Week of February 22, 2016

Dear Staff,

Thank you for another wonderful week of learning and fun!  We are especially grateful to the MS teachers for their flexibility and support during the MS Dance Performances.  You all never cease to amaze us with you willingness to put kids first and work together for the collective success of all.  Thank you does not suffice!  Unfortunately, this type of teamwork is rare in many work environments, and we are so grateful that our students get to witness these types of working relationships in action.  As we all know, what we do is so much more impactful than what we say, so thank you for leading by example.  Our hats are off to YOU!

Also, we want to thank Amy Tomalis and Andie Snyder for leading us in such a thought-provoking Staff Meeting on Wednesday about Teaching Complexity.  If you were unable to attend, we ask that you please review the materials and discuss with your team.


While all of this was really interesting, we were particularly intrigued with the research on the most significant factor that impact achievement.  Please take a few moments to ponder this list, and think on how this aligns with your individual practice.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 9.34.02 AM

Are there areas in which you excel?  Are there areas you feel need improvement?  These are the questions that propel us to the next level of excellence in teaching, and this type of reflection is essential to our professional growth.  We encourage you to think deeply about these topics and then reach out for support if you feel there are areas in which you could improve.  Conversely, if you feel you are strong in a particular area, please share your knowledge and expertise with others!  This is how we all become stronger, both as individuals and as a team.

The Week at a Glance

Monday, February 22nd:
4:00 – CSD 2016-2017 Lottery – HS Black Box
Tuesday, February 23rd:
Schultz to Laurels
Walker to Huntersville Oaks
Wednesday, February 24th: 
Beth Knight Teacher Leader
6:30 – Mandatory Spring Sports Meeting at HS
Thursday, February 25th: 
Westbrook/Sharp to Olde Knox Commons
Thompson to Huntersville Oaks
Friday, February 26th: 

Looking Ahead….

March 2 – Butterfly Project – 6th Grade
March 2 – 5th Grade Children’s Theater Field Trip, Read Across America Day
March 3 – 2nd Grade Children’s Theater Field Trip
March 4 – 2nd Grade Art Gallery
March 4 – 7th Grade Field Trip to Bodyworks at Discovery Place
March 7 – 4th Grade to JA Biztown
March 7 – Parent Advisory – 7:30 at HS
March 9 – Proof of Concept – 5th Grade
March 10 & 11 – 3rd Grade Wax Museum
March 11 – 5th Grade Opera Load In
March 14-18 – 5th Grade Opera
March 17-19 – MS Musical – The Lion King
March 17 – 3rd Grade Walking Tour of Charlotte
March 18 – 7th Grade Asia Day
March 21-24 – 5th Grade Opera
March 25-April 3 – SPRING BREAK
April 4 – Classes resume

Important Note:

We will be using Marianne’s office for state testing this week. We will have testing signs up, but please be quiet in the front office area.  Thank you for your help!


We are going to try to be more diligent about turning the carpool phones lines at 2:45 (not 2:40). Please help us by sending students who ride the bus at 2:40. We are hoping this helps you in your classroom.


Our annual CSD Lottery will be held this week on Monday.  This can be a very sad and emotional (and sometimes even angry) time for families who want to be at CSD but do not have good luck in the lottery.  Please be extra careful about your words as you are in the community.  While we cannot serve every family who wants to be at CSD, we can certainly care about every family and wish they were with us.  People need always feel heard, seen, and cared about by us at all times……especially the tough times.

NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey

The NC Teacher Working Conditions survey that is done in NC every two years will go out March 1.  Please make this a high priority for all lead teachers.  CSD always has 100% participation and this is an important part of the feedback we get as a school and as a state.  Be on the lookout for your survey codes! Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful feedback!

Teaching Tips by Marianne:

I did send this out in an email but thought this was a good reminder.  Parents need to feel like they are being heard.  By showing empathy, care, and understanding we are able to work together collaboratively with one another.


Great parents love their kids. Great teachers love their students. This love makes them great at what they do. This affection can also lead to parent-teacher conferences where fur gets ruffled and sparks fly.

Our audio, Putting Parents at Ease, provides powerful strategies for keeping things positive and productive. Described below are just a few strategies:

Don’t try to fix it before fixing your ears on the other person’s concerns. Listening with sincere empathy and understanding is the single most important skill for working with anyone who is caught up in emotion. Promoting this involves having some key phrases we can fall back upon when we feel attacked:

Tell me more.
Help me understand.
How long have you felt this way?
What would you like to see here?

Each of the above is designed to get the other person talking. The more they talk, the better.

Take notes and read them back to the other person.
To prove that we’ve listened, it’s helpful to jot down verbatim what the other person is saying. Don’t summarize. Don’t paraphrase. Take the time to write down exactly what the other person is saying. This demonstrates our commitment to listen. Oftentimes, it’s also helpful for the other person to hear how crazy they may be sounding. Note: “Crazy” doesn’t mean the person is mentally unstable. It simply means they are crazy in love with their kids or their students.

Have the child do most of the work.
Who is this conference really about? The child should do most of the thinking and working. This happens most effectively when teachers coach children to share their progress with the parent, as well as some possible solutions for improving it. Parents are also wise to ask most of the questions of their child…rather than of their child’s teacher.

Maintain clear roles.
Parents can’t run the classroom for teachers, and teachers can’t run the home for parents. Wise educators describe what they will be doing to help in their classroom, instead of loading the parent with additional duties at home. Likewise, wise parents describe what they will be doing at home, instead of dictating loads of additional duties for the teacher.

When parents focus their energy on parenting well, and teachers focus their energy on teaching well, kids tend to excel. In contrast, when they try to control each other, things get ugly.

Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.

Dr. Charles Fay


We do have a copy of the audio, Putting Parents at Ease.

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