Sunday Memo February 26, 2017

Last week, I took a risk and changed up my routine. As part of the School Retool leadership program, I got to choose a small “hack” designed to yield immediate results. I chose to move my office into the main hallway and run an “instant poll” for students. My question was posted next to my hallway desk: “If you were me, what would you change?” At first, the kids were confused. “What are you doing out here?” was the common response. Then, as kids began to realize what was going on, they stopped and chatted as they wrote up their ideas on post it notes. Every period, I gathered the responses and the kids got to write up more ideas. I had a couple of students who stopped by the desk multiple times – they were the activists - polite but persistent. One of them wrote, “Free candy on Fridays” multiple times on the post it notes. Others took their time and finally stopped to write a suggestion on the board after several hours of thinking. One of my students wrote her suggestion in Spanish. Another one of our nonverbal life-skills students drew a suggestion and proudly posted it on the board all by himself. Although this was a small investment of time and resources, it had a tangible result in the school. Our principal is asking for our opinion and listening to our ideas. That’s a powerful message. What was the #1 suggestion offered? Start the school day an hour later. I’m not sure I can deliver on that one quickly, but I will bring it to our secondary scheduling group and see what leaders at the middle and high school levels think. And, I’ll let my kids know that their voices were heard by the administration and we’re working on it.

Friday, I participated in the second School Retool workshop held at Dayton Middle School. Casey, Cass and I got to share our "hack" experiences with other regional administrators and listened to their perspectives as well. Together, we just might make enough small changes in our schools to make a difference for kids in our districts. That is our goal and our aspiration.

Weekly Reminders

  • High School forecasting is scheduled all day in Science classrooms on Monday. Students will receive information from HS counselors about courses and their choices. Students will receive forecasting sheets to fill out and return later in the week. You will not have to sign any forecasting sheets for placement. The placement process will be based on a variety of factors, including the survey responses you submit for students via google survey. If you have any questions about this forecasting process, we would be happy to help - although I have to admit that I don't know much about the high school course requirements any more. I'll do my best.
  • The Teaching and Learning Council will meet from 4-8 PM on Monday, Feb. 27.
  • I will attend the K-5 Principal's PLC on Wednesday morning to discuss our 6th grade transition and to share our curriculum scope and sequence with elementary principals. This is a move toward more collaboration between levels - a development that will support our students and will help them be more successful when they arrive at CVMS next year.
  • Wednesday is a teacher directed late-start.
  • Our secondary principal PLC is scheduled for this Thursday at CVMS. We will be dropping into classrooms to observe. I'll let folks know the schedule as soon as I connect with Stafford.
  • Our first optional Professional Learning workshop is scheduled for this Thursday from 3-5. The topic is Peer observation using the #observeme protocol. These sessions are scheduled to be informational/interactive for the first hour and then staff can choose to spend the second hour working with peers - in this case, the folks you'd like to observe in the coming weeks. Let me know if you are planning to attend the workshop on Thursday.
  • The Dundee Auction is scheduled for Saturday evening @ 6 PM. Many of you received tickets from our PTO. Please consider attending the auction. It is an amazing event - and worth the ticket price. (Free in your case!) Great food, great wine and it's all for a good cause - Dundee Elementary! And it has a truly amazing silent auction. I went to many of these auctions when my kiddos were at Dundee. The secret to the auction is the silent auction. Wow.
  • Congratulations to Drew Sellke, Nikolai Huelsman, Emerson Hansen & Kaitlin McLearn. They are Chehalem Valley's champions of OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books); and will be representing CV at Regionals on Sat, March 18 in Silverton.
  • Next week we will be recognizing the following students for having perfect attendance for Semseter 1. Nice work students! Anderson, Susannah J., Connelly, Asher, Johnson, Kincaid, Peterson, Gabriella, Andrade Garcia, Jose A., Coronel Arrezola, Yenesis, Jones, Levi T.. Porter, Quinn O., Antonio Dejesus, Ulysses, Dennis, Dakota M., Kilby, Caleb A., Scott, Braden M., Archer, Grace K., Dummer, Andrew S., Langridge, Ellie X., Sekiguchi, Kaizen T., Arnold, William J., Flores-Arcos, Doreydi, Liu, Betty Y., Shewell, Alexander M., Bass, Carter G., Fredrickson, Hayden K., Lopez, Kevin J., Stock, Kyle R., Bell, Gary B., Garcia, Eric, Mabry, Lucas J., Tinoco Camarena, Nicanor, Birch, Robert N., Goettl, Evie B., Macken, Paige M., Torres Hernandez, Stephanie, Blair, Chloe E., Graham, Caitlyn E., Mahmoudi, Jessica C., Vaughn, Emma R., Boerio, Adam J., Graham, Caleb B., McLearn, Kaitlin M., Voong, Chloe A., Brammer, Natalie R., Hardeman, Christopher J., Mooster-Garlough, Phoenyx, Weatherly, Aaron E., Brand, Greta J., Harris, Kiley R., Nelson, Gavin, Willcuts, Josephine J., Capito, Nathalie J., Hawley, Evan J., Nunez Zavaleta, Luis A., Yin, Mei Quan, Cazares, Melecio, Hilton, Breanna D., O'Loughlin, Lillie C., Zondervan, Gracie
  • We will also begin recognizing CVMS students who receive aa 3.5 GPA or higher for final grades by publishing an honor roll. Parents will receive a letter of congratulations and a bumpersticker! This is all part of our work to recognize students who are meeting academic expectations and are excelling at CVMS. Eventually, we will implement a Jr. National Honor Society. If you are interested in being an advisor for the Jr. National Honor Society, please connect with me.


Can we harness the engagement our students find in project-based learning in our own professional development? This is an idea I've been playing around with for quite some time and I think it's time to make some moves together to re-imagine the Professional Learning at CVMS.

The following excerpt from an Edutopia post on Facebook caught my attention this week:

Professional development. The phrase has a lot of connotations: Some may think of a trainer talking at them for a full day while others remember a fantastic and practical workshop or a meaningful conversation with a student or colleague. I see a clear parallel to the term project. Say “project” to someone, and they might recall a truly valuable experience or perhaps a complete waste of time. However, we know that when we adopt the mindset and essentials of project-based learning with students, we can improve upon existing projects or create new and better ones. Can we use PBL to improve professional development?

Here is the link to the entire article if you want to dig deeper:

Be ready to bring ideas, questions and curiosity to our next staff meeting. Working to improve our Professional Learning will be the only topic.

Sweater-Kinney performing in Paris.

So, some of you might not know this about me. I love music. All kinds. And I raised my kids to love music. All kinds. It's the glue that holds our family together across the miles between us. I get updates from both Olivia and Clara about the music they are listening to right now and the shows they love. I raised them on a steady diet of old school punk, early 90's grunge and riot grrrl anthems. When they were in middle school I took them to their first real show, X, at the Crystal Ballroom. They witnessed their first mosh pit. Clara loved it and pushed her way to the very front. Olivia was traumatized. I think I'm going to have to pay for therapy later in her life. Two groups from their childhood are playing tonight at the Crystal: Sleater-Kinney and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Doug and I are going. The kids are deeply jealous. Seriously jealous. This makes me happy on a variety of levels. I may be a bit sleepy tomorrow and depending on the set, my ears may still be ringing. But, I'll have a big smile on my face all day. Ask me about the show tomorrow. I'm going to take a nap now so I can make it through the last set.

Cheers, Karen


Created with images by Brittany Stevens - "I accidentally brought money to a book sale." • mrsdkrebs - "2012-240 #6WordMission"

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