Sunday Memo April 23, 2017

On Friday, the sun was shining, the flowers were blooming and the birds were singing – It finally felt like spring @ CVMS. It’s been a long, wet winter but the change in weather absolutely made a difference for staff and students. Kids were finally able to go outside at lunch without muddy messes. PE students also had a fitness day in the sunshine. It is wonderful when humans are able to get outside into nature, even for a few minutes a day. This excerpt from the online journal Edutopia makes a case for the natural work in education: In our time of fast-paced, exam-pressured, high-tech culture, where does learning with nature have a place? When adults are asked to recall a time in their youth when they were happiest, invariably they refer to times spent outdoors and with friends. Our clever screen world keeps us busy and on the go, but does not help us to communicate, feel loved, gain the satisfaction of the quiet mind, and relax. Time with others in nature does exactly that -- and much, much more!

To learn more about ways schools include nature as a classroom, click on this link:

Here at CV, we are planning ways to engage our students more actively in the natural world, including the installation of a school garden. Newberg Christian Church is helping us on this project, by donating raised beds, bark dust and soil – now we need some parents, staff and students to help us plant and maintain our first spring crop in May/June. If you are interested in helping on this project, by donating seeds, seedlings, fertilizer, garden tools or your expertise, let me know. Our goal is to eventually grow our own food and serve it in our cafeteria. What a great example of learning by doing (and eating!).

Weekly Reminders

  • Tuesday and Wednesday (April 25 & 26) we are hosting the second Taking it Up! workshop in the library. I will be helping to facilitate both days. Casey and Cass will be your contact people of you need anything.
  • Many CVMS staff attended the March training and more are attending this week. Here is the workshop description: Taking It Up is a provocative 2 day seminar focused on helping educators, school board leaders, and community members deepen their understanding of the institutionalized racist barriers that hinder elimination of Oregon’s racial achievement disparities. This focus on working from the inside out will challenge participants to step out of their comfort zone and create new entry points for becoming aware of, understanding, and interrupting inequitable policies and practices in our schools.
  • Tuesday @ 3 PM we will host our second Discipline listening session. The location is TBA. Casey will send out more information.
  • Wednesday is a PLC late-start.
  • Thursday, April 27, I will join secondary principals for a strategic planning session at the D.O. We will be looking at current achievement gaps and working together as a 6-12 team to review data and envision ways we can reverse these current trends. As I get ready for this planning session, I will be reviewing our current strategies and skills we are building as as a school. These strategies/initiatives include: CM; AVID; Course Integration (Humanities); Academic Intervention (Math Labs, Academic support); Project Based Learning; Co-teaching; Base Camp; 1:1 Technology; Collaborative Problem Solving, etc. Please let me know if you have any thoughts about these strategies as well as ideas you may have to address our current achievement gaps.
  • Thursday Casey and I have our monthly K12 Nuts and Bolts meeting at the D.O. from 2:30-4:30.
  • Friday, April 28, I will meet with our Humanities teams to go over SBAC protocols/strategies. We will meet in Cis' room (surprise Cis!). This is a short session from 3-3:30 to share ideas and align our practices across grade levels prior to the start of SBAC testing next Monday.

Our PBIS and IF updates will now be linked to the Sunday Memo each week. Our goal is to centralize our communication and reinforce the interconnectedness of Leadership team work. I will link the updates in this memo. In addition, I will highlight information that is both timely and important. For example, if you want to know all about our ban on "slime" be sure to read Casey's PBIS update this week. Here's the link:

Connections

Research into high school drop out rates clearly link discipline (including suspension) to negative future outcomes, including lower graduation rates. Researcher Robert Balfanz found that behavior problems are one of the early warning signs of a student's probability of dropping out. If teachers aren't aware of the stereotypes minorities and special education students face, the "cycle continues" regardless of intervention systems a school may attempt. According to writer Sophia Alvarez Boyd, the key to interrupting this cycle of failure is to educate teachers about cultural difference and student backgrounds that differ from their own. To learn more about equity, discipline and stereotyping, click on the link below

Have a great evening. Cheers, Karen

Credits:

Created with images by UDel Carvel REC - "Georgetown Elementary Sch. tour SC Master Gardener's Demo Garden"

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