Principal and Superintendent’s Report – November 26, 2012
- School Climate
- Discipline (Student Climate)
The Discipline Committee will be presenting an overview of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) to the whole staff on 11/28. WCSU has BEST grant funds available for schools to form PBIS teams and begin working on implementation this year. If at least 80% of staff members vote to proceed with the program, we will begin designing our “universal” level of PBIS at a three-day workshop March 27 – March 29.
- Staff Climate
The gratitude wall is up and running in the staff room and a standing agenda item for “Staff News” has been added to weekly staff meetings. In general, there is a commitment amongst staff members to resolve conflicts by discussing issues by directly discussing them with one another.
- Fun Fitness Friday
Cross your fingers for a snowy winter! We will keep the same list of four activities this year. Contingency plans include snowshoeing as opposed to XC Skiing at Morse Farm, looking into the possibility of sending additional students to skate on short notice, and sledding.
While PD is important, so is fun with kids. Teachers will join an activity one week this year.
- Nutrition Committee
The NC is exploring working with Food Works and helping with the snack program.
- Curriculum and Instruction
The WCSU Curriculum Council members have recently been announced. This committee, a variation on that created in the new teacher contract, will create and monitor the implementation of the WCSU curriculum, instruction, and assessment development processes. Work will begin with the Curriculum Council and WCLT getting together to discuss Schooling by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.
Math and Literacy Steering Committees will also continue. Additionally, the committee formerly known as the Responsive Classroom Champions has been renamed and is now known as the Social Curriculum Steering Committee. All these steering committees will focus on developing core curriculum documents, evaluating the current curriculum, ensuring vertical alignment of curriculum, and determining professional development needs for the school system. Committees for all other curricular areas will be established once the Curriculum Council has laid the foundation for the curriculum development process.
CES representatives are as follows:
- Curriculum Council – John Fish
- Math – Kate Rob
- Literacy – Mary Carpenter
- Social Curriculum – Callie Weller and Cat Fair
Curricular Area Updates:
Kate Rob and Stacey Potter are attending Ensuring a High Quality Mathematics Education for All with Mahesh Sharma on 11/27.
Classroom teachers met in grade level teams (K-2 and 3-6) on 11/16 in our first attempt at a monthly “Data Day.” We looked at Fall Fountas & Pinnell benchmark assessment data and were happy to see that the majority of students are meeting standards in reading and many gained reading skills over the summer. The 3-6 teachers plan to use Data Days to align their various methods of data collection as well as develop new, streamlined, and quantitative tools for data collection. The K-2 teachers will likely use their meeting time to bring a puzzle from their current data and think about what data should be collected and passed on to future teachers.
At a recent staff meeting, several classroom teachers thanked Eric for help in finding resources and setting up virtual fieldtrips for science units.
- Students who Exceed the Standards and Academic Choice
The staff has spent some time discussing how we plan for and document differentiation for SES. The conversation is just beginning, but will hopefully yield some fruitful results ranging from some clearer procedures and a bank of ideas to push students ready for some extra challenge.
Third graders love working with Storybird, an online storytelling program, with Eric and Mary. Mary reports that she is seeing improvement in students’ writing offline as a result of this work.
“Data Day” provided the opportunity for 2nd and 3rd graders to have a 45-minute technology lesson with Eric. Here’s an overview he provided of those lessons:
In 2nd grade, we focused on logging in, touch pad familiarity, and keyboarding. These are fundamental skills that we need to ensure students are comfortable with prior to demanding more technologically savvy skills. Students used Paint.NET to get comfortable with the touch pad and buttons as well as navigating the drawing and color tools. Students trouble shot simple problems, such as learning to undo a mistake, or resize a window. Not only does exploring this tool help students develop basic computer skills, it will also be used to create diagrams of the water cycle as part of their science curriculum. Students also spent time using Dance Mat Typing, a free online typing program hosted by BBC. While a typing program is not the sole solution to developing strong typing skills, it does provide an essential base to helping student develop familiarity with the keyboard. These programs help students reach ISTE the Technology Operations and Concepts standard (Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations: a. Understand and use technology systems, b. Select and use applications effectively and productively, c. Troubleshoot systems and applications).
In 3rd grade we continued writing using Storybird, an online storytelling tool that allows students to create stories using artwork hosted on the site. Using Storybird reinforces basic computer skills, such as practicing logging in/out of a computer and web tool, touchpad use, keyboarding skills, troubleshooting simple problems. These are all part of ISTE NETS-S Technology Operations and Concepts standards. Students published their work and began commenting on each other’s stories, which supports the Creativity and Innovation standard (Create original works as a means of personal or group expression), the Communication and Collaboration standard (Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media), and the Digital Citizenship standard (Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity).
- PTO Updates
After a fall of fundraising, the PTO has raised nearly $3,000 that will be set aside for an eventual playground equipment purchase.
The PTO will continue using existing funds and those raised from smaller events like movie nights to grant teacher budget requests. This winter, PTO funds will sponsor four days of clay work in art class with Georgia Landau.
- Facilities Updates
We will replace one of the doors leading from the lobby to the K-6 classrooms with a 42-inch door for just under $700. We have saved the old front doors to replace any exterior doors that are rusted through or otherwise damaged.