Weekly Update: 4/28/2014

6 weeks and 2 days left.  I know this is the time of year where we are weary and winding down on the year but I encourage you to press on, using this time to challenge yourself with trying something new or challenging, and encouraging your students to do the same.

Here are the updates for this week:


We have changes in the PLC days this week (see my email on Friday):

Monday: 2nd, 5th

Tuesday: 3rd, 6th

Thursday:  1st, 4th


This week ChromeBook (ILD) classrooms will take on the CAASPP testing.  This week, Chris will begin to put together a make-up schedule.  Since we are “testing the test”, and not the students, we won’t be doing make ups for every student, particularly those who maybe didn’t finish a session.  We will try our best not to inconvenience all of the CB classrooms and hope to use our other computers/netbooks to do make up testing but please know we may have to borrow a few CBs if necessary.

Writing PD:

Our primary Writing PD will take place this Wednesday in Rm. 21. from 8-10:45a.m. Please arrive before 8a.m. so we can begin on time.  (No Imagine Learning before school on Wed. morning)

Voluntary Transer Forms:

I sent out an important email last Friday with all of the details and deadlines for you regarding these forms.  Please read this email carefully.  The email had the forms attached but they will also be in your cubbies Monday morning.

Board and Exex. Team visit:

Supt. McNamara, on behalf of all of our guests last Friday, wanted to thank you all for a wonderful visit to Emory.  Our guests were very excited to see the teaching and learning that is taking place at our school.  She wanted to extend a special thanks to those teachers who were visited.


This week will kick off our Pasta for Pennies fundraiser.  Please read email from Angelica for details.  Our goal is to raise $2000.

I know we have fundraisers going throughout the year and I know it can be hard to keep track of all of them, but all of them really do benefit our students so please do what you can to “hype” them in your classrooms.  One of the “easiest” that requires no money out of anyone’s pocket is our BoxTops.  All we ask is for you to encourage and collect from students and Phyllis does all the rest.  Phyllis is hoping that we can have ALL classrooms represented in our next collection which will take place near the end of May.  Thank you!

Question of the Week:

When you look at your legacy as a teacher, what do want your students to remember about you?

Quote of the Week:

“Mistakes are a fact of life.  It is the response to error that counts.”

-Nikki Giovanni



Weekly Update: 4/21/2014

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weekend spending time with family and friends.  Here are the updates:


Please spend your time unpacking Unit 7 standards and if you are the rep for your grade level lead meetings, please make sure to share what is being reviewed and discussed at these meetings.  If you are soon to begin the CAASPP assessment, please feel free to take some time to review, discuss, etc.


Thank you again to 3rd grade for being the “guinea pigs” last week.  We ran into glitches and learned a lot, but everyone perservered and we are better for it now.  Thank you to Chris for checking in to the classrooms regularly to help with any issues.  Thank you for your patience and thank you for documenting any issues and giving these notes to Chris.  He will be bringing these to his “post-CAASPP” testing coordinators meeting to share.  Barb Montfort will then share these with the state testing committee.  Another shout out to the Chrome Book teachers who are sharing their CBs and having them charged and ready (with headphones).

Writing PD:

We will have upper grade writing Pd on MOnday at the district office.  (8-10:40a.m. in conference Rm. 4)  Please bring any ELA mentor texts you are currently using (stories, CORE lit, non-fiction text, etc.)

SBUSD Foundation Basket:

Our basket is due May 1 and Maria and Cindy will need a little time to shop and put the basket together so we really need to have donations in this week.  Please, if you can, donate a little money to this worthy event.  Eunice will collect in the office.  Thank you!

Board Visit:

Our SBUSD Board and Exec. Team will be visiting this Friday.  I will meet with them for 15-30 minutes and then we will begin to visit classrooms.  As I mentioned before, they are very interested in seeing how the district instructional goals that they established are being put into action in the classrooms.  Realistically, we usually aren’t able to visit more than 4-5 classrooms and I try to bring them to different grade levels.

Summer Professional Development:

If you haven’t had a chance to read the detailed email from Amy Illingworth regarding the exciting summer PDs that are being offered, I encourage you to do so.  Some of you have inquired about the Illuminate training.  (this will be our new DataDirector but will encompass even more that will be useful to our district office personnel as well.)  I had 3 teachers who expressed interest to me immediately after reading the email and I was able to get them all approved as our site’s “experts”.  The district is now allowing 2 reps per site so we were lucky to be the first ones to inquire and were approved for 3.  Thank you to Shelly, Erin, and Connie will be attending the training and then helping the rest of us!!  I know many of you have signed up for the Math CC training and know that this will be give you more confidence going into the new school year.

Upcoming Events:

Please pay close attention to the bulletin that Eunice posts weekly as well as the white board, PLC calendar, and emails as it’s going to be a busy upcoming 7 weeks.  Find 5-10 minutes daily to read your emails and write important items into your planner and/or calendar.

Question of the Week:

If you were to write a book, what would you write about?

Quote of the Week:

“Our job is to teach the students we have.  Not the ones that we would like to have. Not the ones we used to have. Those we have right now. All of them.” — Dr. Kevin Maxwell



Weekly Update: 4/14/2014

Here are the updates for this week:


PLC’s are back to normal this week with regular days and times.  ILT leads, please help facilitate the guidelines for unpacking standards which will help each team member be involved in processing the standards and having a voice.


Testing the test begins this week with 3rd grade.  3rd grade teachers, please see Chris’ email sent to you on Saturday night regarding student labels.  Amy I., Chris, and I will be coming around in the morning to 3rd grade classrooms to see how it is going and support teachers.  Please let us know what’s working and what needs refinement.  Amy and her dept. will be sending info to the testing headquarters as requested.  Please follow guidelines for expected times for each section.  You probably should not be spending more than 1.2-2 hrs on each section.  If a student is not finished, that student is probably “checked out” at this point.

SST day:

Monday is our first yellow folder day for our primary teachers.  Please bring your yellow folders to Rm. 1 when the roving sub arrives to your classroom.  If Tracy was not able to fit you into the schedule for Monday, don’t worry, we will find some time in near future to meet with you and we will be having more sst days before the end of school.

Classroom visits:

Shelley Burgess will visit Tuesday, April 15th from 8-11a.m.  She may also want to pop into 3rd grade to see how CAASPP testing is going.

The SBUSD Board of Trustees and EXec. Team will be visiting on Friday, April 25th from 10-12ish.  We will probably only have time to visit 5-6 classrooms at most.  They would like to see how the district goals (see here) are being implemented in classrooms  and they would also like to peek into a CAASPP testing room.


Reminder that there is NO ELD for 3rd grade this week and NO PBS this week.  All other grades will have ELD this week Tuesday-Friday.

Foundation Dinner and Dance Basket:

Our annual Stars Under the Stars event is coming soon and each school is responsible for putting a basket together.  This basket needs to be ready by May 1st.  Maria Hopkins and Cindy have generously offered to put it together but we need your donations of $.  If each staff member could donate a small amount of $ then we would be able to create one of the best baskets at the event! Remember, all proceeds from this event go right back to the students!  Eunice will have an envelope in the office for donations.

Transitional Kindergarten:

I was informed last Friday that they will be opening a TK classroom at Emory for next school year.  We will host all TK students from Mendoza, Berry, and Emory.  We just sent in enrollment numbers to the district and I will be meeting with Kim Phifer soon to discuss projected classrooms and profiles.  Our numbers are lower than last year and I anticipate that she will recommend a number of combination classrooms.  I have not given any thought to teaching assignments at this point.  I always wait until I meet with Kim and voluntary site assignments are distributed and collected.

Box Tops:

Dana will send students around on Tuesday to collect and Phylis will be here on Wednesday to collect.  Please remind your students to bring them in on Monday.


March attendance winners will be announced on Monday.

Blue Slips:

I will do Blue Slip drawings on Monday during lunch.  Please send a student with your blue slip bin to lunch on Monday.

Question of the Week:

With anything new, anxiety often follows but in thinking about Common Core Math, what excites you?

Quote of the Week:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Norman MacEwan




Weekly Update: 4/7/2014

Welcome back everyone and I sincerely hope you find yourself well rested because we’ve got a busy 9 weeks ahead of us!!  Thank you classroom teachers for your positive attitudes and focused attention and involvement in our PD on Monday.  Here are the updates for this week:


We will have 5th grade PLC on Tuesday at 8:55a.m. due to the minimum day AND 1st/4th grade PLC will take place on Friday this week since there were no students on Monday.  Please use this time to plan around ELA Common Core, review CAASPP needs (for grades 3-6), or to do some exploration on some of the resources provided to you on Monday with regards to Math Common Core.

Staff Meeting:

We will have a staff meeting this Wednesday for last minute review of CAASPP information for Gr. 3-6 in Rm. 13 at 1:40.  (Thank you Leslie!) This should not last more than 45 minutes.  Gr. K-2, please use this time to meet with your grade level team to do some add’l planning.  We will NOT have a staff meeting next Wednesday.

CAASPP- Please read 3rd-6th grade teachers:

To those of you who are administering the test, please refer to emails from Chris if your memory is failing you after Spring Break. (like mine is 🙂  He sent emails with info on the following dates:

3/5/2014 -powerpoint and assessment schedule

3/7/2014 – youtube video on field test overview

3/12/2014 – reminder email about meeting with your buddy teacher to practice

3/13/2014 – update from CAASPP meeting to emphasize spending time on “training test” and to share with you the focus for each grade level/grade level variations

3/17/2014 – to alert you that you should be receiving an email from Smarter Balanced with your log-in information.  (a few teachers confirmed with me today that they received this email from Smarter Balanced a day or two before Spring Break)

Thank you again to our Chromebook teachers for your flexibility in lending your Chromebooks to our other grade levels for CAASPP preparation and testing.  Please plan to “loan” them to your partners for an avg. of one to two hours per day for this week for practice.

For those of you who are “borrowing” the Chromebooks, please remember it is up to you to confer with your Chromebook partner to arrange a time to practice with them.  Please do not assume that the 6th grade teachers can loan them to you at the drop of a hat.  Hopefully some of you already did some practice before break but if you didn’t, we don’t have a lot of time left and the 6th grade teachers will still need them for some instruction over the course of the next couple of weeks.

In order to accommodate the need to practice AND take the actual assessment, we will not have ELD for the following grade levels on the following weeks: (hopefully this will allow borrowing to take place from 8:15-10:00ish this week)

April 8-11

No ELD for 3rd grade.  Please meet with your 6th grade chromebook partner to see if you could use this time to practice with your students.

April 14-18

No ELD for 3rd grade.  CAASPP testing taking place from 8:15-11:30 daily.

April 21-25

No ELD for Grades 4-6.  CAASPP testing taking place from 8:15-11:30 daily.

April 28-May 2

No ELD for Grades 4-6. CAASPP testing taking place from 8:15-11:30 daily.

May 5-16

These are our alloted “make-up” days and hopefully we can return to normal ELD schedules for all grades during these weeks.  We will keep you posted.

Please also note that your RSP schedule may become quite “flexible” during the next few weeks as Tracy and Nora create a schedule that allows them to push in for CAASPP support and pull out for any one on one testing that may be required due to IEP goals.



We will not have our Monday PBS lessons until after CAASPP testing is finished so please use this time for other worthy endeavors– like Writing!!

PLNU Art Students:

Our Art student teachers will be teaching their first lessons with Gr. 2-4 this Thursday at 1:30p.m.  Please remember not to jump in and take over the lesson— this is their time to succeed (or fail a little) and learn from their mistakes.

Question of the Week:

What was your favorite highlight from Spring Break?

Quote of the Week:

“If you think you can, you can.  And if you think you can’t, you’re right”.  -Mary Kay Ash