Weekly Round Up 3/6/2016

On Friday, I had the good fortune to accompany 14 of our student leaders to the JCPS IdeaFestival, an event created and produced by JCPS students that mirrors that original IdeaFestival.  Our kids heard presentations by students who are creating non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, and original apps and inventions.  

Our students were compelled to discuss — and I to reflect — on this question: How are we fostering, nurturing, and championing creativity and innovation in our classrooms and in our school?  This is a big question that we need to discuss and be ready to answer.  These students specifically cited fine arts classes, technology classes, and the science fair as places where they are actively learning and creating.  They also discussed desires to be more actively inspired and engaged in other settings.  I am going to reconvene this group and include other student leaders to engage in conversations about how we can promote this kind of excitement about learning and creating in our school.


  • Here is information about a new app, Perspecs, that helps you find articles with different perspectives on the same news item.  What a great way to teach a variety of concepts and skills!
  • In every class we are teaching and students are learning vocabulary.  Here are some ideas about “dos” and “don’ts” of teaching vocabulary.
  • I this this post is worth a read.  In order to help our students become critical thinkers — critical thinking being a necessary skill for 21st century learners — here are 15 questions to teach students to ask when learning about a new idea or concept.
  • Close Reading tipHow to Do a Close Reading — This link takes you to the Harvard Writing Center for a concise explanation of how to conduct close reading in your classroom for students.


Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component D – Participating in a Professional Community

  •  Relationships with Colleagues
  •  Involvement in a Culture of Professional Inquiry
  •  Service to the School
  •  Participation in School and District Projects

Schools are, first of all, environments to promote the learning of students. But in promoting student learning, teachers must work with colleagues to share strategies, plan joint efforts, and plan for the success of individual students. Schools are, in other words, professional organizations for teachers—organizations whose full potential is realized only when teachers regard themselves as members of a professional community. This community is characterized by mutual support and respect and by recognition of the responsibility of all teachers to be constantly seeking ways to improve their practice and to contribute to the life of the school. Inevitably, teachers’ duties extend beyond the doors of their classrooms and include activities related to the entire school and/or larger district. These activities include such things as school and district curriculum committees or engagement with the parent-teacher organization. With experience, teachers assume leadership roles in these activities.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher’s relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation; teacher actively participates in a culture of professional inquiry.
  •  Teacher volunteers to participate in school events and in school and district projects, making a substantial contribution.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  •  The teacher has supportive and collaborative relationships with colleagues.
  •  The teacher regularly participates in activities related to professional inquiry.
  •  The teacher frequently volunteers to participate in school activities, as well as  school, district and community projects.

Question for Reflection: One important attribute in Participating in a Professional Community is service to the school.  In what ways are you providing service to Ballard, either through working with students outside of the school day or leading and supporting colleagues?  If you are not currently providing such service to Ballard, in what ways could you begin to do so?



PBIS Tip: “Eliminate Humiliation and Sarcasm”

Never use sarcasm, attack a student’s character, humiliate, embarrass, belittle, or verbally abuse a student.

Some people believe these are good steps to change a child’s behavior. While these strategies may seem to be effective in the short term, they build resentment and anger in children and teach them that these are techniques that they should use when trying to get someone to do something. In the long run, these techniques are PROVEN to make problem behavior worse.


starCongratulations to Ronda Fields, our Science Department, and all of our students competing in the Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair this past Saturday.  At the fair, Ballard was selected as Best High School!  And, we had 2 students advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair — Sydney Kessler and William Schuhmann!

starAlthough the season ended Friday, let’s congratulate Coach Renner, Coach Willis, and the rest of the staff on a successful and fun season this year.  And, if you still haven’t seen it, YOU’VE GOT TO CHECK THIS OUT: https://youtu.be/quzZjk6r2G8.


√ All JCPS employees — certified and classified — are required to watch a training video about Harassment and Discrimination and complete a very short quiz.  This must be completed by April 1.  We are required to have 100% compliance for this activity.

Please follow this link to watch the video: https://youtu.be/o8RB57qXBrU.  Then, use this link to complete the quiz.  You will need your employee ID when you take the quiz (it’s on your paychecks, if you can’t find it elsewhere).  You will earn 2 hours of professional development credit for completion of these 2 items.  Once I get a list from the district of who has completed, we will have the PD sign-in sheet for you to sign.  

We will also need to show a video to the students about this topic.  I will provide details about that at a later time.

√ We have 4 weeks until Spring Break, and we need to make sure we maximizing this instructional time prior to the break.  Also, we need to encourage our students to be present and stay focused.  To recognize staff attendance, we will have a drawing each Friday for a small prize for all staff who have perfect attendance for that week.  Then, we will have a special treat for every staff member with perfect attendance for the month of March!

√ The second evening of parent conferences is this Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm.  Thank you for being available for parents in order to support our students.

√ We have 2 good classroom technology PDs coming up on March 14 and 17 after school.  If you are interested in one or both, please shoot me an e-mail to sign up.  Bring your laptop with you to these sessions.



Happy Birthday in March to: Shaneice Bridwell (5th), Jana Cummings (7th), Jesse Whitt (7th), Belinda Hafell (10th), Tami Slaughter (10th), Mike Jackson (11th), Tyrome Neal (11th), Adam Hartigan (15th), Ray Yaksic (19th), Laura Younkin (19th), Eva Rouse (24th), Yvonne Riggs (25th), Sandy Ramsey (29th), Scott McDonald (30th)!



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