This Has Been Quite a Week!

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Important Upcoming Dates

  • April 22 – All School Assembly in the Gym
  • April 24 – Tooth Fairies return
  • April 24 – Faculty Meeting in the Library 2:30 – 4:00 pm (food provided by Alt Ed)
  • April 25 – 5th Grade Parent Night
  • April 29 – NWEA Testing Window Begins, schedule will be forthcoming
  • May 2 – Early Release Day for students
  • May 8 – Faculty Meeting in the Library 2:30 – 4:00 (food provided by all Males)
  • May 10 – MEA Science Assessment for all 8th graders
  • May 10 – School Dance sponsored by 8th grade Physics day

It Has Been Quite a Week!

Clearly, a part of living is to accept that over which we have no control and persevere to control that which we can. The past seven days has put that idea to the extreme!

I, like many others, was glued to the news from every source, TV, Twitter and other social media and internet news outlets to wait for the word that sense and sensibility had return to our lives and that the evil that men can do had been put back into its box.

Earlier, I wrote about my childhood and growing up watching the Boston Marathon and cheering on all that is good about this day of competition. I know that the attack on Boston had an impact on me and the process of healing has been ongoing for me. I am sure that we will have some students who will still be experiencing some of the emotions related to such an event.

I am including a link to a resource from the National Association of School Psychologists concerning Helping Children Cope with National Tragic Events. These tips are for both parents and teachers and offer some wonderful suggestions for helping our kids understand why these things happen and how to deal with emotions that follow.

All School Assembly

We will hold an all school assembly in the Gym beginning at 10:45. We will call teams down to the gym beginning at 10:35, please wait until your team is called.

The assembly should last about 30 minutes and we will begin our regular lunch rotation at 11:15, with the 7th grade. Lunches will last for the typical 25 minutes and there will be time for students to go outside and get some fresh air.

We expect that we will have several visitors form other schools joining us for this assembly as well as a fairly good size contingent of local media. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility in helping us make this happen.

5th Grade Parent Night

Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 pm we will welcome the 5th Grade parents to our GMS Family. On this night, we usually give the parents some insight as to what they should expect for their children when they come to the middle school in August. Items of discussion are usually centered on homework expectations, how does the cafeteria work, will my child be able to play sports as a 6th grader and, really, how difficult is it to unlock the lockers?

In attendance will be Dawn Weber our Guidance Counselor, Teresa Merrill, School Nurse, Allison Mains, Instructional Strategist, Administration and a couple of 6th grade teachers.

We hope to see many 5th grade parents present and we look forward to greeting our newest community members.

Faculty Meeting Agenda

We will meet as a faculty in the Library on Wednesday, April 24 beginning at 2:30.

  • Accolades
  • Time for Open Discussion
  • What we know ( more on this later in this memo)
  • Other

NWEA Testing Window

The window for NWEA Testing will begin on Monday April 29th and go through the next 3 weeks. We will focus on one grade level per week, as we have done in years past.

We are addressing the needs for testing the 6th graders currently. We expect that we will be taking the laptop carts from the non-math 6th grade classrooms and using those for the week of testing. We will be hard-wiring those to the server as well as providing electrical outlets instead of depending upon their batteries. We have yet to set this date, or any of the grade level dates and will do so early next week. When that all gets solidified, we will send out the schedule.

As always, patience and flexibility will be critical in completing these assessments and we must all remember that the students will take their cue from us and how we respond to any of the difficulties we may face.

What We Know

One of the items on our agenda for our faculty meeting on Wednesday is “What We Know”. This came about because of a great discussion we had with the social studies and ELA folks on the Thursday before our school vacation.

I am sure that all of the other content areas had very vibrant conversations and discussions, but this one hit home to me and made me think about what do we need to do next.

There were many folks around table, all with great ideas and insight into our students and lots of experience in classrooms. We focused on lots of issues around improving student achievement and lots of statements and comments about the readiness of our students. We talked about our students willingness to read for enjoyment, how well they can write and for what purpose they write. We shared some ideas about how busy the kids seem to be nowadays, they all seem to be very highly scheduled. We also recognized that some kids just don’t want to do school work.

What struck me most about our conversation and discussion was how much we knew about our kids and their habits and character traits and yet how determined we seem to be about “keeping on keeping on”. Above, in speaking about the tragic events in Boston this week, I talked about controlling the things we can control. This might also be good advice for us. We cannot control parental involvement of the schedules our kids keep, but we can work to re-engage our kids in learning, I think!

I am adding a link to a blog by Tom Whitford, a self described “Lead Learner” of a PK-8 school in rural Wisconsin that I found more than interesting, probably compelling would be a better way to describe this!

I a asking all of us to read this blog entry for our faculty meeting on Wednesday. It is not that long and Tom is a fairly funny guy so he keeps a very difficult topic in the proper perspective and easy to read. Tom Whitford’s Blog

Learning Team Homework

I do want to remind all that we had homework to do over the vacation. At the end of the day on Friday, after we had completed our Learning Team work for the day, I asked all to provide two writing examples. The first was an exit slip, of sorts, that completed the statements “I used to think _____, but now I know ______, that would highlight one powerful, or ah ha moment in your work with your learning team. The second writing was for each of you to complete a “Pixar Pitch” about your experience with the Learning Teams.

I have received some of the “I thinks” and they were to be emailed to me on Friday, so if you haven’t yet sent this to me that would be great to have them. The second write, the Pixar Pitch, is due by the end of the day on Monday, April 22nd.

I am looking forward to reading all of these.

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