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             2018-19

  • March 2019

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 3/5/2019

    March 22, 2019

    Youth Truth Survey: Staff, Students, & Parents
    Bethel School District will be conducting the Youth Truth Survey again this year.  Staff and Students have until May 10 to complete the survey.  Parents have until May 31.  I will have something for you to hand out to parents during conference week.  I will also be sharing login information for students and staff to take the survey.  The most important one to handle right now though is sharing with parents at conferences and encouraging them to complete the survey.  

    March 19, 2019

    Homeroom and STAR Parent Reports
    Yesterday's LIT covered accessing data on the Enhanced Homeroom site.  You can find the tutorials we used under the Assessment Tab - Homeroom Data.

    Note:  There was a question about the Grade Equivalent that shows on parent reports.  It is important to steer parents clear of looking at this indicator because it is not accurate.  If you look on summary reports, it says that GE scores are not accurate because they are based on the old norming information.  The norms have been recalibrated are likely more rigorous than when those grade equivalents were previously organized.  Again, tell parents that just because the report says a grade equivalent, does not mean it is true.  We don't want parents thinking that their child can read high school materials when they are in 3rd grade unless they really can read at that level.  We need your knowledge of the student to balance those numbers out properly.  

    Updated:  I added some new data analysis information to the Homeroom Data page that was sent by the Office of Assessment.  It shows the latest performance and predictions for end of year performance.   

    Late Arrival
    8:00 - 8:30  Using your feedback, we will work through Core Sourcebook strategies that are relevant to your level.  Today, K-1 will focus on Reading Decodable Text and 2-5 will take a look at Summarizing using the Paragraph Shrinking strategy.

    Extended Day Has Been Allocated Funds
    We have been allocated $5,000 to offer additional support to our students.  Add to that more good news...we have also been allocated an additional $5,200 for last year's High Poverty School designation.  The state office that deals with this funding said we qualified for the additional amount.  That means we have $10,200 total. 

    So what will we use this for.  Because we have no LAP support for Math, I would like to focus attention on math for our extended day offerings.  I am waiting for a response on if we can purchase a math intervention curriculum called Connecting Math Concepts.  Once I hear back about this I will share the whole plan with you including staffing, materials, and which students we are in need of support based on our most current benchmark data.

    We had 10 certificated staff express interest in teaching.  It was spread all over as far as before school, after school, and Saturdays.  Again, let me get an answer on the curriculum part and then those staff members (certificated and classified) interested in participating can come together to work out how we can put a program together that works for both staff and students.  


    Comments (-1)
  • February 2019

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 1/31/2019

    February 28, 2019

    Week at a Glance will be discontinued on this blog
    Note the text at the bottom of the Week at a Glance section of this blog.  After this week you will get the info you need through the links provided.  If you need help getting access to the North Star building calendar, let Stephen know and he can help you.  It literally takes 60 seconds or less.

    District News - A must read every week
    Every Friday morning, staff across BSD receive an email with the district's Bethel Staff News.  It is important that you read this communication every week to find out about things that are going on around the district, including important annoucements about employee related benefits and requirements.  In particular, actions are advertised with deadlines and sometimes staff don't get the requested information turned in on time.  This IS the way that such requests are now being advertised rather than emails.  So, be sure to read through this district newsletter every week to find out if something needs to be turned in to the district office.  Note:  I wanted to create a link for you to the news right here in the blog as a weekly reminder but I can't link emails. However, I will put the link to the district website that houses the various articles just in case you need to get to it fast at a time later down the line.  

    Online media that is currently being shared among kids
    You may have heard about a scary character that is on Youtube that has got kids talking and scared.  Here is an article about it and something to consider if it comes up in your classroom.  I am not going to share any messages over the intercom or send information home so as to not exaserbate knowledge of it.  If I see that there is significant issue with it then I will consider sending something home. 

    The gist is to talk to kids from the point of being safe online and speaking with their parents when they see or hear about something that concerns them.  Avoid talking about the specifics of videos and urban legends like this. Acknowledge their emotions and encourage them to talk to their parents. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertson/2019/02/27/dont-panic-what-parents-really-need-to-know-about-momo-challenge/#3e1b31e53a4b

    Ice Cream Reward for Fundraiser is Today

    PTA will pass out ice cream to all students during lunch today.  They will pass it out the last 10 minutes of lunch in both the lunchroom and in the intermediate classrooms.  Students are not to be given these treats during the actual serving of lunch through the line including as they step out of line.  This is per the nutrition department/USDA guidelines.  We can serve items like this (and birthday treats) after students have started their meal.  I ask that we always wait until the last 5-10 minutes so that they eat their lunch first.  Also, kids with dairy allergies will be offered popsicles.   Please do not ask for a different time of day for distributing the ice cream.  Doing this causes our PTA volunteers to have to spread their day apart for different requests.  Let's allow them to get their job done in one chunk of the day.  Thank you.  

    February 21, 2019

    Fun Run Update
    We have been working on getting volunteers for the fun run to mark laps when students complete them.  Here is what we will need teachers to do:

    1.  Have students to the event no less than 5 minutes before the lunch recess time.  (We are going to use the bus parking loop so that students don't get as messy.  If something changes about the location we will make an announcement.)

    2.  Parents will mark students's shirts for each lap that they complete.

    3.  At the end of the recess, teachers will pick their students up at the bus loop.  APEX will had each teacher a form and we ask that you mark the number of laps for each student in your class by looking on the back of their shirt.  Turn that form into the office when it is completed.  APEX will then tabulate all results.


    A musical serenade by our very own Jamie Rohwer
    This Friday, February 22nd, Miss Rohwer will be entertaining the school with her musical talents on her accordion at 2:50pm.  This is one of the various rewards students get for reaching goals on the fundraiser.  


    February 20, 2019

    Teaching and Learning Department Annoucements
    I am at a monthly session with principals and T & L.  A few items that we have been asked to share include:

    1.  Summer institute will have a major focus on teaching foundational skills at all grade levels K-5.  BSD will be bringing in formal training by the authors of the CORE Reading Sourcebook.  It is not known what other classes will be available at this time but do know that other offerings will be limited.  We want all staff to get this essential training on how to teach these critical skills so will make it a priority.  Regarding when registration will be opened:  Stay tuned.  That hasn't been decided yet.  Regarding will each staff member get their own sourcebook:  At this time the budget request has been for at least one book per grade level.

    2.  K-2 teachers will be getting the newest version of the Ready Gen teachers manual next year.  The way that T&L is going to go about this is to pilot the transition of materials with one school so that they can get the kinks out of the process.  The goal is for teachers to have the materials for use in the fall.  Again, stay tuned.  


    February 16, 2019

    Waiver Day Agenda is available
    The agenda is located under the Agendas tab.

    February 14, 2019

    Pass ideas past the office please
    This is a request that ideas being considered for implementation should be passed through the office by addressing them directly to Stephen or through another office staff member that will follow up with Stephen.  If you have ideas please share but don't take it the next step without first confirming the change with me in some form.  Thanks.  SR

    February 13, 2019

    APEX Fun Run Re-scheduled
    The Fun Run has been re-scheduled for next week Thursday, February 21.  The run will take place during the students' lunch recess.  We have to do it during that time because we aren't allowed to do that actual fundraising during instructional time.  The visits to the classrooms fit into an instructional context with their leadership topics (SEL).  We set the day for Thursday so Challenge kids don't miss the fun.  

    February 1, 2019


    APEX Fun Run Kick-Off Assembly
    The Fun Run assembly is scheduled for Monday at 2:15.  We will use the regular seating arrangement this time.  

    How to join the Remind staff group

    So far we have 10 people in our group.  To support you in getting connected, here are the directions for how to join our group with just your text messaging.  That's right, you don't have to have a Remind account to get messages or reply.  Here are the steps.

    Enter 81010 where you would normally place a phone number. 
    Put @nshuskies into the message box and click send.   
    Remind will send you a text message back.  
    Reply to the text message from the Remind team.

    That's it.  You will be connected to Remind.  When I send a message you will get it as a text message.  If you want to use the phone app or the online app, that is fine too.  Just use the @nshuskies code once logged in as a user.  The main thing to know though is you do not have to register.  Use the 4 steps above and you will receive texts.

    APEX Fun Run files have been added to the right of the blog
    To help you with keeping track of the documents shared for the Apex Fun Run, I have added links and descriptions to the right column on the home page of the blog.

    Comments (-1)
  • January 2019

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 1/8/2019

    January 31, 2019

    Gradebook Closes Feb. 14
    Just I was asked when the gradebook closes for the first semester.  The response from student records is open for entering grades until February 14 @ 11:59 PM.  After that time, the gradebook will be locked for the first semester.

    January 30, 2019

    STAR Testing Due tomorrow
    Just a reminder that the window for STAR testing is up until tomorrow.  If you are not going to get it done, please let Stephen know ASAP.  The district office is monitoring completion of benchmark testing and sends me reports so let's have them done on time please.

    Report Cards Go Home Reminder Reminder
    The original date for sending report cards home for all elementary schools was set at February 8.  Two weeks district administrators came to agreement with BEA to give teachers more time to prepare report cards after the report card prep day.  I believe they are working towards an on-going pattern where we have two weekends between the prep day and the send home day.  That pattern will be tried this time which means the send home date has been moved from Feb. 8 to Feb. 11.  All report cards must be sent home on Feb. 11.  The date has been corrected on the North Star calendar.  

    January 29, 2019

    Second Step Slides
    The slideshow that Mary shared with you at LIT is now available to you to view.  I have placed the link on the SEL tab under Second Step.

    January 28, 2019

    Apex Fundraiser
    Please take one of the posters by the mailboxes.  Use this chart to track your classes progress on the fundraiser.  Thanks.

    LIT Reminder
    We have LIT after school.  I encourage attendance as we debrief your experiences with using the CORE Sourcebook strategies.  We will also share information on recommendations for implementing the Second Step curriculum.  Saralise will conduct the debrief and Mary will present on SEL.

    Contritutions cards for Bethel Citizens' Committee for School Support
    The optional ability to give a financial contribution to the committee is due this coming Wednesday.  To date we have one contribution.  If you are interested in supporting that particular organization, please fill out one of the pink cards and that are located in the staff room. Turn the card into Stephen and he will deliver them to the district.  You can give cash, check or have a deduction made through payroll.

    Reminder....to Remind!
    Please join the new staff group on the Remind app.  Use the @nshuskies to joint the group.  I will use this to keep people up to date on happenings from district initiatives to things like the building being open on a weekend.  Be sure to tun on your notifications for the app so you see when something new comes through.  Right now we have a grand total of.....6 staff members in the group.  :-) . Keep those names coming.  Thanks.


    January 23, 2019

    CORE Reading Strategies Practice Reminder
    This is a reminder to all to be looking for an opportunity to practice the reading strategies shared with you at our last two PD sessions.  If you attended the LIT give Text Talk a try.  If you attended the Late Arrival session, give the Sound by Sound Blending Strategy or Syllable Segmentation Strategy.  I have added the presentation slides to the ELA Resources Tab.  


    January 22, 2019

    APEX Fun Run
    This year we are going to try a new kind of fund raiser with our PTA.  APEX is a company that does a fun run where students get pledges.  That is pretty standard for an event.  What is not so standard is how they go about doing it.  From February 4 - 15, APEX staff will be at North Star every day for the two weeks.  The team will kick off the assembly on Monday, February 4 at 2:15 in the gym.  Then each morning, they will do a quick annoucement and then visit classrooms for 5 minutes to give a positive leadership message.  The program is huge on developing character and leadership in students.  The staff will also interact with students during their recess times.  On Thursday, February 14, the students will participate in a 30 minute run where they will complete laps to raise funds according to the pledges they got.  You will learn more about this tomorrow at the staff meeting.

    Report Cards Send Home Date Has Changed
    The report card send home date has been moved to February 11.  On that day, all report cards must be sent home (not before and not after) so that we have consistency across the whole district.  

    Also a reminder that January 31 first is an early release for students.  The work day for all staff is as usual except for our 166 day classified staff.

    Staff Remind Group
    I have set up a staff only group on Remind to occasionally communicate information to staff on various topics.  Be in the know by subscribing to the NS Staff Group with the following code: 


    @ nshuskies


    January 17, 2019

    Report Card Guidelines - Updated
    Report Card Guidelines for 2018-19 can be found on Canvas.  Go to Elementary Resources.  On the main page you will see Report Card Support Documents.  Select that and you will then see a link titled 18-19 All Grades.

    Update = You can find the link to the Report Card Suppor Document on our blog under Procedures/Grading and Report Cards.  I have added language to further explain the difference between a Level 3 and Level 4 performance.  I talked to Tracie Awadji in Teaching & Learning as she is the one who facilitated the creation of the document and she helped to clarify the distinction.  The words are my attempt to capture what we talked about.  

    Popcorn Friday
    The plan for popcorn tomorrow is as follows:  PTA will have someone stop by your classroom after 9:00 to take your classroom's order for popcorn.  Shortly after the popcorn will be distributed to the classroom.  Teachers will decide the appropriate time for students to get the popcorn.  The only rules we need to follow is that the popcorn is to be handed out AFTER students eat lunch and that popcorn IS NOT PASSED OUT INSIDE OF THE CAFETERIA.  That way we won't have any issues with kids eating popcorn in place of a meal and to avoid conflicts with child nutrition guidelines.  

    Bond Info in Staff Room
    I will be using the staff room white board to share information about the bond.  Please take a look at the board for an important update.  Thanks.

    January 16, 2019

    Assessment Targets
    I sent an email to 3-5 teachers and am reinfocing it for everyone with an entry here.  Take a look at the Assessment tab and you will see Percent Met targets for ELA, Math, and Science.  

    When kids take summative tests, these are your targets for percent met for the class.  For our school's performance, we will use the percent met by each grade level.  Our benchmark testing is coming up at the end of January so start now to get your kids excited about showing what they know.  Saralise will be sending you some information on the assessments being taken and when they will happen.  

    I added additional information at the bottom of the page showing a site for parents called School Digger. What interested me the most was the ranking of all schools in WA State.  Take a look.  Put in the name of any school you want to know about and see what data is available for them.

    January 14, 2019

    LIT and Late Arrival Agendas - Updated

    The agendas for both sessions are posted.  

    Update:  I have included agendas for all PD and Leadership Team meetings up to February 25.  

    Interested in becoming a principal?
    The Association for Washington School Principals is putting on a future school leader event.  If you have ever wondered if this is a path for you, consider attending this event.

    http://www.awsp.org/professional-learning/training-conferences/future-school-leaders-day

    January 10, 2019

    Report Cards
    All elementary schools are to send their report cards home on February 8.  Please plan and pace yourself now for getting them done on time.  Before you know it we will be in February.

    Webinar from 95% Group on 10 Success Factors for Literacy Intervention
    I have added the following archived webinar to the ELA tab under Resources.
    10 Success Factors for Literacy Intervention by Susan Hall, ED.d from 95% Group.  For those that don't know, this is the consultant group that we contracted with this year to improve and support our foundational skills practices.  

    I had difficulty getting sound on one of the videos in Chrome.  If you run into that problem, restart your browser, try another browser, or restart your computer. 

    Technology - Upcoming Events

    Tech Fair Highlights

    • Learn about the transformation of teaching and learning through technology.

    • Experience and participate in digital learning activities with Bethel students and teachers in interactive booths, an interactive classroom, escape rooms and more!

    • Watch a robotics competition, students’ creativity at work, and other demonstrations throughout the day.

    • View premiere artwork created by Bethel students of all ages.

    • Meet with vendors to see the power of technology and how it is changing daily life.

      - Tech and Art Fair will be held on January 26th from 10-3 at SLHS

      - Come see your fellow teachers and students show their stuff


    Digital Learning EdCamp!!
    • An EdCamp is a participant driven experience! The topics are generated by participants and then co-facilitated with others in the group.
    • AM session: EdCamp
    • PM session: Structured work time
    This course will be live soon and we will send out an invitation to register
    Course will be held on February 9th at the Bethel Learning Center



    January 8, 2019


    Lock Down Drill - Thursday
    Note that we have a lockdown scheduled this week Thursday at 2:15.

    Start the year out with intention
    I was driving along 112th St. last week and saw the following sign.  It made me think of our efforts with addressing the social emotional needs of our students.  So what are those key ingredients that make a difference in the lives of students?  There are many but none are as foundational as building relationships and sharing a belief in them.  Like the title of a classic parenting book, we want to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk.  This sign gives us an idea of the kinds of things we should be saying to students.  


    hope

    And if you need a little leverage, this may come in handy as well - another sign I ran into while at the mall.

    Joy

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  • December 2018

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 12/3/2018

    December 11, 2018

    Lunchtime Reminders
    1) Students need to be leaving the lunchroom at the end of their allotted time, not dumping at that time.  We are running into a traffic problem when a grade is still in the room when the other grade arrives.  Dumping trays and getting food are crossing paths.  

    Having said that, the same holds true for those comiing in...

    2) Students should be entering the lunchroom at their assigned time, not before. 

    December 6, 2018

    Playground Rules
    I have updated the recess procedures with changes that were talked about at Site Council.  The changes are noted in bold on the blog page.  The Google Doc has the changes in red.  We will continue to refine the rules as you give feedback about issues.  Go to the Procedures tab and click on Recess Rules>

    I am asking that all staff that work with students on the playground read through these rules.  Classroom teachers should go through these rules with students again so that they are reminded of the expectations.  

    Lastly, all staff are to adhere to these rules.  There should be no exceptions made to these rules by staff members.  We all have to be on the same page so that students do not see adults as opposing each other.  What one adult says is ok needs to be in line with what other adults say is ok.  And what is ok is what our rules state.

    Congratulations!!

    Congratulations go out to Beth and Jill for being selected as recipients of the TwinStar Credit Union/BSD Foundation Grant.  Jill submitted a propsal for Sculpture Studio Tools, Safety, and Storage and Beth submitted a proposal for Social Emotional Learning resources.  They will each receive between $150 - $200 in support of their projects.

    Wait, wait!!  That's not all!!  Let's keep the fun going by congratulating the United State's newest national board certified teacher - Jill Nettels!!!  Way to go Jill.  What an accomplishment.  We are definitely proud of you.  

    December 4, 2018
    ELA Instructional Blocks

    Thank you for continuing the analyzing of minutes and strategies for ELA blocks.  It can't be emphasized enough how important it is to get this right.  I have placed a January 2018 article in the ELA tab under Research.  It is about the time allocations that Saraliese and I shared with you.  There is also an article on the concept of Guaranteed and Viable Curriclum.  Check out the Infographic too.  For those that weren't present, here is a recap of the recommended time.  

    Reading:  90 minutes  (45 minutes core and 45 minutes differentiated core)
    Writing:  30 minutes
    RTI: 45 minutes (It could be 30 minutes but currently we have 45 minutes allocated to mirror our specialist schedule.)

    The emphasis for this work is to create a guaranteed and viable curriculum.  In other words, to ensure that students within a grade level are all offered the same rigorous education as their peers.  The basic foundation of which is allocating enough time to literacy instruction and, that the allocated blocks happen consistently. 

    The next level in the structure is to ensure that what takes place during those blocks is high leverage, rigorous and also, consitently taught.  In high performing schools, they spend their time on practices that research has shown to work.  For example, in primary grades, phonological awareness and phonics instruction and, in intermediate grades, using specific strategies to teach how to decode multisyllabic words are actively planned.  HP schools make sure that all primary grades are on the same page about foundational skills - how to get that work done and what tools will truly support skill development, even if it means not doing our favorite activities or doing them in ways that we have been used to over the years.  

    Our continued work this coming Late Arrival will include 45 minutes to continue hammering out time allocations and ensuring that students receive 120 minutes of ELA core instruction per day not including RTI.  Each teacher will need to verify that they are offering this, or an equivalent that is calculated across a week or two week period.  (Ex.  All students in the grade engage in writing instruction no less than 30 minutes per day or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week in some other configuration.)

    The remainder of the Late Arrival will be for PLCs to work on team planned agendas related to curriculum, assessment, and/or instruction.  


    December 3, 2018


    At A Glance
    We had a glitch in access for the blog. Sorry about not updating the Week at a Glance.  That will be updated today.

    Comments (-1)
  • November 2018

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 11/1/2018

    November 9, 2018

    Foundational Skills Media Resource
    I happened to be looking for information on the sounds of our language and came across Jack Hartman.  If you haven't seen him, take a look in the ELA Tab under Resources.  You might find something that will help you with student enagement re: foundational skills.  

    November 8, 2018


    Site Council
    The first meeting is tomorrow at 7:40.  The agenda is on the Agenda's Tab.  Membership has changed over time and I am not sure who all is interested in helping with this leadership position.  The emphasis this year is going to be on getting our school procedures updated in our handbook.  Send Stephen if you are interested in joining the team.

    Assessment Results

    The Results Tab has now been collapsed into the Assessment Tab.  The SBA data spreadsheet that was shared with you can now be accessed by going to this tab.  

    November 6, 2018

    Late Arrival Agenda
    The Late Arrival agenda will be posted by the end of the day.

    Report Cards for Withdrawing Students
    I added information on what is required from each teacher and school when students leave our school before the end of a grading period.  Find these district guidelines in the Procedures Tab.

    November 5, 2018

    LIT Agenda
    The LIT agenda for today has been posted.

    Student Records Information
    All teachers, including specialists, need to validate student rosters in the Skyward gradebook. To ensure student rostering and teacher access in all digital systems (Skyward, Clever, TCI, Canvas, Typing Club, etc.) are correct, the Skyward gradebook for each class needs to be opened and student rosters verified. Skyward is our primary database.  If student rosters or teacher access is incorrect in Skyward, it will be incorrect in all other digital systems. Validating student rosters will also help eliminate report card or other data issues. Teachers need to report discrepancies or concerns to the registrar or secretary by 11/7/18. 

    November 2, 2018

    Stipend Funds Available
    The Second Step curriculum has arrived.  Beth Gould will take a look at what is in each kit and barcode items.  Then team leaders will check them out and work with their teams on use of the materials.  I put links to video training resources in the SEL tab under Second Step.

    Thank you!
    Thanks to everyone for your efforts to get ready for parents during conference week.  I know it is a lot of work giving those last minute, up-to-date assessments so that you can provide the most current information on student learning.  And, for assembling and passing out the variety of papers that we ask you to share with parents.  

    Behavior Expectations Assembly Slideshow
    The slideshow from today's assembly on expectations and working on kindness has been added to the SEL tab.

    Note:  If you have trouble opening a link at times be sure that you are logged into MyBethel.  We don't have files open to the public in general.  If you want a copy of something readily available offline, you will need to go to File Menu:Make A Copy.

    November 1, 2018

    Stipend Funds Available
    We have been allocated additional stipend funds.  An email was sent out to ask if you have an activity idea that you want to submit ASAP.  Please respond quickly.

    Behavior Assemblies This Friday
    We are planning to have a behavior/SEL assembly this Friday Nov. 2.  Grades K-2 will attend from 9:00-9:20 and grades 3-5 will attend from 9:30-9:50.  We scheduled some transition time in case we go over a bit.  For the second assembly please do not arrive before 9:30.  

    The assembly will focus on some common behaviors we are seeing -- mean words (threats, bullying, etc.), fighting/not keeping hands and feet to ourselves, and issues in the bathroom.  We will also focus on the 2 SEL competencies of being self-aware and self-management.  
    Comments (-1)
  • October 2018

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 10/1/2018

    October 29, 2018

    Going Once!  Going Twice!  Sold!
    We need evaluation criteria and growth goal selections finalized ASAP.  If either of us don't get that nailed down, we get to pick for you!  Ahhhhh!  Right?  We don't want to select your evaluation focus so please help us out by getting that figured out and meet with your evaluator this week.

    Speaking of evaluations, please note that observation notes are now taken directly in the eVal tool so whenever you see an administrator in your room taking notes on their computer, you will find observation notes and brief feedback.   

    Once you have your criteria and SGG # selected, the next step is to determine what your growth goal focus will be for the interval of instruction and pre/post testing.  To write up your plan, go to eVal, select Student Growth Goal.  It will bring you to the growth goal page.  There are two tabs at the top:  Summary, SG 3.1/SG 6.1/SG 8.1. 

    Click on each tab and answer the questions.  Start at the bottom with your Goal Statement to give an idea of what you are trying to achieve with your kids by the end.  Then answer the questions in order from the top of the page going down.  Remember to Share Draft after you are done so that your evaluator can see the goals write up.  Don't select Submit Goals until we are both in agreement.

    Remember that all things TPEP are in the TPEP tab.


    October 24, 2018

    Earthquake Drill
    Nice work on the earthquake drill redo.  We almost had a home run with only a few classrooms with no color card and reporting form.  During implementation of earthquake procedures, the color cards will communicate the health status of your classroom so that emergency response can be organized based on need.  The reporting form should be filled out EVERY TIME even if you have all of your kids.  When everybody fills that form out, we don't have to ask or wonder if every class was actively accounted for and reported.

    Mock Election
    If you have had a chance to peek at the mock election ballot, you may have some questions.  If that is the case, you aren't the only one.  This blog entry is to let you know you do not have to complete that ballot or talk about the state initiatives in order to run your kids through a mock election.  Create your own ballot of topics that kids can relate to if you like - on paper, with a Google Form, on whiteboards, etc.  The main idea is to get kids to experience voting and to encourage them to encourage their parents to participate in the democratic process.  I think it would be good for kids to hear about a ballot item that is real so they can get a more full experience.  1631 on pollution and/or 1634 on taxing groceries seem like ones that could be talked about with most students...and of course our district's bond.  Info on the initiatives can be found here at the Pierce County Elections office.

    Do not talk about Intiative 904 about law inforcement and 1639 on firearms.  These are not appropriate topics for elementary schools and is are a trap for misunderstandings that kids could bring home.  Please steer clear of these.


    October 23, 2018

    Curriculum Teacher Leadership
    New Math and Science tabs have been created to join the ELA tab.  These will house information that is gathered by our ELA, Math, and Science representatives as well as information that we develop as a staff.  Curriculum leaders that represent North Star will be listed on these pages.  

    We don't have our ELA reps for Primary and Intermediate grades still.  Please note that you will get paid on a timesheet at the $40 an hour rate when participating in the evening sessions.  It isn't necessary to write a paragraph and submit it.  Just check in with Stephen ASAP so we can get our reps in place and subs assigned.  The first meetings are next week on October 29 & 30.  This is going to be a guest training from the people that wrote the CORE Resource manual and that is why it is occuring during Conference Week.  We are fortunate to have them.  Kathy Horton-Schmidt has put her name in the hat.  Is there a primary volunteer?  See Stephen to discuss if you are wanting to do it but have a barrier of some sort.  Maybe we can work it out.  

    Leadership Team Recap

    The team split up into Primary and Intermediate groups to work on the SIP tasks for Goal #1 and #2.  The intermediate team began work on Goal #3.  See the tasks that were developed by going to the Vision/SIP tab.

    Blog Updates
    I have added information to the TPEP page.  I added a chart that shows which staff members have talked to their evaluator about selecting a criteria and SGG.  As this gets done the chart will be updated. 
     

    SEL activities and strategies have been added to the SEL tab.  Check out some ideas that have been shared by staff.

    Behavior Assemblies
    We are seeing more and more behaviors that look like fighting, bullying, name calling and outright threats.  We are working on a presentation to students that we want to do in an assembly.  Stay tuned for a date and time for conducting these assemblies.  We feel it is critical to get on top of this sooner rather than later.

    Speaking of bullying, the district bullying lessons booklets have arrived and were placed in your box yesterday.  Please teach these lessons in the next few weeks.  

    October 22, 2018

    Lesson plans reminder
    This is a reminder that this week Stephen and Saraliese will start doing drop in visits to classrooms.  Please have lesson plans available to review and a place for us to sit.  

    Second Step Curriculum Update
    I am pleased to announce that we will be ordering the Second Step curriculum this week.  Our carryover was more than anticipated giving us the flexibility to purchase the curriculum according the plan outlined at the end of the year.  We will purchase one kit per grade level including the principal's kit and some building posters.  Teams will work together to map out how to share the kit.  I don't know what the timeline is for it being delivered but of course we will let you know when it comes in and then when the materials are looked at by Beth Gould for inventory purposes.  Keep up the good work of watching your use of resources (printing and workroom).  The more careful we all are about how much we use and how frequently, the more flexibility we have to enhance other parts of our school's programs. 

    Earthquake Drill to be repeated
    On 10-18-18 we conducted an earthquake drill.  We checked all classrooms and found that only 5 classrooms in the whole building utilized the color communication cards.  That's ok though.  It was a learning moment to see where we are all at in our understanding of the steps to follow.  We will do the drill again on Wednesday, October 24 at 1:30.  And to assist you to prepare, please go to the Emergencies Tab and look at the procedures for earthquake.  You will read that you need two sets of colored cards.  If you don't have them, check with Hartley ASAP.  Also, note that we have changed the step of emailing to say who you have in your class at the time of the drill.  From now on, use the Emergency Check-In Form like you do to report during an evacuation.  Slide that under your door along with your colored communication card.  

    TIP:  The procedures have been moved from a Google Sheet link to a new Google Doc.  You can scroll down the page to see each procedure.  To navigate by "jumping to" the section you want to read, go to the View Menu and select Show Document Outline.  This will open a menu on the left side of the page.  Click the procedure you want to see and it will jump to that page.  


    October 18, 2018

    ELA Teacher Leader Trainings are coming up...and we have no teacher leaders for NS

    The first training dates are fast approaching and we don't have a teacher leader for NS.  Please consider representing NS on this district ELA group.  The complete description is below on the October 4 entry.  It is a compensated position.  We are looking for a primary and an intermediate representative.

    District ELA Leadership Dates
    :  
    November 8, December 6, January 10, February 7, March 7, April 11, May 9
    Times: 4:30-6:30 pm

    Core Learn Training Dates:  Oct. 29 and 30, Nov. 27 and 28, Dec. 12 and 13, Jan. 23 and 24
    Times: 8:00-11:30 am and 12:00-3:30
    Location:   BELC 214 167th St. E, Conference Room 2



    Safety Commmittee Meeting & Earthquake Drill Follow Up 
    The Safety Committee will meet tomorrow in the principal's office at 7:40 to 8:10.  The agenda will be about the earthquake drill that we conducted to day and get clarification on a few things.  We will get back to you on this afterward.  At this meeting we will also begin updating our Incident Command chart.

    October 17, 2018

    Student Growth Goal Data Spreadsheet File Corrected
    The SGG data sheet I put a link to is the wrong version (Which gives an example of why I am using our blog tabs to create a home for important documents!  I selected the wrong one from a number of files in Google Drive.)  I have updated the link in TPEP:Resources.  If you already entered data, never fear.  Just copy and paste the column of pre-test data into the new file.  Be sure to share the file with both administrators.

    October 15, 2018

    Focused Track Meetings with Administrators
    Please make time to visit with your evaluator to go over your choice for a growth goal.  I know it's a lot more convenient to email the criteria and SGG but we have to have face to face contact to quickly go over why you selected that criteria and what in the rubrics you wish to grow this year.  When it comes to this meeting, you can come straight to your administrator to schedule.  

    Expectations for Hallway Voices
    The expectation for student voice level in the hallways was discussed at the Friday's Waiver Day.  It was decided that "quiet" in the hallways means Level 0 voices.  Level 0 voices was clarified further to mean that it applies to adults as well.  Please teach and model this behavior to the students that you are in charge of throughout the day.  If there is a need to talk, as there are indeed times when saying something is appropriate, it needs to be in a Level 1 whisper voice.  Lastly, approach correcting students with a positive view.  Stop students when they are talking and remind them that we are showing teamwork and respect when being quiet in the hallway.  Praise students for doing a good job, let them know when they have made specific improvements, and thank them for showing considertate behavior.  Use this as an example of self-awareness and self-management, the Social Emotional competencies we are going to target this next couple of months.

    Selecting a criteria for Focus Track teachers
    Directions on doing the self-assessment for Focus Track teachers have been updated.  Hopefully this will make more sense.  Let Stephen know if you have any questions or need help.  

    Student Growth Goal Data Spreadsheet
    We will be using the same spreadsheet for keeping track of pre, post, and post-post data.  That has been posted on the TPEP site under Resources.  Please use this form for reporting your results.  

    October 14, 2018

    Must Knows Documents
    The must knows documents have been added to the blog under the ELA tab.  

    LIT
    The LIT agenda for 10/15/18 is posted.  


    October 10, 2018

    Ohhhhhh, really?
    So you are going to laugh at this.  No really!  No need to call Doug Boyles about the tabs on the website.  It was me, and me alone that was the cause of the problem.  The tabs were changed on the blog's home page only.  I am not allowed to make real tabs like the ones you see on the district portion of the page.  So I make work around tabs for our blog.  The thing is, when I change the information about a tab, it doesn't automatically change the tabs on all the other pages.  That means I have to go in manually to change the tabs on every single page.  Since I am going to be making lots of changes, I recommend using the homepage button and go back to the homepage to see the tabs.  It may be inconvenient but it is necessary.  I will pull my hair out and waste time if I have to go to every page and fix tabs ever time I add pages. I will deal with revised tabs later when we have a more stable site to work with.

    October 8, 2018

    Stipends
    4 stipend proposals were turned in.  They are School Musical (Jamie), Robotics (Chris), 5th Gr. Student Leadership (Bryan & Jana), and Marimba Maestros - Xylophone Club (Jamie).  The proposals totaled $150 more than is allocated.  I will pay that $150 so that all clubs can be implemented for the benefit of our students.  

    Waiver Day Agenda
    The Waiver Day is now posted under the Agendas Tab.  Feedback is welcome from all staff.  Send your questions/comments to Stephen.

    Note:  Time has been put into the agenda to go over a few building procedures.  Building policies/procedures that will be of focus have been determined from the staff survey that was given a few weeks ago.

    Leadership Team Notes
    The notes for today's meeting are posted under the Agendas Tab.

    ELA Teacher Leaders - Reminder (No takers yet)
    Please see the description below and let me know if you are interested.  I haven't heard from anyone yet.  

    October 4, 2018

    ELA Teacher Leaders
    Our Elementary Teaching and Learning Department has chosen the focus of ELA instruction this school year. With this focus comes the relaunch of the ELA district leadership positions. This year they will be asking for two teachers from each building to meet beginning in November to represent our building in the area of ELA instruction. TOSA Joanna Gianni will be leading this team.

    Additionally, these two positions will be attending district sponsored training from Core Learn with principals and assistant principals during October, November, and January to increase our collective knowledge base around ELA instruction. You will receive special training and also help me with building professional development. Not only will this be great training for you, but also will further develop your leadership skills. Please do not apply unless you are prepared to support the work of ELA instruction and represent our building in this critical work. To apply simply email Stephen a brief statement on why you would like to be a part of this work. I am sharing the Core Learn training dates, as well as the ELA district leadership dates with you. You will be paid for your work on the ELA leadership team.

    District ELA Leadership Dates:  November 8, December 6, January 10, February 7, March 7, April 11, May 9
    Times: 4:30-6:30 pm

    Core Learn Training Dates:  Oct. 29 and 30, Nov. 27 and 28, Dec. 12 and 13, Jan. 23 and 24
    Times: 8:00-11:30 am and 12:00-3:30
    Location:   BELC 214 167th St. E, Conference Room 2 



    Software Licenses
    There has been a delay in purchasing licenses for software this year and for good reason...$$$.  Here is ballpark what we have been paying for subscriptions and their amount of use by staff:

    MobyMax      $700  Site license used by approx. half the classrooms regularly.
    Headsprout   $200  4 teachers use this.
    Flowcabulary $600  5 teachers use this.

    Total old cost = $1,500

    MobyMax      $1,300  Half the staff use this regularly.  We no longer qualify for the discount.
    Headsprout   $200     4 teachers use this.
    Flowcabulary $600     5 teachers use this.

    Total new cost = $2,100
    We budgeted for $1,500

    I need your help in figuring out what to do about subscriptions.  It is always my mission to include everyone in the resources we have available to us.  A handful of classrooms consume 50% of the subscription allocation.  On top of that, we don't have a cost efficient alternative now that MobyMax isn't going to be affordable.  I will send out a survey to ask your input on a few things related to this topic.  Please let us know what you would like to see regarding purchasing software licenses.  


    Recess on the wall

    Here is a clarification regarding sending students to the wall during lunch recess.  It's fine until there are a lot of them.  A couple of kids is manageable but when we see 10 to 15 kids on the wall that becomes a supervision issue.  The ladies on the playground will follow your directions on the slips but with so many kids (and slips with varying amounts of time) out there at once, they no longer can supervise the playground effectively.   Please check in with your team and get a sense of how many kids are being sent outside.  It is understandable that each teacher doesn't know the number of kids being disciplined by their peers so I am sharing this so you know it is happening.  Please use your buddy rooms to help reduce the number of kids on the wall.  Thank you.

    Blog Updates

    Arrival/Dismissal Tab:  Dismissal info has been added.  Note:  I am aware of the challenges to having eye to eye contact per my request.  I have an idea for how we can sort that detail out ot make it easier for you to pass a student off to another adult.  So that you understand the importance of this, we have had two incidents in a weeks time where a student entered the cafeteria/gym and then they walked out and got on the bus.  One of those students got off the bus and went home and there was nobody home.  I have talked to the daycare about checking students in and asking us about missing students before the buses leave.  You can help by letting a NS staff member know that your student is being dropped off in that space.  

    October 3, 2018

    Blog Updates
    TPEP Tab:  Assignment errors were fixed.  I have also added items to the resources tab.

    Schedules Tab:  The correct TAP supervision assignments document has been placed in this tab.


    October 2, 2018

    Blog updates
    The following updates have been made to the blog:

    Vision/SIP Tab:  A new page has been created with the school statements, a draft of this year's SIP and task pages that will be drafted at the next Leadership Team meeting.  Note that the plan text is taken directly from the district's plan.  We are required to select two goals, measures, pillars and strategic priorities.  The LT felt that it was important to create a different first goal for K-2 and 3-5.  The district requires us to have an equity goal as well which is the second goal.  To make it easier to refer to them, goals are named 1, 2, and 3.  This does not mean you each have three goals.  Eveyrone has only two goals.

    Procedures Tab:  The procedure tab now goes to a new page.  It isn't populated with information other than the assembly schedule at this point but the goal is to build it to show the procedures that you want to have access to.  The questions that staff had in the survey are going to be answered and put on this new website section.  The Site Council will be working on that.  

    Emergencies Tab:  A new emergencies tab has been added.  This is also a new page that has drills and the beginnings of information on each drill.  Note that I have written a response to your question about making an annoucement before evacuating at the sound of the fire alarm.  This answer comes from our Risk Management department.  

    October 1, 2018


    Campus Cleaned Up & Staff Treats
    Thank you to Rainier View Church members for their effors this past Sunday to clean up our school grounds.  132 people from their congregation came to North Star and spent 3 hours putting cleaning, pruning, pressure washing, weeding, and painting.  From the parking lot to the playground, the grounds were updated.  You will notice a new educational addition to our playground - a 36 foot wide US Map.  They also left staff appreciation gifts in mailboxes.  This was their first effort of this type and not only helped our school but had a separate crew at Shining Mountain Elementary and Washington High School, the locaiton of their other church building.  

    Evaluation Assignments for 2018-19
    I have created a new page for evaluation information.  I will be updating this over time.  To begin with you will see which administrator will be evaluating you this year.  Click on TPEP in the tab above. 

    LIT Today
    The schedule will be a bit different for our LIT this afternoon.  

    3rd-5th staff will engage in collaborative planning, based on your grade level priorities at this time.  Each team will need to meet together for the duration of LIT.  


    K-2 and LAP will meet with Saralise in the library to finalize plans for administering the ELA diagnostic assessments.  Please bring your laptop and 95 Percent Group log in information.
     
    Specialists and Special. Ed. staff can either join a team or work on individual planning.  You are also invited to join the diagnostic assessment session if you would like.
    Comments (-1)
  • September 2018

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 9/14/2018

    September 19, 2018

    PLCs for 2018-19
    This year PLCs have changed in terms of days, times and attendance.  There have been questions regarding how/why this happened.  I had hoped to talk about it before school but we have been squeezed for time to meet together.  I will respond to those questions here and then we can talk about it some more if there are questions.

    Administrators have a challenge in how to be connected with so many people when there are so few of us versus the number of staff members.  Like many principals, I have given time to teams to meet using whole staff meeting time.  It only made sense for us to move from sit and get sessions to providing teams time to work together.  That seems to have been a positive offering to staff for virutally all staff. 

    One nagging challenge for administrators, however, is that when all the meetings take place on the same day, we end up racing from one session to the next.  More often than not, we can only get to a couple of meetings in 30 minutes time which means we really have little knowledge of the on-going work of the teams.  With a desire to see, hear and participate in these sessions, I redesigned our work calendar.  SCRUM was removed and two teams per day during PLC weeks were set up so that an administrator can be at every PLC. In addition, I increased the meeting by 10 minutes to ensure adequate time to cover important content.  My thinking behind this is that time and again I have heard from teams that they "didn't have enough time" to work on tasks.  I have also witnessed time being an issue at other meetings.  While it is not a huge amount of time added, it should give some help in getting through our important work related to student learning. 

    I have heard some concerns about the added 10 minutes, being asked to work outside of the contract day, and having meetings on different days.  I have also heard some are wondering if they can do their meetings after school, while other teams are in disagreement about wanting to have a meeting before or after school.  As you can see, there is rarely a situation where everybody agrees.  And, as you can imagine, it adds to the challenges I have on setting things in place so that they work smoothly.  

    I have always been willing to listen to ideas and this case is no different.  I have outlined my thinking above and that will be the core of how we fine tune this particular aspect of our work calendar this year.  I am open to trying some other options if that helps your team.  Here are the options that we have for making these meetings happen in the way that I have outlined (one admin at each meeting, no less than 40 minutes).  Have your team talk to each other and see if you want to meet before school (7:30 - 8:10), after school (3:15 - 3:55), or during one of your planning times (40 minutes of the 45 minute planning).  That will give each team some flexibility on how to make this happen in a way that works for them.  The only caveat is that you have to talk to me or Saralise and get agreement on the request.  We will accommodate you but you have to be flexible with us as well.  Also, keep in mind that whatevery you suggest, there may be weeks that we have to have the meeting on a different day because it is a short week or because something is on our administrator calendar that would interfere.  We will work on that "when do we meet next" together as a team.  Team leaders check in with your administrator on what your team would like to do.    


    September 19, 2018


    No Chalk on Playshed Walls
    Please monitor students and direct them to not use chalk on the playshed walls.  It literally takes a pressure washer to get the chalk off th walls.  It is ok to use chalk on the ground outside of the playshed as rain will naturally take care of washing that away over time.  Thank you.

    Safe Schools Training Videos
    Remember to watch the 66 minute video for Safe Schools.  We will submit the sign in sheet from the Teacher/Principal Day and hopefully you won't get messages this year saying you haven't completed the whole course.

    September 18, 2018

    End of day supervision duties
    An updated supervision assignments chart has been sent out.  It inludes specific bus location assignments for teachers that are not doing pick up.  Please supervise the bus that you have been assigned to.  This helps to get adults spread out and for all buses to be watched/seen. 

    September 17, 2018

    Math Teacher Leader Participants

    Hi all.  Stephanie Lemon has expressed interest in attending the math meetings that Laura Attaway was attending the last couple years.  It turns out that most schools have two teachers attend.  We are looking for an intermediate teacher that could join Stephanie at these meetings.  Participants receive clock hours and pay for attending.  Let Stephen know if you are interested.  And thanks to Laura for attending in the past and sharing information with the staff.  

    September 14, 2018


    Printer Use Restricted
    If you have the NS-RM24-4100N printer listed on your printer drop down menu, please remove it.   This printer is for SPED use only.  


    Comments (-1)
  • August 2018

    Posted by STEPHEN RUSHING on 8/21/2018

    August 21, 2018

    Welcome to a new school year!
    We are getting close to welcoming our kids back to school.  I have added the agenda for our September 4 staff meeting to the Agendas tab.  I will be updating the September 5 Waiver Day agenda soon.  That day will be unique so stay tuned.  

    * If you saw the September 4 Teacher/Principal Day agenda before I changed it, the start/end time is 8:00 - 3:30.  

    Comments (-1)