Saturday, October 13, 2012

Scary Direction

Goodness it must have been twenty plus years ago.  I remembering sitting in class and listening to Mrs. White inform our class that we were going to take the CAT test (this stood for California Achievement Test).  I still remember thinking, we live in Michigan, why are we taking the California test?  To this day I have no clue how I did.  That is important to note, I now have a high school degree, a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and I'm on my way to my Specialist degree.  How I did on the CAT test did not make a "lick" of difference.  

Thirteen years ago I began teaching in my own classroom.  At this time the MEAP test was given in late Winter/Spring.  I remember downplaying the test and simply trying to motivate my students to "try their best".  Then in mid-May my principal would call all the 5th grade teachers into a room and we would "debrief" every single question on every section of the MEAP.  We would be told where our students succeeded and where they failed.  It was mid-May, and we had three weeks to fix them before middle school (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  THIS IS WHAT WE DID!)

Three years ago I became principal, I did not want "High Stakes Testing", I do not believe 4-6 days of testing proves the worth of a student, teacher, or school.  I am a firm believer the system is broken.  Standardized Tests were never designed to be, "the end all say all", but somewhere along the line they did become this.  I will always ask my teachers to encourage and help motivate, but I will not place a ton of weight on MEAP scores.  It must be stated that these are my views, and I fully understand the funding implications of Standardized Tests, as well as the way the community views these scores.  Scores have become a way to "grade" schools.  It saddens me that Standardized Tests are now High Stakes, they were never designed to be this.

I have faith that our students will do well.  I know for a fact that teachers will be completely professional.  I will even venture that our kids will do extremely well. I believe this because I know we have fantastic teachers.  That being said, I still do not believe in High Stakes testing.

As we move into the last part of MEAP I encourage all of you to do your best, encourage, motivate and inspire.  Understand we have 180 days to make an impact in student lives each year, 4-6 days of testing should not outweigh everything else that happens in the classroom.  I believe in all of you, and I truly believe we are doing a great job educating our students.

Things To Take Note of:

*  Halloween Parties will take place on Halloween.  This is an early release Wednesday.  The parade weather permitting) will be outdoors at 1:30.  5th grade will have a slightly tweaked schedule.
*  PTO meeting is Tuesday, October 16th at 7pm.  I really hope we have a couple teachers willing to attend.  Grade level reps would be great, but I'd be thrilled to have two teachers join us.
*  Next Week's Assembly will take place Friday morning at 8:45am rather than Wednesday.  It is scheduled to be grades 3-5, but that is a wonderful MEAP day and I believe it is best to have this be a "routine" day rather than an assembly day.
*  If you have not entered IDP goals into Stages Software please get in touch with me.  It really is not complicated or difficult and I will assist you any way I can.
*  Nice work on the Tornado Drill, 1 minute and 36 seconds.
* We do need two more Fire Drills this Fall and a Lockdown.  Just giving everyone a "heads-up".

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, October 15th:  Carla Koontz from SAU is bringing over a Chinese Delegation.  They will be touring the building and meeting with me.  We may stop in two rooms (I've already talked with teachers).
Tuesday, October 16th:  MEAP testing
Tuesday, October 16th:  Warner String Team at 4pm
Wednesday, October 17th:  CP Federal Credit Union Kick-off assembly at 1:45 (location TBD)
Thursday, October 18th:  1st Grade to Safetyville
Friday, October 19th:  Happy Birthday to Darren Taylor
Friday, October 19th:  8:45 Grades 3-5 assembly in cafeteria

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

*  Picture Day seemed to go very well.  Lots of smiling faces, headbands were allowed, and I believe everyone got in before recess/lunch!
*  Really impressed with Hayden K. in 1st grade, he was able to retell all events from his story he read me.  Great Comprehension!
*  Got a kick out of the pink teeth on Friday in Mrs. Archer's room...I'm sure she was glad it was Friday!  Do you ever notice some parents really overdue birthday treats?
*  Met with the 4th grades last week and introduced them to our new student Jesse.  Very pleased with the mature questions and polite attitudes.  Great group of kids!
*  A big thank you to Meg, Chelsea, and Breanna G. for helping me out on Friday afternoon.  
*  Visited a couple bus stops last week and made an appearance at Woodville.  Students were well behaved on these days, then I was reminded that they were good because I was there : )
*  Enjoyed my Mileage Club walks with kindergarten students.  So that is what it feels like to be Santa Claus : )
*  Spent some time with Allison and Luke in Mrs. Dault's class.  Luke was working very hard on retelling.  Allison did a nice job counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's.
*  Amazed by the facts that Mrs. Moffitt's students shared with me about Columbus Day!  
*  Sat down with Gavin in Mrs. Kline's room, he was able to take my order and also inform me that I needed to have a fruit or vegetable with my dinner : )
*  Followed to third graders in the hall last week and listened to them speak Spanish to each other!  Just wish I knew what they were saying : )

Articles Worth Your Time:

Videos Worth Your Time:

Team work makes the Dream Work...inspiring (3 minutes)

How far can kindness spread... (I will be showing this to students at the next assembly) (5 minutes)

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