Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Today's Curriculum Leadership Council (CLC) meeting was about celebration. It was facilitated by our outstanding Standards Coach, Suzanne Shall. Each of the 19 members of the team was given pages from the DuFour's newest book, Learning by Doing (pages 28-32) that focused on why celebrating reinforces and maintains what we value. The DuFours make the following suggestions:

Explicitly state the purpose of celebrations.
Make celebration everyone's responsibility.
Establish a clear link between the recognition and the behavior or commitment you are attempting to encourage or reinforce.
Create opportunities to have many winners.

Now... celebrating is something that I think we do well at Chets Creek. Every single professional development meeting starts with celebrations. Every Wednesday a positive post card appears in every teachers' box so that they can send "good news from school" to any child or peer that has done something special. The Principal's Memo that comes out every Friday is full of "Grammys" that celebrate the culture and the academics of the week. The Grammys are submitted to the Principal and can be added by any of the CLC (Leadership Team) to a shared Google Doc. The Principal then rewrites/ edits the Grammys to be added at the end of her Memo each week. Below is a sample of the celebrations from this week's Grammys! They are called the "Grammys" as a tribute to this year's music theme.

The moon was glowing, the kids were shining and the movie was showing! Congrats to the first-grade team on their very first "Starry, Starry Family Night". Much planning and preparation went into creating a great experience for our students and their families. Karen Willet, Jessie Lipsky, Stanley Brooks, Tenean Allyene, Danielle Barnhart and, of course, K.K. Cherney spent all afternoon setting up our outdoor movie theatre which impressed all who were there. Chevaugn Sasso recruited her astronomer neighbors to display their telescopes while Rachel Bridges worked with them to make it happen. You should have seen the moon!! The rest of the first grade team served "Spacey Snacks" and welcomed each and every family to our shining night. The stars were shining bright and the night was "Out of Sight"!!!

This team never rests! ESE and KK Cherney attended Fast ForWord training last week. Christine Montero, dayle timmons, and Debbie Rossignol have begun to implement with a pilot group of students. Thanks for upturning every stone to find solutions for struggling students. KK has also approved for extended day to pay tutors. Special thank you to the teachers participating in this effort:
Christine Montero, Chevaughn Sasso, Terri Lehane, Julia Lewis, Wanda Lankford, and Patricia Wallace.

If you were in the lobby Monday morning before school you might have seen a strange sight as the teachers who run the CLC posed for a photo laying down on their backs! They did this for an image to be used in Susan's presentation for the America's Choice conference this week in California. Big thanks to Carolyn Swidorsky, Angela Phillips, Ashley Russell, Rachel Bridges, Debbie Harbour, Tom Ruark, Rick Pinchot, Melissa Ross, Michelle Ellis, Cheryl Dillard, Shea Beaudreau, Christy Constande, Debby Cothern, Betsy McCall, KK Cherney, dayle timmons and Melanie Holtsman for laying down on the job! LOL

Looking for some new ideas to highlight in your class newsletter? Ask Jenny Nash and Lynn Patterson about how they put the spotlight on character each week as they share the strategies from their Character Counts lessons with their parents. What a great way to show the parents we are teaching the whole child here at Chets. Nice job ladies!

Christine Valnoha continues to work her magic even though the big copy machine has been down. Christine has used creativity and lots of hard work to make your copies and to make them on time! Christine, what would we do without you?!!

Don't miss Kindergarten's work with the January Book-of-the month. Julie Johnson and Rachel Happ are displaying a standard-based bulletin board of the six word strategy this month and Debbie Harbour's blog this week has her class' delightful voicethread of their rendition of M is for Melody!

The following teachers have "adopted" fourth grade classrooms, providing support as they prepare for the Florida Writes! Lauren Morgan, Joe Montisano, Shea Beaudreau, Tom Ruark, Bridget O'Connor, Sherri Rabe, Carolyn Swidorsky, Jane Szerba, Gerri Smith, Christy Constande, Vicki Cole, Denise Evanko, Meli Launey, Dorry Lopez-Sinclair, Lori Metzger, and Karen Morris. These teachers are "loving" on our fourth grade students with posters of encouragement, decorated classroom doors, candy treats, personal notes, etc. What a wonderful demonstration of school support. Thanks to all who have become cheerleaders! Your encouragement is sure to produce self-confidence, extra effort and excellent results!

Cheryl Chascin has been rewarding her students with success tickets for getting the question right on the first try while accessing the FCAT explorer site. Thank you, Cheryl for inspiring your students to use this valuable tool.

United Way is responsible for much of the support that children and families are given in times of stress in our county. We are so appreciative of Michelle Ellis' willingness to lead this fund raiser for our school. Michelle, we hope you reach your goal!

After reading the research we divided into disciplines - Language Arts, Math and Science - and looked at the Grammys that had been written for each of our subject areas this year. We counted the number of Grammys (Language Arts writes many more Grammys that any of the others!) and looked at how the Grammys were distributed by grade level and within each grade level. Then, knowing that "you value what you celebrate," we looked at the content of the Grammys. As a group we realized that we write lots of Grammys celebrating our culture! Obviously that is because it is something that we really value! The Language Arts Team realized that we had identified Main Idea and Comparisons as two areas that we wanted to work on this year in our School Improvement Plan but didn't have a single Grammy that celebrated those two areas! Wow- what an aha moment. Did we really mean that we wanted to work on those areas that we identified through our data? Maybe not! We definitely need to make some changes!

Celebration is such a fun way to model the things that matter. Try it! You'll like it!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I think we are really great about celebrating teachers, too, and I know we are in a select few who celebrate so publically. I think teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty should be publically recognized for their efforts and talent, and I think because we opened Grammy's to a google doc, it helps us capture even more of the great practices. I often wonder if we shouldn't have a question on the end of the year survey specifically about Grammy's and celebrating at the front of every agenda. Do all the teachers value this practice like I do?