Calais Elementary School

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Principal's Report

Principal's Report December 2014

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – December 18, 2014

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

  1. Literacy

Staff meetings on November 12th and 19th were dedicated to working as a large group to develop consistency in our priorities and expectations for writing conventions (basic skills ranging from letter formation and legibility to correct punctuation and capitalization to developmentally appropriate spelling). After two meetings, the writing committee left with the information they need to create our writing conventions scope and sequence and aligned formative assessment protocol and data tracker.

In late November, we embarked on the first of several new assessments that are being implemented across WCSU to beef up our local assessment plan. Our sixth graders took an online version of the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test. This screening tool was administered to students in Grades 6-10, thereby transcending the transition from elementary school to middle school and that from middle school to high school. In January, the reading skills of students in grades 4-6 will be assessed using the DRA-2. This assessment, as opposed to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment (F&P), provides more accurate and actionable information for students who are reading at high levels in 4th through 8th grade. Like the Gates MacGinitie, this is an assessment that will provide more consistency, as students move from elementary to middle school.

The CIP indicators for November 25, 2014 are listed below. Action steps for literacy will be updated in the coming weeks.

Blue/italics text = indicator that was not met

Red/underlined text   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date (Text in “Did We Make It?” column will be black/bold if   indicator has been met)

By November 25, 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.     First pre- and post-instruction writing prompts administered;   results analyzed for class- and school-wide trends, income/special ed   status/gender trends, and individual student needs

C.     Evidence of instruction aligned to typing/computer skills scope   and sequence in grades K-6

D.     Evidence of instruction aligned to writing conventions scope and   sequence in grades K-6

E.    Formative assessment   data entered into writing conventions tracking tool for grades K-6

A.    First draft is complete. Jill is cross-referencing with other   schools. We will share with teachers in February or March (after students and   teachers complete SBAC training activities).

B.     Yes and no. Prompts were administered on time. As noted in Item   C in the box above, the data tools are still in development both at the WCSU   and school levels. Additionally, bad weather and a few instances of an urgent   need for a staff meeting have meant that the writing committee didn’t/won’t meet   from 11/13 until 1/14.

C.     As document is not yet finalized the answer can’t be a full yes.   At the same time, regular keyboarding practice is happening in grades 2-6 and   Jill is aware of technology skills needed for SBAC (like dragging and   dropping, highlighting text, etc.) and working on these with students in   lower grades. A list of checkpoints for early February has been prepared and   will be administered at that time.

D.     No evidence has been collected. At the same time, the staff has   agreed to use the conventions elements of the WCSU Writing Student   Achievement Non-Negotiables as the guide for this document and teachers do   reference the N-N’s when planning instruction and assessing students.   Evidence of this alignment should be available in March as the formative   assessment protocol will have been finished and in use for about a month at   that time.

E.    The writing committee   plans to have a first version of a writing conventions checklist/formative   assessment protocol ready to use by the end of January.

  1. Mathematics

In mathematics local assessment news, we are in the midst of trying out a new computer-based screening tool, easyCBM. This is a great chance to learn, both in terms of the time students spend testing, and in the time it takes for results to be generated; by getting information about how students in grades K-6 are doing in mathematics, AND to practice administration of a computer-based test in advance of the SBAC. The assessment will also be taken by students in grades 7 and 8. Once again, this helps facilitate a smoother transition from CES to the middle school.

In other mathematics assessment news, the work we are doing with Karin Hess in partnership with Orange North SU is underway. Our WCSU Mathematics Steering Committee rep, Kate Rob, reports that, for her grade span, many items for math non-negotiables aligned benchmark assessments are completed and have been “field tested” with students across both SU’s. Kate will soon attend a follow-up meeting at which student work will be examined and items will be adjusted as needed. We are all very much looking forward to having these rigorous, informative, and common assessments!

There are no new CIP indicators since those shared last month; targets for October 31st were shared last month and the next set of benchmarks is due January 30th. Action steps for math were updated last month.

  1. School Climate

The PTNO’s Spaghetti Dinner on December 5th was a tremendous success! The event brought in a profit of about $1,400 and a crew of 135 hungry customers. Children and adults had a great time, reporting that the food was delicious and that the raffle was exciting and filled with great prizes. We benefitted greatly from donations of prizes from local businesses, as well as the efforts of PTNO members to collect these items. Thank you notes are in the mail!

We held our second All School Celebration on Thursday, December 11th. The event was a ‘Celebration of Peace.’ Students divided into K-3 and 4-6 groups to hear developmentally appropriate stories about peace and create a craft project that tied into the stories they heard. Their creations will be hung on a small tree and displayed until winter break. It was great to have a slight change of pace with a mellower celebration that gave a little time for reflection and let some quieter students shine.

There are no new CIP indicators since those shared last month; targets for October 31st were shared last month and the next set of benchmarks is due January 30th. Action steps for school climate were updated last month.

 

Principal's Report November 2014

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – November 17, 2014

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

  1. Literacy

The week of November 3rd was post-instruction writing prompt week. Teachers at each grade level gave post-instruction prompts for the text type they chose to teach first. The CES Writing Committee is looking forward to seeing those scores, from the start of the year, so analysis of growth can begin. The committee is also excited to hear from teachers about how the increased flexibility is working – last year all teachers taught the three text types in the same order and at the same time.

There are no new CIP indicators since those shared last month; targets for October 14th were shared last month and the next set of benchmarks is due November 25th. Action steps for literacy have been updated and can be found on pages 10-14 of the CIP.

A couple of highlights from those updated action steps include:

Action Step

Notes

Create and use writing conventions   formative assessment protocol and data tracker

At a meeting on November 5th,   the CES Writing Committee found that this project was important, but the   original purpose and larger perspective was getting a little lost in the   shuffle. Accordingly, deadlines have been pushed back and the new plan is   coming into focus. Here’s what we have so far:

  •   Assessment   tool will be student-friendly checklist.
  •   Checklist   will be created and rolled out once staff members have come together to   determine what conventions they agree to expect when (for example, should “I”   always be capitalized, even if you are writing about how you solved a math   problem - and if it is not, what is the teacher’s response?).
  •   Staff   meeting on 11/12/14 will be used to at least begin this conversation.

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

Original Plan:

  •   By   9/30/14 establish ISIT roster, objectives for the year, meeting schedule, and   year-long agenda map
  •   By   1/30/15 report progress to staff via written memo (or possibly staff meeting   if we’ve got some exciting findings)
  •   By   4/1/15 summarize findings and make recommendations for next year’s CIP

Current Status:

11/10/14: Roster not yet   established. Need to start this step!!

  1. Mathematics

CES will host clinical rounds with Mahesh Sharma on Wednesday, November 19th. This is a great opportunity for fifth and sixth grade teachers across WCSU to learn together. We are excited to host again this year – last year Professor Sharma worked with our kindergarteners and first graders.

The CIP indicators for October 31, 2014 are listed below. Action steps for mathematics have been updated and those notes can be found on pages 20-23 of the full Continuous Improvement Plan.

Blue text/italics = indicator that was not met

Red text/underlined   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date (Text in “Did We Make It?” column will be black if indicator has   been met)

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By October 31, 2014

  1.   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)
  2.   Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class   re-teaching in areas indicated by quarterly assessment
  3.   Intervention   documentation (showing the instruction provided and progress monitoring data)   in place for students who began year with known gaps in math
  4. Fact fluency/number sense trackers in use
  5.   This work is being led by the WCSU Mathematics   Steering Committee. The first assessment administration will occur in early   December.
  6.   Again, the first assessment administration will   occur in early December.
  7.   Yes   and no. There are some assessments and intervention lesson notes for some   students. Practice is not yet standardized.
  8.   In   most grade levels, yes.
  1. School Climate

Fun Fitness Friday sign-ups were distributed on November 7th. Please do your snow dances and whatever else you can think of to help us have a snowy January and February. In our conversations with venues and explorations of other options, we discovered that a potentially great solution – bumping back the dates to the snowier months of February and March – is unfortunately not possible. It seems the rink gets rid of the ice at the end of February and pond skating may not be the best plan in March.

Marissa, Jill, and Cat are in the early stages of planning a parent night.  They will partner with parents in ensuring responsible use of the internet and social media and prevention of all forms of bullying and harassment, including cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment. This info night is partially a response to questions about parental controls on Chromebooks, and a staff-identified need for more proactive communication and partnership with parents to help prevent bullying, harassment, and other forms of unkind behavior.

The CIP indicators for October 31, 2014 are listed below. Action steps for school climate have been updated and those notes can be found on pages 31-35 of the full Continuous Improvement Plan.

Blue text/italics = indicator that was not met

Red text/underlined   = indicator that was carried forward from previous benchmark date (Text in “Did We Make It?” column will be black if indicator has   been met)

Indicator

Did We Make It?

By October 31, 2014

  1.   Updated crisis plan complete and distributed
  2.   Behavior   and any other relevant PBIS data shared with staff at the end of each month   via memo
  3.   First   All School Celebration complete and successful
  4. Evidence of analysis of SWIS data and changes   to Tier 1 and/or 2 supports informed by data
  5.   Evidence of successful Tier 1 “Booster”   challenge
  6.   PBIS information fully uploaded to MTSS site
  7. Evidence of reflection on 1-2 co-planning and   parent communication system
  8.   Updates   are shared periodically - most recently notes about successful improvements   and next steps for tightening up fire drills and clear the halls drills were   distributed on 11/11. Improvements   to the plan and/or facilities that are still needed are:
  9.   A PA system to get important messages to students and adults   in places like restrooms and the playground;
  10.   A detailed off-site evacuation plan that includes a schedule   for practicing the procedure.
  11.   Not   shared each month yet, in part because sample size is sometimes too small   after just one month (this is a GREAT thing!). Data was shared and discussed   at 10/26 staff meeting.
  12.   Yes!
  13. Somewhat. Booster week is mostly planned and   responds to second most frequent problem behavior - minor disruptions. This   is a Tier 1 support.
  14.   No. Many parts of this are planned; hope to   implement week of 11/17.

 

  1.   No. There is no MTSS site at this time. MTSS   site is a project that is on hold until we have the assessment-linked   intervention procedures discussed in math and literacy sections established.   Do not expect to pick up the project of MTSS site until February at very   earliest.
  2.   Somewhat.   Joint parent-teacher conferences were held 11/10 and 11/11 (all 1/2 parents   had a 20-minute conference at which both teachers were present). Teachers and   Marissa check in occasionally about co-planning time, questions of curriculum   and instruction, and the classroom management quirks that arise when two   teachers share students.
  1. Other
  2. PTNO Update

The first PTNO meeting of the year was held on November 10th at 6:00 pm. There were many new faces around the table to discuss a full agenda – and a few more folks were able to join in after the meeting thanks to the prompt distribution of notes via email. Conversation began with a collection of ideas for possible purposes or goals of the PTNO. Then they shifted to fundraising and community building events and the causes those efforts might support. The crew also made some great progress toward planning a Spaghetti Dinner for Friday, December 5th. Emails about donations, sponsors, and logistics are already zipping back and forth! Here are some highlights from the meeting notes (text in bold indicates that conversation occurred; regular text indicates that the item was suggested before the meeting occurred and was not discussed by the group):

  • Generate ideas behind the purpose of PTNO
  1. Do something for teachers and neighbors that also helps to benefit the school
  2. Liaison between community and school
  3. Connecting our school to the wider Calais community and supporting all the great work that teachers and students do here at the school
  • Generate a list of ideas for fundraising and community involvement activities
  1. Spaghetti Dinner and raffle
  2. Movie Night
  3. Silent Auction in the spring with the music concert night
  4. Community Cookbook
  5. BINGO Night
  6. Family Picnic toward the end of the year (potluck?)
  7. Bake Sale (@ bball game or Maple Corner Craft Fair)
  8. Craft Sale
  9. Clothing Swap, Calais Kids Snow Gear Swap
  10. Community Talent Show, Cat? Kid’s Talent Show
  11. Calais Gear (Tami has friend at print shop)
  12. Bottle Drop or Drive (possibly at dump?)
  13. Flooding the basketball court for the winter (Fish, cost?)
  • Add to the list of needs for the school, generated by the staff, that the PTNO could assist with
  1. Addition to the playground for younger kids
  2. Safe fun rope course or nature trail additions
  3. New popcorn popper
  4. Money assistance to help with level 2 background checks
  5. New sleds (possibility for this winter)
  6. New snow shoes for Fun Fitness Fridays (solicit donations from community through FPF, Sue? Megan will check into costs)
  7. Basketball Hoops on the playground (Callie cost? Current fundraising for the Spring)
  8. Money toward the yearbook (popcorn money only covers about 2/3 of cost, with the need being about $200)
 


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