Principal and Superintendent’s Report – March 19, 2015
Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h9mfTofFfdiiUqc6OkdIMZ-GArTWzqpSkTXc3Xinl3o/edit?usp=sharing
On February 18th, our reading specialist and WCSU Literacy Steering Committee representative led a staff meeting during which classroom teachers and special educators looked through the official first version of student achievement non-negotiables in writing. Following that meeting, grade level teams (PK-3 and 4-6) had conversations at lunchtime meetings to discuss an ultimate vision for our CES PreK-6 writing program. We are excited to use this time as an opportunity to consider our vertical alignment and figure out where we will be tight and where we can be a bit looser.
The CES writing committee has finished writing conventions checklists that can be used by teachers and students to assess whether they are meeting the expectations set out by the non-negotiables. At our staff meeting on March 18th, we will discuss these as a whole staff and come to consensus on when and how often to use this new tool. This is a great opportunity to engage students in self-reflection and self-assessment, giving them more ownership of and responsibility for creating high quality work.
At our CIP Kick-Off meeting on March 11th, our small but mighty CIP team began thinking about the school-specific literacy work in which we might engage next year. Kelly Bushey and Jen Miller-Arsenault have done us all a great favor by entering into this year’s template the SU-wide work that will be occurring next year. This narrows the focus of our CES team to what small number of additional goals and projects we will take on. The thinking of the group thus far is to continue setting growth and proficiency goals in reading and to emphasize the writing side of literacy in our PD work.
There are no new CIP indicators this month. The next set is due April 17th. Two recently updated action steps are highlighted below.
Engage students in goal setting and reflection in both reading and writing; highlight opportunities for student choice
9/14/14: Special educators and paras identified this as an action step in which they can play an active role during CIP scavenger hunt.
Create an “Intervention Schedule Investigation Team” to research scheduling options that would allow for at least one 30 minute true “double dip” period for all kids each day; have this committee generate a list of possible models
11/10/14: Roster not yet established. Need to start this step!!
WCSU Math Coach Ellen Dorsey spent the week of March 9th with our 5/6 math teachers. Ellen has created a blog post about her time here. Some highlights from the post include:
“In fifth grade, we focused on developing flexibility of thinking about how we define ‘one whole’ and multiplication of fractions at the Applications/Communications level. In sixth grade, we focused on creating models for order of operations. We decided that I would spend Monday and Thursday in the fifth grade class and Wednesday and Friday in the sixth grade class.”
As alluded to above, Thursday, March 12th was Pi Night! We had a great turnout, both in terms of families and pie diversity. It was particularly fun to see the problems arranged in a PreK-6 continuum on the gym walls. Kate Rob deserves many thanks for putting in the little bits of extra time required to keep the Pi Night machine running smoothly each year.
Our 2015-2016 CIP team also talked a bit about mathematics at our March 11th meeting. We are expecting that our math work will focus on implementing SU work, including administering and analyzing results of screening, benchmark, and summative assessments. Locally, we are considering looking at a single math practice to emphasize and continuing to bring our number concept and fact fluency trackers to routine use.
There are no new CIP indicators this month. The next set is due April 17th. The action steps highlighted in the literacy section of this report apply to mathematics as well.
- School Climate
We had a productive staff meeting on the first day after February break to review the most recent behavioral data and plan an upcoming All School Celebration. At that meeting we determined that our data indicate a need to re-teach the expectation of safe bodies during unstructured times like snack and line-up: by an overwhelming margin, the most frequent problem behavior reported to the office is minor physical contact. We implemented a booster week targeting safe hands and bodies during those looser times. As a result of that booster week, we saw improvements in behavior AND earned an All School Celebration much faster. On Friday, March 13th, we had a winter carnival featuring broomball, bobsledding, dog sled races, snow art, a campfire, and tunnel-making in the snow banks. It was a great afternoon with something for everyone. A big factor in the success of the event was the engagement of all teachers and classes in the planning and execution of the celebration. Staff members and students alike were excited for the fun days in advance.
We will be administering the school climate survey again this spring. We are looking forward to collecting and using this information on an annual basis. We made some fairly substantive changes to the surveys last year, so it will also be great to have directly comparable data this year and beyond.
Our Sixth Grade Service Project is in the very early stages of being up and running! We had a parent and student information session at the end of Pi Night. Nearly 80% of sixth graders attended with at least one parent in tow. Students are working away making phone calls and sending emails to set up projects. We hope to have placements and proposals finalized by March 27th. Students and parents are asking great questions about what counts as service, what kinds of projects will be most meaningful, and what the vision for this project is in the coming years.
Our PBIS Leadership Team has elected not to pursue a Tier Three training this year. While we may be eligible – we do not yet have final results from the surveys and assessments that determine eligibility – the team has agreed that with two key members leaving, it is not a good year to be planning new programming. Additionally, we, like almost all PBIS schools, have found that there is always room to keep focus on maintaining enthusiasm for and effectiveness of Tier One programming.
We have just begun conversations about this section of next year’s CIP. So far, we are sure that continuing and possibly even growing the Sixth Grade Service Project will be a priority. We are also beginning conversations about possibly targeting a key skill like problem solving or conflict resolution for explicit teaching and ongoing assessment/monitoring. The team is excited to deepen the conversation at our next meeting.
There are no new CIP indicators this month. The next set is due April 17th. Action steps for school climate were updated this week. Key information in those updates has largely been summarized in the paragraphs above.
- Teacher Search Processes Update
The 1-2 one-year leave replacement search committee is up and running. We met on March 12th to determine criteria and begin reviewing applications. We plan to hold first round interviews next week and then select a couple of candidates to invite in for demo lessons. We have a pool of 50 applicants and are looking forward to finding someone who is full of energy and a great fit!
Marissa and Kelly Bushey will finish gathering information and weighing options this week and have some form of posting up for the special educator position by Friday.