Weekly Update: November 30, 2015

Welcome back. I hope that you enjoyed a relaxing week with family and friends.

Staff Meeting:

We will meet this Wednesday, Dec 2 from 1:45-3:15. I look forward to seeing you there.

Fountas and Pinnell:

The District has committed to ordering Fountas and Pinnell Kits for all of us who do not yet have our own. We expect to have them in your hands by mid/late January. (that’s really only three and half school weeks:)

From Lucy Caulkins and colleagues: What do Readers need?

-Teachers who demonstrate what it means to live richly literate lives, wearing a love of reading on our sleeves

-Opportunities to read high interest, accessible books of their own choosing

-Enormous amounts of time for actual reading 

-Access to books that allow them to do a high volume of high success (independent level) reading

-Read increasingly complex texts

-Direct, explicit instruction in the strategies and skills of proficient reading

-Opportunities to talk in response to texts

-Support for reading information books and building a knowledge base and academic vocabulary

-Assessment based instruction, including feedback

-Children who struggle with reading can not be taken from the ELA classroom-from reading, writing, word study, or read aloud- for extra help in ELA

-Children who read below grade level spend 100% reading texts they can read with ease

-During extra-help time, children who struggle with reading need help that is assessment based, tailored to the child, and in sync with what is happening in the classroom

Donors Choose:

This is a free and easy way to ask for stuff for your classrooms. Last month, AT&T “flash funded” all current San Diego projects. Many individuals and businesses are looking for tax write offs during the month of December. Click here to learn more.

Coach’s corner: 

Our new regular feature from our favorite (and only) coach Chris.

Classroom Libraries

Fortunately, we have two parent volunteers that are ready and have started leveling and labeling classroom libraries.  They have labels and the scanning apps for the process.  If you are interested in having volunteers work on your library, please let me know.  It is also a goal to get the books in the library be leveled and labeled.  Eventually, our hope is to get this coordinated by the volunteer center and get more volunteers to be able to do this important work.

Coaching Cycles

During the last couple of months, part of my work has been participating in coaching cycles with teachers.  A coaching cycle is working with a teacher on a focus area of his or her choosing.  The coach spends time observing around the area and then together we discuss next steps in learning.  These steps can be teacher observing model lessons by the coach, planning lessons with coach, team-teaching with the coach, visiting other classrooms, etc.  These would address the area of focus.  From there, the teacher would incorporate any learning in their own instruction and have the coach observe.  Throughout this process coach and teacher would meet and discuss progress in the focus area.

I have found this work very rewarding.  The time spent in the coaching cycles has been a great learning experience for all involved.  If you are interested in participating in a cycle, I would love to hear from you.

PLC Flip Flop:

Thanks to our Third Grade and Fourth Grade teachers for their flexibility. On Tuesday, 4th Grade will have their PLC in the morning and 3rd grade will meet following recess.

Changes to the Payroll System:

Please see this Letter from Superintendent McNamara, SWTA President Lorena Garcia, and CSEA, Chapter 59 President Beth Gillen regarding the transition to our new Human Resources/Payroll system. You will want to review your pay stubs in advance of the transition (January 1).

Question of the Week:

How can Chris and I support your professional learning?and/or what would you like to know more about?

Quote of the Week:

Weekly Update: November 16, 2015

Enjoy your week and if I forget to say it, Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday with your friends and family.

Be well and take good care of yourselves:

We have reached the point in the school year which can be stressful for our students, families and ourselves. For some of our students (and us) the holidays can be a difficult time. I encourage you to take good care of yourselves. Get your rest, remember to breathe and try to find time for you. Remember that the kids who need the most love, ask for it in the most unusual of ways.

ILT/PBS team meeting:

Thank you, in advance to our PBS/ILT team members who are available to meet this Thursday, from 2:40-3:40 in room 23.

Golden Eagle Awards Assembly:

Our first Golden Eagle Awards Assembly of the 2015-16 year will be held on Friday, November 20th

Grades 3-4 at 8:15-9:00

Grades 5-6 at 9:15-10:00

Grades 1-2 at 10:30-11:15

As we have allotted only 45 minutes per assembly, please keep your remarks brief. Also, please submit names for the drawing to Eunice by Wednesday, November 18th.

Unity Games Save the Date and Poster Contest Preview:

South Bay PTA Council will hold district-wide Unity Games on Saturday, May 21st. Events include 50 yard dash, 100 yard dash, hula hoop a thon, obstacle course and many more.

Look for a flier to go home this week advertising a Unity Games logo contest. Student designs must be submitted to you by Dec 2nd. Winning student receives recognition at Dec 10th Board Meeting and a Unity Games t-shirt. Winning teacher receives a $25.00 gift card.

First Trimester Perfect Attendance Pizza Party:

This Thursday, we will celebrate our student who have had perfect attendance for the first trimester. Look for a VIP pass to be delivered to your classroom. They will enter our cafeteria via a special entrance and enjoy pizza and salad at beautifully decorated table.


Thank you to those of you who take time to encourage students to attend school on time every day. It really matters.

  • Students who attend school regularly score higher on achievement tests than their peers who are frequently absent.
  • When children miss even one day of school, it takes TWO days just to catch up, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • When students are absent, they miss the social experiences, lessons, and relationships that help with fitting in and succeeding in school and life.

Impact Teacher Update:

Though we are very happy for Melinda White as she has accepted a full time position with Chula Vista, we are sad to see her leave Emory. We are fortunate to have Liz Desmond (sub) and Cathryn Clabaugh with us. Next week we will have Donna Neuhaus with us as a sub Impact teacher.

Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarks:

Click here to review the Reading Level Benchmark Chart. As you are assessing your students, this chart should give you good information about your students and may help you set goals for them. You may consider having your students set their own goals. Here is a possible resource if you want to explore this more.

Coach’s Update:

A new feature in our weekly blog will be an update from our favorite coach Chris!

From Chris–

As we approach Thanksgiving Break, am I thankful for the dedication and work that Emory Teachers display day-in and day-out for the sake of our students.  I hope everyone has a restful time off and enjoys their family and friends.

Reading Assessment

As the work continues to meet our goal of assessing all students by year end, I want to make sure you know that I am available for support.  I know that it is essential for teachers to assess their own students, I can sit with you as you assess or visa-versa.  It can help to have two pairs of eyes and ears as we get familiar with the assessment.  I know that I still have much to learn about Fountas and Pinnell.  Along with support with the assessment itself, I can also help with what comes next.  What do we do with the data once we have it?  We can explore how we can use reading assessment information in planning instruction.  We can discuss ELA structure, lesson ideas, team teaching opportunities, etc.  This is also a place where I have lots room to grow.  Let’s try it together.


As I have had more time to be in PLCs, I appreciate that all grade levels continue to use this time to discuss instruction.  There has been interest to share and discuss student work.  Analyzing student work is a very effective task in identifying trends and planning next steps in instruction.  Doing this collaboratively is powerful.  I have asked a couple grade levels to bring work of their choice to PLCs after Thanksgiving break. Next week we can discuss if this is a direction your team would like to consider.


Thanks to our Fifth Grade team for coordinating our students’ participation in Biztown. Watch the video below to get more of an idea about what happens there.


Global Cardboard Challenge:

Thanks to our third grade team for having their student’s participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge. See email from RoseAnn with more details. Check out the videos below to learn more and to prepare your students to visit. TK-1 Monday afternoon and 2-6 Tuesday 10:00-11:30.

https://youtu.be/faIFNkdq96U   (Caine’s Arcade YouTube video)

https://youtu.be/Ul9c-4dX4Hk    (Caine’s Arcade 2  YouTube video)

Question of the week:

What will you do over the next week or two to stay well?

Quote of the week:

Weekly Update: November 9, 2015

Wow!! So much glowing feedback from Dr. McNamara and our Board Members!

Board Visit:

Thank you for all of your hard work day in and day out. It was evident to Dr. McNamara and to our Governing Board members. Both at the Board Meeting and here at Emory, Dr. McNamara acknowledged the caring culture in your classrooms. Additionally, our students’ abilities to share about what they were learning as well as their high levels of engagement were also highlighted. Trustee Elliott-Sanders thanked one of our students for sharing his thinking he responded “it was my honor”.

Flag Salute/Attendance Awards:

We will recognize classes with best attendance for the month of September/October at flag salute on Monday. BRING YOUR TROPHIES. As a reminder, each week, I celebrate three students with perfect attendance for the week. I roll out the red wagon and Erin announces three student names and they select a prize from the wagon.


Monday: Grades 1/5

Tuesday: Grades 3/4

Wednesday: No School

Thursday: 2/6

Friday 8:00-11:15 TK/Kindergarten


Thank you for your feedback on the updated rosters. We will have final drafts in your mail boxes Monday afternoon. New groups begin meeting on Tuesday. Eugenia will also begin her her new schedule on Tuesday.

Book Fair:

I encourage you to have your students visit the book fair. This is a fundraiser for our school. As we have made less money this year than last year at each of our fundraisers, I am concerned about missing out on opportunities at the book fair as well. Please bring your students by for a visit.

Ed Foundation Grant:

I encourage you to apply for an Ed Foundation mini-grant. All grants are due Dec. 4 by the end of the day.

Please click this link for the application. See email from Amy Cooper for more details.

Recycling Program:

Thanks to Angela and our Student Council for helping Emory recycle. In addition to being great for the environment and our campus, this is a great fundraiser for Student Council.  Thank you for participating!

To limit the amount of disruption to your teaching, please put your BLUE RECYCLE BIN and BLUE BOX FOR PLASTIC BOTTLES outside your classroom door prior to going to first recess.  Student Council reps will walk through the halls and clear the recycling without opening your door!  

Unicef Collection Update:

Thank you, thank you to ALL of the EMORY Eagle community!  We not only met our $500 School Goal but we EXCEEDED our UNICEF GOAL:  Grand total:  $653.38 was collected. 

Thanks RoseAnn!

Honor a Colleague:

Know an outstanding teacher?  The Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice is a $25,000 annual award given to teachers in high-need public schools.  The Fishman Prize spotlights excellence in the classroom, elevates teachers who go the extra mile for their students, and ensures those teachers are recognized and celebrated.  For more information, please visit here.

Question of the week:

What has an Emory team member done to support you that you are grateful for?

Quote of the week:

Video of the week:


Weekly Update: November 2, 2015

So many thank yous!!

Thank you to each and every one of you for dedicating your time to make our fall carnival a fun, community building event for our students and families! From encouraging donations to manning a booth, you all had a part in supporting our school. Special thanks to Shelly and apprentice Erin in coordinating this fun event. Thanks to all of you for supporting our Unicef Costume Parade and drive to support students in need around the world. Special thanks to RoseAnn for coordinating. I look forward to learning how much money we raised. Additional thanks for Daishanna who, in her first year, coordinated our 2015 Red Ribbon Week celebration. Thanks to those of you who participated in the fun activities including the door decorating! Thanks also to Angela who coordinated daily promotions and our scary Ghost Grams!!

I am grateful to all of you each and every week for your dedication to your students and colleagues! Great job getting your report cards done!! Phew…..

Have a great week!


Please use your PLC time to continue to plan to address the standards in our Units of Study and best meet the needs of our students.


Thank you for your feedback related to the DRAFT ELD groups. You will receive updated ELD and English Only rosters by Thursday. We will again need you to help us refine these rosters. Tentative start date of the new rosters is Tuesday, Nov 10th. Your English Learner Committee has changed its name to the English Learner Task Force. Thanks to our Task Force Members for working hard to make discuss meeting the needs of Emory English Learners.

Impact Teacher Schedule Change:

Beginning Tuesday, November 3rd, our Impact Teachers will rotate. Please see the schedule on our White Board and at this link.

Emory Governing Board Presentation:

On November 5th, at 6:00 p.m., I will make a presentation to the Governing Board about Emory. I would love it if you were to join me there. (You will be on your way home before 6:30). This is my opportunity to highlight many of the amazing things that we have been up to this year.

Emory Governing Board Visit:

Our Governing Board Members will visit Emory this Friday, November 6th from 8:15-10:15. Please let me know if you would like for the board members and superintendent Dr. McNamara to visit your room. (we might visit you even if you don’t email me 🙂

Classroom Visits:

Dr. McNamara will be at Emory and she will visit your classrooms this Thursday from 1:00-2:45. I will visit classrooms on Tuesday and Friday.

Staff Professional Development:

We will meet this Wednesday, November 4th from 1:45-3:15 in room 23. I look forward to seeing you there!!

Question of the Week:

What do you love about your job?

Quote of the Week: