The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government. ~Thomas Jefferson

CARdinal Excellence is no joke.  There is nothing April foolish about the fact that we are about to enter the EOC testing arena after preparing for this moment all year long.  As the students begin their final preparations and reviews for testing in their Biology, Algebra 1, CA9 , CA10 and Government  classes, it’s important for everyone to remember that each of you also had a part in their testing readiness with your work on text complexity and vocabulary study.  Since we each contributed to their learning, we each will share in the reward of their increased performance.  Take time this week and next to step up the practice before we start the testing.  Help students understand how their strong performance will help them earn A+ funding, improve their grades, and make their school show strongly in state rankings.  It goes a long way with your students that you support them in their achievement, and show them the importance of claiming their hard work with this summative assessment.  Benton students are amazing.  It would be foolish for anyone to think otherwise.

Week 30 – A Look Ahead

Tuesday — NHS Induction practice (student list will be emailed) 10:00-11:10 in Auditorium

Wednesday – BLT Meeting Canceled; NHS Induction @ 6:00 p.m. in Auditorium

Thursday – EOC training @ 2:45 for all staff giving EOC in Spring in Mail Room Conference Room

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

All images available in CC on Flickr: “Innerlife” by ecstaticist.

CARE about your Library

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.” ~Harold Howe

Another victim of our recent district budget reductions (check your local blogs and news outlets for specific information) is our library budget.  According to the most recent notification, our library budget for next year has been reduced to zero.  After thinking about how to respond to that predicament, I realized others have already said it better.

Doug Johnson, Director of Libraries and Technology in the Mankato (MN) Schools, offered this to consider about library resources: The Blue Skunk Blog.

We need to consider how we will continue to meet the future expectations of Common Core State Standards in respect to literacy.  Doug’s writings will certainly give us ideas to ponder and consider.

Week 28 – A Look Ahead

Tuesday – JEPD (Red Day Schedule) in the library

March 26-29, 2013 => Spring Break

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

All images available in CC from Flikr: “Day 106 – I am a Librarian” by cindiann’s photostream

CARE to Intervene

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

As we enter the final and fourth quarter of our school year, it’s good to go back and examine our priorities from our beginnings.  Each year, we create and then address our school improvement plan, which by nature is grounded in student achievement.  This year, we focused on data teams and literacy.  Those two areas of our professional development focus were intended to make us more adept at helping students achieve academically.  As I look at our progress, I am happy to celebrate that we are indeed more focused in our pedagogical approach with our teams analyzing data for success in our selected Power Standards as well as continually embedding of text in our lessons through which we implement close reading and vocabulary study. That implementation of our PD has greater impact than you can imagine.  Research from the RTI Network shares that, “The expectation is that if the Tier 1 program is implemented with a high degree of integrity and by highly trained teachers, then most of the students receiving this instruction will show outcomes upon assessment that indicate a level of proficiency that meets minimal benchmarks for performance in the skill area.”

It’s funny how often we take our professional development and subsequent classroom implementation for granted, as the results of our work are often not noticeable immediately.  The fact is, if all teachers were to continue to stay the course of best practice implementation and focus on strong classroom instruction each day, the results are not additional, but exponential in a student’s learning.  In the recent Phi Delta Kappan article, “Seven ways to kill RTI,” author Brandi Noll shares that, “Thirty minutes of intervention [such as tutoring] can’t make up for poor classroom instruction during the other five to six hours of the school day.”

As we enter the final weeks of school, with our summative assessments on the horizon, it’s imperative that we all stay strong and focused on our classroom instruction and respond appropriately to the data we gather.  Our students count on us to guide them strongly to the finish line.  There are no quick fixes to student achievement.  It takes hard work and focused effort.  Together, we can all provide instruction – and interventions – that will make a difference for a child.

Week 28 – A Look Ahead

This week we have Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Please make sure all guests sign in to the attendance office and are wearing a visitors badge.  Make sure to keep record of your conferences on the form and turn that in to the Mrs. Fry prior to leaving on Friday.

Monday – Safety Assembly at 1:40 (adjusted schedule)

Friday – 3 hour early out (all students and staff)

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

All images available CC on Flickr: “Myrtle Station” by Яick Harris’ photostream; “Impatience” by mdezemery’s photostream.

Carnival of CARE

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. ~Denis Waitley

This week we welcome our next class of Cardinals: the Class of 2017.  Thursday night, March 7, 2013 is the Cardinal Welcome for our incoming Freshman Class for next year.  It’s important to remember the reason for making sure of the transition from middle school to high school is implemented with fidelity – to ensure we create an environment and atmosphere for our newest students that create a bond and affection for Benton that will last for a lifetime.

If you are a Senior CAMP teacher, a teacher who has freshmen in your classes, or you are a athletic or activity coach, it’s important for you to be a part of welcoming this incoming class of students.  These students look for us to see what their future is going to be.  They are looking to see if the light is on in the window, and if they are welcome to come inside.  Let’s make this 8th Grade Orientation night one of the best.  Please make sure you have a table or sign ready, and you have materials to share with our future Cardinals and their parents.  We get one chance at a first impression. Let’s show the Class of 2017 what it means to be a Benton Cardinal!

Week 27 – A Look Ahead

Monday – Blood Drive all day/Modis Gym

Thursday – 8th Grade Orientation & Activity Fair (showtime 6:00)

Friday – Opening Night “Sarah Plain & Tall”

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

Image available CC in Flickr: “Exploring an idea” from JJay’s Photostream; “Cardinal” by me.