Yes. Initial analysis is complete. There is certainly room for   more thorough analysis and action planning, but there are no glaring trends   requiring big changes to this document or other plans.

C.     Yes. ODRs (behavior report forms) are being completed frequently   and appropriately. Coins are being distributed; school is on track for first   celebration. Coins have been brought onto buses with the help of student   leaders this year!

D.    Yes and no. Most students were exited; those who were not are   not showing same patterns of behavior thus far. Tier 2 supports are being   established for some students who had not previously received this level of   programming.

E.     Yes.

F.     Yes. Most other “grade neighbor teams” do as well.

By October 31, 2014

A.      Behavior and any other   relevant PBIS data shared with staff at the end of each month via memo

B.       First All School   Celebration complete and successful

C.       Evidence of analysis   of SWIS data and changes to Tier 1 and/or 2 supports informed by data

D.      Evidence of successful   Tier 1 “Booster” challenge

E.       PBIS information fully   uploaded to MTSS site

F.     Evidence of reflection on 1-2 co-planning and parent   communication systems

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Spanish

We are excited to move forward with the plan shared last month. Morning meeting lessons will begin next week and Jen Miller-Arsenault is pursuing leads on an artist residency. We will keep you posted on the progress and results of this work.

  1. Other
  2. Community Service

Marissa spoke with a couple of teachers about their recollections of the context in which community service came up at last year’s staff meeting. All, including Marissa, had the same sense that the conversation focused on ways to bring the community into the school with a quick tangent about how to connect families with community resources for support with things like clothing, food, how to help with homework, etc. Given this consensus, it makes the most sense to have this conversation during the Continuous Improvement Planning process this spring. At that time, we can do things like determine the current state, interest level, and need, and then set goals accordingly. This is a natural opportunity to explore additional work that will help us realize our vision faster.

 

Principal's Report September 2014

E-mail Print PDF

Principal and Superintendent’s Report – September 22, 2014

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing

  1. Literacy

The CES Writing Committee has been hard at work creating writing prompts, instructional calendars that allow for flexibility at each grade level, and determining how we will score writing prompts.  Up next, as you’ll read in the CIP update section, is to begin work on a scope and sequence, and assessment and tracking system for writing conventions.  Teachers have begun administering pre-instruction writing prompts; we are looking forward to using this baseline to inform instruction and measure student progress.

The elementary school reading specialists have been working since the start of the school year to develop and then lead a training on the administration of the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment (F&P).  This training will result in better calibrated scores and therefore more valid and reliable data.  Calais classroom teachers and special educators participated in this training on the morning of Wednesday, September 17th.  We are thrilled to have teachers leading this work.

The CIP indicators for September 1, 2014 are listed below. More information about the action steps planned and completed for literacy can be found on pages 9-13 of the CIP.  It is worth noting that we have completed four of our literacy action steps (indicated by gray cells in the plan)!

Italic text = indicator that was not met.

Underlined   text = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date.

Text in “Did We Make It?” column will be bold   if indicator has been met.

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By   September 1, 2014

A.      Documented scope and sequence for basic computer   skills and typing in grades 2-6 for the 2014-2015 school year (to ensure we   have a plan for minimum SBAC readiness).

B.       All   School Writing Prompt purpose statement written and adopted by staff.

C.       Students   assigned to reading booster groups with the reading specialist based on   May/June F&P scores and teacher observations.

D.     Plan for creation   of the following documented:

1.        All   nine K-6 writing prompts and finalized rubrics.

2.       Coherent,   comprehensive K-6 computer skills and typing scope and sequence.

3.        Coherent,   comprehensive K-6 writing conventions scope and sequence.

A.      No. New deadline is 9/30. Jill is working on a   proposal that will then be shared with staff for feedback.

 

B.       Yes.   Statement is: “Assessment results have shown   that Calais students need to improve their writing skills. This need inspired   the creation of the school-wide prompt initiative. The purpose of the writing   prompt system is to evaluate the effectiveness of writing instruction and to   assess student progress in writing. We are committed to providing time for   teachers to use assessment data to plan next steps in instruction. The   committee will provide a schedule for teaching the three text types   (narrative, informational, and opinion). The prompt system provides students   with practice with on-demand student writing.”

C.       Yes. Marcy has been meeting with some groups since the   first week of school.

D.     Somewhat.

1.        Prompts and schedule are written; staff has agreed to use   rubrics originally adopted in 2012-2013 school year.

2.       Writing   committee will discuss and create this plan on Sept. 24th and/or Oct. 8th.

3.        Writing   committee will discuss and create this plan on Sept. 24th and/or Oct. 8th.

  1. Mathematics

The CES Math Committee has been hard at work creating all the materials and electronic files for a system to assess and track fact fluency and number concept K-6.  Those materials are all finished and will be shared with the staff at our October 1st staff meeting.  In the intervening weeks, committee members plan to begin using the tools so they can show their colleagues what data the tools generate, and how they use that data to plan whole class instruction and individual or small group intervention.  This crew has also completed a place value intervention binder that includes a diagnostic assessment, simple forms for tracking the instruction provided with student progress, and a coherent sequence of lessons, (materials like recording sheets and cards are even included in this resource!)  This binder and some completed lesson sheets will be shared with staff at the October 1st meeting as well.

The CIP indicators for September 30, 2014 are listed below.  More information about the action steps planned and completed for mathematics can be found on pages 19-22 of the CIP.  It is worth noting that we have completed three of our mathematics action steps (indicated by gray cells in the plan)!

Indicator

Did   We Make It?

By   September 30, 2014

A.      Finish K-6 fact fluency/number sense trackers.

B.       Fact   fluency/number sense trackers in use

C.       First   version of intervention forms and procedure created.

D.      Math   practice assessment tool and schedule created.

A.      Yes.   Math Committee finished these at 9/10 mtg. Kate has set aside time to show   these tools and establish administration schedule with math teachers not on   Math Committee.

  1. School Climate

We are off to a great start!  Universal PBIS systems are in place, including consistent school-wide expectations (Be Safe, Be Kind, Work Hard), to recognize and reinforce expected behaviors, and explicit teaching of expected behavior in all school settings, and going is well. An area of expansion for this has been the buses.  We have met with each group of bus riders to go over what it looks like and sounds like to be safe, be kind, and work hard on the bus.  We are particularly excited about our work on the bus because the aforementioned meetings, and much of the work during the actual bus runs, are being led by sixth graders.  It’s been great to find this meaningful leadership opportunity and to have students step up so confidently and effectively into their role.

The CIP indicators for September 1, 2014 are listed below. More information about action steps planned and completed for literacy can be found on pages 9-13 of the CIP.  It is worth noting that we have completed four of our literacy action steps (indicated by gray cells in the plan)!

Indicator

Did   We Make It?

By   September 1, 2014

A.      Updated crisis plan complete and distributed.

B.       Climate   survey administered and results analyzed

C.       PBIS   refresher/updates meeting held during August in-service.

D.      Tier   2 supports up and running for students determined to be in need in June 2014.

E.       Revised   discipline section of family and staff handbooks that clearly explains both   tiers of PBIS.

F.       1-2   teachers have schedule and system for co-planning and other collaboration in   place.

A.      Somewhat.   Staff trained in updates to all existing plans during Aug. in-service. New   procedures including off-site evacuation and response to threat when students   are outside still needed. New procedures to be written and distributed by   9/30.

B.       Yes.   Initial analysis is complete. There is certainly room for more thorough   analysis and action planning, but there are no glaring trends requiring big   changes to this document or other plans.

C.       Yes.   ODRs (behavior report forms) are being completed frequently and   appropriately. Coins are being distributed; school is on track for first   celebration. Coins have been brought onto buses with the help of student   leaders this year!

D.      Yes   and no. Most students were exited; those who were not are not showing same   patterns of behavior thus far. Tier 2 supports are being established for some   students who had not previously received this level of programming.

E.       Yes.

F.       Yes.   Most other “grade neighbor teams” do as well.

Buried in the Action Steps section of our School Climate goal is the following commitment: “Form a committee of staff members and parents to investigate more reliable (less weather-dependent) Fun Fitness Friday models.”  FFF Coordinator Liz Knapp and Marissa met over the summer to begin this conversation.  It was quickly determined that they need information and input from all students and families – both to be sure that we’d tapped all the creative problem solving minds out there, and to know the priorities and needs of the students the program serves.  Accordingly, a survey was sent out with the newsletter on Friday, September 12th.

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Spanish

After a very promising candidate fell through in the first week of school, we have had no new applicants for the position.  Given the reality of the situation, Marissa met with Carol Amos and Jen Miller-Arsenault to brainstorm creative solutions to the vacancy problem faced by both CES and Berlin Elementary School.  With the goal of maintaining and perhaps even reinvigorating interest in the Spanish program, we are pursuing and expecting to be able to implement the three following pieces of programming:

  • Weekly Spanish morning meetings to be planned by Spanish teachers in other schools and led by classroom teachers in our schools;
  • Lessons or projects to be planned and led by advanced Spanish students at U-32; and
  • An artist in residence to bring in cultural studies and experiences.
  1. Other
  2. Supervision and Evaluation Update

The Association has voted to adopt the 2013 edition of the Danielson Framework for Teaching as the rubric that will be used to evaluate teachers.  All WCSU teachers were trained in understanding and using this rubric to reflect on and improve their practice during an August in-service day.  We are thrilled to be using this research-based tool!

Seven teachers are in a summative evaluation year.  About half of these are teachers who are in their first or second year in WCSU.  The first deadline in the summative cycle of the Blue Ribbon process is September 30th.  Teachers must submit a self-scored rubric to Marissa by this date.  Marissa and the teacher must then conference to discuss the teacher’s self-evaluation and goals for the year by October 15th.

Teachers in a goal setting and peer- or self-reflection year must submit their goals to Marissa by September 30th.  Marissa and those teachers must conference to discuss the goals and how they will be achieved and measured by October 15th.

Teachers have been informed of these deadlines via email.  Additionally, each teacher has been emailed to verify their current Blue Ribbon cycle.  In these emails, Marissa provided links to or copies of each of the documents folks will need throughout the year.

  1. Principal Goals

Marissa has identified the following goals for the 2014-2015 school year:

Goal

Rationale

Meet   at least 85% of the CIP indicators by the end of the school year.

We   have written a VERY ambitious plan.  Last year we met about 60% of our   objectives, so 85% would be a big jump.  We are doing well in terms of either meeting   on time or meeting within a month or so for each indicator.  The 85% goal feels like an ambitious, but   still feasible target.  I have added   structures, like including a “CIP Spotlight” for each Monday Memo to help   make this jump in completion rate possible.

Complete   at least five 10-20 minute walk-throughs each week, October-May.

Just   as with students, frequent feedback is one of the best ways to help teachers   continuously grow. Further, growth is rewarding and keeps teachers feeling   good about and committed to their work. This is typically a feasible, weekly   time commitment once we have settled into routines in October, and until we   start wrapping up the year in June.

Seek   more feedback and input from families, particularly around elements of school   programming, such as: FFF, after school clubs, and volunteer opportunities   that are not highly regulated by state and federal rules.

Meaningful   involvement from a wide range of parents is something our small, community   school strives for. In my work with families this year, particularly around   the programming referenced to the left, I hope to be more proactive and   effective in bringing in all voices this year.

 


Page 2 of 18