Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving And Parent Teacher Conferences!

Every year at this time, I write about Thanksgiving. It is for certain my favorite holiday, and time of the year. It is a time for family and friends. It is a time to laugh, and sometimes cry!  It is a time to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives, past and present, and to reflect about something what we might need to persist through.  Dr. Bein had the administrators think and share with each other things we are grateful for and something that we need to push through. It was a great exercise and we all enjoyed it. In fact, it was even cathartic! I encourage you all to think about that as well! I am grateful for much. My health, my family, my friends and all the people in my life from Windsor School- the children, the staff and the parents as well as across the District.  It give me great joy to work here. It gives me a deep feeling of pride as I watch the students grow over their time here. I enjoy the relationships and the fun. I literally learn something every day- whether it is something I could have done better or differently, or something that your children teach me.  Being the proud principal of Windsor is something for which I am truly grateful. I hope you enjoy your families/friends next week. If you are traveling, be safe and if you are hosting- make sure you take some time to enjoy! I hope to make new memories having that little grandson with us (who is just crawling as of Thursday) to enjoy the festivities for the first time as I host 20 family members and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!        

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Parent Teacher Conferences- We so look forward to spending time with parents to go over the progress your children have made since late August.  The time is flying by and we have so much to share. Our teachers have worked very hard preparing the progress reports and, additionally for conferences. We welcome you to ask questions and share your thoughts!

Some tips for you all:

• The 20 minutes go fast! If you have questions after reading through the progress reports, write them down so you can remember  your thoughts.

•Ask the teacher about your child's strengths and areas for improvement or challenge areas. Ask how we are differentiating curriculum. Ask how we are intervening to assist in the areas that need improving.

•Ask about your child's social-emotional-behavior in the classroom, at lunch and at recess.

•Ask if there are ways you can support  your child's learning at home.

•Share your thoughts on how your child can demonstrate leadership at Windsor.

•Share something we may not know about your child. We will help to promote those interests!

•If you think of other questions or thoughts after you have returned home, certainly feel free to email the teachers!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Grading and Progress Reporting

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The teachers and staff of AHSD25 had the privilege of working with Dr. Thomas Guskey on Tuesday. The topic was grading and progress reporting.  It was an interesting morning as he shared with us the importance of the purpose of grading and progress reporting. How we grade, what we grade and why we grade? The progress report is used as a communication tool with our parents, so we all need to be clear and on the same page.

As the AHSD 25 staff was "polled", we could not agree on the purpose of grading.  We also could not all agree on what elements of our work that we use to give a grade.  It was really quite fascinating. The positives and shortcomings of different grading systems was discussed.  Our district is currently working on defining this for all of us via committee work.

Dr. Guskey's conversation with us talked about the importance of how our students learn from feedback, but all learning may not be truly reflected in the grades that they get. We often hear from our students, "Will this be graded?" When what they should be asking is, What will I learn about and how can I demonstrate what I learned?" Our students hopefully are saying, "I am so excited to be learning about... ?"

Another area for all of us to think about is the student skills:  effort, persistence, study skills, etc. These are the skills that help all of our students become successful in school and life.

If we asked you as parents, how you feel about letter grades, what would you say?  If we asked you how you feel about percentage grades, what would you say?  If we asked you about the value of the comments the teacher's write, what would you say? So much of this dialogue reflects how we were taught!  How did we respond to receiving grades?  What did our parents think about report cards?  As we talk more about Standards Based Grade/Reporting in AHSD25, we will continue our conversation with you!

As we approach progress reports coming home next Friday and parent- teacher conferences, there are important questions to ask the teachers. Next week's blog will be about some ideas for you to think about as you meet your child's teacher to talk about their progress.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Election Day 2016

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Yesterday was a bit of a tough day at Windsor regardless of how you feel about the election results or how you voted. We had upset and tearful students who arrived at school in the morning.  Some students worried that they would be forced to move. We had students who said hurtful things to their peers.  In our community, we have families who fear that they will need to move. We have families worried that they will lose their health care. Others are concerned that their children heard language or saw behavior on television that was mean, insulting and divisive for our community and our country, and they don't know how to talk about it. 

Our primary concern at school is to keep our children safe. We do not accept bigotry, racism or any form of discrimination. We highly value the diversity at Windsor. Our job is to protect our children from hurtful words and/or actions. 

As we try to pull together as a country, we encourage everyone in the Windsor community to model appropriate and expected behavior. Students overhear everything we say and what we do, even when we think they are not listening or watching. Children repeat things that are said at home. Everyone knows that words hurt and cannot be taken back while they may fade in our minds. 

We will support all our families the best we can.  We will assist as possible. We will continue to enjoy each other in all that we do. We will continue to educate our children about empathy, and finding the best in each other. We have wonderful and caring families at Windsor. I am proud and very thankful to be part of this community that cares deeply for all of our children.
As I told the students yesterday on Windsor TV, we all need to be kind, safe and responsible in our Windsor community for everyone here is important to us!   Let's renew our efforts to show all our children that they are safe and loved at Windsor School.

Friday, November 4, 2016

November Worthy Wildcats

Congrats to November's Worthy Wildcats. The Worthy Wildcats are selected by students that have been nominated by students and staff. This month's children were seen demonstrating the Wildcat Way at various times. These students work well with others, is kind to classmates and offers help, plays with students who seem to not have anyone to play with at recess, brought in jackets from outside so that they would not get rained on, helping a peer who could not go out for recess and carrying things for her as she broke her foot, and spoke up when another was beginning to not be fair to a friend.  WELL DONE, WILDCATS!

Stephen F. 

Sophie F. 

Kylie K. 

Julia R. 

Kelly C. 

Sydney L. 

Win or Lose, But Keep on Working Hard!

Go Cubs Go!!!! Win or Lose but must Practice and Persist!

What a season the Cubs had!  For 108 years the Cubs have been working hard to get to this point, and this was their year!  They won the World Series!!!  How amazing is it that for all of these years the fans have all stayed loyal, and this is apparent by the packed ballpark each and every game!  Win or lose this team is supported by their fans.

Just as Cubs fans stand by their team, parents stand by their children.  We are our children’s biggest fans, win or lose. We strive to teach them to try, try, and try again, that success comes with hard work and dedication.  We can use the Cubs history and now victory to teach as a great example of trying again, hard work and dedication.  We can show our children that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose but what it is important is journey we take to get there.  Do we take the easy road or the hard road and can we ask the question, what did we learn in the process? 

As we celebrate this exciting time in baseball history, let’s also use it as a teaching tool to show the importance of hard work and dedication and let’s not forget the most important part, that we are our children’s biggest fans!