Weekly Round Up 3/13/2016

When getting the information about the JCPS testing windows, did anyone else feel the calendar closing in around them?  The rest of this year will fly by.  It was especially alarming to see the word “April” associated with testing!  When we looked at how many tests our sophomores and juniors have to take, with EOCs, K-PREP writing, and AP, there was no possible way to schedule those kids into everything they have to take if we delayed it by one week (which was the only other option).  The good news is that we have had more instructional days this year by April 25 than we had last year.  We have also had more “flow” and fewer disruptions with fewer snow days and no delays or early dismissals.  We have 5 weeks of instruction, so let’s maximize this time!

Also, next Tuesday, we should learn our graduation ceremony date and time.  I will pass that along after it has been approved by the Board.  After we finish our 3 weeks of testing, there will only be 2 four-day weeks left in the school year.  It’s hard to believe.  There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, but as we think like an innovator and are in “permanent beta mode,” we realize that this is a work in progress.  We capitalize on our successes and learn from our mistakes in order to grow and improve.  When you try something new in your classroom, it may not go perfectly the first time.  After reflecting and revising, you get better.  That’s what happens at the building level too.  We celebrate and make plans to build on the things that are working, and we keep striving to improve what’s not.  That is what we should expect from each other — not perfection but evolution.



  • This article has suggestions for helping students become more confident as writers.  Some of the criteria described could be modified for non-English classrooms to focus on specific content or criteria for a writing assignment in another content.
  • Here is an interesting way to evaluate homework assignments in order to seek more student buy-in and engagement.
  • Close Reading tipThis article has some great ideas for close reading activities in your classroom!


Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component E – Growing and Developing Professionally

  • Enhancement of Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Skill
  • Receptivity to Feedback from Colleagues
  • Service to the Profession

As in other professions, the complexity of teaching requires continued growth and development in order to remain current. Conscientiousness about continuing to stay informed and increasing their skills allows teachers to become ever more effective and to exercise leadership among their colleagues. The academic disciplines themselves evolve, and educators constantly refine their understanding of how to engage students in learning; thus growth in content, pedagogy, and information technology are essential to good teaching. Networking with colleagues through such activities such as joint planning, study groups, and lesson study provides opportunities for teachers to learn from one another. These activities allow for job-embedded professional development. In addition, professional educators increase their effectiveness in the classroom by belonging to professional organizations, reading professional journals, attending educational conferences, and taking university classes. As they gain experience and expertise, educators find ways to contribute to their colleagues and to the profession.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher seeks out opportunities for professional development to enhance content knowledge and pedagogical skill.
  • Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues—either when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.
  • Teacher participates actively in assisting other educators.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  •  The teacher seeks regular opportunities for continued professional development.
  • The teacher welcomes colleagues and supervisors into the classroom for the purpose of gaining insight from their feedback.
  • The teacher actively participates in professional organizations designed to contribute to the profession.

Question for Reflection: How do you grow and learn professionally?  What opportunities and experiences do you seek?  What are you reading to keep current or to get new ideas about your field?  How do you share your learning with your colleagues?


PBIS Tip: “Mantra” for Classroom Management

For the best results, remember Marvin Marshall’s classroom management “mantra”: Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?


starCongratulations to Jesse Davis!  He has been offered and accepted the Plant Operator position at Rutherford Elementary School.  He will start his new leadership position on March 28.

star Let’s give a warm welcome to Gladys Akrong, who will join our cafeteria staff March 28!

starCongratulations to our new Head Field Hockey Coach, Shelby Daeschner!

starLast night on the 11:00 broadcast of Wave 3 news there was a story about our own Jake Ramsey and his full-court shot: http://www.wave3.com/story/31463058/buzzer-beaters-prove-these-were-no-miracles.

starOur Ballard Baseball Team traveled to Georgia last week to compete in a national high school baseball showdown.  They beat a team ranked #2 in the nation in some polls, and Junior Jordan Adell threw the 2nd fastest fastball (96 mph!) all week!


√ 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.

**As of Friday afternoon, not many people had completed this.  It is confusing when you finish the quiz, so you don’t really know if you passed or if it registered.  Let me know if you are unsure if you had completed as of last Friday afternoon, and I’ll check the list I got from the district.


 March is our month of many surveys!  We will be doing the Student Voice Survey early the week of March 28 (details for that will come out separately since it is new for us).  Next week I will send out the information about the VAL-ED survey for certified teaching staff.  This is the first year for this survey, and it will be given the alternate years that we don’t do the TELL survey.  The VAL-ED survey is only about me and is part of my summative evaluation, like the Student Voice Survey is a piece of teacher evaluations.

Also, it’s time for the JCPS Comprehensive Schools Survey.  We have been getting e-mails from the district with links to the survey.  Please take a few minutes and complete this:

School Based Certified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbCertified2016

School Based Classified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbClassified2016


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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