Weekly Update: January 11, 2016

Welcome Back! Happy New Year!!

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing vacation and have returned refreshed and ready for all that 2016 will bring.

Grants Funded:

Congratulations to our fifth grade team for writing an Ed Foundation grant. They were awarded $1018. Congratulations, too, to our sixth grade team who received $1500. RoseAnn has had great success with donor’s choose and has written four grants and had three of them funded. Thanks for your extra efforts to support our Emory Eagles.

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment Materials:

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.

Classroom Libraries:

Books are on the way for students.  The District has ordered a starter classroom library for every one of our classes.  An additional order will be placed in January to fill in for special education classrooms

Updated Benchmark Chart:

As we learn more about the reading level of the students in our classrooms and strive toward the goal of having all of our students reading at benchmark by the third grade level, please see the updated Benchmark chart. You have seen a previous version. The most updated chart is dated May 2013.

Impact Schedule:

On Tuesday, we will begin our new Impact Rotation. Please click here to see the schedule. It is also posted on the white board in the lounge.

Optimist International Oratorical Contest:

I encourage you to participate in the Optimist International Oratorical Contest!  The topic for this year is, “How my best brings out the best in others.”  Students under the age of 18 may enter.  The deadline for entries is February 2016 and the event is scheduled for March 2016.  For more information, please see the application.

Noon Time Supervisor Training:

On Tuesday, Rob Wells, will visit Emory to provide training for our noontime supervisors. We hope to refine our practices to maintain a safe lunchtime environment for our students.

Gate testing:

Lindsay will coordinate with our Second Grade team to administer the Ravens to our 2nd grade students on Wednesday. Please be sure to move quietly through the halls to support their success.

Coach’s Corner:

The Winter break is upon us.  As I think about the three weeks ahead, I am looking forward to spending time with family as well as getting some R & R.  In addition, I have committed to becoming a reader.  I read everyday, but I am really not a reader.  I don’t have a stack of books on my nightstand, and I never think about what novel I want to read next.  Of course, I still crack open an issue of Superman or Spider-man now and then, but I haven’t learned to enjoy reading like we want our students to enjoy reading.  Sooo, I have a goal to read at least one, young adult novel that students would enjoy and three picture books that may be of interest to our emergent readers.  I welcome any suggestions.  I will keep you posted on what I decided to read….

Thank you all for all the planning and work you do throughout the year for the students and community of Emory.  I hope you have a restful and wonderful holiday season!  See you in 2016!

Question of the week:

We have spent a lot (most) of our time together talking about Reading. What is working for you related to your math instruction and/or what questions do you have about teaching math?

Quote of the week:




Weekly Update: December 14, 2015

Last update of 2015…..

Best wishes for a fantastic vacation with your friends and family.

Hour of Code:

Thank you to those of you who dove into coding. The students I observed, were for the most part, incredibly engaged. To those of you who are new to this, thanks for taking a risk. Some of you are following up with a writing activity on Monday. That is a great way to connect some of our 21st century skills to our CC standards.

Recess Supervision:

Unfortunately, we had  a broken nose and a broken finger during morning recess this week. I encourage you to move all around the field or blacktop, refrain from chatting with your colleagues and immediately stop any unsafe play. Thanks for being out there on time, teaching expectations in the classroom and reinforcing with blue slips.

PTA Holiday Gift Shop:

Please bring your students by the PTA Holiday Gift Shop. The proceeds go directly back to our school. Proceeds from many of our fundraisers, this year, have fallen short of previous years. We need your support.

Attendance Reward– Popcorn and Reading:

Thank you for your efforts to encourage your students to come to school on time every day!! I will be by to visit our award winning classes on Friday. See schedule below.

Kinder   Leon                                       8:30-8:45

Grade 1 Carson/Sanchez                9:00-9:15

Grade 2 Seubert                                9:15-9:30

Grade 4 Pehrson                                9:30-9:45

Grade 4 Perkins                                  9:45-10:00

Grade 3 Castellanos                          10:30-10:45

Grade 6 Major                                   10:45-11:00

Grade 5 Goulding                              11:00-11:15

Grade 5 Muniz                                    11:15-11:30

Grade 3 Hernandez                           11:30-11:45

Grade 6 Molina                                  11:45-12:00

Grade 3 Ochoa                                  12:45-1:00



Box Tops:

Another way to support our school, is by encouraging students and families to bring them in to you. Erin and her students will be around collecting your box tops on Wednesday. I appreciate your efforts to manage this as well as all of your other responsibilities.


Coach’s Corner:
Last Wednesday, we took the time to participate in a community document to share questions, suggestions, and experiences on testing our students with the Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment.  Click here for the document.  A major topic in the conversation was time.  It is going to take some time to learn and give the assessment to all students.  No doubt about it.    Some tips that were offered were: give the word list portion to all students so you can get a sense of where to start and what recording forms will be needed; give independent activities to class (until students build reading stamina); use PLC time; schedule it in your day; use before and after-school time if possible.  As we become more familiar with the kit and our students, this task will not take up as much time… It was also mentioned a few times in the document, that once the testing was completed. This is important.  Teachers are finding the information valuable.  The data was very useful in planning for small group and getting a baseline for independent reading levels.   We still have much to learn about what comes after testing.  This is the most important part of the puzzle.  Thanks for all your work and support of each other.  It will be worth the investment of time and effort.

Quote of the week:

Take life day by day and be grateful for the little things. Don’t get stressed over what you can’t control.

Poem of the week:

Weekly Update: December 7, 2015

Enjoy your week!

SST Day:

Thank you for your patience. We will conduct SST meetings this Thursday, Dec. 10th. Mr. Zagami will be around to release those of you who will attend. A follow-up day has been tentatively scheduled for January 14th. Thanks to our specialist team for coordinating.

Staff Meeting:

No Staff Meeting this week. Please take the time for personal planning or to collaborate with your team.

Positive Behavior Supports:

In support of appropriate behavior for the last school week of 2015, please send your blue slips to lunch on Friday, Dec 11th. I will be passing out prizes from the wagon.

Reading, Reading and More Reading:

Thank you for assessing your students, diving into differentiated small group reading instruction, book clubs, building stamina etc. (wow– you are really making changes to meet our students’ needs!!) You may remember reviewing this document (Getting Started: The First 20 Days of Guided Reading) at a recent staff meeting. Don’t forget it, as it lays out a plan for for what you might do after you obtain your reading assessment results.

Holiday Party:

Thanks to Leslie for coordinating our Holiday Party which is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18th 5:00 at Achiote’s. Click here to see more.

Coach’s Corner:– a note from Chris

With the intent to save some time, a central supply of Fountas and Pinnell recording forms are available in the copy room.  We will eventually order from the print shop to restock the copies.  Until then, if you take the last copy, please use the masters from the binders and refill the folder.  Thank you to those that donated the containers and file folders (Elizabeth and Erika).  

Last week I was able to visit Nicoloff and visit a few classes during their Literacy block.  This was also the 3-week reading assessment period.  In every class, across all grade levels, kids were reading independently for extended amounts of time.  Teachers were quick to say that it didn’t start out this way.  It took time. Reading endurance was built slowly.  Experimenting with different ways to be able to assess kids was challenging.  We are on the same track.  If you are interested in trying to build reading stamina with charting/goal setting; create flexible structures to accommodate testing; or anything else. I’d be happy to help.  Your hard work and commitment to learning is making a difference.

Hour of Code:

Reminder South Bay Union School District would LOVE to have everyone participate together in the Hour of Code on Friday, December 11th for the last hour (or any time) of the school day. Click HERE to watch a short video about the event! Go to code.org to see the puzzles and activities students can do. Try some out yourself, you’ll be surprised at how engaged you become! DON’T WORRY!!! You do not have to be a coding expert! Check out this brochure for more information.


Winter Break PD:


Google/Math —Friday, January 8, 2016 8:30- 11:45AM

TK-2nd Grade Teachers

Session 1 (8:30- 10:00) How to plan lessons using math manipulatives- 90 minutes

Session 2 (10:15- 11:45) Using Google Apps for Teacher Productivity- 90 minutes

3rd- 6th Grade Teachers  

Session 1 (8:30- 10:00) Building Student Portfolios using Google Sites  90 minutes

Session 2 (10:15- 11:45) How to plan lessons using math manipulatives- 90 minutes

See email from Jen Olivera for more details. To RSVP HERE

SELD Day 2

Thursday January 7, 2016 from 8:30 – 3 in conference rooms 1, 2 & 3


Just a reminder as we celebrate the holidays. Our students and families may have traditions and beliefs which are different from our own. Be mindful of these differences which make our school community a diverse and special one. Consider discussing and celebrating multiple traditions (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza) or avoiding  any mention at all.


Imagine Learning:

Thanks to Rebecca for coordinating and Connie, Karina and Erin for facilitating, we will finally begin Imagine Learning Monday, Dec. 7th before and after school. Thanks for passing out and collecting permission/notifications. The schedule is below.

Morning Imagine Learning

Monday – Friday                                              7:25-7:55

Afternoon Imagine Learning

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday        2:25-2:50

Principal Roundtable:

Thanks to those of you who participated in Principal Roundtable.

Questions which arose–

In the Playground Expectations powerpoint, we state that students are to do a 100 count to assist with sharing the swings. By consensus, panel suggested modifying the powerpoint to a 20 count. The powerpoint will be updated.

It was mentioned that Impact teachers are not consistently locking classroom doors. I emailed our Impact Teachers and reminded them to always keep their and your classroom doors locked.

IEP Scheduling/Notification was discussed. Concerns were raised about the notification process/timing for recent IEP meetings. Tracy shared that different teachers prefer different notifications (some don’t regularly check email and prefer a phone call day of and others prefer a calendar invite well in advance of the meeting). We are looking for volunteers to assist in developing a consistent procedure. Please let me know if you are interested in being involved in the solution.

It was shared that not all staff are aware that there is a testing materials copy code. Please submit copy orders to Cindy P or check with Eunice in the office for more information.

We are out of Blue Slips. Eunice reminded everyone that if you are the last to use any supplies, please tell Eunice.


Save the Date Attendance Awards (Popcorn/Reading Friday Dec 18th)

PTA Meeting/Bingo Night:

Please join us on Wednesday, Dec 9th from 5:00-6:00 for PTA Family Bingo Night.


Question of the week:

What is something new instructionally that you have tried this school year?

Quote of the week: