Friday, September 25, 2015

Reflections





As I have been reflecting on the beginning of the year there are a number of thoughts/observations I would like to share with you. First off, we are so very lucky to work here at Windsor with a wonderfully supportive District Central Office, PTA and parent community. While we all work hard to do our very best, there will be times that we will make mistakes just like the children will do at some point of the year. We value and encourage the mistakes that children make and we also value and encourage our teachers to try something, even though it may not turn out the way they hoped it would. We all learn by the power of making mistakes. We hope that you, as well, will learn to value the art of mistake-making and use those errors as teachable moments.  One of the greatest things we can do as adults, is to own the mistakes we make and learn from them without judgement.  We hope that that as administrators we model that message to all of our stakeholder groups. Our children model what we do, so when they see us thinking aloud to work through our mistakes, they will learn strategies to deal with their errors.

In addition, we have noticed how the children are taking "jobs" http://acculturated.com/make-your-kids-do-chores/   here at school especially during lunch time. Chores increase student responsibility and also help them to learn something new, even if they don't get it right the first time. The important piece of this concept is that we let children try something new for them in their own way, without the adult correcting them or having the adult tell the child there is only one right way to problem solve. For, we may all get to the same solution using a variety of different ideas; or, students may figure out a different solution.

An observation about the Wildcat Way... I am happy to report that thus far this year, students really seem to be understanding our expectations and there have been very few incidences of inappropriate or aggressive behavior. This makes us happy as it seems that the work we have done developing  our systemwide behavioral approach is beginning to make a difference. We continue to reinforce the Wildcat Way and about students being Safe, Kind and Responsible. It is so great when we see the students coaching their peers to follow the expectations!

I have observed our staff being highly collaborative this year. This does not mean that all teachers are teaching the same way at the same time, but they are talking about lesson design and sharing ideas with each other. This is so great for our students as it always increases rigor in school when teachers
work closely together to discuss pedagogy. We are better when we work together, share ideas and problem solve with each other!

One final observation for this blog is that our children are LOVING to read this year. I love hearing the discussions that they are having and it is sometimes hard for them to put the books down!  We believe that our new reading curriculum will encourage their love of reading, even more!



Friday, September 18, 2015

Celebrating Growth

This week, we were excited to celebrate growth in two unique ways...

First, we welcomed Chef Tom back to Windsor to lead a garden produce tasting of yummy kale salad, beets and potatoes. Students helped to harvest the produce from our school garden and then enjoyed the fruits of their labors during lunch. As always, a HUGE thank you to our awesome PTA, the Green Team for organizing this event (and, of course, tending to our garden!).






Secondly, we were excited to help our staff continue to grow in their teaching and content knowledge by welcoming a Schoolwide trainer to Windsor for two days of demonstration lessons with each grade level. Schoolwide is District 25's new literacy curriculum which focuses reading instruction around a workshop approach. The workshop approach uses small group and individualized instruction as a large portion of the reading time, as well as whole-group mini lessons. Students are learning how to pick "good fit" books, how to build stamina as readers, and how to set their own goals for how they would like to develop as readers. Teachers will continue to get professional development in literacy throughout the school year. Parents can learn more about Schoolwide and the District's literacy approaches at a parent meeting hosted at Windsor at 7pm on September 24th. We hope you can join!

It's amazing that we're entering into our fourth full week of school and looking into October already. We're so pleased with all of the growth that we're already seeing from our students. Time certainly flies!

Friday, September 11, 2015

A DAY OF GOOD DEEDS! #GOODDEEDDAY #911DAY#CHOOSEKIND

What an extraordinary day it has been at Windsor School. From the beginning of the day morning announcements to the energy throughout the building of students and teachers performing good deeds. I saw students making cards for our soldiers, a children's hospital and a local nursing home. One class wrote notes to our Police and Fire Departments to thank them for always keeping us safe and being there when we need them! We also wrote letters to our family members and took lunch bins downstairs for other classmates.  We had students who decided to play with new friends during recess and help settle conflict between two of their peers.


One class made cards for new students, teachers/staff were give thank you notes from caring students which was heartwarming and one class made a year goal of collecting broken crayons to donate to the Crayon Initiative! One class wrote notes to Windsor Superhero Helpers, Third graders read to Kindergarteners and Fifth graders read to 2nd graders.





We are hoping to be able to carry on the CHOOSE KIND message throughout the year as it really does make a difference of how we all treat each other!  Here are some more of the moments from the day!








Friday, September 4, 2015

First Full Week of School!

The first full week of school was packed with lots of fun events as students continued learning routines and expectations for their new classrooms. We continued to encourage students to be "Kind, Safe, and Responsible" Wildcats who follow the Wildcat Way. We will continue to focus this year on encouraging kindness and respect for others in the Windsor community.



We so appreciate all of the parents who came out for Windsor's Curriculum Night on Wednesday. It was great to see the energy of the families learning about their child's curriculum, behavior expectations, and teacher communication. If you were unable to attend, please reach out to your child's teacher to get the information that was shared.

We mentioned at Curriculum Night that the District has been exploring how to better educate the community about food allergies. Part of that process is educating families and so we would like to encourage you to watch this short video to better understand this important issue.

We also encourage you to share the "Be a PAL" information with your children so they can help to keep others safe as well.

We wish you all a fun, long weekend and look forward to seeing all of our Wildcats again on Tuesday!