Sunday Memo April 9, 2017

Our Incoming 6th grade welcome night was a wonderful evening for students and families. It was made more wonderful by the teamwork and effort by our staff and leadership students. Shannon Vandehey outdid herself with the decorations, Martha Santamaria did her magic by translating the whole presentation in real time for Spanish speaking parents, Tina prepared a healthy and beautiful refreshment table, Gabriela, Derrie, Carol and AnnMarie did a stellar job with all of the details, our counselors worked logistics with a great new project management software program called Trello, our 6th grade and elective teachers came in the evening to meet families and share their class details and our leadership students made me proud with their kindness, welcoming spirit and enthusiasm. It was a great night. Most importantly, it showed our parents and students how much we care about them at CVMS. Here's a little slideshow for those of you who missed it.

The CV Parent Group were there as well, welcoming families and making connections. Emily posted this on t;he CVMS Parent Group Facebook page the day after the event:

Last night CV had a welcoming event for 5th graders & their families! This was an evening to introduce families and their student, to what CV is all about and what to expect as they enter their new middle school next year. CV leadership and staff went ABOVE & BEYOND to ensure our incoming 5th graders & their families felt welcome and excited about this upcoming transition to CVMS! CV staff made this event into a huge opportunity to show our incoming 5th graders how much they mean to us, and found ways to make them feel special, excited and celebrated as they entered this new & exciting chapter of their education.

• A bubble machine was blowing bubbles as kids entered the building.

• CV Leadership kids lined up to high five and clap for kids as they entered.

• Leadership kids helped 5th graders practice opening up lockers & tour the school.

• 4 Leadership students spoke at the assembly, giving their best advice and some heart felt encouragement.

• A balloon arch was made for them to walk through as they entered the gym.

• There was a wonderful spread of fruit, veggies and cookies for everyone to enjoy.

• 6th grade teachers had tables set up to meet incoming students and talk about their classes.

• There was a raffle 5th graders entered to win great prizes like a free PE uniform, school spirit wear and a stuffed wolf.

• Photo booth

• A great assembly explaining all that CV has to offer.

• Parents came to talk about the parent group and how to support our school.

A big thanks to all of the CV teachers & staff that worked so hard to make this a night that these kids will never forget!

Weekly Reminders

This is a fairly quiet week - with the hectic schedule last week and the windstorm, I'm looking forward to a less frenzied schedule. Here are a few highlights:

  • Monday afternoon (4 PM) is the final Co-teaching celebration for GFU cooperating teachers and teacher candidates. I always look forward to this celebration - and connecting with such promising new practitioners. Aaron and Bailey is the only co-teaching partnership this year - and what a successful partnership! It will be hard to say "goodbye to Bailey. I prefer to say "see you later."
  • Wednesday morning is a PLC late-start.
  • We will hold our monthly Principal's Coffee at 9 AM on Wednesday morning in the staff room.
  • Thursday morning is our monthly Secondary Principal PLC. I will be out of the building from 7:30-11:30.
  • Michele Paton and I will be meeting with John Spencer, one of the folks behind Genius Hour, at the D.O. on Thursday after the PLC. Both MVMS and CVMS will offer an elective wheel next year that includes a 6th grade Genius Hour component. To learn more about John, click this link:
  • Thursday @ 3:00 is our next optional PL workshop.


What is Genius Hour? Genius Hour in the classroom is an approach to learning built around student curiosity, self-directed learning, and passion-based work.

In traditional learning, teachers map out academic standards, and plan units and lessons based around those standards. In Genius Hour, students are in control, choosing what they study, how they study it, and what they do, produce, or create as a result. As a learning model, it promotes inquiry, research, creativity, and self-directed learning.

Genius Hour is most notably associated with Google, where employees are able to spend up to 20% of their time working on projects they’re interested in and passionate about. The study and work is motivated intrinsically, not extrinsically. The big idea for Google is that employees motivated by curiosity and passion will be happier, more creative, and more productive, which will benefit the company in terms of both morale, “off-Genius” productivity, and “on-Genius” performance.

What does this mean in a classroom? Take a look at this graphic - it shows the 6 basic components of Genius Hour.

To learn more about how this concept, click here on the Edutopia overview:

We already have pioneer teachers trying out Genius Hour already - our 8th grade Humanities team is trying it out this year. Connect with Aaron, Cis and Tashia to learn more.

Sometimes, change comes from out of nowhere - and you are forced to look at the world from a different perspective. The windstorm on Friday showed the power of nature and how inconsequential our "control" is in the big scheme of things. When I returned from work on Friday afternoon, I had a changed backyard landscape - and a new view, both literally and figuratively. Next time, I hope I learn how to keep my control issues in perspective without a major disaster - but for now, I'm focusing on maintaining balance. My favorite pine tree is mortally injured and it's fall took out the beloved dogwood tree we planted the year we purchased our Dundee house - along with most of the bottom of our legacy fir tree (over 100 years old). The good news is that the fir tree is going to be fine (with some harsh pruning), the car wasn't crushed and nothing hit our house. I am grateful and looking forward to imagining a new backyard with more sunlight and new plantings. It's all about perspective! Anybody have a chainsaw I can borrow?

cheers, Karen

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