Calais Elementary School

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Principal's Report

Principal's Report January 2014

E-mail Print PDF

Principal and Superintendent’s Report – January 13, 2014

  1. Literacy

The midyear Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment window is January 6th – January 24th. We are excited to measure student progress and use this data to provide high quality instruction for all students. We will also use the data to gauge the effectiveness of our interventions and likely exit a few students from extra supports.

As for writing, we continue to keep up with our schedule of writing prompts. In the coming months, we hope to work on one of the action steps under the literacy goal of the Continuous Improvement Plan: articulate intervention system for writing, including performance levels on All School Writing Prompts that trigger an intervention. The Upper Unit (4th-6th grade) will pilot a four day per week intervention system in which all students spend 20 minutes each morning working with a mixed grade group on a key area of need. One of the areas addressed in this first round will be mechanics of writing. This firsthand experience with a writing intervention will help us use Fun Fitness Friday release and/or in-service time to create a first version of our writing support system.

Speaking of FFF release and in-service time, Marissa has sent out a survey requesting staff input about how best to use this giant gift of time. To help ensure that our work is aligned to our goals, a reminder about the targets and action steps of the CIP was included with the survey. Many staff members have already responded to the survey with some very insightful comments and great suggestions. Given the CIP and early responses, in all likelihood, we will focus on math and writing during these nearly 12 hours of staff development time. Classroom teachers and special educators will meet for four of five FFF weeks. We will work very hard to get out and play at least once this year – the weather really did not cooperate last year, so please think snowy thoughts all month!

  1. Mathematics

In January, we will use a large portion of the WCSU in-service day on January 20th to continue conversations that began during December’s Clinical Rounds with Mahesh Sharma. We will bring grade-alike groups back together to discuss and plan the implementation of the student achievement non-negotiables that the mathematics steering committee has authored.

We are tentatively planning to use the half day of building-based in-service time on January 21st to execute next steps generated during these grade-alike meetings and/or work on the CIP action step of “A timetable and collection of resources for creating definitions of CCSS Mathematical Practices WITH students will be created; all classroom teachers will define and regularly discuss Standards for Mathematical Practice with students.”

  1. School Climate

The All School Celebration that students earned just before winter break was great! Students rotated in mixed-grade groups through stations where they: built human sculptures, made murals, created and flew paper airplanes, played hide and seek, and had sled dog races. Marissa can attest that five kids can definitely get “sleds” zipping along the gym floor!

The PBIS team is looking forward to assessing our progress and working with our colleagues at central office and other schools to explore attending a Targeted Level (essentially Tier 2) training in March or June. It looks like we are on track to meet our CIP goal of being eligible to attend this training by the end of the year!

  1. Other Curricular Areas
  2. Allied Arts

Allied arts teachers will meet in subject-alike K-12 groups during the afternoon portion of January 20th’s WCSU in-service day. Our allied arts teachers here at CES will also have the opportunity to work together during one FFF afternoon.

  1. Other
  2. Supervision and Evaluation Update

We are on track to meet all Blue Ribbon deadlines including formal observation requirements for those in a summative cycle and midyear written evaluations for those in their first or second year in the district.

There are currently no staff members on a focused assistance plan.

  1. Town Report

Below is the report Marissa has written as a principal’s message for the town report:

I am thrilled to report on our work for a second year! It is truly an honor to serve the students, staff, and community of Calais as principal. We are in the midst of another great year. We continue to enjoy and build on traditions like Bring a Neighbor to Lunch, Gifts for Giving, and Fun Fitness Friday. We owe many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who make these events and many other things possible. We are also grateful to the entire Calais community for its steadfast support of our school. We have a school full of creative, healthy, and high-achieving students as a result of the financial support, volunteer hours, and general goodwill we receive from this wonderful town. On behalf of our students and staff, thank you.

In the spring of 2013, I worked with a committee of two teachers, two parents, and a board member to develop our Continuous Improvement Plan. This comprehensive plan brings together the many plans we already have in place – the Action Plan, Technology Plan, Title I Schoolwide Program Plan, etc. Here are some highlights for each of the three goal areas we chose: literacy, mathematics, and school climate. The full plan can be found at the following web address:


Some key targets in literacy are:

·        90% will score proficient or better on reading NECAP;

·        100% will make at least a year's worth of growth in reading;

·        75% will score proficient or better on writing NECAP; and

·        80% will write at grade level as measured by our Common Core rubrics on end-of-year prompts.

To measure progress toward our reading goals, we have continued to administer the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment three times per year. Data from this assessment are used to plan classroom instruction as well as identify and plan for intervention groups. We are looking forward to assessing student growth after midyear testing is completed in late January. All students have at least 90 minutes of literacy each day; many receive extra instruction from our reading specialist.

To achieve our writing goals, we have aligned writing instruction K-6 so that each text type is taught at the same time. This alignment has allowed us to develop a year-long, school-wide assessment system. Teachers score student prompts and plan writing instruction together. All students showed growth throughout our first unit of the year: narrative writing.


Some key targets in mathematics are:

·        80% will score proficient or better on math NECAP; and

·        Reduce proficiency gap between low-income and non-low-income students on math NECAP to less than 12%.

Our CES math committee has been guiding our internal efforts as well as our implementation of work coming out of the WCSU Mathematics Steering Committee. The WCSU committee has produced a first version of “non-negotiables” for student achievement in mathematics. We will spend the rest of the year working to align instruction and assessment to this document.

School Climate

We described our desired climate as follows:

·        We will provide an environment that is safe, supportive, and empowering to all members of the school community – students, staff, families, and town residents.

·        We will do what is best for all students.

Our school climate work has been largely driven by our adoption of a new behavior management system called PBIS (positive behavior interventions and supports). This system provides a framework for creating a school-wide program that differentiates support to meet the social and emotional needs of each student. We are currently focusing on using school-wide or Tier 1 strategies like recognizing positive behaviors and ensuring consistent responses to problem behaviors.


Principal's Report December 2013

E-mail Print PDF

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.


Page 5 of 18