Weekly Update: 2/23/2015

Good evening or Good Morning! Here are the updates for this week:


Our PBS lesson is for Dismissal Expectations.  This is an area that is still a challenge for us as a whole, with all the different dismissal areas and arrangements that students have with their families.  Please take the time on Monday morning to review this and practice reinforcing throughout the week. Thanks!


This week we will begin unpacking the standard that you plan to teach next Friday, March 6th when Supt. McNamara visits.  This should be authentic so please look ahead in your plans and determine as a team which focus standard in Math that you would expect to be teaching next Friday, March 6th.

Chris will provide some guiding questions as you begin to unpack the standard this week and then next week in PLC, he will help plan the actual lesson with every team.

We also have a PLC switch for this week.

4th grade will have PLC on Thursday and 6th grade will have PLC on Tuesday.  Same times, just a switch in days.


We have ILT (Instructional Leadership Team) on Tuesday.  Tracy will be our Admin. Designee.

Staff Meeting/PD:

We will NOT have a staff meeting this weekend, please disregard the bulletin.  We will have a full staff meeting and PD on March 4th and another short staff meeting on March 11th or but NO STAFF MEETING March 18th so that everyone can finish up with report cards.

Newcomer Impact Teacher:

Laura Acosta will begin seeing groups this week in Room 30.  If you received an email from Adriana, this means you will have students being seen for intervention.  Thank you to Laura and Adriana for quickly assessing and organizing these groups.  Laura now has email as well so please feel free to email her with any questions at lacosta@sbusd.org

VPA performance at Mendoza:

Please make sure to read Eunice’s email regarding sending out and collecting your permission slips for the walking field trip to Mendoza.  For Gr. 2-6, we will end ELD early on Friday, March 13th at 8:40 so everyone can begin their walk to Mendoza by 8:45a.m. since the show starts at 9:15 and our younger 2nd and 3rd grade students might need a bit longer to walk over.

Earthquake/Fire Drill:

We will have an earthquake drill this Friday as we are expected to have one every 3 months.  I do not always alert you to our drills but since our school is not modernized, we need to use the PA for these drills and the signals are not always obvious.  As we ring the “all clear” for the earthquake, we will then evacuate to the grass, thus fulfilling our monthly fire drill expectations as well.

Read Across America:

We will host our annual Read Across America event next Monday, March 2nd.  Please look for an email from Roseann asking for your student readers’ names by this Wednesday.  We will have flag salute, attendance winner announcements AND our Reader’s Oath led by Supt. Mc and Board Member Ellsworth all on Monday, March 2nd!!  Please help Roseann out and get her your student names by this Wednesday.

Question of the Week:

In light of the Academy Awards, which movie would you recommend to a friend? (No need for it to be a Academy Award nominee or winner)

Quote of the Week:

“Never, if possible, lie down at night without being able to say: I have made one human being, at least, a little wiser, a little happier, or a little better this day.”  -Charles Kingsley

Weekly Update: 2/16/2015

Good morning! I sincerely hope everyone was able to enjoy a restful 4-day weekend with some beautiful So Cal weather! Here are the updates for our 4-day work week:


Please continue to follow your PLC minutes from last week as most of you made a commitment to scoring PTAs, unpacking new standards, and looking at agreed-upon student work samples.  Chris and I will continue to be present for all or part of each PLCs for support.

Wednesday Staff PD:

We will have our staff PD this Wednesday as last week’s was cancelled.  Please bring your laptop, Teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving article from last time, and your journal to Rm. 21 at 1:40p.m.

Instructional Rounds:

We are set up to hold our next Instructional Rounds on Monday, Feb. 23rd when 2nd grade will be visiting 3rd grade classrooms.  Impact teachers will be guest teachers in 2nd grade classrooms.

EoU assessments:

Please make sure to read emails from Michelle Syverson that were sent out to most grade levels last week regarding details of your End of Unit assessments.  There were many good details included in these emails.  Feel free to take 5 minutes of your PLCs to read these together as a grade level too!

New faces on campus:

Please welcome our new Newcomer impact teacher, Laura Acosta who has already begun planning and prepping for her groups and will be pulling out students to assess this week.  Groups will begin sometime next week and teachers will be notified of the schedule.  Laura will take over after school Imagine Learning beginning today.  Please also welcome Southwest College student, Andres Cardenas, who will be attaining some necessary hours by volunteering in Rm. 27.

Question of the Week:

What has been one of your favorite or worst Valentine’s gifts or memories?  Let’s hope we can figure out if it’s the “best” or “worst”….

Quote of the Week:

“What the heart gives away is never gone.  It is kept in the hearts of others.” – Robin St. John


Weekly Update: 2/9/2015

Good morning! Here are the updates for our 4-day week:

6th grade Camp:

I want to say “Thank you” to our wonderful 6th grade teachers and their amazing support crew of Eunice and Adriana for making 6th grade camp happen again this year.  We are definitely seeing the effects of camp costs and a tough economy but we managed to send all but a handful of students to camp (and we offered to send them all but some parents have a tough time letting go, which is bound to happen)  and I received feedback that this group was one of our best!  Thanks!

Blue Slips:

I will be holding our Blue Slip drawings today at lunch so please remember to send your blue slips to lunch with a student.


Our PBS lesson for Monday morning will focus on Cafeteria Expectations.  Melinda Seubert has also kindly included the PBS flip chart for Gift Shop expectations as we have our Valentine’s Gift shop open this week.  I want to thank all of you for setting and reinforcing expectations for walking in the hallways as I have seen quiet lines in the hallways even when students don’t know I’m watching.  Let’s continue to set the bar high with all of our other PBS expectations.


Please continue your work in PLCs around deeply unpacking standards.  This week might also include, amongst other things, scoring of your PTAs and completing the Units of Study/Assessments survey that is on our district website under “Feedback” and was included as a link in last week’s Weekly Update.  Chris or myself will be making every effort to attend every PLC for at least a portion, if not all, of the time.  We are there to support, answer questions, ask guiding questions, and keep on track if necessary so that this precious time can be maximized effectively.  We will use your previous week’s PLC minutes to help us understand your agenda for the current week so please try to adhere to your “next steps”.  Thank you.

Classroom Visits:

Thank you to those teachers who received visits from Chris, Amy I., and Jen O. last Thursday.  I received great and positive feedback from the team as they noticed that all teachers were engaging students in critical thinking and releasing students to do more and more of the “cognitive workload”, as challenging as that may be.

On Friday, I visited just about every, single, classroom for just 5-7 minutes and was equally impressed with the level of instruction and efforts to engage students in independent reading, speaking, writing= THINKING!  I also saw more differentiated instruction than ever before in different forms: small group, advanced organizers, challenge problems, etc.

I know as educators we often don’t receive enough praise so I want to say “Thank you” for all of your efforts.

Shout Out:

I wanted to give a special “shout out” to Mike H. who generously helps out with traffic duty even when he’s not assigned to.  This past week, Mike covered traffic duty for our 6th grade teachers who were at camp because I forgot to find coverage.  He didn’t say anything, just did what he did because he is who he is– a great man.  Thanks Mike!

Question of the Week:

What ELA standard are you finding to be more confident in teaching which has come from the tough unpacking work that you did last school year?

Quote of the Week:

“What we will remember when we’re old are the things we did for others”.  -Will Rogers




Weekly Update: 2/2/2015

Happy Groundhog Day! Here are the updates for this week, which might be a little quieter without those noisy 6th grade teachers! I mean students…. 🙂


Please make sure to review Restroom Expectations and reinforce these when you are near the student restrooms, on duty, etc.  The more specific feedback we give to ALL students around our expectations, the better!


Please carefully read Adriana’s email around adjustments to ELD this week while our 6th graders are at camp.  It was sent out twice last week.

Box Tops flier:

Our wonderful retired teacher, Phyllis, is now trying something new to motivate students to bring in Box Tops, which bring us MONEY for doing next to nothing, except promoting this as teachers, and students using their scissors at home once in a while.  On Monday, a flier is going home to inform everyone that we will be giving one $20 gift card to a deserving student via an opportunity drawing which will take place in June.  Any student who brings in 25 Box Tops in one month will have their name submitted into this drawing.  So, if a student brings in 25 Box Tops every month, this means that their name will be in the drawing “hat” 5 times, thus increasing their chances to win!  Please announce this to your students as this is something new, AND remind them to put their name and room number on their Box Tops baggie, paper, envelope, etc.


This week you might want to have the following on your PLC agenda or a mix of the following:

-Unpack standards

-Examine and score student work from recent PTAs.

-Take 10 minutes to share info with your team if you recently attended a Grade Level Lead meeting.

-Take just a few minutes to complete survey, via “feedback” link, found here, regarding the benchmark assessments as this is a great way to give your feedback.  Remember, your feedback can also be positive if there are aspects of the PTAs that you appreciate.  Please be as specific as possible with any issues or concerns that you may have.  Instead of saying “It’s too long”, you could say “Part 2 of the PTA is too long in that my students are struggling to complete it in a timely fashion.” Or you might say, “The pacing for Unit ____ seems to be too quick because ________”.  Practice what we expect from our students: use arguments supported with specific evidence.  Thanks!

Please make sure to honor your “next steps” from your prior meeting so all team members are on the same page.  We want to avoid one teacher bringing what he/she thought was expected while other team members forget to bring the same items listed on the “next steps” from the previous week’s PLC minutes.

Classroom Visits:

Amy Illingworth and Jen Oliveira from Ed Services will be visiting on Thursday from 8-10:30a.m. to join Chris in classrooms and possibly in PLC.  This is an opportunity for those of us who visit classrooms to make sure we are aligned and calibrated in our thinking around district expectations for instruction.

Principal Round Table:

We had a heated and healthy discussion around issues brought up in Principal Round Table.  I don’t know that we landed on a solution for taking care of our lounge but I can tell you that I communicated the concerns to all staff on our campus: Classified, Extended Learning, etc.  Now, it’s up to us to clean up after ourselves.  One of the issues comes from celebrations that we occasionally have in the lounge where individuals might bring items to share, but use our lounge dishware to hold the food items.  If you borrow dishware, please remember it is still your responsibility to wash this at the end of the day.

As for being responsible with regards to your professional duties such as recess duty, picking up students on time, etc., I am committed to having these conversations with individuals when I see it, but also encourage you to have these tough conversations directly with your colleagues when you encounter an issue.  I know this is tough, but so much more effective than ignoring it and becoming resentful.  Also, if one of your colleagues does approach you to address an issue, please think about how you react as this has huge future implications for the culture of collaboration that is necessary both in and out of the classroom.  We need to have a growth mindset about our own behavior and how we react when someone is courageous enough to confront us with a delicate conversation.

Blue Slips:

We will have our next Blue Slip drawing during lunch time on Feb. 9th.  Please make a note in your plan book, schedule, white board, etc. to send blue slips to lunch next Monday.

Question of the Week:

What were the highlights of your Super Bowl Sunday? And if you could care less about Super Bowl Sunday, like my husband, how did you spend your day with our beautiful So Cal weather?

Quote of the Week:

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”  -Sally Koch