Calais Elementary School

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Principal's Report

Principal's Report December 2013

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – December 16, 2013

  1. Literacy

Classroom teachers and special educators met in grade-alike teams on Friday, December 6th to score pre-instruction informational text writing prompts and set goals for their informational text units. It was a great opportunity to see trends across a wide range of ages and establish some consistent language and expectations. Grades 3-6 are working on designing some sort of information fair as one of the culminating tasks of the unit. Grades 1 and 2 have created a student-friendly rubric for measuring progress during a “mechanics boot camp” to be completed in December.

The WCSU elementary and middle school reading specialists have met a few times in the past month. Their primary focus has been working out bugs in district-authored assessments and considering the best assessment strategy for advanced readers.

  1. Mathematics

Mahesh Sharma visited WCSU during the week of December 9th for “clinical rounds” across all grade levels. CES had the opportunity to host the clinical rounds for PreK and K teachers as well as first and second grade teachers on Monday, December 9th. Both Callie Weller and Kelly MacMartin offered their students for demo lessons taught by Mahesh. After each demo lesson, grade-alike groups gathered to debrief the experience and learn some new strategies for teaching key skills like number concept and fact fluency. It was an excellent learning experience for all and has spurred conversation and questions, particularly about our math intervention systems (or lack thereof) in the days that have followed.

In January, we will use some in-service time to bring these WCSU grade-alike groups back together.  They will discuss and plan the implementation of the student achievement non-negotiables developed by the Math Steering Committee. The clinical rounds visits have served as an excellent foundational experience for this work.

  1. School Climate
  2. Discipline (Student Climate)

We are planning our next school-wide celebration as the whole school treasure chest is once again reaching capacity!

Students have been working hard on our new and improved voice level system. This system was introduced in a November All School Morning Meeting using a video featuring several fifth and sixth grade pirates. Cat Fair and John Fish did a fabulous job of putting together a great, short film in just a few days.

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Science

Mary Carpenter and Marissa will take a course on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) this spring. This course is being offered through LAPDA and we are excited to join several colleagues from the Science Steering Committee in this undertaking.

  1. Other
  2. Fun Fitness Friday

We are finalizing lists and organizing chaperones. Let’s hope for a very snowy year, as a new downhill destination proved financially impossible!

  1. EST

Some of the crew who attended the June BEST institute to revise and bring consistency to the WCSU EST (educational support team) process met recently to take stock of the system. Our pre-EST process in which we document interventions for students before referring them to the EST is going well. A few glitches still remain in the technology we are using to keep forms electronically, but we continue to get good help from tech staff to work through these. It is exciting to see this work happening fairly consistently across the SU and knowing we have structures in place to respond to feedback and continuously improve our work.

 

Principal's Report November 2013

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – November 18, 2013

  1. Literacy

Our post-instruction narrative prompt and pre-instruction informational text prompts are right around the corner. At the staff meeting on November 13th, grade level clusters agreed to use an upcoming lunchtime unit meeting to set agendas for a PD half day. During that time they will share prompts across grade levels and use each other to plan informational text units. This PD half day will occur on December 6th. We will bring out last year’s Data Day schedule and send students to 3 specials in a row to free up classroom teachers and special educators.

At the meeting on the 13th, the staff also made a plan to celebrate narrative writing. This plan includes posting pictures of the celebrations, as well as finished pieces on the school website, as suggested at last month’s board meeting.

The reading specialists from across the SU will meet twice in November. At the first meeting, the team worked to de-bug our early literacy assessments. They also continued conversations about how to assess our advanced upper elementary students to obtain more accurate and meaningful data.

Jill Abair deserves many thanks for organizing our book fair this year. Sales were high enough to earn over $1000 in credit from Scholastic. We have already put some of this money to use.  We provided books to some students who could use additional reading material at home and added new titles to each classroom library. We will work as a team to make a plan for the rest of the money.

  1. Mathematics

The WCSU Mathematics Steering Committee has completed a first draft of student achievement “non-negotiables” (the set of knowledge and skills that we agree students must learn at each grade level) for preschool through high school geometry. This draft, along with a survey, went out to all mathematics teachers in WCSU for feedback in late October. The steering committee will meet with Mahesh Sharma on November 22nd to finalize “Version One” of this document.

In early December, Mahesh will again visit WCSU. During this visit, he will lead “clinical rounds” for math teachers at all grade levels. Teachers will have the opportunity to watch Mahesh teach a class and then debrief the lesson. We are especially excited to continue the 5th-8th grade work that began at the summer lab school led by Mahesh in late July.

  1. School Climate
  2. Discipline (Student Climate)

We held our first All School Celebration at the end of October. Students were treated to a skit featuring Pirates Middelton and Fish, as well as a PreK-6 game of Night at the Museum and 15-minute whole school recess.

In the coming weeks, the PBIS team will introduce gold bars as tokens of recognition during “booster” weeks. These are a strategy for reinforcing a target behavior and/or expected behavior in a target location. We are also looking forward to sharing both our first data reports and a slightly revised referral form with staff.

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Music

String players in grade 4-6 and band instrumentalists in grades 5 and 6 had their first lesson on Friday, November 8th. We have about 18 students participating in our instrumental music program.

  1. Other
  2. Nurse’s Office Data

Following this report, you will see a re-print of last year’s nurse data, as well as new numbers for this year. We have not closely analyzed this information, but wanted to be sure to at least have the raw data for this month’s board meeting.

 


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