Calais Elementary School

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Principal's Report

Principal's Report June 2015

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – June 18, 2015

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan:

With only a few weeks between board meetings and the end of the school year, it’s a lean news month. Enjoy this brief, yet hopefully informative report!

  1. Literacy

We are in the process of tabulating final reading assessment data. We are beginning to be able to use our student information system, Infinite Campus, to store and run reports that summarize this data. In general, it was another strong year for our readers. The majority of students met or exceeded grade level standards and most of those who did not quite hit the mark made at least a full year’s worth of growth.

  1. Mathematics

We will have three staff members attending the math lab school this summer, the new principal, special educator, and 1/2 teacher. Those folks are looking forward to sharing in that learning and getting settled into new roles.

  1. School Climate

We had our final All School Celebration of the year on June 5th. Thanks to a little extra grant money at the SU level, we were able to rent a bouncy house that served as the main attraction of our summer carnival. Other key features of the event included some fair food (corn dogs for lunch and popcorn for snack), a photo booth, and field games.

We are very excited that 100% of sixth graders successfully completed all phases of the Sixth Grade Service Project and thus earned the privilege of attending the trip to Silver Lake State Park. We had our trip on Monday, June 8th. It was a bit chilly and damp, but students enjoyed swimming, volleyball, fishing, football, and many other activities. The biggest hit, however, was most definitely the cookout, which included a “gourmet” s’mores station.

  1. Other
  2. World Culture Update

The folks at Spiral have shared that neither they nor we are quite set up to have a visa all sorted in time to host an exchange teacher in the coming school year. Marissa has talked with classroom teachers and all are supportive of the “country of the year” idea. They are particularly excited about the fact that there would most likely be financial resources available to buy the book sets needed to do a literacy unit or the materials needed for a long-term craft project. Many also expressed a desire for an extended planning time or two to coordinate efforts across grade levels. The plan at this point, then, is to pick a country for next year over the summer. The goal would be to select a country for which we have some local ties or resources.

  1. Next Year’s CIP

Next year’s CIP was introduced in draft form to the staff on April 29th. It was then approved at the June 3rd staff meeting. There are still some benchmarks to be articulated for later in the school year. Committee members responsible for these sections have concrete plans to do this work in the summer months.

Marissa has drafted a document highlighting the “crosswalks” between the 2015-2016 CIP and the board’s Student Learning Outcomes document and most recent set of Board Goals. A copy of that document appears directly following this report in the June Board Packet. A link to this document will also be inserted into the CIP once it is finalized.

You can view the CIP here:

  1. Summer Facilities Work

Key projects that will be undertaken this summer include:

  • Playground maintenance and updates including adding back a climbing dome and righting some leaning towers
  • Usual sprucing up tasks: painting, carpet cleaning, replacing broken floor tiles
  • Regular maintenance to heating, plumbing, lighting, alarm systems

We do not have updates on projected costs of these projects, largely because we do not expect to extend beyond the normal repairs and maintenance budget.


Principal's Report May 2015

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Principal and Superintendent’s Report – May 28, 2015

Link to the current Continuous Improvement Plan:

  1. Literacy

We are in the midst of administering summative writing prompts. Anecdotally, students are showing remarkable gains in confidence and stamina. We are excited to see the quantitative results in a couple of weeks! We are also in the process of administering reading benchmark assessments to those students who were below or just barely at grade level in the winter. Again, there are some dramatic gains we are excited to more fully analyze and celebrate in the coming weeks.

Below are the CIP indicators for April 17, 2015. In general, we have created materials as planned, including scope and sequence documents and assessments. We have not collected evidence or fully articulated and followed protocols for using those materials. Next year’s CIP focuses on bringing these tools to “routine use” rather than embarking on entirely new endeavors.

By April 17,   2015

A.      All six 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

B.      Continued evidence of instruction aligned to typing/computer   skills scope and sequence in grades K-6

C.      Continued evidence of instruction aligned to writing conventions   scope and sequence in grades K-6

D.      Updated formative assessment data entered into writing   conventions tracking tool for grades K-6

E.      Evidence of whole (or nearly whole) class re-teaching in areas   indicated by second post-instruction writing prompt and writing conventions   formative assessment tracking tool

F.       Intervention documentation in place for students identified as   below grade level on Winter F&P

A.      As of 5/21/15, we are in the midst of administering summative   prompts. Data will be collated and analyzed in the coming weeks. There is   benchmark of creating a data summary in the new CIP.

B.      See similar indicator in previous time period

C.      See similar indicator in previous time period

D.      We will work to develop system for collating data from   conventions checklists and include that summary in the report mentioned in   Indicator A above.

E.      See similar indicator in previous time period

F.       See similar indicator in previous time period

  1. Mathematics

Because of what is hopefully a one year Pre-K enrollment dip (the number of three- and four-year-olds is low enough that we are having just one combined-age class next year), Beth Downing will be available to do some math interventions for students in grades K-3 next year. We are thrilled to be able to, at long last, offer support for students struggling in mathematics in the same way we have been doing with reading for years. Teachers are very excited about this endeavor; each year when we present the new CIP to the staff, there is always a question about when we might finally get a math interventionist that is met with many nods and affirmations from colleagues. This is a great opportunity to run a pilot program in a budget-neutral way. Beth is working with colleagues in WCSU and Orange North SU to find the best strategies – both instructional and logistic – to meet our kids’ needs.

The CIP indicators for April 17, 2015 are not listed below, because the “Did We Make It?” column for each simply states “See similar indicator in previous time period.” Overall this year, much like in writing, we have succeeded in creating materials and are still working on bringing those tools to routine use. Accordingly, next year’s math work will also focus on implementing the new materials rather than changing course or adding a lot of new tools and ideas.

  1. School Climate

In June, we will bring Climate Survey results to the board meeting. As noted in previous months, it’ll be great two have two years’ worth of directly comparable data!

We are thrilled to share that 100% of our sixth graders completed their service hours on time! We are beginning work on final reflections and are excited to hear students’ thoughts about lessons learned about the community and themselves. This year’s sixth grade trip will be a beach day at Silver Lake State Park in Barnard, VT. We will swim, fish, lounge on the beach, and cook-out. Students are also brainstorming ideas for ways to make the day extra special.

Following are the CIP indicators for April 17, 2015. In general, we have met the content of PBIS goals if not the frequency. Next year’s CIP focuses on maintaining Tier 1 and Tier 2 PBIS work as staff turns over, maintaining and hopefully growing the sixth grade service project, and embarking upon school-wide work to teach and measure resilience as a key indicator in students’ ability to problem solve and consistently access education.

By April 17, 2015

A.      Behavior and any other relevant PBIS data shared with staff at   the end of each month via memo

B.      Third and fourth (and possibly fifth) All School Celebration   complete and successful

C.      Evidence of analysis of SWIS data and changes to Tier 1 and/or 2   supports informed by data

D.      Evidence of a fourth and fifth successful Tier 1 “Booster”   challenge

E.      Readiness for Tier 3 PBIS achieved, team sent to March training

F.     Evidence of   reflection on 1-2 co-planning and parent communication systems

A.      Discussed current data at 5/13/15 staff meeting. Decided to use   the “Respectful Learner Challenge” booster again as minor disruption is still   one of the top five problem behaviors.

B.      Will hold third and final celebration in early June. Team is   committed to focusing on ways to keep Tier 1 vibrant and robust next year.

C.      Booster noted above. Currently have low use of CICO (Tier 2),   but it is working well for those accessing that support.

D.      We held three this year. There are not highly compelling changes   in data that are plausibly attributed to the boosters; we do have very small   sample sizes, though, which makes finding trends difficult.

E.      Team decided in late winter to put this on hold given the   numerous staff changes coming in 2015-2016.

F.     One of the team   teachers will be out for a one-year leave next year. Joint conferences have   gone well and we will keep those. Consistent co-planning has been helpful;   master schedule will include again. Teachers have requested that we consider   content specialization in 5/6 for 2015-2016. Parent night held on 5/20/15;   turnout of 10 (one parent shared that this sounded like what is happening in   1-2 and that has gone well). Collecting info re: parent thoughts and   preferences via survey during week of 5/26.

  1. Other
  2. Next Year’s CIP

Next year’s CIP was introduced in draft form to the staff on April 29th. The goals and priorities of this document have been described in each of the earlier section. Our process for completing the work was a bit different this year, given the many staff transitions that will be occurring. As in the past, we began by asking CES committees what they wanted the relevant section of the plan to say (i.e., we asked the writing committee what should be included in the literacy section of the CIP). The CIP team talked about the big picture goals and key tasks together and then the tasks of articulating action steps and what were this year called “indicators” and will next year be termed “benchmarks” were handed over to the member with expertise in that area. This process was used to ensure that the folks who would be leading the work in 2015-2016 would also be fully prepared to do so.

You can view the draft here:

We will bring a more polished version for adoption in June.

  1. Teacher Search Processes Update

We are working on first and second round interviews for both our school counselor and special educator openings as we speak. We’re working as fast as possible to get these final searches wrapped up!

  1. Title I Funding Update

After many years of narrowly making the mark of eligibility for school-wide Title I funding, our socio-economic need dipped below the threshold this year. Accordingly, we will not receive Title I funds in the 2016-2017 school year. We are, thankfully, grandfathered in for the 2015-2016 school year, so there are no budget changes needed at this time. We are also fortunate that, in anticipation of this possibility, we reduced the number of positions funded through this source in the 2015-2016 budget. The only program we planned to fund with Title I money next year is our literacy specialist position (in recent years, we have also used Title I money to fund the technology integrationist).


  1. Summer Facilities Work

Key projects that will be undertaken this summer include:

  • Playground maintenance and updates including adding back a climbing dome and righting some leaning towers
  • Usually sprucing up tasks: painting, carpet cleaning, replacing broken floor tiles
  • Regular maintenance to heating, plumbing, lighting, alarm systems

We are not anticipating any major undertakings. After the roof and putting in all new networking cables last year, it’s good to have a more mellow maintenance year. In June we will include information about the projected costs of these projects.

  1. Kitchen Update

We are fortunate to be holding steady with our daily meal counts. We have gone a bit over the planned food cost, but have also seen a shift in the number of breakfasts vs. lunches served and have had a few key items increase in price. We have also managed to find some savings in other parts of the kitchen operation that help offset this small increase in expenses. Lori, Marissa, and Carolyn met recently to begin designing a template for Carolyn to use to plan her food orders and monitor spending to date against the amount budgeted for food costs at the start of the year.


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