Calais Elementary School

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Principal's Report

Principal's Report June 2014

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – June 23, 2014

  1. Literacy

The reading scores are in! This year, 89% of students in grades K-6 have ended the year at or above grade level as measured by the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment. Many of those meeting grade level standards are on IEPs, 504 plans, or EST plans and have received intervention from our reading specialist and/or special educators. The hard work of our students and teachers has certainly paid great dividends!

June is Continuous Improvement Plan month at the board level. The staff voted to adopt the CIP as written at our meeting on June 6, 2014. The CIP is enclosed in the packet.

Here is the summary of the work the CIP outlines in literacy for the 2014-2015 school year:

Goal #1: Literacy

Literacy work at CES   and in WCSU has focused on writing for the past two years. This   emphasis will continue as we work to implement WCSU student achievement   non-negotiables for writing and refine our All School Writing Prompt system   in the 2014-2015. We will also work as a staff to create a K-6 scope and   sequence of writing conventions skills and accompanying formative assessment   protocol and tracking tool. We aim to lead 80% of students to mastery of   grade level writing skills as measured by the year-end summative All School   Prompts that will be administered in May 2015.

In reading, we   aim to maintain our strong results on the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark   Assessment. We also plan to lead our low-income students to greater success   in writing: our goal is to reduce the proficiency gap between students who   receive free- and reduced-price lunch and those who do not to 10% or less on   the F&P.

In all content   areas, we plan to begin analyzing local assessment data for trends in   achievement related to special education status, family income, and gender.   This is particularly important in the coming years as we shift to a new state   assessment and therefore lose our primary source of data that is readily   analyzed in this manner. Also in all content areas, we will work to create a   Google site that documents our instruction, assessment, and intervention   practices by articulating how these can be understood as a Multi-Tiered   System of Supports (MTSS). Finally, we will form a committee to investigate   possible structures to support a 30-minute intervention/extension period that   would allow for a true “double dip” for students who are struggling.

While it didn’t make the one page summary of the CIP, it is important to note that the literacy section of the CIP includes action steps to ensure we are teaching the technology skills students will need to have in order to be successful on and feel positive about the new SBAC assessments. This is a purposely small and basic step; in the coming years we hope to also standardize practice to include using technology to enrich and deepen learning throughout the school day and year.

Three teachers are taking workshops in teaching reading and/or writing this summer. Stacey Potter, Marcy Larrabee, and Mary Carpenter are looking forward to opportunities to
“continuously improve” their literacy instruction. As a staff, we are excited for the new ideas they will bring back, especially those ideas that can help us further develop our assessment and instruction in writing.

  1. Mathematics

The staff will discuss the executive summary of the Comprehensive and Collaborative Mathematics Review during June in-service time. The CES Math Committee will lead this conversation. We are happy to note that the WCSU Mathematics Steering Committee and the CES staff had already identified many of the next steps listed as recommendations in the review.

Here is the summary of the work the CIP outlines in mathematics for the 2014-2015 school year:

Goal #2: Math

  In mathematics, our work will focus using data   from a quarterly benchmark assessment system, continuing to teach and assess   the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, and implementing WCSU   student achievement non-negotiables. We will also develop number sense and   fact fluency assessments and tracking tools to monitor foundational skills   K-6. A final area of work in math will be developing forms and procedures   that standardize Tier 2 intervention data collection and documentation. In   all phases, we will keep track of work at the WCSU level and work to be sure   our efforts set us up for successful implementation of work from the Math   Steering Committee.

Three teachers and one CES student will participate in this summer’s math lab school taught by Mahesh Sharma. Randilee Raynor, Lisa Levangie, and Ted Nathanson are looking forward to working and learning together in July.

  1. School Climate

School Climate survey data has been compiled. Special events and year-end deadlines, however, have forced Marissa to table careful analysis until the summer.

We had our final PBIS All School Celebration on Friday, June 13th. Students chose between quiet reading under the parachute in the music room, a movie in the library, and active games in the gym. Somewhere around half the kids chose to hang out in the gym – surprisingly, two hours of dodge ball with 40-50 kids on Friday the 13th is a recipe for success! A great, multiage, and safe time was had by all!

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Science

Mary Carpenter will be taking a follow-up NGSS course this summer. In this course, she will design a unit of NGSS-aligned instruction for her third graders to be taught in the 2014-2015 school year. Marissa met with the 1/2 teachers recently and a plan was made to have Marissa work at creating two independent year-long NGSS sequences that would allow for a two-year science cycle for the multiage classes. We are looking forward to beginning the process of shifting to NGSS.

  1. Other
  2. Open Meeting Law

Here is the link for the statute detailing the new rules for open meetings:

  1. Summer Projects

Below is an updated list of projects for the summer of 2014. In some cases, prices have changed dramatically. We have also added the purchase of a new piece of playground equipment as the upper playground dome has proven un-repairable.



Capital Project?

Roof Sections #2-#5



Heating System compressor



Pre-School Walkway



Exterior Painting



Exterior Doors



Driveway Gravel



Interior Painting



Carpet Cleaning



Floor Finishing



General Building Repairs



Extra Part Time Custodian Hours



Playground Repairs



Sewage Ejector



PA System Install (linked to phones)



Network Updates and Improvements



Phone System Updates



New Window Coverings



New Dome for Upper Playground



iPad Cart (20 student/2 adult)



Total Cost of   "Have To" Projects


Total Cost of Capital   Projects


Total Cost of Projects


Capital Balance as of   July 1, 2014*


*for simplicity, these   calculations assume all roof expenses occur after July 1

Capital Balance Less   "Have To" Projects


Capital Balance Less   all Capital Projects


"Extra" Fund   Balance as of July 1, 2014**


**extra fund balance =   amount over 5%

  1. Capital Plan

Per the information request submitted at the May 27th board meeting, the full capital plan Excel file from Jason Rowell has been included with the email to which this packet was attached.  If you find the format confusing, we will bring samples of other capital plans from schools within the supervisory union that you may find easier to understand.  Based on the input you provide at the meeting, we will provide a more thorough capital plan in August.


Principal's Report May 2014

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – May 1, 2014

This month’s report includes some references to the 2014-2015 Continuous Improvement Plan as the preliminary work on that plan has recently been completed. The plan itself will be brought to the board in our regular meeting at the end of May. The process followed this year was a bit different for several reasons.  We were updating the previous plan rather than starting from scratch or embarking on many new projects and the timeline was moved up to better match the Consolidated Federal Grant schedule. This year’s CIP planning process was:

  • March 31 – April 11: Marissa brought last year’s CIP to regularly scheduled meetings of CES-based committees (writing, math, and PBIS); committees celebrated completed tasks, identified work left to be done, and planned SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) targets for 2014-2015 school year.
  • March 31 – April 15: Marissa entered committees’ thoughts into new CIP and fleshed out the ideas by creating progress indicators and action steps.
  • April 15 & April 17: Traditional, representative CIP committee met to discuss and amend the draft materials Marissa created. Committee members were largely the same individuals as those who served in this capacity last year.
  • April 17 – April 22: Marissa incorporated ideas from the CIP committee and completed the Title I portions of the plan (an evaluation of this year’s programming, a proposal for next year’s programming, and the documenting of explicit connections in the CIP between the CIP and the Title I proposal).
  1. Literacy

In late March, the WCSU Literacy Steering Committee met to create student achievement non-negotiables in writing. Kelly MacMartin and Marcy Larrabee participated in this work. Marcy will take over as our representative on this committee next year; she is overlapping with Kelly right now to ensure that we have someone knowledgeable of and invested in this important curriculum document as we work to implement it next year.

All six pre- and post-instruction writing prompts have been administered at this point. Three year-end summative prompts will be given in May. We look forward to seeing what kids have held onto and how they have grown throughout the year.

When the Writing Committee met to discuss the CIP, they agreed that they want to continue working on our writing assessment system next year. We have had some significant variation in the style of prompt and the tools used to score prompts throughout the year, and have not been able to draw as many conclusions from the data as we would like. The first order of business in the new CIP is for the committee to create a one page or shorter statement that articulates the purpose of and philosophy behind our writing prompt system.

  1. Mathematics

The Math Committee continues to organize work with the math practices. At the end of the year we will have pre- and post-instruction data regarding students’ knowledge of the practices. We will also have at least one data point assessing student use of the practices (based on teacher observation) for each child.

When the Math Committee met to discuss the CIP, the major focus of conversation was assessment. As you read in the data presentation last month, our local assessments are still being developed. Teachers are hungry for a mathematics assessment that provides information like the F&P does in reading. Accordingly, the new CIP has as a primary target for the development of a quarterly benchmark assessment at each grade level. We are particularly motivated to make this goal happen knowing that we will not have any state test data until the very end of the 2014-2015 school year.  Plus, next year being the very first SBAC year, it is unlikely that that data will be particularly informative.

This summer, three teachers will attend a math lab school hosted at U-32 and taught by Mahesh Sharma. This continued consistency in professional development is exciting as it brings more coordinated and effective instruction to students.

  1. School Climate

On March 20th and 21st, the seven-member PBIS Leadership Team attended a training at which we learned about and began to plan our second level of programming: Targeted Supports. Since that training, we have begun piloting a specific “Tier 2” support called Check-In/Check-Out. Students, families, and staff members have all been excited to try this more individualized yet still fairly systematic approach.

As we worked on new projects at that training, the importance of being intentional about our maintenance of the Universal Supports level or programming became clear to the team. First, the “Tier 1” level is all the support about 80% of students will get and should need; we have to be sure that those 80% are getting great programming! Second, those who need more targeted support still need a general context that is positive, consistent, and where expectations are clear. Finally, coins and celebrations grow stale for students and staff alike rather quickly; it is our responsibility to take the lead in finding strategies to keep things fresh.

In service of our mission to sustain high quality Tier 1 work, a subcommittee has taken on planning incentives for and providing reminders to distribute coins. We have also planned two mandatory all staff meetings. The first was held on April 9th and aimed at providing some theoretical background about the function of behavior to build common language around why students behave the way they do. The second was held on April 30th and focused on creating common understanding of key categories of problem behaviors (where is the line between disruption and disrespect, for example) and reviewing procedures and expectations for filling out office referral forms.

The PBIS Leadership Team found that the new CIP should be highly similar; we just needed to update the tier numbers. Instead of working toward eligibility to attend a Tier 2 training (goal=achieved!), we will work toward eligibility to attend a Tier 3 training. Rather than working toward a high energy, successful roll-out of Universal Supports (Tier 1), we will plan a great roll-out of Targeted Supports (Tier 2).

At our final April meeting, the Washington Central Leadership Team planned for a slightly updated climate survey to be administered in May. As usual, there will be surveys for families, students, and staff members. Students will complete paper surveys. Staff members and families will have both a paper and an online option. The new CIP includes plans for the CIP Committee to reconvene once we have the results to analyze the data and make changes to the plan as needed. We will also work toward the 2013-2014 CIP’s goals for participation: 80% for families, 95% for students and staff.

  1. NECAP Scores and Special Education Presentation

Per the Board’s request, there will be a special education presentation at the start of the May 1st meeting. The special education staff is excited to provide some background about our numbers, services, and staffing as well as sharing the celebrations and next steps they have found in the NECAP data and in our own local assessments. We are also looking forward to a test that is administered later in the school year as our special education students are often our most vulnerable to summer regression.

We have time in the agenda to touch base on this topic. Given that there was not an opportunity to discuss the PowerPoint presentation in March, Charlotte, Marissa, and Bill decided to hold some time at the May meeting to answer any questions and spend a little time making sure there is common understanding. Marissa is hoping folks can come with any questions as well as a brief description of the one to three trends they found most noteworthy.

  1. Other
  2. Technology

The new CIP includes several references to technology, to ensure that staff members are ready to use data analysis and intervention planning tools that we plan to develop.  Jill and Marissa are working to hold trainings to bring everyone up to speed on Google Apps. Google tools are a great platform for collaboration, but many staff members have yet to explore them. The trainings aim to break down simple barriers such as: which browser to use; how to find and bookmark sites;  how to link one’s Google email to one’s regular U-32 email; and to develop proficiency in using apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites.

The CIP also includes plans to develop a scope and sequence of basic computer and typing skills for students in grades K-6. This is largely driven by the fact that the spring 2015 SBAC will be administered on computers. We want to be sure that technology proficiency is not a barrier to completing the assessment; in part because we always want our scores to be good, but largely because we want students to feel confident and successful on these and all other assessments.

  1. Facilities

The packet includes information about the roof bid. Because our current finances make it possible to complete the roof repairs in one summer, we put the project out to bid. You’ll note that the bid spec was to do the roof over sections 2-5. Section 1 was completed last summer and Section 6 is just five years old.

In the next report, Jason and Marissa will provide a preview of the summer projects.


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