Our Last Week of School

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Summer is here!

Congratulations to each and every one of you on another successful school year!

As we end another year it is important to take time to reflect on what we have done well. Personally, it has always been hard for me to stop and reflect on the things I had already done.  I was always focused on moving towards the next thing, trying to cross one more thing off my never-ending “to do” list.  As I have gotten older (and hopefully a bit wiser) I have tried to take more time to  “stop and smell the roses.”  I hope you do this for yourself.

Below is a blog post from Robyn Jackson. She always seems to know what we need!  I hope you take the time to answer and reflect on the questions she discusses in her post.

Ten Questions To Help You Reflect On Your Practice This Year

When I was a teacher, I remember vividly those last few weeks before school let out. Exams, graduations, end of the year parties, packing up my classroom, then, finally, the last day of school! I remember looking forward to sleeping in a couple of days, before starting school or my summer job. Ahhhhh. Summer.

When I became an administrator and had to work through the summer, I was still excited at the end of the year. I could come into work an hour later, sit in my office, and actually get some work done! Plus, we spent a lot of time planning big things for the coming school year.

One of the things I didn’t do a lot of was reflect on the past year. I figured that I could do that in August when I returned to school. So, I’d put the past year behind me and immediately began thinking about the summer ahead or the upcoming school year.

But here’s the thing. Without taking time to reflect first, my plans for the coming school year were already doomed because they were uninformed by the valuable lessons I’d learned.

So, before you kick back and take a much-needed break for the summer, I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on the past school year. Spend an hour or even a half-day looking back at all that you’ve learned this school year while those lessons are still relatively fresh. That way, you won’t forget the most valuable things you’ve learned and you are less likely to repeat your mistakes next school year.

Here are 10 questions to use in your reflection:

  1. What were the highlights of this school year? Where did you feel most successful? Where were you “in your zone?”
  2. What do these highlights have in common? In other words, can you spot a trend that helps you understand when you are at your best?
  3. What were the low points of the year? When did you feel the most disconnected to your true genius?
  4. What do those low points have in common? What trends can you spot?
  5. What did you try this year that you have never done before? What lessons did you learn?
  6. What do you want to try next year?
  7. What will you do differently next year? What do you need to stop doing? What needs to be adjusted or refreshed in your practice?
  8. What are you curious about? What do you want to learn more about?
  9. Why did you become a teacher? Do you feel that you lived that purpose this year? If so, why? If not, why?
  10. How have you grown as an educator this year? In what ways do you still need to grow?

Now, share the most valuable thing you learned…

Please feel free to tweet the most valuable thing you learned this year.  You can use the hashtags: #csdpowerofwe  #whatmatters

https://mindstepsinc.com/2017/05/ten-questions-help-reflect-practice-year/

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, May 29
Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, May 30
State of the School Address – 9:00a.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Volunteer Appreciation
7th Grade Change Project
Kindergarten Water Day
1st Grade Author’s Tea
Wednesday, May 31
Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)

June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of May 22, 2017

Dear Staff,
We just want to thank each and every one of you for your help and support as we made it through another round of state testing. Each one of you stepped in to help in various ways as we dealt with a variety of different problems! We were moved to tears a few times for the love shown to our precious students and to each other. A huge thank you to Angela for taking this enormous task on! We all appreciate what you do!

And now there are 6 days left….  Hang in there, folks.  You are doing a great job!  We got this!

Love you,
Juli, Leslie, and Marianne

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Nuts/Bolts/Reminders:

Attendance:  You will need to print out copies of each child’s attendance report…one to send home with the child in their communication folder and one to file in their cum folder during Teacher Work Days!  Please wait until the MORNING OF THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 to print these out!!!  See your email for specific instructions on how to print these from PowerSchool.  6/7 Teachers, we will handle for you. Let us know if you have any questions.

Class Placement Parent Feedback (see email from May 15th) – Please make sure you have sent home this survey to parents if you have students who are entering a new loop in August.  This applies to 1st, 3rd, and 5th.  We ask that 7th grade NOT send this form as they have another plan in place for making advisory placements for 8th grade.  Thank you!

Report Cards:  Please have your report cards done by Thursday 5/25 so admin can edit.  If you need any help with conducting assessments or completing report cards, please let us know.  6/7 Teachers, please send your 3rd trimester narratives to Sarah Hoff.

End-of-Year Closing Document: Please read this document carefully and adhere to all instructions.  Let admin know if you have any questions.  Thank you! https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1OLLSosyAGY0BnfVWWUgbpsELKP2VO8QYyfmd3h63P7o/edit?usp=sharing

High Priority! Collect all textbooks, novels, calculators, etc. in a timely fashion and please do not wait until the last minute.  It is critical that all teachers are incredibly careful about distribution and collection.  Please do not wait until the last minute and PLEASE communicate with parents and students about missing items.  When a parent hears the replacement cost, they are incredibly motivated to help the student locate the missing item.  We must be good stewards with our school resources.

School Improvement Feedback can be submitted by filling out this form:  https://docs.google.com/a/csdspartans.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5IFItM3arRpRPi-Me_PlHSb-fabEO39lhYcxAeYp1vObilw/viewform?c=0&w=1

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, May 22nd
Marianne and Leslie out
Belnap to the Pines
Posey to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, May 23rd
Rising 6th Grade Advisory Placements – 1:00 in Marianne’s office
Wednesday, May 24th
1st Grade Emerald Hollow Mine Field Trip
7th Grade Ropes Course Field Trip
Holocaust Museum Family Night 5:00-8:00
Thursday, May 25th
Report Cards due
Kindergarten Oceans Play (Elementary Gym)
Teckenbrock to Huntersville Oaks
7th Grade Ropes Course
Rising 4th Grade Class Placements – 11:00 in Marianne’s Office
4/5 Lead Teacher Meeting – 1:00 in Amy Teck’s Classroom
Holocaust Museum open to public
Friday, May 26th
Required Teacher Workday
NO SCHOOL for students
Kindergarten Screening

Upcoming Dates
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School Address – 9:00a.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Volunteer Appreciation
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 30 – Kindergarten Water Day
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of May 15, 2017

Dear Staff,
We hope everyone had a wonderful time at the retreat. In lieu of reading/writing a blog this week, we ask that you take some time for personal reflection of the topics/ideas addressed this weekend. As we go into the next two crazy weeks ahead, we hope that you cling to the “big ideas” that keep us grounded to our CSD mission and vision. Above all, we hope you know that you are loved, valued, and appreciated more than words can say. It is an honor and a privilege to be on this journey with you!
Much love,
Juli, Marianne, and Leslie

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, May 15th
4th Grade Economics Fair
Senior Take Over Day
Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
Tuesday, May 16th
5th Grade Science EOG
Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
Baby Shower Emily Schultz at 3:15 in Jessica James classroom
Wednesday, May 17th
Master Calendar Planning at High School 3:00-4:00
Thursday, May 18th
2nd Rescue Ranch Field Trip (Sapp/Christian)
Erskine’s Class Field Trip
3-7 ELA EOG’s
Friday, May 19th
2nd Rescue Ranch Field Trip Belnap/Renaud
Erskine Field Trip
3-7 Math EOG’s

Upcoming Dates
May 16 – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15 – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 15 – 4th Grade Economics Fair
May 15 – Senior Take Over Day
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 16 – Emily Schultz Baby Shower after school
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of May 8, 2017

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Dear Staff,
A few weeks ago Joy shared the segment below in her weekly memo to staff. While this topic looks very differently in the lower grades verses, we believe these are worthy things to consider…so much so that we have dedicated the entire retreat to explore the notions of “diversity,” “otherness,” and “hard conversations.” We found Joy’s words to be timely and thought-provoking and wanted to be able to give K-7 staff members the opportunity to ponder them as a precursor to the upcoming retreat. Thank you, Joy, for your guidance and leadership as we navigate this unfamiliar terrain. These are the times that define us as a community, and we continue to be so grateful to be surrounded by people who challenge us to think deeply and push us to become more understanding and compassionate.

From Joy:

“Something to Ponder: I keep rolling around the topic of hard conversations in my head and I want to reiterate a few things and share my own personal experience this week with my own class of students. As I shared at staff meeting, it is absolutely critical that we facilitate deep and civil discussion within our school community. While I believe we all agree that it is never our intention to sway our students thinking about controversial matters, that should not translate to avoiding discussions. Please, please, please know that it is never my intention to give the message that I want you to avoid facilitating tough discussions. As I have heard many of you say, frequently, we want to teach kids how to think, not what to think. The more I reflect on this challenge, the more I believe that I mostly want to teach students to ask lots of questions. This journey of mastering civil debate is a critical part of our teaching environment. We never want to give our students the impression that healthy conflict is bad. We want to be transparent with our parents. If we have strong and loving relationships with all of our students, they will know that they are safe to think and question.

So….my class this week: On Thursday, we had a very direct and open discussion about the notion of having difficult and uncomfortable discussions and why we are not doing it more as a community. I reminded them that I believe that conflict is a good thing and that it enables us to talk and broaden our perspective which I think always leads me to better decisions and ideas. In short, when I am challenged and questioned as a leader, I make better decisions because the decisions reflect OUR perspective rather than MY perspective. I highlighted that in the past two weeks, we have had a Presidential Inauguration, Women’s March, Pro Life March, Cabinet Selections, and Executive Orders all in the news but I am not hearing folks discuss it at school. The discussion was great and the kids shared the same things that many of us are probably feeling; fear of conflict, fear of being attacked, fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of being misunderstood, lack of knowledge, etc. I told them that our staff has all the same feelings and that many of us feel inadequate to facilitate these complex conversations when we are all in the same process of exploration. I reminded them that our goal as teachers is always to ensure that discussion and debate happens in a safe and honorable way where all students feel respected. I also owned that many of us do not fully understand the complex issues which also makes us feel vulnerable as teachers. Lastly, I shared that we also want to make sure we handle our conversations in a way that doesn’t come across as trying to influence WHAT our students think but to instead, provide a place where they can continue their investigation of how to develop their own ideas. I reminded them that my job as facilitator is to help think of questions from all perspectives. We had a lengthy discussion about ground rules for healthy debate and I asked them to choose one of the topics above to discuss on Friday. They selected the recent Executive Order regarding Immigration. After class on Thursday, one student told me that she was very nervous about class on Friday; when I asked her why, she said that she was afraid she would get upset and that her emotions would take over and cause her to use words that do not accurately articulate her thoughts. I reminded her that we would sort through it together BUT that when our words don’t come out right, we just ask for the opportunity to restate. I had two students who also came after class and told me that they were sad they were going to miss class on Friday as they really wanted to “talk about this stuff.” My take away; they are curious and want to know but are afraid to ask. Friday rolls around (Mr. Johnnie joined for an impromptu visit so he can certainly chime in with his perspective) and I think the discussion went really well. I wanted to set the state for everyone to connect “real people” to the topic we were about to discuss and I also wanted to evoke empathy and consideration for others in the room from the get go so we started with two questions: 1) Does anyone in the classroom have family or friends who are directly impacted by any changes in immigration requirements? and 2) What do you each of you know about your own family’s heritage and roots? We immediately learned that three students in the classroom have dual citizenship and one student’s father was born and raised in Iran. These brave students shared their family stories. Mr. Johnnie shared that his family was searching their ancestry and identified their home countries in Africa prior to being forcibly brought to America as slaves. Wow…some important stuff shared right off the bat. The folks who shared were kind enough to share some stories about their families and what they knew about the “why” they ended up in America. We then moved into a basic K-W-L format for discussion. I led with, “What do you know or what have you heard and wonder if it is fact?” Kids shared and to be honest, we ran out of time. The discussion was calm. Different perspectives surfaced but it was handled beautifully. Everyone gave me a thumbs up at the end and we will continue on another day. I am sure that I could have done this in a better way and that I could certainly improve upon my approach and lesson, but my main goal was to stick my foot in the water of a difficult discussion in a classroom environment so that I could be reminded of the challenge that I ask you all to take each day in your classrooms. While I am 100% sure that I have students in that classroom who have very different beliefs and political affiliations, I do think that the discussion felt peaceful…..at least this time. No easy answers for sure but I truly want students to feel safe to ask questions and discuss these topics.

My biggest take away so far…..we don’t have to know everything to have a discussion, we have to be willing to ask questions and seek answers from many different sources so we can gather info and figure out our own thoughts. I was able to facilitate this discussion without knowing or sharing the answers….and, in fact, I openly admitted that I am very confused and have many questions myself.”

How to Be a Culturally Responsive Teacher

Julia Thompson, a practicing teacher for more than 35 years, considers what it means to have a culturally responsive classroom and the steps necessary to create one. Adapted from the 3rd edition of her book The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide.

julia thompsonby Julia G. Thompson

In the early years of the 21st century, we are constantly and unconsciously bombarded with messages from the various societies that surround us. From restaurant choices, music, sports, fashion, and all forms of popular media to proceedings as significant as wars and threats of terrorism, we adults function in a culturally diverse world. Our students share that world with us, and they need our help in learning to negotiate the complexities of a multicultural society.

One of the most enduring strengths of the public school system in America is the variety of cultures that meet peacefully in thousands of classrooms each day. In classroom after classroom, students of all different races and cultural backgrounds study together.

At a time when school systems are scrutinized and criticized from many sides, classroom diversity is one of our nation’s greatest assets.  Click the link below to read more…..

http://www.middleweb.com/9471/culturally-responsive-classrooms/

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, May 8th
Garren to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, May 9th
Coppola to the Laurels
Wednesday, May 10th
Admin out of the building – Yearly Reflection and Goal Setting
Nancy Lauro – Teacher Leader
Whitley to Huntersville Oaks
K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
Thursday, May 11th
Admin out of the building – Yearly Reflection and Goal Setting
2nd Grade Law & Order Performance
Westbrook/Sharp to Williams Place
Friday, May 12th
Staff Retreat! No School for students.

Upcoming Dates
May 16 – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15 – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 15 – 4th Grade Economics Fair
May 15 – Senior Take Over Day
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 16 – Emily Schultz Baby Shower after school
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of May 1, 2017

Dear Staff,

Happy Sunday!  We hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I have decided that one of the many reasons I became a teacher is because I love to learn new things.  One thing in particular that I love to learn is new words.  I am a lover of words, especially big, fancy ones. 🙂  To me, to hear a person with a big vocabulary makes them sound intelligent.  It also helps with reading comprehension as well.  Have you ever been reading a book and come across a word you don’t know, sometimes don’t even know how to pronounce?  Often as adults we can figure out the meaning by continuing to read on, but sometimes we really need to know what that word means to make sense of what we are reading.  This is very true for children as they begin to read harder text.  We have some really great readers at our school, but sometimes some of them read so well that they trick us into thinking they know more than they really do.  Because they read so fluently and for the most part get the gist of the story we assume that they know what all the words they have just read actually mean. We make assumptions that because we know what a word means when we read it that they will know the meaning as well.  This is one reason why reading aloud to children is so important, so that we stop when we come to these “big” words and check to see if they really do know what they mean and if not give an explanation.  However, reading aloud is not enough.  Children need direct explicit instruction on vocabulary.  Often times vocabulary instruction gets pushed to the side because we run out of time and feel like there are other more important things that we need to teach.  However, if we neglect teaching vocabulary the gap will only get wider between our proficient and struggling readers.  How do we make this happen?  I was reminded this week as I began reading a new book, From Pencils to Podcasts, some easy ways to teach vocabulary.  They are all methods I am sure you all have heard of, or maybe not.  Either way, it struck me as so important that I thought  I would share these with you.

If you know me, you know that technology is not my forte.  In fact, it can often drive me to the point of being so frustrated that I want to pull my hair out.  However, I am learning and getting better at it, but I still have a way to go.  In this book many of the examples the authors give are related to the use of technology.  Although, I believe that if you don’t have access or the resources  for all of this a good old fashioned pencil and piece of paper would work just fine! 🙂 One of the first examples the authors give is the use of an interactive word wall.  I can not stress the importance of teaching students how to use a word wall.  Too often they become another “decoration” in our class rather than a tool for learning.  Often times it can be hard to decide what words should go on a word wall.  For a class interactive word wall they recommend teaching Greek and Latin roots.  I know years ago this was our focus for word study beginning in 4th and 5th grade.  These particular authors recommend the use of digital word walls.  Students can find the words they are looking for digitally and save it on their own digital word wall.  I will list the sites they recommend below in case you want to give it a try.  In younger grades (or 4th and 5th if technology is a problem for you like me 🙂 ) then you can use personal word walls.  These are words walls that the students keep at their seats to refer to when they are writing or I would even say reading to add new words.  I would also add that they should have these out to do some vocabulary word work with and add them to their personal word walls as well.

The second idea the authors give for vocabulary instruction is one of my favorites.  It’s the Frayer model.  Students divide a piece of paper into four sections and in the center they put a circle.  The root you are studying is listed in the middle circle.  In the top left quadrant students write the meaning of the root.  In the top right box students provide an example of a word containing the root.  In the bottom right box students include a definition of the example.  Finally, in the bottom left box students illustrate and write a sentence containing the example of the word.  This books talks about doing this digitally, of course I more see myself having students do this in a vocabulary notebook of some sort.  Either way I believe that this is an important piece we need to be incorporating into students vocabulary instruction.  The Frayer model can also be used to teach concepts in specific content area as well.    If you are like me, you probably need a visual of this in action, so I have provided a link below.  Also, if you would like to borrow a copy of From Pencils to Podcasts we have several floating around the school.  I am in the middle of my copy and am happy to lend it out as soon as I am finished.  I would highly recommend it as a summer read! 🙂  It has really gotten my wheels turning about some exciting new ideas.  Enjoy your week!

Digital Tools for Vocabulary Study (taken from From Pencils to Podcasts)

Wikispaces – Wikispaces provides a collaborative, safe, free space for students and teachers to learn together.  This site allows teachers to see what their students are doing in real time.  Therefore, they are able to provide immediate feedback.  The teacher can assign projects to teams and can create templates to help students get started.

http://www.wikispaces.com/content/classroom

PBworks EDUHub – PBworks EDUHub provides teachers with free wikis.  Once the teacher has created the wiki, he or she can create student accounts without needing student email addresses.  Files are easily accessible by phone, tablet or computer.

http://www.pbworks.com/education

Word Central – Powered by Merriam-Webster, Word Central provides a student-friendly online dictionary, spaces for students to build their own dictionaries, and games to test vocabulary knowledge and build skills.  A special section for educators provides additional rescues for word study.

http://www.wordcentral.com

Merriam-Webster – Merriam-Webster gives users access to its online dictionary, thesaurus, Spanish dictionary, medical dictionary, and learner’s dictionary.  The site also helps students build vocabulary with its featured word of the day, games and videos.

http://www.merriam-webster.com

Wordsmyth – Wordsmyth contains three levels of dictionaries (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) as well as specialized an illustrated dictionaries geared toward school-age users.  A variety of search tools, games and instructional support resources make this site ver user-friendly for students and educators.

http://www.wordsmyth.net

Frayer Model

http://www.readingeducator.com/strategies/frayer.htm

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, May 1
Admin in Interviews all day
Christian to the Pines
PikMyKid Parent Help Session (right after morning and afternoon carpool)
Tuesday, May 2
Webb to Huntersville Oaks
PikMyKid Parent Help Session (right after morning and afternoon carpool)
Wednesday, May 3
6th Drama – FAIRY TALE MASH UP
6th SHOWCHOIR EOY SHARING
Thursday, May 4
1st Grade Artist Play
Washam to Williams Place
Friday, May 5

3rd grade Charlotte Walking Tour

Upcoming Dates
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of April 24th

Dear Staff,

I hope you all had a wonderful first week back after spring break.  It was a busy one for sure! 🙂 One of the many things that happened to me this week was that I got a lesson on the importance of relationships.  We had a parent who was upset about something, and on the outside this parent looked like a terror.  She was angry, frustrated and upon digging a little deeper I figured out the root of the problem…she was scared.  She was scared about how we view her as a parent, she was scared that her daughter might not want her as a parent because of the things she can and can not provide that other kids in her child’s classroom have, she was scared that her daughter is being influenced by a society and culture that she herself is afraid of.  This fear caused her mommy lion to come out in a major way.  However, after she calmed down and we took the time to talk with her and get to know her a little bit better her story started to come out.  Her story is deep and rich and she has had experiences in her life that I don’t pretend to understand.  Although she and I are very different and we parent differently I realized we have a lot in common.  We both love our children to the core of our souls and would move mountains to give them the best life possible.  Are she and I best friends now?  No, and I have a lot of work to do to get her to trust me and see that I am on her team.  This week was a start for that, and a big part of that is because I know her story a little bit better.  I guarantee there is a LOT more to her story, and I would love to know it because I believe that she is worth it and most importantly her daughter is worth it.  I am hopeful that she will learn from all of us as we partner together to help her daughter.  I am also hopeful that we will all learn from her.  I know she taught me a powerful lesson this week and I hope that I continue to learn from her because I believe even though she doesn’t realize it she has a lot to teach me.  Her story and her family’s story added great value to my life as an educator and a mommy this week.  I am hopeful that even when she and I are both at our worst I can be open enough to let her lessons come through.  Have a wonderful week!

 

Dog Days and Watermelon
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
  Albert Einstein

It was mid-July, and we were in the heat of summer. I was puttering in the kitchen while my kids ran roughshod—some neighborhood kids had wandered over, as they do in the summer, and suddenly there were bicycles, hula hoops, soccer balls, and various unidentifiable toys hurled about the driveway.  I heard distant whoops and shouts coming from the open windows. I reveled in the perfectness of the summer afternoon — the friendships my children were making, and the pure freedom of being a person of single-digit years in summertime.

That bubble was bound to burst.

My daughter, all of five years old, cheeks flushed and sweat dotting her hairline, whirled in the door with a slam.  “Mommy!  Can we have some watermelon?” The picture seemed complete. There was my lovely daughter, kindly bringing a summer treat to her thirsty, hot-with-summer friends. I sent her out with a platter of little chunks of watermelon.

But when I looked out the window, I was startled. The watermelon had been placed prominently on the patio table, and my daughter was standing guard—arms crossed, expression sour and haughty. The other kids surrounded her, looking wistfully at the watermelon as if it were a long, cold drink of water they couldn’t access.  “You can’t have any,” I heard her hiss.  “It’s all for me.”

A quick investigation confirmed my suspicion:  my daughter had not wanted to treat her friends as I’d assumed. On the contrary, some ridiculous slight had occurred—I think they’d left her out of a part of the game—and she’d known just how to get her revenge. I intervened, which led to a handful of children eating watermelon and one screaming, sobbing, angry little girl taking some time out in her room.

I told the story to some colleagues the next morning. We were gathered around a large round table, waiting for a day of professional development to begin. Scattered about were pads of sticky notes, pens, and highlights, as well as the obligatory bowl of mini-chocolates and hard candy. “I know this is all typical with kids learning to navigate the world, how to stick up for themselves, how to be an alpha dog when needed,” I said. “What bothers me is how she didn’t care at all how hungry or thirsty her friends were feeling. She chose to get back at them with the very thing that would bother them the most.”  I paused. “I sure don’t want to raise a kid who doesn’t care about others,” I said. “How in the world can I teach kindness and empathy?”
My colleagues looked at me as if I’d forgotten my own name.  “With books,” someone said slowly.

Of course.  With books.

Later that day, my friend Franki Sibberson, who’d been part of our conversation, sent me the link to her blog where she often highlights books that are useful teaching tools.  The link included a whole list of titles I could use to teach about kindness and sharing.

After reading the blog, I took a quick trip to the library, where I gathered a nice stack of books to read with my daughter. All of them related to understanding the feelings of others.  She especially enjoyed Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown, Loren Long’s Otis and the Scarecrow, and Bob Graham’s How to Heal a Broken Wing. While we read through them, we didn’t talk explicitly about empathy—we just read and talked. I let the conversation drift naturally.  Over the next few days, the books gave us the avenue to discuss how it feels when we are left out, why revenge isn’t an appropriate response and how sometimes it’s best to just let things go.

Books can be our best teachers. Not only about empathy, but also concern, compassion, celebration, anger, frustration, joy, and companionship. Relationships and feelings are complicated and can bring confusion to young learners.  With the right combination of books, we can launch conversations to help guide them through—and make better choices along the way.
Jennifer Schwanke

Contributor, Choice Literacy

Jennifer Schwanke taught middle school language arts for six years before moving into administration at both the middle school and elementary level. She enjoys thinking of more effective ways to present literacy to students at these vulnerable ages. You can follow her latest thinking on literacy and leadership on her blog.

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, April 24th
6th/7th Dance Dress Rehearsals
Renaud to The Pines
Tuesday, April 25th
Kids Are Worth It Parent Book Talk – 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. in Media Center
Robinson to Huntersville Oaks
Wednesday, April 26th 
K7 Teacher Appreciation Grab and Go Luncheon
6/7 Dance Sharings
RHSE 5th grade parent meeting – 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Baby Shower Kristin Jones – 3:00 in Mary Coppola’s Room
6/7 “May” Meeting – 3:30 in Beth Knight’s Room
MS/HS Band Concert – 7:00 at Pine Lake Prep
Thursday, April 27th
Earth Day – Kindergarten
Walker to Huntersville Oaks
Godwin to William’s Place
Friday, April 28th
3rd Charlotte Walking Tour (Sharp/Godwin)

Upcoming Dates
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Gaga Pit

We are very excited about our new outdoor feature. A huge thanks to Jim Dumser and our HS students who made this for us during HS Intersession. We have loved watching the students out there! The rules for how to play our posted and here is a picture.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 7.56.03 AM.png

Just a few things:
We want to remind our students that we encourage healthy competition but need to be careful of bullying mentality.

Please have conversations with your students on the difference between cheering and chanting for classmates/classes. We would not want anyone to feel left out if one students name is being chanted over another or encourage competition among classes.

In addition, we were aware the Gaga pit was going to get muddy at times. Please be mindful of this on rainy days.

Teaching Tip:

I found this interesting from Robyn Jackson on the difference between motivation versus discipline problems.  Click on the link below:

https://mindstepsinc.com/2017/04/difference-motivation-problem-discipline-problem/

Week of April 17, 2017

Dear Staff,

We hope you all enjoyed a restful and relaxing spring break!  I know it is always fun to unplug and spend precious time with family and friends.  We hope you all were able to do something to recharge and fill your buckets.  The next few weeks will be the sprint to the end.  It’s hard to believe that the end of the school year is upon us.  April is considered to be National Poetry Month, so don’t forget to read lots of poetry with your students!  April 27th is Poem In Your Pocket Day.  Don’t forget to have your students write or bring in some of their favorite poems to share.  This is always such a fun day to celebrate poetry!  If you are on twitter the hashtag to use for this special day is #pocketpoem.  You can follow along and see how other educators are celebrating the art of poetry.  There are several websites and ideas that you can use to help you plan your celebration.  Below is a link to a website I found with a few good ideas.  Don’t forget that you writing poems along with your students is an excellent way to model for them, as well as show them how you experience the struggle and celebration of writing.  The article below from Choice Literacy beautifully illustrates this point!  I hope you enjoy it, and  Happy Poetry Month! 🙂

http://www.poetry4kids.com/news/ten-ways-to-celebrate-poem-in-your-pocket-day/

Also, don’t forget we will have lots of visitors in the building this week as we jump right in to the interview process.  Please remember that it is very important and helpful to have your feedback as we make hiring decisions over the next few weeks.  Please make sure you fill out the feedback sheet and return it to us if you have information you would like to share about a candidates interactions in your classroom. Thank you in advance for your help with this process.  Have a wonderful week!

Teachers Writing
The desire to write grows with writing.

Desiderius Eramus
Last year during the last week of school, I met with a group of fourth graders, and we talked about why they felt like writers in their classrooms. My question to them was simple, and I put it on a piece of paper in front of them: “What makes you feel like writers in this classroom?”

Because my job spans grades, I’ve known many of these students for several years, so I have watched them grow, evolve, and develop as writers. Trust me when I say that some of them would never have said they were writers until this year. Some of them didn’t like writing until this year. Some of them did what they could to avoid writing until this year. Therefore, I really wanted to know what made the difference in their classroom.

For a little while, they scratched their heads, trying to figure out answers to my question. And then one student said, “It’s because Ms. C. writes with us.” The floodgates opened, and I couldn’t document their responses fast enough. They kept saying why her writing mattered, and I kept scrawling on my piece of paper. My original notes were an assortment of different ideas, but later as I read their comments, I could organize them into categories of related concepts.

Some of the statements had to do with the sense of validation they felt:

It shows you’re not giving an assignment for the sake of giving an assignment.

It proves the fact that we’re all students and all teachers.

Other statements had more to do with the inspiration she provided–the bar she set for them:

I want to do it as well as she does.

It makes me want to do it better.

Seeing her think, seeing that she cares about her work, helps me think in my own writing.

She shows us the fun of writing.

And another set of statements reflected the sense of community they felt as a result of sharing their writing lives:

Her writing shares stuff about her we wouldn’t know otherwise.

We teach each other how to learn and be good friends.

I put Ms. C. herself on the spot and asked her why her writing life mattered to her as a teacher. Some of her reflections made right in that moment are so important:

I appreciate the struggle of time. When I draft and I can’t get the word, I realize how much I want that word, and I develop and then teach different strategies to learners.

It makes me mindful of what learners need to write.

I can be more supportive because I know what it’s like to have a defined writing block.

Whenever I have a chance in my coaching work, I weave in the importance of our own writing. Yet I have never had such a conversation with children about how much their teacher’s writing mattered to them. Straight from the mouths of students — our writing models, motivates, and inspires.

Melanie Meehan

Contributor, Choice Literacy
Melanie Meehan is the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, Connecticut. She has many fictional works in progress and blogs with Melanie Swider at Two Reflective Teachers and is a contributor to Two Writing Teachers.

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders:

Staff Retreat Survey – Please make sure you complete it by clicking here!  Remember that room and board are covered but we do ask that you come if you sign up so that we don’t waste funds on spots not taken! All full and part time staff members are invited and we do hope you will be able to attend this important annual event in the life of our school community.  This year we have invited a guest speaker team who will help us explore the notion of Broadening our Perspectives and we anticipate that it’s going to be an amazing weekend that will lead to better things at CSD.

Announcement:  We are VERY excited to announce that after a year of research conducted by parents and staff members, we have decided to take our carpool dismissal to the next level.  We will spend the next week finalizing things on the back end before actually starting to pilot the program (in tandem with our current walkie system) on Monday, April 24th.  In the meantime, all staff members need to know how to log in to the program.  Below are step-by-step instructions.  Please take a few moments over the course of the next week to login with your team and to view the Vimeo tutorials (links below).

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen.
In the bottom lefthand corner, click on school login.
Enter your school email – Ex:  jgardner@csdspartans.org
For now, your password is 123456
On the righthand side of the screen, click on “Training Videos.”  Notice they are password protected (password given on the screen).
OR…. you can view the training video by clicking here:
Staff Training:   https://vimeo.com/206536492        password:new2017
We thank you, in advance, for your patience as we transition to this new program.  We are confident that we will ALL love this new program once it is up and running, but as with any type of change, we will all be on a learning curve for a few weeks.  Thank you for trusting us and for knowing we are constantly looking for new and better ways of serving our children.  We look forward to the next steps in this process!  Stay tuned…

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, April 17th
Admin conducting interviews all day
Sapp to the Pines
Hosse to Huntersville Oaks
Earth Day – 4th Grade
Tuesday, April 18th
Admin conducting interviews all day
Earth Day – 3rd Grade
James to Laurels
Davidson Library Visit
Juli out
Wednesday, April 19th 
4th Grade on Old Salem Field Trip
Special Olympics
Earth Day – 1st Grade
Holshouser to Huntersville Oaks
3rd Grade EOG Parent Meeting – 6:30 in Mrs. Washam’s Classroom
Juli out
Thursday, April 20th
K Field Trip to Children’s Theater
Earth Day – 2nd Grade
Fisher to William’s Place
Nature Matters Film Showing – 7:00 in HS Black Box
Juli out
Friday, April 21st
Earth Day – 6th/7th Grades
Juli out
(HS Prom)

Upcoming Dates
April 24 – 6/7 Dance Dress Rehearsals
April 25 – Kids Are Worth It Book Talk for Parents – 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MS Black Box
April 26 – 6/7 Dance Sharings
April 26 – Teacher Appreciation Grab and Go Lunch
April 26 – MS/HS Band Performance – 7:00 p.m. at Pine Lake Auditorium
April 27 – Earth Day – Kindergarten
April 28 – 3rd Grade Walking Tour
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of April 3, 2017

Dear Staff,

This week the admin team gathered together on Wednesday to work on some long-term planning and big-picture thinking.  I find this kind of work to be stimulating, invigorating, and also somewhat overwhelming at times.  I always leave these sessions with a renewed sense of purpose and direction, but then I find myself giving my entire life a complete overhaul and do-over in my mind.  It’s kind of like my inner Joanna and Chip take over by keeping the overall structure of my essence intact while making some awesome changes to the smaller units of my being.  (If that makes any sense)  My point is…while these types of reflecting/brainstorming sessions can be wonderfully productive, they can also leave us in a place of not knowing where to begin.  That’s pretty much where my head was on Wednesday.  So in typical Juli fashion, I threw on my shoes, grabbed my phone and my buds, and hit the road to declutter the mess in my mind.  As luck would have it (and just for the record, I don’t really believe in luck – I’m much more of a “blessing” or “sign” kind of girl), I stumbled across a really cool podcast that was entitled “Be 1% Better.”  The more research I’ve done on this, the more I realize this is not a new concept, but for some reason it resonated deeply with me in that moment.  The basic idea is that all we achieve or become is the result of little changes repeated over time.  Too often, we think about life in terms of “big moments” or events – losing 50 pounds, running a marathon, writing a book, etc…  But it’s really not about the moment the event comes to fruition.  It’s about the many little steps or decisions along that way that bring us to that place.  And just for the record, this works in reverse, too.  You don’t lose 50 pounds overnight just like you don’t wake up 50 pounds heavier.  These changes are the result of lots of little choices and decisions compounded over time.  So I ask you this – What would happen in your life if you made a commitment to be 1% better every day?  Think about it and do the math (and for the record, I found this math on the Internet, so if it is not accurate, I hold the Internet responsible!!! Hahaha).  1% better everyday, when compounded, would result to becoming 3,800% better each year.  Conversely, 1% worse each day, compounded, would mean losing 97% of your value each year.  So I urge you to take your “whole” self into account and consider the following:

Physically – What can I do to be 1% better each day?  Park further from the school to acquire more steps in any given day?  Get 30 more minutes of sleep each night?  Eat another serving of leafy green vegetables each day?

Emotionally – What can I do to be 1% better each day?  Love a little more?  Forgive a little more quickly?  Complain a little less?  Be gentler with myself? 

Mentally – What can I do to be 1% better each day?  Read for 10 more minutes?  Work on a sudoko or crossword?  Begin to learn a new language or acquire a new hobby or skill?

Spiritually – What can I do to be 1% better each day?  (And by “spiritual” I’m not necessarily talking about anything associated with religious practice.  It can be, but doesn’t have to be.  We all have a spirit inside of us that needs to be nourished.  To me, it can be as simple as focusing on the interconnected nature of our universe).  Where can I be more grateful?  Where can I do a better job of expressing my gratitude?  How could I spend 10 more minutes doing something that feeds my soul? – Dancing, singing, painting… Could I add 5 minutes of journaling or meditation into my daily routine?

In closing, as we enter this season of review, refection, and goal setting with our students, I encourage you to think in terms of 1%’s.  It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks, big steps, and big expectations, so it’s our job as the adults in their lives to help our students simplify.  Think small; accomplish BIG.  It is my hope that this 1% mindset will help all of us remember the powerful impact of incremental steps over time, because in the end, it’s not so much about the final outcome as it is about mastering our habits along the way.  And when we focus on the little things we do each day, we have a far better chance of ending up where we want to be.

Four more days until Spring Break… You can do it!  Just take it one day at a time, and remember to ask yourself – What can I do to be 1% better everyday?  And enjoy your Spring Break whatever you do!  May each day be longer than the last, sweeter than the previous, and filled with a constant stream of love, laughter, rest, and relaxation.

Love,

Juli

teachers leaving for spring break

Reminders:

Staff Retreat Survey – Please make sure you complete it by clicking here!  Remember that room and board are covered but we do ask that you come if you sign up so that we don’t waste funds on spots not taken! All full and part time staff members are invited and we do hope you will be able to attend this important annual event in the life of our school community.  This year we have invited a guest speaker team who will help us explore the notion of Broadening our Perspectives and we anticipate that it’s going to be an amazing weekend that will lead to better things at CSD.

Announcement:  We are VERY excited to announce that after a year of research conducted by parents and staff members, we have decided to take our carpool dismissal to the next level.  Be on the lookout for more information to come very soon….but just to pique your interest, feel free to take a sneak peak …. http://www.pikmykid.com/   More to come soon!  Stay tuned!

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, April 3rd
Admin in Screening Interviews all day
Holshouser Opera Dress Rehearsal
Tuesday, April 4th
Holshouser Opera
Wednesday, April 5th 
Teckenbrock Opera Dress Rehearsal
K-7 Staff Meeting – Final Love and Logic Session
Thursday, April 6th
Teckenbrock Opera
Friday, April 7th
SPRING BREAK BEGINS!!!!

Upcoming Dates
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
April 17 – Earth Day – 4th Grade
April 18 – Earth Day – 3rd Grade
April 19 – Earth Day – 1st Grade
April 19 – 4th Grade to Old Salem
April 19 – Special Olympics
April 20 – Earth Day – 2nd Grade
April 20 – K to Children’s Theater
April 21 – Earth Day – 6th and 7th Grades
April 24 – 6/7 Dance Dress Rehearsals
April 25 – Kids Are Worth It Book Talk for Parents – 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MS Black Box
April 26 – 6/7 Dance Sharings
April 26 – Teacher Appreciation Grab and Go Lunch
April 26 – MS/HS Band Performance – 7:00 p.m. at Pine Lake Auditorium
April 27 – Earth Day – Kindergarten
April 28 – 3rd Grade Walking Tour
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of March 27, 2017

Happy Sunday! We hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather!  A HUGE thanks to our auction team and to all of YOU for the VERY successful auction last night.  It was so much fun and lots of money was raised for our school!  Yay!  We couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful donations made by your classrooms and by the wonderful teacher experiences that all of you offered.  Thank you for donating your time and talents to benefit CSD!  Also, congratulations to Erik D’Esterre and his amazing middle school cast on the success of Bugsy Malone!  I am always blown away at the talent of these young adults.  Congratulations!

A few weeks ago Amy Fisher posted an article on Facebook about morning work that really made me stop and think about how I would do things differently if I were in the classroom. I also attended a workshop at our Fresh Take conference on STEM activities where the presenters talked about putting out tinker trays in the morning instead of traditional worksheet type morning work as well. All of this really set my wheels turning to the many different possibilities of rethinking how we start our student’s days. What if we had out rigorous, problem-solving, creative, collaborative challenging activities first thing in the morning that really hooked students and made them want to come into our classrooms and get started with their learning right away? How would this help set the tone for the day? Would this help cut down on tardies? Does it get students so engaged in their thinking right away that their minds are off and running from that start? This is something that I promise you no worksheet will ever provide! This article also talked about the importance of allowing students choice. Having several options out so that students choose what speaks to them. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like the perfect way to start my day! I can promise you that the thought of coming in to a stack of worksheets does not sound exciting to me as an adult, I feel certain it does not sound very appealing to a child. Morning is when most of us are fresh and ready to go, why not allow students time to explore their passion and creativity? I have provided the link to the article Amy posted below. I hope that you will read it and it will spark some new ideas for you. Remember, you don’t have to do everything this teacher did. You can start small, if all of these ideas seem overwhelming pick one and try it! You don’t have to wait until next year to do this, try one tomorrow or next week. I promise your students will love you even more for it! 🙂 Maybe you even choose one of the activities to try along with them. Children love watching their teachers try new things, even if it doesn’t work out, those can be some of the best lessons we ever teach them! Let us know if you try any of these ideas or have other ideas to share. I would love to know if you see a difference in your students. Have a fantastic week!

http://mrdovico.blogspot.com/2017/02/rethinking-morning-work.html

 

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 27th
Carr to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, March 28th
Hosse Opera Dress Rehearsal
Walker to Children’s Theater
Love and Logic Parenting Class with Marianne – 8:30 in 6th Grade Art Room
Wednesday, March 29th
Admin Planning Day – Admin off campus all day
Sara Keys Teacher Leader
Hosse Opera
Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Thursday, March 30th
Walker Opera Dress Rehearsal
Thompson to Huntersville Oaks
Washam to Williams Place
Friday, March 24th
Walker Opera
5th Grade to Children’s Theater

Upcoming Dates
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 5 – K-7 Staff Meeting
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
April 17 – Earth Day – 4th Grade
April 18 – Earth Day – 3rd Grade
April 19 – Earth Day – 1st Grade
April 19 – 4th Grade to Old Salem
April 19 – Special Olympics
April 20 – Earth Day – 2nd Grade
April 20 – K to Children’s Theater
April 21 – Earth Day – 6th and 7th Grades
April 24 – 6/7 Dance Dress Rehearsals
April 25 – Kids Are Worth It Book Talk for Parents – 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MS Black Box
April 26 – 6/7 Dance Sharings
April 26 – Teacher Appreciation Grab and Go Lunch
April 26 – MS/HS Band Performance – 7:00 p.m. at Pine Lake Auditorium
April 27 – Earth Day – Kindergarten
April 28 – 3rd Grade Walking Tour
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of March 20, 2017

 

 

Dear Staff,

Do you recognize these faces?  They are some of the amazing cast of the CSD HS musical Mary Poppins.  I hope that you were able to see one of the shows this weekend, as it was truly outstanding!  The photo that you see above was taken by Charity Helms, CSD mom and staff member.  She captioned it, “The Seniors.”  Wait, what????  Seniors???  As blown away as I was by their performance, I was equally blown away at the realization that all of these beautiful and talented young people are seniors!  Weren’t they just on the K/1 hall?  This is our first class of students to go from kindergarten through 12th grade.  That in itself is very exciting!  As I watched them on stage this weekend tap dancing, singing, acting, even at one point flying thorough the air–yes, really flying, I was reminded at truly how far they all have come since they entered our doors as young five and six year old students.  Some of these students were painfully shy when they were young, some of them were defiant, some were considered not great test takers, and yet here they all are putting on one of the most professional plays I have seen. Truly, it was breathtaking to watch them and listen to them act and sing!

Earlier this week Juli and I did an open house for newly admitted families to CSD.  In the presentation we talk about how Dr. Boyer defines being a literate person.  He defines being a literate person not just in reading and writing, but in three areas.  They are reading/writing, numbers and the arts.  As I watched these seniors on stage I thought to myself how proud Dr. Boyer must be.  For these students, who we have taught K-12, are truly literate.  In fact, they are “practically perfect,” as Mary Poppins would say.  So kudos to you dear staff, because you are the ones who have helped them reach their full potential.  I know at the K-7 building we don’t always have the benefit of seeing them blossom.  However, you are the ones who help weed the garden, sprinkle them with kindness and shine down on them with love even when they are hard. They are nurtured and grow into these beautiful, talented and literate on so many levels, human beings who are going to do great and wonderful things in this world!  So as we dig into one of the hardest parts of the year I hope you will pull this picture back out and remind yourself of all the good you do on a daily basis.  I also hope that you will remember that as testing season kicks off that these faces once were third, fourth, fifth and even middle school test takers.  Some of them did really well and some of them didn’t, and look at them now…all practically perfect!  Remember to make it fun, that is what they will remember.  As Mary Poppins would say, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!”  I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I leave you with one final quote from the play that was in our playbill:

“Anything can happen if you let it.  Sometimes things are difficult but you can bet it doesn’t have to be so, changes can be made.  You can move a mountain if you use a larger spade.  Anything can happen it’s a marvel.  You can be a butterfly or just stay larval.  Stretch your mind beyond fantastic dreams are made or strong elastic.  Take some sound advice and don’t forget it.  Anything can happen if you let it!”

-Mary Poppins

PS~ Take a few minutes and listen to the latest CSD podcast done by Marianne Coale and Amy Teckenbrock, “More Than a Test Score.”

 

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 20th
Juli out – at DPI meeting
5th Grade NC Check In
Session 4 ASE Begins
Tuesday, March 21st
Love and Logic Parent Class w/ Marianne – 8:30a.m. in 6th Grade Art Room
Schultz to the Laurels
Wednesday, March 22nd
Middle School Parent Meeting – 7:00 in MS Black Box
Thursday, March 23rd
Middle School Parent Meeting – 8:30 in MS Black Box
Hurlbut to Huntersville Oaks
Love and Logic Parent Class w/ Marianne – 7:30 in MS Media Center
Friday, March 24th

Upcoming Dates
March 22-25 – MS Musical – Bugsy Malone Jr.
March 25 – CSD Auction
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives

Upcoming “BIG” Dates:
May 12-13 – Staff Retreat
Week of May 15 – EOG’s
May 30 – State of the School Address
May 31 – Last Day of School
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays