Weekly Update: 8/25/2014

Hi everyone- I am hearing that internet and phones are down at Emory today, Sunday, so hopefully they will be working by Monday when most of you read this.  Cross your fingers.

Fire Drill:

If bells and systems are working we will try for our fire drill on Monday after 6th grade lunch.   Please let Eunice know if you do not have your emergency red backpack and yellow and pink cards.  Numbers have been repainted down on grass area though they need to fix a couple of things still.

Employee Info Card:

Please make sure to turn in your employee info card to Eunice asap.  This is important for us to have so we can reach you or your family in case of emergency.

Principal Round Table:

We will have our first Principal Round Table meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 26th at 7:30a.m.  If you have something you would like the committee to discuss, please drop your “problem/solution” slip into the green box in the copy room before Tuesday.

Bus Evacution Drill:

This will take place on Tues. Aug. 26th.  Please see schedule that Eunice sent to you a while back.

Field Trip Form:

Eunice recently sent you a field trip form that you need to save and complete and return to Eunice well before you plan to take a field trip.  See Eunice if you have questions.


ELD will begin on Wednesday since we have bus evac. drill on Tuesday.  Thank you for giving your names to Adriana and thank you to Adriana for all of her hard work to create the groups.  Please read Adriana’s detailed emails for more info and remember to email her when you have students who leave or new students.  Please remember that we have two less impact teachers this year to support with ELD so some of our classes will have larger numbers.

Impact Teachers:

I have more bittersweet news…Congratulations to Michelle Gates who was hired at IBCS as a 3rd grade job share teacher!  Congratulations also to Jaime Schoenbrun who was just hired as a third grade teacher in Mountain Empire School District.  We will miss them both but wish them the best of luck!  At this time, we have Ann Linn and new impact teacher Melina Waltl.  We are in need of three more impact teachers.  I will be gone Wednesday morning to sit in another set of interviews.  If you know of anyone who has a credential and might be interested, please have them call me.

Staff Meeting:

We will have a staff meeting this week in Rm. 16 to learn about Illuminate (the new DataDirector).  Thanks to Connie, Erin, and Shelly who will lead you through the new layout and features, and show you some “favorite reports” to run.

Computer Lab:

An email was sent last Friday with tentative computer lab schedule for k-3.  It is also posted on the white board.  Please read email and sign up for a spot on the whiteboard.  Teresa will be helping in all of the p.m. slots.

Library Schedule:

As we make adjustments to library schedule based on teacher requests, we continue to have subtle changes to the schedule.  We might have one more change but in any case, if you are a “WEEK 2” teacher, you have library this week.

Board Visit:

The SBUSD Board Members and Exec. Team will visit on Thursday morning.  They will split into two groups and plan to briefly visit each classroom.


Thank you to the ILT members who attended our meeting last Tuesday where much of the focus was around CC Math.  Maria has generously posted copies of the 7 norms for a CC Math classroom in our copy room.  Check them out as you make copies.  They are quick, easy reads, and give helpful hints that make a lot of sense.  Here is a link to a great TEDtalk that we all found really informative AND also entertaining.

Math Class Needs a Makeover:


Question of the Week:

If you could learn another language other than the languages you currently know, what language would that be? And why?

Quote of the Week:

“Stumbling isn’t a bad thing.  It means you were on the move, instead of sitting down doing nothing.” –Pataki


Weekly Update: 8/18/2014

I hope you survived the hot weekend and found somewhere to stay cool and relax.  Here are the updates for this week:

Impact Teachers:

After my visit with Asst. Supt. Cindy Schaub last Friday, I decided to quickly go the the impact teacher interviews since I had heard that most of the candidates were interviewing Friday.  I am pleased that I did go as we were able to obtain one impact teacher who will be working in our primary grades support position.  Melina Waltl will most likely begin some prep work later this week and will be ready to begin supporting grades TK, K, 1, and 2 next Tuesday.  We are still in search of two more impact teachers.  One for our PLC rotations and one for our Newcomer groups.  To give you some perspective, our SBUSD schools need over 20 impact teachers combined and there were only 8 viable candidates from last Friday.  We have another set of interviews scheduled on Monday but as of Friday, only 2 candidates are scheduled to interview.  If you know of anyone who might be interested, please encourage them to call me or HR.  Some of our substitute teachers may not know how opportunistic this position is as all of our full time hires have been impact teachers in our district.

ILT (Instructional Leadership Team):

Our first ILT meeting will take place all day this Tuesday.  Thank you to our former members and thank you to our new members!  Tracy Rolfe will be admin. designee for the day.  Thank you Tracy!

PLCs/Grade level release time:

We are still in search of another impact teacher to complete our PLC rotations.  While we are waiting to begin PLC collaboration, please know that I have budgeted 3 release days per grade level for the year.  If you would like to take your full day or two half-day release days in the next few weeks, please check with Eunice about high impact days and then complete a P-30 and give to Eunice.  Ideally, we should we receive the p-30 one week before your requested release time.  HR has asked for us to give them one week notice.  Thank you.  Note: 2nd grade took one of their release days over summer break.  Later in the year, I will be able to determine if we have add’l funds for more release time.

Library/Computer Lab schedules:

Thank you for turning in your preferences for library and computer lab times.  I will send you the tentative schedule asap.  If you are schedule for Mondays or Fridays, please keep in mind, we will have open slots available if you should miss your time due to holidays.


There will be no staff meeting this Wednesday.  Please use this as a time for “PLC” since we might not be able to have PLCs for another couple of weeks.

Chance to Dance:

I am proud to say that we have some of the best representation in the district for Mary Murphy’s Chance to Dance program.  If you would like to join our already prestigious group of dance teachers, the first lesson is this Wednesday, Aug. 20th at 4:30p.m.  This is another great way to get students involved in active lifestyle that reaches those who may not like the standard forms of P.E.

Fire Drill:

We have a fire drill scheduled for Thursday right after 6th grade lunch recess.  Please check your red backpack ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need.  We have placed a work order for classroom numbers that hang along the east fence to be replaced, repainted–fixed!  Until then, please do your best to find the appropriate spot.  For this time, please prepare your students ahead of time about the piercing alarm that they will hear.

Classroom Visits:

Thank you for those of you who hosted our first set of classroom visits from district personnel last week.  They were very complimentary on the number of teachers who are taking risks around CC Math as well as those ILC/new Chromebook teachers who are jumping in and trying to engage students through Chromebook use.

SBUSD Board Visit:

We will have our first visit from Exec. Team and SBUSD Board Members on Thursday, Aug. 28th from 8:30-10:30.  They would like to visit every classroom for a quick pop-in.  To accomplish this in 2 hours, they plan to break into 2 groups which means you will NOT have a group of 10 people walk in to your classroom at the same time.  I will bring one group around and Chris will escort the other group.  The purpose of this visit is simply to say “hello” to you and the students.

We know that this is Picture Day for primary grades and will work around that schedule.

Dismissal Procedures and Sub Plans:

As some of you may know, we had a first grader missing for some time after school last Thursday.  Fortunately, he was found safe and sound.  Unfortunately, the guest teacher released him to someone who waved at him thinking it was his mother/family member and allowed him to exit the room.  This was simply unfortunate but gave us an opportunity to reflect on “What can we do that might prevent this from happening again?”.  If you do not have this already in your sub plans template, please include a passage about explicit details of your dismissal routines and also make note if you have any students that you feel might need a guest teacher to pay “special attention” to around dismissal time (or any time for that matter), please note that as well.

Fall Fundraiser:

Please remember to “hype” the Fall Fundraiser that begins this week.  All proceeds to our PTA and back to the students.  We will also be sending PTA membership info and envelopes out soon.  Students who have families who join will receive another free homework pass and special rock and roll recess.

Question of the Week:

Please share one website or resource that you have found to be very helpful in your planning and/or instruction.

Quote of the Week:

“Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford




Weekly Update: 8/11/2014

Thank you everyone for your hard work and positive energy in getting the first two weeks off the ground.  I have heard many of our new, and returning, parents comment on how happy they are to have their children at Emory.  Here are the updates for a busy week #3:

Monday fliers:

We have finally received the Parents rights/Tech permission slips packets from Print Shop.  It is very important that these go out on Monday and I am sorry to say, you will need to be in charge of monitoring the return of several permission slips from this packet.  We have placed an extra packet in your boxes and I highly encourage you to look through it quickly.  It won’t take more than a couple of minutes for you to familiarize yourself with the forms that need to be returned.  Pay close attention to page 2 of the packet and the forms at the back of the packet.  These all need to be signed and returned.  I know many of you offer “incentives” for bringing important forms back quickly– please consider doing this again.

We also  begin our Fall Fundraiser on Monday so please HYPE this up with your students.

Tuesday Rock ‘n’ Roll extra recess:

I will be sending you a list of names of those students whose parents attended the special PTA meeting last Monday.  These students were given a “free homework” pass and were promised a special extra recess.  This extra recess will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 12th at 1:15p-1:30p.  Please release the students on the list to attend.  We will have music playing and equipment out there for them to use.  I will supervise this recess.  I am sorry that they will miss 15 min. of your instruction but please honor this time for them.  They should be back in your classrooms by 1:35p.

Please avoid bringing your class out for P.E. at this time on Tuesday.

Staff Meeting:

Wednesday we will have our first staff meeting in Rm. 21 at 1:45p. We will review PLC scheduling changes as well as changes to our library schedule and discuss our new computer lab.  We will take at least 15 minutes for Roseann and Angela to introduce IXL Math and give you some training and tips from their piloting of the program last year.  For this reason, please bring your laptop and current roster.  Thanks to Roseann and Angela for their support!  If you haven’t responded to the email/survey that Roseann sent out last week regarding IXL, please do so as this will help them plan for Wednesday.

TK morning recess:

After reviewing the schedule, we have realized that it would be best for our TK classes to use the big playground for their morning recess (proximity to their class, less disruption for kinder classes, etc.)  To avoid conflicts with primary recess, they are going to recess from 9:20-9:40 Mon-Thurs. (keep in mind it takes at least 5 min. for 4 and 5 year olds to line up, get drinks, etc.) and from 9:10-9:30 on Fridays.  Please make note of this on your recess schedule, planner, etc. and please make sure that your class is not taking P.E. or running breaks during these times as it interferes with the little ones who are trying to get to and from playground, get to bathroom, get to drinking fountains, etc.  If you absolutely feel like your students need a special break prior to their upcoming morning recess, then please use the dirt field only.

End of Unit Assessments:

Everyone should have received a detailed email recently from Ed. Services Coordinator, Michelle Syverson, explaining the Math End of Unit Assessments.  If you have not had a chance to read that email, please do so as it may well answer some of your questions.  We know that many of you are finding some challenges with implementation of Common Core Math and that’s to be expected.  I am thrilled to see so many of you jumping in and dealing with the same “cognitive dissonance” or struggles that your students are facing with regards to this “new” math.  Keep facing those challenges and fears as it will only help all of us to grow and be better teachers of math.

In spite of our anxiety, End of Unit 1 assessments are arriving in our office.  These end of unit assessments are a great way to get a picture of our students baseline data- What do they know/understand? What don’t they know/understand?  We will be placing them in your boxes.  Keep in mind, these are to be given after Unit 1 but NOT entered into our Illuminate (our new DataDirector).  Only Unit 2, 4, and 6 assessments will be entered.  However, all end of unit assessments should be administered.  Please remember, if we are looking for authentic information, prepping students with problems right off the assessments will not give you accurate info on your students.  Please refrain from doing this.

Classroom Visits:

Barb Montfort apologizes for her need to reschedule from last week.  She will now be visiting on Thursday from 10a-12noon. Additionally, Amy I. will be visiting with Chris and bringing Lisa Celaya (from Ed. Services) and Nancy Walters (from Student Services) along as the 4 of them will work on calibrating their understanding around Common Core math expectations.  They will be visiting Friday from 8a-10a.  During this same time on Friday, I will be meeting with Asst. Supt. Cindy Schaub to discuss our school goals and my professional goals.  We will not be visiting classrooms as she will be scheduling another time in the near future to visit classrooms.

Epi Pen training:

We have several students who have allergies which could require the need for epi pen intervention.  Thank you to those teachers who have already attended an inservice provided by Nurse Sharon.  Nurse Sharon realized there are more teachers who have expressed interest to be trained as they know they might run into this issue on the playground, in group rotations, etc.  Therefore, she is generously providing yet another short training after school on Friday, Aug. 15th based on request of one of our teachers who was not able to attend the previous trainings.  If you are interested in attending, please email Sharon Jacques.  If you are unable to attend, but would like to be trained on how to administer an epi pen, please also email her as she is always willing to make time for these trainings.  Note: This year, Emory has more students with epi pen plans than any other school in our district.

New Hire:

Congratulations and welcome to Karina Rodriguez who was hired last Friday to be the job share teacher in TK (Room 4) with Maile! This was an interview process that involved a question portion with panel on Wednesday as well as a “demo lesson” with the students in Room 4 on Friday.  It was a difficult decision for the panel as there were several highly qualified candidates.  Karina comes highly recommended with some background experience that will serve our students well as she has taught multiple years in Kindergarten and primary grades.  She will begin this week by shadowing/co-teaching with Maile for a couple of days and then will begin on her own next Monday.  Please join me in welcoming her to our school.

Question of the Week:

“Where were you born and how long did you live there?”

Quote of the Week:

“Every child deserves a champion; an adult who never gives up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they possibly can be” -Rita Pierson

Weekly Update: 8/4/2014

Good morning! Have a great week! Here are the week 2 updates.

Emergency Cards:

At this time, please turn in any and all emergency cards that you have.  For those students who have not turned their card in, please write their full name on a sticky note and attach to your class set of cards.  The office will follow up with those families.

Congratulations to Kerr and Molina for turning in complete class sets- their classes have earned a cold treat!  They were also the first two classrooms to turn in complete class set of residency paperwork.

Dismissal Time:

We seem to have a lot of students wandering around campus after school.  When I have inquired, they say that their teacher is dismissing them from the classroom.  Please remember that you are expected to walk your students to either the front or the back of the school.  I realize that this is not a perfect science.  Please devise a “plan” that would include walking your students out of class, dropping off “walkers” (for upper grade), dropping off “extended learning students” as you either turn to go to the front, or walk towards the back of the school.  3rd grade teachers will need to work something out for another class to take their students out to the back parking lot if their teacher has duty at front of the school.  I am open to other solutions and we can discuss further at Aug. 13th staff meeting.  Please also make sure to have this plan in your sub plans as our guest teachers did not walk the students to their spots last week also.

Thank you for your attention to the safety of our students.

Back to School Nights:

We have our “Back to School Nights” on Wed. Aug. 6 (4-6) and Wed. Aug. 13 (1-3) (Kinder already had their orientation/open house.)  Be thinking about some of the info you might want to provide to parents:

-checking in with ID at the office

-Common Core Math and ELA  now (have samples of CC Math examples and/or handout to give them of grade level standards)

-combination classes (if you are lucky enough to have one 🙂 and explain how neither grade level will “miss out”)

-show them how to access the district webpage and inform them that your own class webpage will be up and running soon (show them how to access your class webpage from the district site)

-discuss the classroom supplies that you would appreciate them donating if they care to

-review PBS main rules

I will also be reviewing much of this in my “spiel” before they head to your classrooms but I will be speaking quickly to cover a lot of info and it will be even more powerful if they hear it again from you.

Staff Meeting:

No staff meeting this week.  Please use time to prepare for upcoming Back to School Night, set up IXL Math, etc.  We will have a staff meeting on Aug. 13th.

Grade level lead meetings:

The grade level lead teachers will be released soon for a one-day planning and learning session.  After that, they will meet after school, as usual, on selected dates throughout the year.  Please speak with your grade level and determine who will be your grade level rep and email me asap (names are due to D.O. by Aug. 5th–that’s tomorrow) so we can arrange for a sub teacher.  Only one rep can go to the full day meeting.

Computer Lab:

Our computer lab will be open soon.  We are just finalizing some details regarding the lab.  Please keep in mind that the schedule will change once we get PLC tech class AND “library” schedule up and running as Teresa will be assisting in the computer lab in the afternoons so afternoons might have a “set” schedule for Gr. K-3.  This may mean that there is not as much “open” lab time but we do intend to make sure everyone gets their “fair share”.

Open Lab for ILC/ILD:

If you have Chromebooks, please take advantage of the open lab times at the D.O. tomorrow, Aug. 5th from 3:30-5:30.  An email went out last week.

Classroom visits and Visitors:

Chris and I will begin to visit classrooms this week for a little longer than “check ins” of last week.  Barb Montfort will also be by tomorrow, Tuesday, to visit classrooms and check in with you about Writing, Chromebooks, etc. and support you with any other questions you might have.

New Asst. Supt. Cindy Schaub visited very briefly last Friday and didn’t stay more than 5 minutes as she realized we were busy answering emergency phone line in my office.  🙂 She hopes to come again soon and stay longer.

TK job-share interviews:

We plan to conduct interviews (for job-share with Maile) this Wednesday afternoon.

PLC update:

We will be needing to hold interviews for Impact teachers in the near future.  The district has posted the position and hopefully the applications will be flowing in at a good rate so we can interview some quality candidates soon.

Question of the Week:

What is one “concept” from CC Math that you have “tried on” already?

Quote of the Week:

“Change is like a trapeze– you’ve got to let go before you grab hold– and timing is everything.

-Terry Deal