Calais Elementary School

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Principal's Report

Principal's Report May 2013

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – May 29, 2013

  1. School Climate
  2. Discipline (Student Climate)

The PBIS Leadership Team is working on pilot activities for the last few weeks of this school year.  The have a checklist to monitor positive behavior and minor problem behaviors, plus a new office referral form.

  1. Staff Climate

Worthy of mention, PBIS has created a recognition system for students, and will make a similar system for staff members.  We’re still hammering out the details, but this will be a way of formally recognizing (and even rewarding) colleagues that go above and beyond.

  1. Wellness

Our gym mats are in.  The 4th and 5th graders will be at Petra Cliffs on Friday the 24th. We have applied for an EPSDT mini-grant to fund Fun Fitness Fridays next school year, and will keep you posted on whether the requested funding has been awarded.

The newest version of FitnessGram was recently purchased and installed. John, Nurse Mary Ann, and Marissa are still working on a plan for putting the software to use.

  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  2. Math

The Math Steering Committee continues its work identifying “non-negotiables” for mathematics at each grade level for all WCSU students. These key skills and understandings are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

We are getting closer to the summer math lab schools! As reported earlier, the vast majority of classroom teachers will attend one weeklong lab school this summer. This format offers the unique opportunity to try out instructional strategies as they are learned. Marissa will attend both the K-4 and the 4-8 workshops.

  1. Literacy

Our final All School Writing Prompt was given on Tuesday, May 21st. Students read a short science article and then watched a video on a related topic. We had students try their hand at writing an informational piece this time. In this month’s board meeting, we’ll share what we’ve done with writing this year and where we hope to go in the coming years.

As we close out supply orders for the year and look ahead to next year, we are continuing to work on increasing our classroom libraries. We are particularly focused on making sure we’ve got some quality nonfiction sets for small groups given the Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction.

We have started receiving our year-end Fountas & Pinnell reading levels.  We are thrilled to see that many of our struggling readers have picked up 1.5 to 2 grade levels of skills this year! In many cases, classroom teachers, the special educator, the reading specialist, and paraeducators have set up complicated rotations to ensure that students receive any needed interventions on a daily basis. Their efforts are clearly commendable.

  1. Technology

We piloted the SBAC, which replaced NECAP, with our sixth graders at the beginning of the month. Once we got everyone’s screen resolution adjusted, the netbooks handled the assessment well. Thanks to two practice sessions, the only technical difficulty we experienced during our official pilot was, as best as we could tell, the fault of the test itself. Additionally, we were very impressed by the students’ commitment to focusing and putting forth their best effort.

Eric’s work on Google Drive with the 5/6 students seems to be paying off. While brainstorming a gift to leave behind, the 6th graders came up with the idea of creating a Google spreadsheet so they could all contribute ideas while also monitoring the total cost of all of their ideas.

  1. Other
  2. Continuous Improvement Plan

In the interest of simplifying matters across the SU and even within schools, all each WCSU school is working on a “Continuous Improvement Plan” this year. For CES, this single plan will combine our Action Plan and Schoolwide Program (Title I) Plan, and the WCSU Technology Plan. We have assembled an excellent committee of parents (Katie Reed and Maggie Weiss), classroom teachers (Kelly MacMartin and Kate Rob), a board member (Drew), and principal. We have held two 3-hour meetings so far. Both have been engaging and enlightening.  We have considered NECAP scores, local assessment strategies, summer programs to prevent regression, and plans for increasing the response rate for next year’s climate survey.

We will meet with the other teams from the SU on Thursday the 30th to compare notes, share ideas, and continue the planning. For our team, this will be a particularly great opportunity to see some relatively finished plans and get a sense of where to focus our remaining time.

  1. Summer Maintenance Plan

We will tackle Blue Room/Preschool related projects first to assure they are ready for licensing. We are anticipating an increased need for extra summer help given the volume of painting and other smaller projects.

Summer 2013 Facilities   Projects

Item/Project

Cost

Vendor

Priority

C

Roof Section 1

 $  11,000.00

Alan Beauregard

1

C

Preschool Walkway

 $    5,000.00

TBD - Still getting estimates

1

C

Learning Center Carpet

 $    5,000.00

CV Flooring

1

C

Septic Pump Rebuild?

 $    4,500.00

New England Water Systems

1

C

Move Server

 $    1,500.00

Tech department/Twin State Electric

1

C

General repairs/upkeep, small projects

 $    1,000.00

In house

1

Boiler Repair (door millboard)

 $    1,000.00

In house

1

C

Clean Carpets

 $    1,000.00

HP Cleaning

1

Toilets/Flush Valves

 $        700.00

F.W. Webb/In house

1

Divide Learning Center Room

 $        500.00

In house

1

C

Music Room Door

 $        250.00

Kamco/In house

1

C

Preschool Playground Fence

 $        250.00

In house

1

Fix Woodchip Doors

 $        200.00

In house

1

Boiler Room Repairs

 $        200.00

In house

1

Interior and Exterior Painting

 $        800.00

Just labor - paint on hand (will use summer sub)

1

Install Staff Room Cabinets

Just labor

1

Blue Room Reorganization

Just labor

1

C

Driveway Gravel

 $    2,000.00

Black Rock?

2

C

Rot Boards (exterior)

 $    1,500.00

TBD - Still getting estimates

2

C

Finish Garage (insulation, electricity, etc.)

 $    1,000.00

In house

2

Hallway Baseboards

 TBD

CV Flooring

3

C

Air Compressor

 $    2,000.00

Reynolds

3

Widen Hallway Door

 $        800.00

Kamco/In house

3

TOTAL

 $  40,200.00

Capital Fund Total

 $ 36,000.00

 

Principal's Report April 2013

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – April 29, 2013

School Climate

Discipline (Student Climate)

At the end of March, our PBIS leadership team greatly enjoyed meeting to plan our universal prevention system. In the coming weeks, we will meet with the staff to share the fruits of our labor.

Staff Climate

Paraeducator Appreciation Day was held on Wednesday, April 17th. Teachers brought in lunch and goody bags for paras to enjoy during their duty-free, hour-long lunch.

Wellness

We are using some of the leftover Fun Fitness Friday money to send the 4th and 5th graders to Petra Cliffs for some fun fitness and team building in May. The remainder of the left over grant money will be used to provide a fitness opportunity or fitness equipment to our younger students.

Curriculum and Instruction

Math

The Math Steering Committee has been working on identifying “non-negotiables” for mathematics at each grade level for all WCSU students. These key skills and understandings are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Literacy

Pam Chomsky-Higgins has visited twice in recent weeks. She finished her second day with us by saying to me, “what a great school!” She was happy to see just how embedded the ISA (Interactive Strategies Approach) decoding and comprehension strategies are in our classroom instruction. She was also impressed by our students’ reading and writing skills.

We have scored our second All School Writing Prompt. After break, we will hang a mural showing the range of the responses from each grade level in the staff room. We have also begun planning our final prompt for the year. In the coming weeks, we planned a task for students that has them writing informational text (we have used the other two Common Core text types, narrative and opinion writing, with previous prompts). It is great that OUR students’ work has provided the foundation for discussion of the continuum of expectations and target skills from kindergarten through sixth grade.

Technology

Here’s an update from Eric about what he’s been working on in each class:

 Kindergarten – Students used digital cameras and Speechable.com maketo images with speech bubbles. Students then added their own dialogue to the speech bubbles.

 1st Grade – Students went on a virtual field trip to The Royal Tyrrell Museum as part of their dinosaur study.

 2nd Grade  -  Type to Learn. Students are making great progress in their familiarity with their accuracy and proficiency. We used World Book Online to explore individual topics and explore more information on Aesop and the characters in his fables. We have started getting familiar with the tools in Microsoft Word such as font, size, spacing, etc.

 3rd GradeType to Learn. Students are making great progress in their familiarity with their accuracy and proficiency. Google Earth. Students researched countries and made Google Earth Tours focusing on three places of interest. During this project we collaborated with classroom parent/EMES librarian &tech integrationist, Aryln Bruccoli.       

   4th Grade – Students enhanced their Microsoft Word skills, focusing on spacing, inserting images, and using text tools to put emphasis on writing. Students created PhotoStories as a way to illustrate and digitize their personal narratives.

 5th/6th Grade Students have been using Google drive as a way to create documents and presentations. Students have continued to enhance their blogs and blogging skills.

Other

Class Configurations for 2013-2014

Marissa has been talking with faculty members throughout the school and has found there is an easy consensus around optimal class configurations for 2013-2014. We will continue to have “straight grades” for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. For fifth and sixth graders, we will have two 5/6 classes. Given student needs and numbers, Damien, Candace, and Marissa all came to the table thinking two 5/6 classes was by far the best option. Both socially and academically, our 29 rising fifth and sixth graders will benefit from smaller “homerooms” of at least slightly new combinations of students. Parents of current fifth graders were informed of this configuration plan at spring conferences and were understanding, and in some cases, even supportive of the plan. They were also assured that they would be given a chance to share their thoughts on their students needs before any decisions on class assignment were made. To this end, parents of all current fourth and fifth graders will receive a letter and a “Student Needs and Interests” form, soon after we return from break. This letter and form will look very similar to the letter and form that have traditionally been sent to all fourth grade families each year.

 


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