December 7

School Design Plans-  Please be sure the latest version of your SDP is in the SDP google folder. We will be looking at these on my next site visit. Let me know if you have any questions or problems finding the folder.

Student Shadowing- At our last leadership meeting, Jay presented the opportunity/challenge of spending a half day shadowing a student in one of our schools. This activity has many benefits. The information you share will provide our equity cadre with useful relevant information for us moving forward. The insights you gain will be invaluable to you personally and professionally. You might even want to spend some time talking with the student when you have finished.  If that doesn’t get you motivated, then maybe a little competitive incentive will get you going. Lora has offered to buy drinks for the level having the highest percentage of administrators participating. Jim Boen is already trash talking and thinking middle school will win. I have to work in the office next to him. I regularly and passionately tell him that elementary schools “CARE” and that’s why we are different. If we lose to middle school, well, you know what it’s going to be like for me for the next month rest of my career with Jim. So, please, I’m begging, shadow a student (and it will be really worth your while).

Chronic Absenteeism ESD Grant- Kimberly Strong, the ESD’s Regional Coordinator for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism has updated the grant application information I shared with you at our last horizontal meeting. There are still spots left, so if you are working on improving attendance, this would be an easy way to get a little monetary and technical support for your efforts.

Mini Observations- We are fast approaching the first “deadline” for mini observations. Please remember that by winter break you need to have the following completed:

Probationary: 2 observations (one formal)

Contract teachers on evaluation year: 2 mini observations

Contract teachers not on evaluation year: 1 mini observation

In addition to completing these, please be sure you are recording them in Talent Ed.

Homework- Someone recently asked me why we still permit homework at the elementary school level when the preponderance of research shows little to no benefit to the academic achievement of elementary school students (although at the high school level homework does correlate to student success- chicken or egg?). The question is a good one.  Not because I think we should eliminate homework, but because I think we should be very thoughtful and careful about any homework given. I believe there are enough potential positives (study skills, responsibility, parent involvement, etc.) to make it difficult to just eliminate altogether. What I am urging you to do if you haven’t already, is to work with your school community to develop consistent homework guidelines/ processes that work for your students and families. Dive into the research. Ask what the research isn’t telling you. Ask parents what they want. Talk to students about how it helps/doesn’t help them. If you are Title school, you are required to have a Parent Involvement Plan. This plan should be developed in cooperation with parents. Your school’s homework practices would be a great topic to address in your Parent Involvement Plan. I believe homework can help students IF it is done with thought and care. If you already have a school wide process and you haven’t looked at it for a while, it might be time to revisit and be sure you still believe what it says. If not, I encourage you to address the question within your school community.

Collective Efficacy- According to Hattie, collective teacher efficacy is one of the most significant factors influencing student achievement. Lava Ridge is focusing on this as a staff this year. This article is a good read on the power of collective efficacy.

Great Work, Ponderosa!! Many of you probably saw this in our district spotlight earlier this week, but if not, take a look. Great idea and a wonderful illustration of helping our students become thriving citizens.


Upcoming Events

December 11- Board Meeting- 5:30 P.M.- Board Room

December 24-January 4- VACATION!

That’s all for this week. Have a fantastic weekend!




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