Staff Update – Week 3

Another week is in the books.  It is hard to believe that next week at this time we will be a tenth finished the school year.  As the new school year is now in full swing, and the pressures from the new NYSED Reform Agenda seem ominous and foreboding, I am impressed with the resilience of our Athena family.  Each of you continues to challenge, inspire and empower our students to succeed. Daily, I hear stories of how each of you are investing in the lives of your students in profound ways. So many of these stories can not be quantified or measured in any meaningful way, and yet, these relationships and the excellence with which you seek to guide and support each and every student in your classroom is laying a foundation for a brighter future that for many of our students would be unreachable without your investment.

Here are a few things you need to be aware of this week.

  • Staff Meeting Tuesday: This Tuesday will start as an All Staff Focus Meeting.  We will watch a district video on the SLO process followed by a discussion on the topic. If time permits we will have department time following the SLO presentation.
  • Recording Attendance & Tardies: Make sure that you record attendance with in 10 minutes of the beginning of class.  Also, make sure that you update your attendance by the end of class to include any students that came in tardy.  This record keeping is not optional, it is the law.  Additionally, if tardy students in first block are not updated in IC by the end of the block, a Connect Ed message is sent home automatically indicating they have not shown up to school.  This process must be followed, please reference Gail’s previous emails if there is any confusion.
  • Voluntary APPR Trainings: The District is offering a series of after school PD sessions on the new APPR.  These are posted in MLP and you are highly encouraged to register for one of these voluntary trainings.  These sessions will help you understand how you will be evaluated this year. We will cover some of this in future staff meetings, but you are highly encouraged to educate yourself as well.
  • Spirit Week: The festivities begin in 7 days. Amy sent out an email a few days ago with all the details.  Feel free to join in the “Spirit” and dress according to the themes! The pep rally will be Thursday, October 4th, since Friday is a Conference Day. Also, if you can make it, consider joining us on Saturday for the Homecoming Game.  The students love to see us at the various sporting events.
  • Bright Spots: If you have exciting things happening in your classrooms I would love to know about it.  If you have a cool lesson, a guest speaker, fantastic student projects or anything else going on, I want to share it with parents in our weekly e-blasts. I would also like to communicate it out on Twitter and Facebook.  We need all the good press we can get.  No one ever tells the world about all the great stuff you do… I would like to begin to change that.
  • Open House Feedback: As you could all tell, Open House was not as smooth as it needed to be.  The times sent home over the summer did not match the times we shared in September and on the night.  I am always looking for ways to improve what we do… If you have suggestions for making that event better (beyond the timing snafu) please email Melanie as we will be reflecting on the night and beginning to plan next years Open House this week.
  • School Improvement Team Meeting: The School Improvement Team is continuing to meet on the first Monday of every month from 2-3:30.  These meetings are open to everyone and will continue that way until the new School Improvement Framework is presented for a full staff vote.  This will occur as soon as we have a staff meeting that is not needed by the district or the state regarding the new APPR.
  • Available Books: I have many books on poverty, grading, RtI and other topics available in my office for anyone interested.  Stop by anytime.
  • Olweus Bully Prevention Team: Several teachers and administrators attended Olweus Bully Prevention training at the end of last year. We are forming a team that will investigate this issue and develop building wide support and training for students and staff.  This team will be headed by Diedre Eli and Dr.Clifford.  If you are interested in joining this team, email either of them or myself.
  • PLC Teams Update: Based on all the changes from NYSED that hit in the past few weeks we will be reworking our PLC Progression to align with the mandates and expectations of the State.  We will leverage the PLC Progression to collaboratively tackle the new initiatives from the state.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. It is a challenging time to be an educator right now.  The pressures have never been greater. In spite of all the stressors that face us, each of you continues to work your hardest on behalf of our students.  We must never lose sight of why we entered this great profession in the first place.  We change lives and mold the next generation.  The politicians and media will never understand this calling.  We must never forget it.

Forward Together, Jason

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