Creslane School Board Report

October 10, 2007

 

Calendar:  October 2 – TAG Meeting

October 3 – Staff Mtg. 2:30 CES Library (Shirley Burrus and

Poverty Issues)

October 5 – Fall Pictures

October 5 – Sally Foster Fundraiser starts

October 10 – Staff Mtg. 2:30 CES Library (Dr. Stuber and PBS

reinforcement)

October 12 – State Inservice Day

                   October 16 – TAG mtg. 7:00 p.m. CES Library

                   October 17 – Staff Mtg. 2:30 CES Library (Autism/Asperger

Spectrum)

October 18 – Guidance and Counseling Mtg. 3:15 CMS

October 19 – Sally Foster Fundraiser ends

October 19 – Fourth Grade Field Trip to Lone Pine Farms

October 22 – Book Fair begins CES Library (7:30 a.m. – 7:00

p.m.)

October 24 – Staff Mtg. 2:30 CES Library

October 24 – Book Fair last day

October 25 – Positive Behavior Support Mtg. 2:30 CES Library

October 26 – First Grade Field Trip to the Northern Lights Tree

Farm for study of the fall season

                   October 30 – TAG Mtg. 7:00 p.m. CES Library

 

Enrollment:

             September 2007                   October 2007

Total:              595                                     572                                                 

Kindergarten    80                                         81                                 

First                88                                 82                                                  

Second           111                             105                                                   

Third             114                                        108                                         

Fourth           101                                98                                                   

Fifth               101                                98                      

 

The drop in enrollment since our last report is mostly due to “no shows” (students who just didn’t come to school and we hadn’t received a records request from another district.  We have since received those requests.)  We had five families move after school started.

 

Inservice Day:  October 12th is the State Inservice Day.  Creslane classroom teachers are attending one or more of three school-provided workshops. 

·        One workshop is on “Social Thinking: Across the Home and School Day.”  It is on strategies to provide better instruction to our students with social cognitive deficits (most often seen in children on the autism/asperger’s spectrum), but beneficial to ELL students and students with other learning/social difficulties. 

·        The other workshop is on implementing the new StoryTown reading curriculum.  Many of us received a short introduction to using StoryTown during our August Inservice week, but after having it in our hands, we have many questions.  This will be a superb opportunity to get additional help. 

·        The last workshop is a “tune-up” for Bridges math.  One of our biggest concerns is that so much reading and writing are included in the math program.  In the Success Team meetings with Dr. Stuber, it was hoped that this “writing across the curriculums” would help increase writing achievement.  However, the children who have learning handicaps/difficulties with writing and reading, but are good math students are finding it difficult.  We hope to find some ways around this issue.

 

TAG Meeting:  We have had two meetings since the beginning of school.  The first one, September 11th was centered on the posted TAG policy, the TAG Handbook draft and brainstorming activities to do with our quick learners outside the normal classroom day.  Our second meeting, Oct. 2nd included parents and their children as we played games, created beautiful artwork, got acquainted and discussed bringing Lane Arts Council activities into the school.  The art activities were discussed as a means of enlightening all the children at Creslane and sparking interest in our artistic/musical/dramatic gifted learners.  This is an incredible group of parents, full of enthusiasm to help the children in Creswell, specifically our talented and gifted ones.  Since we had such a great time with the children last Tuesday night, we are planning more of these times.  It allows the children time to have fun with, interact with each other and build friendships with others of equal thinking levels.

          Some of the parents are investigating chess team activities, science fair ideas, geography and spelling bees.  The meeting attendees are concerned with providing combinations of competitive and non-competitive experiences for the children.

 

PBS:  On October 10th during our regularly scheduled staff meeting the Creslane staff will receive a review of the Positive Behavior Support system used at Creslane.  During our September PBS team meeting it came to our attention that half of our current staff were not here when we first began implementing PBS.  We have many, many facets of the program in place, but few of us know that they are a part of Creslane’s behavior system nor why they are implemented.  There are three general parts to PBS: the school-wide system, the classroom support and the individual student aspect.  The school-wide system includes the three main rules: “Be Safe”, “Be Considerate”, and “Be a Self-Manager”.  All behavior should follow these three rules.   The classroom aspect is designed to support the school-wide system with teaching the expected behaviors, practicing the expected behaviors, and reviewing the rules/behaviors after long breaks. Check-in and out with Ms. Krupicka, Learning Center staff, Ms. Robertson, or classroom teachers in an effort to help students prepare for the day, recess, or other difficult times of a student’s school day is an example of an individual plan.  The school-wide and classroom strategies should help almost 80% of the students understand and display appropriate behavior.   The individual plans help the students with extreme behavioral deficits. 

   

Discipline:  There were 32 office referrals this September with an average of 1.68 per school day.  This is high but significantly lower than last year’s record of 3.1 average office referrals per day in September.  Our second grade had the most office referrals with eleven of the thirty-two, fifth grade had seven, first grade had six, fourth grade had five, third grade had two, and kindergarten had one.

 

A Framework for Understanding Poverty:  Shirley Burrus and Kim Jordan came to Creslane Wednesday (Oct. 3) afternoon and gave us a one-hour workshop during our weekly staff meeting guiding us to an understanding of the issues of poverty, based on Ruby Payne’s work.  The main focus of this presentation started us thinking about giving children necessary information to make better choices for themselves.  It is not to change them, or change their culture, but to give them power through choice and knowledge.  In relationship to the book, we addressed the pieces presented in the “Introduction” section. 

It is so wonderful to glean from people right here in the District.  Thank you for allowing Shirley and Kim the opportunity to be trained, and then giving us time with them to learn how to close the achievement gap.  We were able to purchase enough books so that each of our certified staff members have a copy.  The next challenge will be to find time to further our understanding and get our classified staff members involved too.

 

RTI:  “Response To Intervention” (RTI) is a new way to help in the identification of learning handicaps.  It is based on the premise that students may respond academically if the schools provide adequate intervention (extra quality instruction).  There are two levels of intervention that schools should provide: strategic and intensive.  If the student does not respond to the interventions, then the child is taken through the identification process for possible learning handicaps.   In many ways RTI is built on a very similar approach as PBS.  Regular curriculum and instructional strategies usually work for about 80% of the children.  The other 20% need more individualized instructions, hence the interventions.  We have been training our assistants, accumulating material, and identifying potential students.  This last week, we have actually started our first attempt to formalizing an RTI process, besides our classroom modifications, Title 1, and SMART efforts.  We are providing interventions for 8 first graders, 8 second graders and eventually 8 third graders.

 

Contributions:  This community never fails to surprise me in its thoughtfulness, generosity, and kindness to the plight of so many of our students.  People have gone way out of their way to support the children at Creslane who are in tight financial situations.  The following list is an example of the folks who have donated money and/or supplies.  This list does not include the vast number of people that volunteer their time in the classrooms, nor do I know all the people that purchased extra supplies for the students in their child’s classroom.  Thank you, thank you!

Kaiki and Geoff Walsh

Sharon Convales

Kim Jordan

Ron Krauss

Virginia Franklin

David Stram

Linda Hovet, Kiwanis and Interfaith Church affiliations

 

 

Site Council Minutes:  Please see attached

 

Creslane Site Council Minutes

9/11/07

4:00-5:30

Staff Room

 

Attendees:  Lynn Robertson, Ginny Albright, Deb Jolda, Steve Gough, Angie Koch, Amy Sierzega and Jacque Robertson

 

 

1)  Guidance and Counseling Plan:  Attendance and Tardies focus

          We discussed that this year is basically a year to collect data to determine our base-line information from which to develop a plan to improve attendance.  The Guidance and Counseling team believe that this is a major step toward improving self-efficacy, the ability to take responsibility for one’s actions.   Ms. Robertson shared that all three schools are working to develop a system for monitoring and notification of attendance problems that is consistent.  Attendees added that consequences and rewards are needed for encouragement.

 

2)  TAG policies and Handbook:  Posting

          We discussed that the updated policies and TAG handbook were on the School Board’s agenda for “posting” and that this month is the month to read them and make suggestions.  In October, the Board will vote on whether to adopt or amend the postings.

          Suggestions for changes are included in a separate attachment.

 

3)  Curriculum Update:  Mrs. Robertson (the teacher) and Mrs. Albright shared how the new math program was going in their perspective grade levels.  They shared that although they liked it very much, implementing it took a lot of time and energy.  They shared about Number Corner; a section of the math program that was developed for mental math practice, recognizing patterns, and other problem solving activities that are integrated in calendar activities.  This section is wonderful for all learning levels, because there is sharing, whole group discussion, and brainstorming.

          The teachers also shared that, again even though they look forward to the full implementation of the new Language Arts Program, StoryTown, it is taking a lot of time to get used to it.  We are also still missing pieces of the program due to back orders with the company.  The teachers also shared that each teacher at Creslane is going slower on StoryTown than the Bridges Math, but they are all working diligently toward complete implementation

 

3)  Parent Requests:  Ms. Robertson shared the difficulties that have arisen with parent requests and how they are getting in the way of balanced classrooms.  Each spring, the classroom teachers work to create classrooms for the next fall that are balanced between male/female, TAG/SpEd, poverty/affluent, and “good” behavior/problem behavior students.  The teachers also work hard to match learning styles with the teaching styles of the teachers at the next grade level.  Then the parent requests come in and sometimes they work into the formula and sometimes they don’t.  This in itself is not a problem, but parents are becoming more adamant that their requests be honored.  We admit that parents know their children, but they don’t always know the teachers and the styles they use in their teaching.  Some parents request teachers with teaching styles that match their child, but many of them use criteria that is not in the best interest of their child:  male teacher versus female teacher, popularity of the teacher, previous experience with the teacher, and/or friends in the classroom. 

          Ms. Robertson also shared that she intends on having two or three parent meetings during the year to help parents understand the issues involved and to help in the creation of a good solution.

          Three possible solutions were brought to the table for beginning discussion:

1.     Lottery format:  Parent requests are accepted up to a certain date.  Then a certain number of parent requests are determined for each teacher.  The requests are drawn out of a hat, and those are the only ones honored.

·        Pros:  Nobody is favored over others, everyone gets an equal chance, parents still get a voice

·        Cons:  Does not take into account teacher/student match, chance inherently means that some parents’ requests may never be honored

2.     Phone calls made to parents explaining why their request was not honored.

·        Pros:  People have an opportunity to hear the rationale for the decision

·        Cons:  Parents may not agree with the rationale

3.     If a parent chooses to make a request he/she has to make at least two requests.

·        Pros:  This increases the chances their request will be honored, but gives the staff a little room for matching styles more closely and balancing classrooms more effectively.

·        Cons:  This still “promises” parents they’ll get their desires, which may not be in the best interest of the child.

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30