Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Schools Out (almost)!!

Oh my gosh – another year has flown by!!

For me, this has been one humdinger of a year! This has been a much bigger job change than I was anticipating, but that’s great, I was ready for ‘different’ and there’s no doubt that I got ‘different’!  (Lesson:  Be careful what you ask for!)  I am so appreciative of the K-6 staff, what a wonderful group of people to start on this adventure into administration – I really mean that, you are awesome!   I have appreciated your patience as I 'learn the ropes' and settle into this new role.  Although we have huge challenges ahead of us, I’m excited because I am confident that pushing through those challenges is going to bring us closer together as a team and we’ll grow and improve as a school.

I’m looking forward to the retirement reception tomorrow evening. I have especially enjoyed spending time visiting with Jane and Marcia about their careers and listening to their stories. It’s also been fun to talk to their colleagues and past administrators to gain more perspective on their careers. These ladies have had great careers that have made wonderful impressions on the lives of lots of children. They will certainly be missed by both staff and students!

I hope you have a great summer ahead of you. I hope you’ll keep in touch over the summer; email me or give me a call or stop by my house if you’re ever out for a drive in the country. I love company! This sprint to the end of year has me very excited to just spend some time relaxing with friends and family. We managed to get Adam graduated and celebrated last weekend. Morgan will have regional track on Friday and Jared (my 22 yr old K-Stater) will be off to Dayton, Ohio on Sunday to spend the summer doing an internship.

I’ll probably post a few blogs over the summer. If you want to be notified when they are posted you need to become a follower of the blog and you’ll get notification when I post something.

MTSS Team -- Just a reminder that we are meeting from 1:00 - 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Welcome to the last full week of the school year…….

Good morning, I hope your weekend was refreshing.  This has the potential to be a long blog, take some breaks, hang in there with me…….

First of all – this is what the week holds for us:
TUES, May 8
The K-6 Awards Assembly is at 2:30.  I will put a copy of the agenda in your box.
Teacher of the Year Reception at 4:00 to honor Judy Hampel.
WED, May 9
Administrative Council at 4:00.  As far as I know, we will be meeting.  Be sure and get agenda items to your grade level reps.  
THUR, May 10
Kindergarten Graduation/Music Program at 2:45.  (Just FYI, as soon as I am done shaking tiny hands I will be heading to the track meet at Fairfield.)
FRI, May 11
Play Day at 12:30.  If weather.com has any integrity at all it’s going to be a beautiful, partly cloudy, 80-degree day with a 10 mph breeze!
Skyline Carnival at 3:45.  What a fun way to bring closure to a fun day and a great school year! 
SUN, May 13
High School Graduation at 4:00.  This isn’t necessarily a K-6 event, but I want to mention it because it has a lot to do with the great work of K-12 teachers!  I want to slip on my “mom” hat for just a few sentences and tell you how serious I am about that statement.  Adam will graduate on Sunday and of course I am very proud of him, but I am also so impressed and appreciative of all the Skyline teachers and staff who have invested in him.  He is a lucky young man to have had the opportunity to grow up, from birth to high school graduate, as a member of the Skyline family.  It truly takes a village to raise a child; you’ve been an awesome village for him!  So whether you taught him in your classroom, went to at a football game, laughed at his jokes or smiled at him in the hallway – thanks!

Teacher Re-Assignment / Changes
Harmony will be moving from her middle school math/social studies position to join the 5th/6th grade PBL team.  We will be interviewing and hiring someone in the near future for the opening this created in the middle school. 

Dani will be leaving Skyline to take a position at Liberty Middle School.  We have appreciated all that Dani has done for our students and wish her the best in her new position.  We are also in the process of interviewing candidates for this position.

We have a lot of people who are moving classrooms over the summer, this is the plan:

The 5th and 6th Grade teachers will be moving into Denise’s, Carrie’s, Bjorn’s and Karen’s classrooms.  Denise will continue to work out of that classroom, but will be sharing it with Michael.  Carrie will be moving to where Kris is currently, Bjorn to where Shari is and Karen to where Hannah is.  The reason for this move is to keep the four PBL classrooms in close proximity to each other.  We were highly advised to keep these classrooms together and have seen the benefits to students when they are together. 

ESL is moving downstairs to the small room next to Marla’s classroom.

The virtual school will be located in what is now the ESL classroom upstairs.  Next year we will have a full-time director for the virtual school.  The purpose of this is to expand the virtual school.  Expanding the virtual school has the potential to meet the needs of more students and to bring revenue to the district. 

Patsy will be setting up shop in my old office.  This will give the K-8 resource room much needed additional space and will provide a more isolated place for speech / language services. 

Next Year’s Calendar
I had originally intended to talk about the K-Graduation plan in this week’s blog, I guess I’ll go ahead even though it’s old news by now.  Conversations about ending students’ Kindergarten experience with graduation began (actually resurfaced) in the 2010-11 school year, those conversations included administration, teachers and parents.  I am convinced that dismissing Kindergarten two and one-half days before the 1st through 11th graders will NOT have a negative impact on student learning and will align the schedule with what graduation symbolizes.  The number of days for our kindergarteners will still exceeds the number required by KSDE by a very large margin.  This change will give K teachers an opportunity to bring in potential Kindergarteners for the next year for further evaluation and if time permits it could possibly provide them with time to sort and organize student data to prepare for the next year.  Kindergarteners will be coming to school on the day following their graduation to participate in Play Day.  The only possible “con” I see is that child care for families for those two days might be an issue, if we find that’s a problem, we’ll consider that as we plan the 2013/14 school year.     

I have dug deep into the “old files” and the most recent check out sheet I can find is one from 1999!  I’ll work on coming up with that, but in the mean time I do know that before you leave for the summer I will need:
    A list of summer school students.
    Your supply order.
    Class splits.
I know there are also some formalities that we need to take care of like classroom inventories, key check in/out, equipment check-in with Sue and computer check in/out.  I’ll ask for some help from Herb and get more checkout information to you later in the week.

The MTSS Team will be meeting/training on Wednesday, May 16 in the afternoon.  The implementation process will involve learning more and coming up with a plan that will work in our setting with our staff and our students.  Amy Wagoner and Marci Sheardon from ESSDACK will be guiding us through this process.  Amy is a KSDE trained MTSS facilitator.  They will be facilitating the meeting on the 16th to start the process.  If you have not signed up to be on the team, but would like to, you still can, just let me know.

I have complete packets of the 3-8 Math and Reading Assessment Results.  These can be checked out from me if you would like to review that data beyond your grade level. 

I warned you from the get-go that this was going to be long and it is, thanks for sticking with it!  I know that last week was not been an easy one.  You are working extra hard, students are acting like they are certainly ready to start summer and you’re trying hard to finish up the school year, you’re preparing for special events and organizing field trips.  Even though it’s a tough time of year and things can get tense, keep in mind that you are a terrific staff, a great team and that Skyline is a pretty special place.

Have a great week!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Overview of the week......

Good Morning, I hope you had a good weekend.  I’m just going to quickly go over what our week looks like….

Monday, April 30
3rd and 4th grade Principal’s Club is rescheduled for today.  I’ll meet those students at lunch.
Tuesday, May 1
OWLS site clean-up after school from 3:45 – 5:00.  Students who attend must be sponsored by a parent or other adult. 
Wednesday, May 2
The 3rd graders will be having their annual book sale.  This year they will be setting up shop in the extra classroom in North hallway and they will be donating the proceeds to the Pratt County Humane Society. 
Staff Meeting – I’m going to spend most of the staff meeting going over what I see as our vision over the next couple of years.  I really want to end the year with the entire staff having a common understanding of where we headed and what it’s going to involve.  The PDC meeting will follow the staff meeting.
Thursday, May 3
The Yo Yo Assembly will be from 8:30-9:15.  I am not sure which gym we will be in; I’ll get that info to you between now and the assembly.  We are required to sell Yo Yo’s in the front office for one week, but we’ll try to make this as painless as possible for you. 

Next week is when end of the year things will get revved up with K graduation, the awards assembly, play day and the carnival. 

Have a great week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Things are moving fast!

BOO - it’s me, the principal!!  Seriously, I hope I haven’t been completely invisible, but I sure don’t feel like I’ve been quite where I need to be the last couple of weeks and have lost some of the pulse that I would like to have on K-6.  I’ve also missed getting a blog posted the last two Mondays, so here we go, better late than never! For the last couple of weeks I’ve been a little distracted with the prom, the testing audit (that got cancelled once we were all ready), the needs assessment and then the National Honor Society banquet came immediately after all that was over and now pre-enrollment for high school has got to get revved up and rolling in order to have a master schedule done in 19 school days – and oh yea, there’s a few graduations to squeeze in!  Regardless of all that clutter on my schedule -- my highest priority and defintely my biggest joy of this new job is to support you in your roll with your students, so be sure and let me know what you need.  As I’ve told you before, when things get crazy I could miss the blatantly obvious, so be sure and communicate with me – spell it out, you won’t offend me by doing so, and we’ll get on the same page a lot quicker. 

I think my favorite part of the last couple of weeks has been the needs assessment that ESSDACK came and did with our staff and students.  Specifically, I loved taking them around to the classrooms and watching you and your students teaching and learning.  As I went from room to room I was honestly just so proud of what was going on in the classrooms and the entire school, it was a great feeling.  I’m going to email you their report; I think it will be a good “road map” as we work toward school improvement.  When you have a chance to look at it I would certainly welcome any comments that you have about it.  We will take a closer look at it at the May faculty meeting.  Another thing to be thinking about for the May faculty meeting is the OWLS area.  We need to consider how that fits into our vision and what needs to be done in order to it to accomplish it’s purpose.      

I think K-6 is DONE with state assessments – YEA!  And here’s how things are stacking up for next week:

  • 3
  • rd Grade is off to the Cosmosphere on Monday.
  • Tuesday is the health screening.
  •   Thanks to Karen for getting that organized for us.  I’ll probably get my name on the list and get stuck, but I already know the report will say something like “hey sister - you really should eat your veggies and exercise!” …. sounds like a good summer resolution!
  • Tuesday is also the PBL Dinner Theatre that they have been working so hard on.
  •   They will be providing a meal and entertainment to over 200 people!
  • Brenda, DeGaye and Karen have worked hard to put the Science Fair together for next Thursday and Friday.
  •   That’s a great event for our students!
  • I’ll be hosting K-2 principal’s club on Thursday and 3
  • rd and 4th on Friday of next week.  

Morgan and I are headed to Manhattan (or as she says, “Manhappiness”) for KSU Open House this afternoon.  I hope you have an awesome weekend!  You are a great staff and I am truly thankful for all of you and the awesome team you form and most of all for the great things you do for our kids!   Thanks!

Monday, April 2, 2012

There is HOPE in the future!

Today I got the opportunity to listen to some really good speakers at a conference in Salina.  The first thing I learned was that many of our challenges are challenges all over the state, there’s just something comforting about sharing the pain!  My favorite speaker was Diane DeBacker, our Commissioner of Education.  I always appreciate reading and listening to her thoughts, she adds a lot of common sense to the equation.  She explained the waiver proposal that KSDE submitted to the US Department of Education.  I think that plan looks very promising and if it’s approved will provide a framework that empowers educators to do great things for students.  The greatest difference I see is that with QPA, state assessments are at least 50% of what determines our accreditation, with the new plan common assessments would account for 20% of our accreditation at most!  I’ll explain more at the faculty meeting on Wednesday. 

We do have the Yo-Yo assembly scheduled for May 3 from 8:30 – 9:15.  It looks like it will be a fun assembly.  You can see more about what to expect at this website.  http://www.yoyoempire.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=4

We have 4th, 5th and 6th graders taking state assessments this week.  And it looks like K and 1st grade will be having some Easter Egg hunts, and then we will all enjoy a 4-DAY WEEKEND!  See you at the faculty meeting, I promise to have multiple forms of chocolate!


"The 12-step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate!"
Terry Moore
(I have no idea who Terry is or if he really knows anything -- but I like his philosophy!)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome to the Home Stretch!

I’m not sure what kind of Spring Break gets an educator really revved up for the final seven weeks of the school year; but I sure hope you had that kind of break.  With the exception of a couple of shopping trips to Wichita, we spent this Spring Break at home.  We have managed to get ready for prom and graduation, garden a little, tile a bathroom, plumb a lot, trim trees and haul off about thirty-seven trillion loads of limbs (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but my body thinks its hauled off that many loads!) 

It’ll be great to have Marcia back with us this week.  Sixth grade will be getting their social studies assessments taken care of this week.  The week will wind down with a bang with Jump Rope for Heart after school on Friday.  After this week time is going to pick up and fly!  The next two weeks will be four-day weeks that will include a lot of Kansas Assessments.  Then we will be busy with programs, awards assemblies, science fair, Kindergarten graduation, end-of-the-year field trips, play day and the carnival in addition to planning for next year!  Like I mentioned earlier, I really hope your spring break managed to get you revved up!!

Just an FYI regarding my time… Drew and I are sponsors for the Junior class, so with that comes….. the Prom.  As that time approaches I will probably be pulled in several directions and will take a personal day the Friday before the Prom to work with the students on decorating.  Also, Morgan is a trackster, I will also be leaving early several days to attend her track meets.  Even though I will be busy, I am still very committed to supporting your role in your classrooms, don’t be afraid to let me know what you need!  

Thanks for all you do!!  Have a great week.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Begin the 5-Day Count Down!

I hope you had a great weekend.  I also hope you got some rest and relaxation since this week starts off with a bang with two twelve hour days!  I hope your conferences go well and provide you with a useful opportunity to partner with parents.  I’ll try to keep my cell phone close during those evenings, if you need something please don’t hesitate to text or call me; whether your need is a cup of coffee or another person to sit in on a conference I would be glad to help you out. 

Please keep Beth W’s mother in your thoughts and prayers this week as she suffered a stroke on Saturday.  Beth will be gone most of the week to be with her.  I’ll be talking to Beth on Monday and will update you with her mom’s condition.

Thank you so much for your hard work at the faculty meeting last week.  You continue to amaze me how you dig into that data and work together to come out with terrific information.  I really do see us doing a lot more of this type of work in the future and I can promise you that the end result will be seen in student achievement.  That type of collaboration where people trust each other enough to be willing to look at strengths and weakness, then collaborate to come up with innovative ways to help all students learn is of great value.   The PDC committee is initiating the use of Professional Learning Communities across the district; this will help us begin to create that type of culture.  All of our efforts, whether it’s MTSS or transitioning to the Common Core will be so much more successful in that environment.

Principal’s club for the K-2 students will be Thursday, 3rd and 4th grade principal’s club will be on Friday.

Hang in there; you’re in the home stretch!