Creslane Board Report
May 14, 2003
Calendar: May 8- Hult Field Trip “Freedom Train” 2nd Grade (paid for with t-shirt fund
May 9- Fourth Grade Concert 10:30 new gym
May 9-Kindergarten “Parent Tea” one in the morning and one in the
May 9-Learning Center: Girl’s Club “Mother and Daughter Tea” 12:30
May 13-Read At Home April “Gum Day” celebration
May 15-SMART celebration 6:30 at Creslane Cafeteria (60 hours per
week were donated by Creswell volunteers to help K-3 graders
May 16-Read At Home March “Kite Day” celebration
May 19& 20-Incoming Kindergarten IEP conferences (15 are scheduled)
May 22-Kindergarten Registration 12:00-2:00
May 22-Mighty Mustang “BINGO game” celebration
May 22- Lane County Spelling Bee contest at Lane ESD 4:00-6:00
(Cassidy Stewart is Creslane’s winner and will be attending)
June 2- Creslane Site Council 3:45-5:00 library
June 3-Medicade Survey Day
Creslane Choir: Thursday night was Creslane Choir’s last performance for the year. Mr. Thompson can feel great pride in the progress his students have made. From the first wiggly, squiggly, a little off key concert to this forty-five minutes of pure listening pleasure, was an incredible feat. Mr. Thompson gave these 60 third, fourth and fifth grade students the direction and support to become a team of musicians. We listened to songs sung around the world (some in Spanish), rounds (the first steps to singing in harmony), poetry (memorized and/or written by Creslane students), accompaniment by Crystal Riddle, Eric Hendricks and Kevin Rothaar (a fifth grade teacher at Creslane), and a piano piece written by and published for Eric Hendricks (a sixth grader at Creswell Middle School.)
Curriculum: Teachers have been using our staff meetings to discuss the district’s new scope and sequence. This year we have used the math and science pieces with mostly satisfactory results. The area needing the most adjustment was the physical layout of the paper and pencil assessment tests: not enough room was allowed for little muscles to write big numbers or letters, too many learner outcomes were tested on the same page, or the test items were too numerous for the same outcome. Throughout the year we found some typographic errors, but not too many (Thank you, LaVae Robertson). On the whole everyone was satisfied with the learner outcomes. We held some discussion on those outcomes that were most commonly missed. With only one year’s data it is too difficult to determine whether the students’ failures were attributed to student inability, poor testing articles, poor teaching methods, or unrealistic expectations. We will continue this discussion for the remainder of the year, as we fine-tune the rest of the curricular pieces. Although we aren’t finished with these discussions, it is evident by the energy the teachers wish to give to this project, that we were desperately ready for a scope and sequence that fit Creslane. Thank you, Dr. Stuber.
Fund Raisers: Creswell has once again come to the aide of its children. Not only has this town contributed to the athletic fund, “Mr. Bulldog,” wrapping paper, t-shirts, ink cartridges, they have now given over $8,000 for Creslane’s textbook fund through the cookie dough sale. With our earlier fund raisers, the lottery funds, and this cookie dough sale our textbook situation will be in great shape next year (and even for a while after that). Thank you, Creswell! A full report of the fundraisers and the textbooks purchased will be coming out in the June report.
Student Teachers: The local universities and colleges have found Creslane to be a storehouse of talented mentor teachers. Pacific University, Northwest Christian College, and the University of Oregon beg for placements of their education majors in Creslane. The university students are placed in different programs according to their level of education. “September Experience” shows a prospective teacher how an experienced teacher sets up their classroom and prepares the students for the rest of the year. The college students see first hand how much planning time is required before a child enters the door to the classroom. They participate in the training of routines and teacher expectations, which is so necessary for a smooth running classroom. There are also “Practicum Students” who come from the universities. They are usually in the classrooms for an entire term, about 9 hours a week. Then the “Student or Intern Teachers” make their appearance. This is usually a full year’s worth of experience. I have received a letter from the University of Oregon (attached) commending the tutorial skills of specifically Debby Turnbull and Sherry McKee. These two professional women are truly gifted educators, and I am proud of them for taking on the additional responsibilities to train our future teachers. Northwest Christian College has so appreciated the skills, insight, and professionalism of Mary Lou Christiansen that they have invited her to be on NCC’s Site Council. These are just three of the many superb teachers you have at Creslane Elementary School.
Volunteers: There are many people who donate their time to help Creslane students, but in this report I have to mention four that have given an amazing amount of help. Vicky Bowers who runs the Read At Home program and the BoxTops for Education program has worked so late at Creslane trying to keep up with the students’ efforts that the late night custodians have walked her out to her car, just to make sure she doesn’t sneak back in (and this is after 10:00 p.m.!)
Kim Parsons (who helped Sandy Scaife in the Charity Scratch Off” earlier this year) and Barbara Sears are the “Cookie Dough Gurus.” They prepared the take home packets for the students. Handed the packets out to each classroom with a little pep talk. Came in at 7:00 a.m. four days this last month to take in orders. Organized the cookie dough items in each order so students could deliver them to their customers. Called parents whenever an order was too large for the student to bring home. Made themselves available for the parents’ convenience even when it was late in the evening. And then said as they counted all the money, “This is fun!”
My last volunteer of the month, is a new comer to Creslane. Connie Bush arrived at my office one morning and asked if she could volunteer in the lunchroom every Tuesday and Thursday. She cleans tables, talks to the children, cuts their hard-to-open string cheese packets, and helps for two and a half hours each day. Even the day she introduced herself she worked. I took her down to introduce her to the staff in the lunchroom and before I knew it, she had discarded her coat and was helping with reticent banana peels.
Creslane is indeed a very fortunate and blessed place due to people like these.
Bus Citations: I have to commend this year’s bus drivers on an exemplary year. Over the last three years, we have had 50-75 bus citations ranging from a warning to major suspension of bus privileges. This year, there are only 26 citations and only three students are repeat offenders. This is an incredible improvement. There are two jobs I have been glad I didn’t have to do: be a whole day kindergarten teacher or drive the bus. My appreciation and admiration go out to anyone who can drive those buses full of students at the end of the day and get them home without doing serious harm to any of them! What an incredible team of people we have supporting education in such a demanding role.
Parent Conferences: On average we had 94% of our parents participate in Parent Conference Days. Four classes had perfect attendance. Twelve classes had every child represented except one. The rest missed only two or three conferences and some of these were caught in telephone conversations. This time with parents is incredibly valuable.
Read At Home: 182 students received a free recess for reaching the February Read At Home Goal. (Thank goodness, the sun was shining on the day we had selected. It was the only day in a very long time.) The March reward is a kite day. 184 students made that goal. We are working with the University of Oregon for our end of the year celebration. They are gathering a bunch of athletes to come and help us reward the students.
Fire Marshall’s Report: The bad news….according to the size of the rooms the maximum capacity of Creslane classrooms is 38-43. This includes any adult working with the children. If you observe in the Site Council minutes the estimated size of our classrooms for next year, you can see we’ve got a problem.
Discipline: Yuck! I had to go all the way back to April 2001 to find anything that showed improvement. March had been so disappointing and April started out so well. I was feeling encouraged again. Then, the monstrous “Easter Candy” attacked. The last two weeks of April were just awful. In 2001 we had an average of 2.0 office referrals per day. Last year, we dropped that to 0.4 which was wonderful! This year in April we had an average of 1.4 office referrals per day. Ghastly.
Attendance: 525 students
Site Council Meeting Minutes
May 5, 2003
Members Present: Kim Meyers, Sandi Scaife, Nicole Kerins, Stephen Thompson, Lauri Thomas, Sherry Loennig, and Jacque Robertson
Brainstorm next year’s scenarios: The situation at Creslane is so drastic that a great deal of money is needed to overcome it. Looking at current enrollment these projections show next year’s classroom sizes. The projected 4.5 M District budget will fund:
Two teachers per grade = K: 20 students per sessions (guesstimate)
1: 40 students per class
2: 50 students per class
3: 40 students per class
4: 45 students per class
5: 41 students per class
We discussed the following issues:
-Second Grade discipline = 17.4% of the total school office referrals with 2
of the 4 school’s “out-of-school suspensions” this year (in other
words we have serious concerns about this group of students.)
-Incoming Kindergarten IEPs = 15 students out of 80 (this abnormally high)
-PE grant (could fund 1.5 FTE in PE and Health)
-Concerns about increased discipline with the class sizes so large
-Benchmark years: grades 3 & 5
-1/2 FTE Class Size Reduction Grant
-13% SpEd school-wide
-24% Title 1 school-wide
1) We can determine no alternatives to change the class sizes of grades 4 & 5
2) We believe there is justification to use the .5 FTE class size reduction grant to fund a .5 FTE teacher to help off-set next year’s third grade classes (this year’s socially handicapped second grade).
3) We discussed possible schedule changes to help off-set the hazardous learning environments especially with focus on decreasing negative impact on reading:
· Staggered starts – upper grades starting later and ending later. This would free teachers to help early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
· If (big if) we get the PE grant we could use the extra personnel to plan back-to-back pullouts helping decrease the sizes of classes during parts of the day.
· Plan two sessions (similar to kindergarten) for grades 1-2. This plan would decrease the sizes of these classrooms from 40-50 to 20-25 per session. This would mean a decrease in the hours of instruction, but would increase the quality of instruction for reading, math, and writing.
4) We discussed how to get more “instructors” into the classrooms:
· Get the high school to offer a tutoring class elective. This class would require training for the students on how to tutor young children and then implementation with grades included.
· Our new counselor, Amber-Dawn Krupicka is hired through Lane ESD. She is qualified to supervise college students. She will try to get graduate counseling students here.
· Increase our volunteer program
5) We explored ways to use expanded budget monies (4.5 M increased to 4.8 M) which for Creslane might mean an additional $120,000 (the equivalent to two teachers).
· Use the two teachers to teach blended grades helping off set classes sizes in four grades
· Use the money to hire music and p.e. teachers who will benefit all the children rather than just a couple grades.
· Use the extra money to hire aides
As mentioned earlier, Creslane’s situation is so dire that nothing we discussed can provide the learning environment we want for our beginning students. These are attempts to inadequately lighten an unacceptable load.