Sunday Memo January 29, 2017

I got a cold on Thursday night. One of those really nasty colds. When I came to work on Friday, I just wanted to make it through the day. I didn't go to the dance on Friday night - which is very rare. Thank goodness for Casey and Cassandra! I knew the dance was in good hands. On Saturday, I woke up deep in the throes of this cold. I promised that I would be part of the painting crew on Saturday morning. Carrie Simmons is the project leader and she had 4 other parents signed up to volunteer for the project. So, I hauled myself out of bed and met them at 9 a.m. at CV. I wasn't enthusiastic. It felt like a chore that I didn't want to do. But, after an hour of being around the painting crew, I found myself changing my attitude. It ceased to be a chore. I was part of a very supportive, effective team. We worked together for the rest of the day and not one person complained or dragged themselves through the task. Maybe they were tired or even sick like I was - but the power of positive action changed their mental attitude. It was a great pleasure to spend my Saturday with these powerful ladies. I found myself shifting my perspective from "me" to "us" very naturally. I noticed how well everybody observed individual needs and took care of each other.

This project was a great opportunity to reflect on the power of teamwork, positive mental attitude and the thrill of accomplishing a task together. We did it! And more importantly, we did it for our students, staff and parents - our community. So, if you are looking for a chance to energize your practice, to make connections with people you may not know well and to make a difference, consider volunteering, partnering with a community organization or joining a team of committed people. Consider joining one of our CV Parent group projects. I guarantee you will leave refreshed and energized. Just being around positive people lightens your load. I still have my nasty cold, but my attitude is healthier!

Reminders for the week

  • Secondary Scheduling meeting @ NHS - Monday, January 30 7:15-11:15.
  • Lock-down drill on Monday @ 1:30. Casey sent an email today with details.
  • Wednesday late-start is a teacher-directed late-start
  • Thursday, February 2 is a Secondary Principal PLC @ MVMS in the a.m.
  • Thursday. February 3 is also Groundhog Day! One of my favorite holidays, because I adore small burrowing creatures. And the movie Groundhog Day.
  • Friday, February is a grading day. Please upload your grades by the end of the day. We will verify and begin printing final grades on Monday, February 6.

Curriculum Highlights

  • A secondary scheduling group is meeting on Monday in the a.m. It includes both middle schools and the high school - with administrators and association reps working together to try to come up with a bell schedule that meets student and staff needs while aligning with our current contract. We have been working on the secondary schedule for over a month and are still not at a place of consensus. The original workgroup process was very productive, but we did not settle on a unified schedule 6-12. After this process, NHS administrators developed 4 possible schedules for review. At CV, I met with our association reps and the original scheduling committee last week to review the options. Of the options presented, we chose the 7 period hybrid option - as did MVMS. However, this option has contractual issues that need to be problem solved. Last week, the NHS principal, Kyle Laier, shared the status of the high school schedule with the School Board. The middle school teams have not had a chance to weigh in yet, but we will on Monday morning. I am not sure about the outcome, but know the our goal is work productively together to come to consensus if possible. I am pleased that our association reps will be part of this process. I know that they will bring a middle school staff perspective to the table, as will I. We will also bring a commitment to listen to understand and to solve problems productively. We will share details as soon as soon as we know next steps.
  • Last Tuesday, our 8th grade Humanities team shared a unit of study with our School Board to illustrate the work we are doing around 21st century teaching and learning. Aaron Gapasin, Cis Brower, students Fer Hernandez-Valencia and Alex Creech presented together. Tashia Murchison, while unable to attend the meeting, was there in spirit. I was so proud of our staff and students at this presentation. It was well-organized, thoughtful and very interactive. The students demonstrated the very skills our 8th grade team is teaching: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Citizenship. We also had several parents from our parent group and staff members attend the meeting. Wow. I felt surrounded by community on Tuesday.
  • Staff and Student Needs Assessments will come out soon. We will include survey questions about professional learning opportunities for the rest of the year - please take the time to give us your feedback about the topics and strategies you would like to learn more about. Your voice really does make a difference as we craft a differentiated Professional Learning plan - with your needs at the center. Watch for a google survey coming your way after the end of Semester 1.

Connections

The winter formal dance was a success - what a great chance for kids to shine and feel supported by our community. We had a ton of parent volunteers there to make sure the kids had a great time, from Italian sodas, to donut kebabs, to inexpensive photos to commemorate the event - these kids were showered to adult attention in a healthy environment. This is what it looks like when kids take leadership and connect with caring adults. I haven't heard about the final tally of funds earned from the dance, but the results are already tabulated in the smiles and positive relationships. What fun!

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