Sunday, May 12, 2013

Final 2.5 days of the year!

This is going to be a quick blog because it's been a busy weekend!

THANKS! -- First of all -- Morgan graduated from high school today and I just can't keep from telling you "thanks" for being a part of her education. She is leaving here with the finest education possible, that included lots of support and encouragement from all of you.  If you were not at graduation today you have to figure out a way to see the video that some of the honor grads made in lieu of giving speeches.  The video is based on their classmates answers to the question "what are you leaving high school with?" The thing that jumped out at me most was that none of the answers were about the traditional three "R's".  For every honor grad the things that meant the most to them was far more about the relationships they had formed and their own personal growth.  Thanks for supporting my daughter in her years at Skyline, this is an awesome place for a kid to grow up!

SURVEY -- First of all I sent you an email lacking a link to a survey, then I sent another email that actually had the link to a survey.  This is a follow-up to some very early steps in our efforts at school improvement.  Please take a few moments to complete the survey before you check out this week.

STEM ROAD TRIP -- I have been doing a lot of research about incorporating STEM curriculum at the K-8 level.  There is no doubt that this type of curriculum is in-line with the KCCRS and it is what kids need if they are going to be prepared for success in the 21st century.  It's popularity is growing by leaps and bounds in large districts and urban areas, but bringing it to smaller districts in rural areas seems to present more of a challenge.  I want to learn more about how to make it happen for our students.  I am going to go to a K-5 STEM magnet school in Hutchinson on Thursday afternoon.  I hope to leave Pratt by about 12:30 and return by 4:30.  If you would like to go along to check out this school please let me know.  If you would like to work on a committee over the summer to research bring STEM to Skyline please let me know when you check out.

CALENDAR --
Mon, May 13     Board of Education Meeting @ 7:30

Tues, May 14     1st Grade to Tanganyika Park
                           2nd Grade to the Sedgwick County Zoo
                           8th Grade to the Barron Theatre
                           PBL AR Reward Party at the Teen Center
                           8th Grade Graduation at 7:00

Wed, May 15      Last moment of the last day of the 2013/14 school year @ 11:30!
                           Skyline Staff Celebration meal honoring the retirees @ 6:30 ish?? 
                           Teacher Check out -- form should have been in your box.  Go HERE to sign up on a  Google Doc.

Thur, May 16      Continue with Teacher Check out.  

Have a great week!  Thanks for all of your hard work and the great things you do for kids!

Becca
  

 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 6 - 10: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


Goodness, by the time you read this we will be within 10 or 11 days of finishing up another year of school!  I have been reminded over and over again of how hectic and chaotic it gets as things ramp up at the finish, but at the same time it’s such an exciting time as we celebrate so many great things.  In fact, this week we are celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Day.  I appreciate all that you do throughout the year to make a difference in the lives of students.  I am humbled over and over again as I walk around our building and watch as you plan and facilitate great learning.  Your hard work brings tremendous hope to the future of our students and our school.  As an administrator and as I parent, I can’t put enough words on this page to express my appreciation for that!

This weekend has been a busy one in our household.  Friday afternoon was another successful track meet for the high school kids at Bucklin.  Then Saturday night we attended the Spring Football Scrimmage at Sterling.  SPRING – HA!  That was not only the coldest “spring” event I have ever sat through, it was the coldest football game I have ever attended!  In fact it’s Sunday morning and I think my toes are still thawing!  In retrospect, the fact that we drove twenty extra miles after the game to get ice cream is just crazy!  To add to that lack of logic in my planning; Jared, Morgan are I are headed back to Sterling this morning to pick up Adam and go on to Salina so we can attend the Audio Adrenaline Kings and Queens concert this evening.  Although this is way too much to pack into a weekend, I am loving the time with my family and very excited about this concert!  Feel free to snap your fingers in front of my face on Monday and tell me to wake up and focus!
Here’s what our last full week of school is looking like:
Mon, May 6    3rd Grade to the Cosmosphere
                        Middle School HOPL Track Meet at Stafford

Tues, May 7    K-6 Awards Assembly @ 2:30
                        Teacher of the Year Reception @ 4:00

Wed, May 8    2nd Grade to KDWP
                        K to Great Bend
                        7-8 Awards Assembly @ 2:30
                        I have a meeting at Hutchinson at ESSDACK most of the day.

Thur, May 9    Luncheon in honor of YOU!  This will happen in the library during                                       
                                 your regular lunch time.
                        Kindergarten Graduation @ 2:30
                        I will probably be leaving immediately following K graduation to                                       
                                 attend the League track meet at Pretty Prairie (unless it rains or snows, a month 
                                 ago I would have said that with sarcasm, but NO! - I'm serious!)

Fri, May 10      4th Grade wax museum in little gym – 9:00 – 11:00
                        Play Day @ 12:30
                        Carnival @ 3:45

Sun, May 12    Baccalaureate @ 2:00
                        High School Graduation @ 4:00

Thanks for your participation in the faculty meetings and LC meetings last Wednesday.  I really appreciate your commitment to collaborating with each other, that is such an important component in any world-class school, and without a doubt, that’s what we want to be!

Have a great week!

Becca


                       


    

Monday, April 29, 2013

APR 29 - MAY 3

5/6 Grade Spring Concert
Hi!  I hope your week if off to a good start.  I spent the last couple of days in Northeast Kansas with Jared.  He will graduate from KSU in a couple of weeks and has taken a job as an engineer in Sabetha. So on Sunday we went on a road trip to check out Sabetha.  Checking out Sabetha on a Sunday afternoon took us about fifteen minutes, but that's OK because that left us time to shop in Topeka for awhile!  It seemed like we spent a tremendous amount of time driving around in the middle of nowhere, but it was great to spend some time with Jared.

I do want to spend a little time talking Science Fair in this post.  Last week one thing led to another as I worked on getting our K-8 events on the 2013/14 calendar.  It looks like for the spring conferences we are going to be able to schedule conferences on the Monday and Thursday evening of the week of the Science Fair.  This will give families a chance to visit the Science Fair if they are at school for conferences, but it eliminates the opportunity for teachers to judge the Science Fair on Thursday afternoon.  As soon as I mentioned the problem to Brenda, this conflict began to serve as an impetus to consider making some changes to the Science Fair that will bring changes to the way and time that it is judged.  Brenda, DeGaye and Karen have always done an excellent job with our Science Fair, it's an event that I've always been proud of at Skyline.  Even though it is already a great event, I am very excited about the changes that have emerged in our quick conversations about the future of the Science Fair, I think we have a lot to look forward to.  A PLC will probably be formed to research and plan the event, you might be thinking about if you would like to participate.

The next sixteen days are going to be very busy!  In addition to the regular routine of school, we have lots of places to go and special staff and students to honor.  This week is actually pretty calm compared to what's coming!  This is such an exciting time of year!

Tues, April 30
4th Grade Book Sale 8:05 - 12:25 in the 4th grade overflow classroom.

Wed, May 1
MS to Fairground for the K.L.E.A.N. activity.  This will involve the 8th graders eating at 10:50.
Staff Meeting @ 2:45.  Please consider sharing lessons you have used that are examples of instruction of KCCRS.  We will also be talking briefly about planning for the 2013/14 school year.

Thur, May 2
4th Grade Field Trip to Great Bend and Ellinwood
TARGET will take a team to the LEGO Robotics Competition at Haskins School at 8:45

Fri, May 3
5th Grade to the Sedgwick County Zoo
1st Grade to Kansas Dept of Wildlife and Parks
Mrs. Barkers Quiz Bowl at 10:30

Best wishes for a great week!

Becca



Sunday, April 21, 2013

APR 22 - APR 26


Hi!  I hope you have had a good weekend and are ready to start a new week.  That image to the left is Tuesday's forcast -- "wintery mix" -- can you believe it!?!  Oh well, so much for the weather!

This weekend I was reminded of how much I appreciate events that don’t require sleep deprivation!  I think it took me all of last week to recuperate from last weekend’s After Prom Party.  At our house we have shifted our focus to graduations, at least they don't happen in the middle of the night!

I had sent all of you a Google Doc, 2013/14 Schedules, that has the lunch, PE/Music, Math and ReadingTEAM times, PBL and middle school schedules on it.  It’s a spreadsheet so you have to click on the tabs at the bottom of the document to switch between those different schedules.  Although every one of those schedules has changed since I first shared them, I think they are pretty close to finished at this point.  I still have some issues with the lunch schedule and if that can't be resolved the schedules will all change, I'll let you know if that becomes and issue so you'll know not to bet the farm on the schedules that are currently posted.  I know that all of you have a bazillion things to do before summer break gets here, but as I mentioned earlier, I will need to have your classroom schedules before summer so that we can schedule para’s and aids before school starts.  We will spend a short amount of time at the May faculty meeting talking about scheduling.

Last week I sent out an email that had the info about summer school and a note that you can send home with students you are referring for summer school.  (If you've already used another note -- NO problem, all that matters is that the info gets out and kids get signed up.)  As those notes come back to school please get them to Wendy so that we can be making plans for summer school.  Next week I will try to get you more information about what the enrichment program that will go throughout the summer will look like and how to get your students signed up.

Schedule for the week:
MON, APR 22
I will be gone from about noon until mid afternoon to attend a PRMC Board Meeting.

TUES, APR 23
7:15 – Health Screening in Mr. Young’s Classroom
7:40 – Lock Down Drill Meeting with Mr. Sanders in the Library.  If you cannot attend be sure that you make arrangements to go over the material.
I have an appointment in Hutchinson, but should be back by noon.  
4th Graders will take the KS Science Assessment
3:45 – 5/6 Grade continue with Student-Led Conferences
Between conferences and the concert, family, friends and patrons can peruse the Air Fair and listen to solos and ensembles that students took to the HOPL music festival. 
7:00 – 5/6 Grade Vocal and Band Concert

WED, APR 24
4th Graders will take the KS Science Assessment this will finish up the Kansas Assessments for 3-6.

FRI, APR 26
The 4th Grade will be going to Kids Day on the Farm.  This event has been scheduled, cancelled and rescheduled, cancelled again and rescheduled again!  Hopefully the weather will be beautiful on Friday and it will actually be able to happen! 
I will be having the last K-2 Principal’s club of the year.  I revamped the Google Doc to reflect the kids who had to be reschedule due to the snowstorm last month.  If you have students who missed Principal’s club for other reasons they can join us on Friday, but please let me know who they will be so I can add some dining desks to our circle.  
I will leave around 2:30 to go to the track meet at Greensburg. 
Just an FYI, I will be gone next Monday, April 29. 

Have a great week!

Becca


Sunday, April 14, 2013

APR 15 - APR 19




Hi T-Bird Staff!

To start off this week’s blog post I simply want to promise that I won’t prematurely commit us to a five-day week!  Several of you came by at the end of last week and told me that I spoke too soon last week when I said that Friday was going to actually represent five consecutive days of school.  We have had some pretty ugly weather around the day of prom, but I am pretty sure that this is the first year we have had a snow day during the week before prom.  It’s usually thunder, lightning, fierce winds and tornados – not ice!

In fact, at this moment in time, I am at the Prom.   Actually I’m hiding out in the concession stand waiting for the After Prom party to start.  These kids seem to be having a blast and from the looks of it, the After Prom party is going to be great fun too.  Morgan was among a group of kids who came to the Prom in the T-Bird Mobile, that is just the coolest ride to anywhere!  Their first stop was at Lemon Park for pictures; that was fun to just watch them be all dressed up, posed from serious to very silly.  Apparently after leaving the park they made a stop so that the kids who are in track could get their picture taken on a neighboring district’s track.  Wowzers!  If you don’t know the rest of that story, come see me and I’ll tell you why that is significant!  

Well I got home around 5:45 a.m., chatted with my kids a while and got a nap in, then headed to Hutchinson to get Morgan’s graduation announcements printed, they really need to be in the mail this week!  Time is flying, and obviously our household is not keeping up!!

I want to mention a couple of things on the horizon for next year….. 
First of all, the schedule.  I have at least a rough draft of next year's schedule for music, PE, MathTEAMs, ReadingTEAMs and lunch.  I’ll get that printed into some kind of document that I can share and sent out to you in the next couple of days.  If you see any glitches, please let me know.  Once I get that to you, the next step is for you to work on your classroom schedules.  In doing so I would also like for you to determine what (if any) parts of the day you need additional helpers in your classroom to work directly with students.  I would also encourage you to work with your other grade level teacher and the teachers above and below you to try to stagger those times so that teacher aids and paras can be distributed as efficiently as possible. 

I also want to share with you that I am going to put some assemblies on the calendar for next year.  My plan right now is to split us into K-4th grade and 5th -8th grade for monthly assemblies that last about 20 minutes, maybe 30?  I’ll be honest; right now my thoughts about what those assemblies will look like are pretty random!  What do you think about recognizing students for things that come up throughout the year as they come up instead of one big awards assembly at the end?  I also want to go back to putting students names in a hat when we witness displays of good character and then do some drawings for prizes.  We could do some character lessons.  Karen and I have talked about using this as an avenue for some nutrition info.  We could have older kids do skits for younger students.  We could recognize some exceptional work, like maybe an iMovie, a presentation, a solo, project, etc.  We might have a special guest now and then.   Like I said – pretty random ideas right now!  I do need to know what you think of this series of assemblies REPLACING the 1st-6th grade, end of the year awards assemblies.  Please comment to the blog so we can share thoughts with each other about this idea.  I am sure that some things will need to be held off for the final assembly of the year.  We will continue conversations about the schedule and assemblies at the May faculty meeting. 

In addition to pay day and tax day, here’s what’s going on this week:

WED, April 17
·     The 4th graders will be at Kids Day on the Farm from 9:40 – 2:20.
·     District Safety meeting at 5:00.

THUR, April 18 – SCIENCE FAIR
·     Science Fair Set up – 8:00-9:00 & 11:00–12:00 & 3:30-4:00
·     K-6 EXPLORATION PLACE Assembly – 9:00
·     The schedule for the small group EP sessions can be found at this link.
·     6:15-8:30 PBL Student-Led Conferences
·     7:00-8:30 Science Fair Open to the Public

FRI, April 19 – SCIENCE FAIR 8:15 – 11:15
·     PBL Classes go to Parkwood and Pratt Rehab Center at 1:40.

See you tomorrow!  Have yourself a terrific week!

Becca


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Apr 8 - Apr 12


Hi!  Well we have had another beautiful weekend.  I hope you have had the chance to get out and enjoy it. This is going to be a really quick blog post as I am working on scheduling this evening and really hate to let myself get distracted and lose my momentum.  Adding the tiered Reading instruction is going to challenge our schedule in a big way; but we will figure out a way to make it work!

Here’s what’s happening this week:
Mon, April 8
  • Middle School Scholars Bowl at Skyline @ 4:00
  • Board of Education Meeting @ 7:00

Tues, April 9
  • 3rd Grade KS Math Assessment
  • Kansas Junior Academy of Science Contest at Skyline @ 4:00

Wed, April 10
  • 3rd Grade KS Math Assessment
  • I believe this will be Janae McCarty’s last day to student teach – be sure to wish her well, she has been a wonderful addition to Skyline this semester.
  • I will be at a meeting at ESSDACK most of the day.
  • District Safety Q&A Parent/Patron meeting @ 5:00.  This will be a great opportunity to listen to the concerns of the parents/patrons and to show our commitment to their child’s safety. 

Thur, April 11
  • 3rd Grade KS Math Assessment
  • I will be eating lunch with a group of PBL students at 11:15 in Mrs. Stark’s classroom.
  • A recently formed Pratt county drug/alcohol prevention coalition group will be meeting with interested staff in the library at 4:00.  If your schedule will allow it, I hope you will consider coming to support their efforts and contribute your thoughts and questions. 

Fri, April 12
Oh my gosh – it’s a 5 day week…. we CAN do this….
My day will be tied up with the Technology committee meetings and SIT meetings. 

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

Becca

Monday, April 1, 2013

APRIL 2 - APRIL 5, 2013


Hi!  I hope you have had a wonderful Easter weekend and enjoyed a couple of extra days off.
 
I have had a wonderful weekend.  I just love beautiful spring weather!  We tilled our garden and got a few seeds planted.  Messing around in the garden is one of my favorite past-times.  I don’t manage to grow anything too impressive, but it sure is good therapy to play in the dirt!  I think most of you know this, but just in case you don’t - my first teaching job involved teaching horticulture to middle school, high school and adult students.   In addition to my classroom, my labs consisted of two greenhouses, a little Christmas tree farm and a huge garden.  That was such a fun content area to teach, probably because the students were highly motivated to learn.  They weren’t all necessarily interested in growing plants, but just about all of them were at least interested in trying to make some money by growing plants, so they worked pretty hard.  A lot of my students weren’t exactly stellar students, that made it all the more rewarding when they got excited, learned and took some ownership of their education.  I met Vernon during that time and before it was all said and done I became Mrs. Flowers, the horticulture teacher!  Life is such an adventure!

I wish we had time for some face-to-face conversation and collaboration, there's a lot of things on the burners right now that would benefit from that.  I do need to hear your thoughts on a couple of things… please stop by and see me, email me or comment to the blog with your thoughts about these things.

MathTEAMs – At some point in the next few weeks I will start working on a schedule for next year’s MathTEAM time.  I need to know if you feel like 30 minutes is the appropriate amount of time needed for the tiered math instruction at your grade level.

Tiered Reading – Are we ready (as in next year) to set up a schedule to include coordinated tiered time for reading?  I know a lot of you do some tiered reading groups; this would ensure that you would have additional staff available to facilitate that instruction.  This would be when your students receive Title I reading services.  At this point I simply need some feedback from you to get this going.

2013/14 Scheduling – I think I have brought this up before, but just to give you more of a heads-up…. I really want us to coordinate and complete daily schedules before we leave for summer break.  The reason for this is so that we can coordinate the schedules of teacher aids and para's in a manner that gets them distributed among classrooms most effectively.  We will probably be trying to meet more needs with less help; effective scheduling is the only hope we have in getting students the help they need.  In the near future you’ll hear more from me about how we will get this process started.  By all means, if you have some ideas please let me know!

Also, just incase parents have questions about teacher requests for next year; we will be following the policy outlined in the handbook.  The SES Handbook statesTeacher requests must be submitted in writing to the principal before May 1.  Only requests which state an educational reason for academic placement will be considered.  Please remember that all requests will be considered but not guaranteed.”

Well this is the plan for this week…..

Tuesday, April 2
Grades 4 - 8, STAR Math Progress Monitoring for students who scored below the 40th %ile on the winter math screening. 
8:10 - 8:40            5/6 MathTEAMs         Air Lab in Library
9:45 - 10:15          3/4 MathTEAMs         Air Lab in Library
11:21 - 11:51        7 MathTEAMs            Air Lab in Library
1:10 - 1:40            8 MathTEAMs            Use Library Stations

4th Grade Math Assessments (12:30 – 1:30)

Wednesday, April 3
I will be at ESSDACK all day at the final Classroom Instruction That Works workshop. 

Grades 1 & 2, STAR Math Progress Monitoring for students who scored below the 40th %ile on the winter math screening.
9:10 - 9:40            2 MathTEAMs            Air Lab in Library
10:20-10:50          1 MathTEAMs            Air Lab in Library

4th Grade Math Assessments (12:30 – 1:30)

Early Release / Faculty Meeting – I will not be back for the faculty meeting.  The District Leadership Team met last week and has came up with a plan for keeping the momentum moving forward with studying and discussing the ELS KCCRS. 

Thursday, April 4
4th Grade Math Assessments (12:30 – 1:30)

I will be leaving shortly after 3:00 to attend the Track Meet at Pretty Prairie.

Friday, April 5
K-2 Principal’s Club during lunch in Mrs. Stark’s classroom.

Have a great week!
Becca