June 14, 2016
Greetings Spanaway Jaguar Families:
We have had an outstanding year at Spanaway and our successes would not be possible without all of you. Thank you for sharing your child with us, for supporting their academic, social, and emotional growth and for being a partner with us as we build the foundations that will help your child to be successful throughout their educational careers.
Our families and community is our most important partner in preparing our students for middle school, high school, college and beyond. We feel it is key to provide you with a year-end summary of our initiatives and the hard work our Spanaway Elementary team has been engaged in this year. These initiatives are put in place to improve teaching and learning here at Spanaway. Here is a “snapshot” of the work we have been doing this year at Spanaway:
Strong CORE Curriculums-ReadyGEN and Eureka Math
Our district has provided our teachers with rigorous curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards in both ELA (English Language Arts) and Math. Teachers engage in multiple trainings during the summer and throughout the year to increase their knowledge of the curriculum and the resources they provide.
Small Group Instruction-During CORE Curriculum
This year at Spanaway our teachers monitor learning based on assessments each day during instruction. They make note of students who may need a little more support with that day’s lesson. Teachers provide 30 minutes of small group instruction every day, where students engage in independent reading of text at their reading level to practice the skills learned that day. If they need additional supports, the classroom teacher may pull them into a small group to help with their understanding so they can be successful independently.
Professional Learning Communities and Backward Planning
Throughout the year our teachers meet with their grade level teams to analyze student data to determine the best strategies to reach the needs of all of their students. Part of this time is spent looking at end of unit assessments to determine what their students will need to learn to be successful at the end of each unit. Careful and thoughtful planning of each lesson occurs through this process, always keeping each individual student needs in mind.
Jaguar Workshop-Character Education
Every 3 weeks this school year, students met by grade level with the assistant principal and the social worker to learn about: Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying, Backpack (little) vs. Suitcase (big) problems and problem-solving strategies such as when to solve the problem themselves or when to seek adult support.
While students were learning these valuable skills, grade-level teachers met to analyze student-learning data, purposefully plan lessons to address deficits and plan for enrichment for their higher-level learners.
Re-Teach and Enrich (Walk to Read/Math)
As teachers meet in their grade level teams, they identify student needs and group them in order to provide more focused support. Students at all levels are supported in intervention for 30-45 minutes. Students who are “level 1 (Not meeting standard) and some Level 2 (Meeting some standards)” are seen in our Scholar’s Center (Title I/LAP) or Resource Room. In these areas, students receive intensive reading and/or math support to fill some of the “holes” that are causing the student to struggle with grade level material.
Students not seen in those interventions are supported in their areas of need by one of the grade level teachers. Students who are “level 3 (Meeting Standard)” are provided opportunities to challenge their thinking and work towards goals to continue their growth. ALL students are supported in their area of need every day.
PBIS-Positive Behavior Intervention Supports
PBIS is an example of a multi-tiered intervention system that uses a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behaviors from occurring. This year students learned three positive school-wide expectations that apply to everyone. At Spanaway we focus on Respectful, Responsible and Safe Behaviors. Students were explicitly taught these expectations throughout the school year and how they apply throughout the school. They are the cornerstone for creating and maintaining a positive school climate and culture. Students were taught what to do, not given a long list of rules telling them what NOT to do. When students meet these expectations their effort was recognized and acknowledged to positively reinforce that behavior. When students were not meeting the expectations they are reminded and, if necessary, retaught. For most students, (80-90%) no further intervention is needed.
Jaguar Paws-Student Recognition
Throughout the school year, staff notice when students are meeting the Respectful, Responsible and Safe behaviors. Students are given a Jaguar Paw, which is put into a grade level basket in the office. Each morning 2 students from each grade level are picked to receive a prize from a prize box in the Principal’s office. Each month the paws are counted and the class that earned the most paws in the month receive a trophy that is kept in their classroom all month and a photo of the class to display in the hallway.
This year our school garden started a bit late. Students were invited to work in the garden during their recess time to prepare the soil and remove snails. In spring, classrooms spent time in the garden planting carrots, peas, beans, squash, corn, radishes, basil, parsley, and cucumbers and introduced ladybugs. We hope to embed our school garden into academic areas as a way to engage students in real-world experiences. We also hope to partner with our families and the community as we move forward with our school garden projects.
And YOU! —Our Most Important Partner
We know that we cannot do this important work without your support. As we move into next year there will be opportunities to be a family and community voice in our decisions moving forward. Many of you spent time volunteering in a variety of ways throughout this school year and we thank you! I encourage you to take time this summer to think about being a member of our PTA. As a staff, we look forward to strengthening this partnership to offer the best opportunities for our students!
As we end the 2015-16 school year we have much to celebrate due to the hard work and perseverance of the entire Jaguar team and community. “We are not where we want to be, we are not where we are going to be, but we are not where we were.” Rosa Parks