Sunday Memo January 22, 2017

Friday was a special day at CVMS – Movie and PJ day! We originally scheduled this celebration on December 16th as a reward for meeting our goal for the annual Toy Drive. Students donated 399 toys for the Toy and Joy program sponsored by Newberg/Dundee Fire Department. The day was rescheduled to January 20 due to inclement weather. The gym, library and cafeteria were filled with middle schoolers having fun in a safe and supervised environment. Thanks to all of the staff who helped supervise - I know that the gym was a challenge due to large numbers of students. The parents who volunteered in the cafeteria popping popcorn and handing out treats commented on how polite our students were to them. They said that our students used please and thank you and waited patiently for their turn. That's great news! Sometimes it’s important to take a break from the routine, day-to-day schedule and hit the pause button. While only an hour and a half, this break provided students, staff and parents with a way to connect with each other and enjoy a common experience. Thank you to our parent volunteers for popping enough popcorn for 200 students, our staff for supervising students and our custodial personnel for taking care of random popcorn spills. Thanks also to our leadership kids and advisor for putting this celebration together for our community. It was a fun day!

In addition to this reward day, we also launched our new Positive Behavior project led by counselor Maddie Kozloff – CVMS Pawsitivity! When a student receives a Positive Behavior Referral from a staff member they receive a small prize. Now, they also get their name on the wall in a wolf print. When we reach 600 paw prints, our school will celebrate together with a fun event. It’s important to recognize good behavior in our students to reinforce our school goals to be Safe, Respectful and Responsible. You’ll hear more about this commitment to positive behavior in the following weeks.

I say goodbye to my daughter Olivia this weekend. She is returning to Smith College in Northampton, MA. We've had a great break together but it's time for her to return to her education. I'll miss her and her sister Clara, but I am so proud of their growth, both intellectually and social/emotionally. It's a wonder to see your children turn into responsible adults. What a journey this is - and what a gift to be part of it. If I'm a little sad this week, it's because I miss my girls. I'll get over it. But for a week or so, I'll hang onto their amazing presence in my life. And then I'll let go.

Reminders for the week

  • Tuesday, January 24 - Staff meeting @ 3-4 in the library. Please be prompt. We have a full agenda.
  • Board meeting @ 7 PM on Tuesday, Jan. 24- CV presentation - focusing on 21st century teaching and learning.
  • Wednesday, January 25 - PLC late start.
  • Friday, January 27 - CV Dance @ 7-9 PM. Please contact Kim McDonough if you'd like to volunteer for dance supervision. It's soooo fun by the way. Please consider connecting with our kids outside of the school hours. You'll learn a ton about them.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Teaching and Learning Council @ 4 PM on Monday, Jan. 23
  • K12 Leadership Nuts and Bolts @ 2:30 on Wednesday, Jan. 25
  • Instructional Facilitator/Admin meeting @ 1:55 on Thursday, Jan. 26
  • AVID Site Team meeting @ 2:50 on Thursday, Jan. 26
  • Secondary Principal PLC @ 1:30 on Friday, Jan. 27

CV Board Presentation

On Tuesday, CV is scheduled to share our progress with the NSD Board of Directors. What does that mean? It's a chance to share teaching strategies that align to our school improvement plan. This year, our 8th grade Humanities team will share a unit they developed and taught collaboratively. The unit culminated in a project titled "Micro-nation." Students learned about historical perspectives in political philosophy, including he work of Locke, Hobbes and Montesquieu. After getting a grounding in the philosophy that contributed to the US constitution, students developed their own political system and had to articulate which philosophers contributed to their Micro-nation constitution. Cis and Aaron will represent the 8th grade team at the board meeting. In addition, two students will participate. Fer Hernandez Valencia and Alex Creech will share their perspective about the depth of their learning. in this project. As an outside observer, I was impressed with the depth of knowledge that students exhibited and the dynamic collaboration between the teaching team. When I went from class to class, I noticed a high level of student engagement, the use of technology, CM strategies, and the opportunity for student choice. I know that this kind of learning is happening in multiple places within our school. The 8th grade team project is just one example - a great indicator that our work is positively impacting student learning. Congratulations to our 8th grade team and our student representatives for their hard work and their deep learning together. I'm excited to share this story with our board on Tuesday.


As we get closer to the end of semester 1 and final grades for students, I think that it's a good idea to reflect on classroom assessments - How do we assess students? Do the assessments we use measure mastery of content or a laundry list of activities? How connected are students to this process of assessment? Does it inform their ownership of learning? Or does it create barriers to that ownership? I think that the hardest work I did as a teacher was the work around assessment. I am a natural curriculum designer and I love to create ways to stretch kids. When I reflected on my assessments, however, I was more at a loss. I returned to assessment tools that I had experience with - and the ones that I had experienced personally. I had to stretch to practice student centered assessments. Somehow, I thought I wasn't doing my job if I didn't assess using teacher generated "objective" tests. Well, thankfully, we've learned a lot about how students learn and how to teach to their strengths. Here is a link to a great resource about student self-assessment. Have fun with the ideas. We'll talk more about assessment at our staff meeting on Tuesday.

cheers, Karen

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