Want to transform your pedagogy using engaging packaging? This little book is a surprisingly easy read with pictures and diagrams throughout. You COULD read it cover to cover in the time it takes to get your hair done at the salon, but you would be missing the density and richness with which Highfill, Hilton, and Landis intended for the reader. Have your QR code reader ready to get lost in some awesome and instantly implementable resources.
Dear Lucy Calkins,
It was 1994 and I was enrolled in a credential program to become an elementary school teacher. My professor, Dr. Joann Adams, began every class with a read aloud of a children's book. During this chaotic time of college life, listening to a beloved classic or a newfound favorite was a calming and centering activity that allowed us to focus on the arduous work of becoming teachers. Looking back, I now know that Dr. Adams was purposeful in this practice, cultivating a love for literature that we would carry forward into our own classrooms.
Beechwood ended P2 after month 8 with 97.7 attendance. This includes those absences recovered in Saturday School. This year we were able to host Saturday school once per month. While our monthly SSOAR numbers were low, over the year, the accumulation of recovered absences added up to positively benefit the District.
This year Beechwood completed 4 rounds of pull-out interventions involving Kindergarten through 8th grade students in addition to providing lesson plans and resources for Tier 2 teachers and students. The first round of interventions began with 86 tier 3 students. Out of 83 students 99% made progressive growth or proficiency towards their goals. One student in kindergarten was referred for Spec. Ed. services and qualified. The second round of interventions consisted of 65 tier 3 K-8 students with up to 6 in a group. In addition, we began an ELD group of 10 students. Out of 65 students, 100% made proficiency or progressive growth toward their goals for interventions.
Teachers at Beechwood continue to exemplify the values of a Professional Learning Community. The 9 PLC teams have been divided between Cindy and myself. Each Tuesday afternoon, we meet with a team to review weekly PLC notes, check on progress of Guaranteed and Viable Standards and discuss specific students in a Round Table format. This structure allows for every team to meet with an administrator about once per month. I am impressed with the high level of conversations that are happening and the teachers' detailed knowledge regarding their students. The quality of data brought up at Student Intervention Team (SIT) meetings is truly exemplary.
The annual Beechwood Auction was held on March 11, 2016. This event takes a year to plan and carry out. An army of volunteers and a strong commitment from our community partners make this a memorable and profitable night for the Beechwood community. This year we had approximately 170 businesses donate goods and services. We had representation from Assemblywoman Young Kim, Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, the Fullerton Police Department, Superintendent Bob Pletka, and many other business and community leaders. In total, the auction raised over $65,000 to support the students of Beechwood School! These dollars are essential to providing a world class education in a public school environment.
The best years of my career were spent in the classroom. Being a classroom teacher is absolutely the greatest job in the field of education. Being a principal now is a calling, something I felt compelled to pursue. It's funny how the moment an educator leaves the classroom, we forget all the yucky parts of the job and glorify the rewarding ones. This phenomenon happens again when principals leave the school site for the District office. So how do we stay connected to the people we are meant to serve? There are three distinct ways in which I try to stay connected: regular walk-throughs with feedback, actively participating in trainings with the teaching staff, and spending time applying new learning in the classrooms.
Wednesday mornings are sacred. I wake up extra early to meet with a group of friends to reflect and blog. However, my laptop was sitting on my desk at school. I had a few options. I actually thought about skipping it. I didn't have time to run by school, and who wants to write without a laptop? I could blog on my phone, but it would be tedious and hard on my thumbs. And then I realized, I could reflect on paper. Yes, paper!
What makes a great teacher? There are certainly some simple answers to this question such as: a great teacher connects with kids, a great teacher knows how to design engaging lessons, a great teacher knows how to use assessment to guide instruction, a great teacher has good classroom management, etc. etc. etc. While all of these are essential attributes of a good teacher, to be truly great, an educator has to be the lead learner of the classroom.
How does playtime inspire creativity and innovation? These past three days, Cindy and I attended CUE Rockstar Admin Camp at SOKA University. This model of professional development incorporates time for play in almost every session. Not surprisingly, I had some of my best ideas this year that I am excited to incorporate into my life as an educator. But, the overarching theme for me is to make time for PLAY in my everyday life!
Over the past 5 years, Beechwood has been building a PBIS model. Prior to coming to our site, I coordinated PBIS across FSD and was able to bring this knowledge to our community. This year, we have been attending the actual trainings, and it has really helped to improve our school culture.
We have updated our school wide matrix and taught our expectations across all contexts of the school including the digital world. PTSA has donated $500 to help with incentives and communications. We have trained all of our support staff including instructional aides and noon duty supervisors. We have also begun the process of getting our digital citizenship certification as this is such a vital part of our school wide discipline. We are completing a student survey and releasing the parent version on December 4th. This should provide excellent information on which to build next steps.
This year, Beechwood's RtI program hit the ground running! Interventions started on the 6th day of school! In the past, we waited until after the first round of Universal Screenings, which delayed service to children. Last May, our RtI Coach established groups and a schedule prior to leaving for summer break. This allowed services to begin while the first Universal Screenings were taking place. We are now in our third round of interventions. This forethought and and planning was one of the best things we done to improve our RtI model.
This year, we added a tab to highlight Beechwood Middle School more specifically. This page is meant to show what life is like here at Beechwood so that families can make good decisions in regards to which middle school environment best meets the needs of their students.
Click here to view the new Middle School web page!
PLC's are progressing better than ever. Themes across the PLC notes continue to be developing common assessments, analyzing student data, planning instruction and interventions based upon the data, and implementing Writing Workshop. With the help of Cindy Bak, we have divided responsibilities for the PLC teams and now meet with each team once per month. This is much greater frequency than ever before. Teams are implementing additional Guaranteed and Standards. Each time Cindy or I go into a PLC meeting, we are reviewing quality of the PLC notes and discussing the progress of the grade level to reach 100% mastery of Guaranteed and Viable Standards.
In this folder are links to each PLC team's notes...
In this folder are links to each teams Guaranteed and Viable Standards... Be sure to check the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets to see how we are tracking progress towards these standards by student.
In comparison to ELA achievement as demonstrated on the CAASPP, math was a weaker area with 67% meeting or exceeding standards as compared to 76% in ELA. Concepts and Procdures is a relative weakness among with the strands with 83% of students t, near, or above the standards. Problem Solving and Data Analysis were at 90% with Communicating Reasoning at 90% as well. Third grade knocked it out of the park with only 2% not meeting the standard for overall math achievement. Middle School math scores were commensurate with the rest of the school. Typically, they are quite a bit lower than elementary. While no conclusions can be drawn from this, it is interesting.
Results from Math Benchmark 1 are strong and consistently above the District average. The most successful grade levels seem to be fourth grade with 33 percentage points above the District average and third grade with 12 points above the District average.
Overall, I was pleased with our CAASPP results for ELA. With 76% of students meeting or exceeding standards in overall ELA achievement, this is commensurate with similar schools in our District and still leaves much room for growth. In regards to the sub-categories, all scores were within the same range with reading being a relative weakness at 89% at, near, or above the standard. Writing was 91%, Listening 95%, and Research/Inquiry was at 93%. Fourth grade was significantly lower than other grades in overall ELA achievement on this test. Middle School CAASPP results were ever so slightly higher than elementary. This is a change from previous CST results. No conclusions can be made since this is baseline data, but it is certainly interesting.
ELA Benchmark 1 results must be interpreted with caution.
Up to this point in the year, Beechwood attendance looks great. With the changes in "early release" coding, and the increased District communication such as the tri-fold attendance flyer and Blackboard Connect phone calls, the message seems to be connecting with the Beechwood families. We are currently at 98.3% attendance. Saturday School has been hosted every month with an average of 30 students attending each time. To see the official attendance report, please click here.
This year, Beechwood was given permission from Educational Services to pilot the Lucy Calkins On-Demand writing prompts graded with the Lucy Calkins rubric. These Writing Workshop Resources can be found here.
After taking the first writing benchmark, staff seemed a bit frustrated with the process. A survey was utilized to hear their concerns. Here is a summary of the results. Overall...
In the Fullerton School District, we have a progressive superintendent who values autonomy, choice, and reflection. This year, Dr. Bob Pletka offered three pathways of evaluation for principals. Each principal was able to choose to fill out the traditional evaluation forms, participate in a "gamified" evaluation process through 3D GameLabs, or start a website to house regular reflections of practice. All of us are reporting on similar goals in a fashion that best meets our needs. I absolutely love that I get to work in an environment that values innovation.
In the United States of America, all children have the right to free public education. I have a firm belief in this right. It is what separates us from many other nations whose educational systems only serve a portion of the population. We educate ALL: rich and poor, abled and challenged, citizen and immigrant. However, while public education may be "free", a world class education is very expensive. It is certainly far from "free".