Board of Education Report

LEE H KELLOGG SCHOOL

Board of Education/February 27, 2017

Principal’s Report/Jennifer Law

Professional Development

Our beliefs about professional development have been shared before, but they are included here as a reminder:

A core belief at Kellogg School is that the greatest impact on student achievement is the teacher, and that high quality professional development,  coupled with a passion and commitment to the profession,  has a direct and profound impact on high quality instruction. We believe that professional development requires a growth mindset and is an ongoing responsibility of a professional educator throughout his or her career.

We believe that professional development is not a static event that happens to a person, but rather is a dynamic series of experiences specific to the needs of an individual. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • reading professional literature (books, journals, news reports) independently or with colleagues;

  • participating in an online webinar;

  • taking a course;

  • attending a workshop, institute or conference;

  • collaborating with a colleague or a consultant;

  • trying out a new idea, reflecting and revising;

  • observing colleagues who implement high quality instructional practices.

While some PD opportunities are provided through the organizational structure of the school or region, most PD activities, in order to be relevant, meaningful and ongoing are independent and  the responsibility  of the individual in order to maintain the high standards required and expected of the profession.

A few examples of professional development Kellogg teachers have been involved in over the past two months include:

Tech Wednesdays. Twice a month the computer lab is open and staffed for an hour after school by either Jac Cohn or Joe Markow for any Kellogg faculty or staff to get help on a project or learn something new. Teachers have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn how to edit and save and upload photos, organize google docs, set up Google Classroom, try out apps, format documents, create Smart Notebook lessons, learn how to maximize the capabilities of document cameras, or anything else of which a staff member needs or wants support.

Expeditionary Learning Consultant. Freeman Stein continues to support us in our work around high quality instructional practices, student engaged assessment and authentic learning opportunities. He visits us monthly, observes and meets with teachers, participates in faculty conversations, and provides guidance, feedback, and resources.

Instructional Coaching. January concluded the final 2 of 6 training sessions on Instructional Coaching. Joe Markow, Linda Sloane and I joined our Region One colleagues to discuss techniques and strategies to best support our peers in being reflective practitioners with a growth mindset. It is our intention to offer the opportunity for Joe (and possibly Linda) to work with his (or her) peers in support of excellence.  

STAR Data Conversations. As part of our support services that we employ with Renaissance Learning, which provides our benchmark assessments in reading and math, we have the opportunity for data conversations with a STAR consultant. These are scheduled and conducted by phone while both parties access the same computer screen, affording the opportunity to analyze and discuss reports containing an endless supply of student data. These sessions are incredibly valuable and allow us to use the data to identify specific areas in need of support, and plan and modify instruction accordingly.

CPR. Athletic Director Anne MacNeil conducted an after school CPR training and certified 12 of our faculty and staff.

Curriculum Mapping. Mapping has been ongoing with Region One teachers gathering to work on ‘Consensus Maps’. These are maps that include the Standards, Essential Questions, Learning Targets, Content, Skills and Academic Vocabulary that all students in Region One are expected to know and be able to do.

Math Webinar in Mathematical Discourse. Jen Worden participated in this Webinar where she learned step-by-step strategies for facilitating productive mathematics discussions. Specifically, she:

  • Discussed the importance of and challenges associated with facilitating discussions

  • Analyzed a classroom scenario of teaching that exemplifies best practices

  • Identified and discussed four key strategies for facilitating productive discussions

Grading Practices Community Forum.

On January 26th we gathered with parents and members of the Kellogg community for an informational evening to discuss our shift in grading practices that stem from our work with Learning Targets, Habits of Work and how we use Formative Assessments. This work is important, energizing, and ongoing.

Building Community/Combating Hate.

Our middle school students, in small 5-9 multi-grade groups, have been participating in a 10 week values clarification study of diversity and tolerance. Weekly topics include:

  • Ground Rules for Discussion

  • Who am I? Introduction to Diversity

  • Stereotypes

  • Prejudice

  • Name-Calling

  • Misinformation and Rumors

  • The Escalation of Hate

  • Personal Responsibility

  • Remembering Those Hurt by Hate

Off Campus Field Trips and Events!

7th Grade Writing Project. Our 7th graders continued their writing work with professional authors at EdAdvance in Litchfield. (January 9)

7th grade math trip to Isabella Freedman. Students will be studying the math behind maple sugaring. (March 1)

Quiz Bowl against North Canaan Elementary School at NCES. Amy Lake has 12 eager participants ready to try their hand at a variety of challenging questions in the area of art, science, literature, geography, and sports (to name just a few topics.) (March 1)

5th grade to CT Historical Society with Immigration Nation. With a continuation of the study of immigration in Connecticut, funded by a grant, students will travel to Hartford to take in the exhibit, Making Connecticut. They will work in teams with students from other school to examine artifacts from an ‘immigration trunk’ to uncover the stories of those that came to CT, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and made it their home.  (March 3)

The Science of Tubing. 5th through 8th graders will head up to Butternut for a day of tubing, and scientific inquiry and data collection around speed, velocity, friction and the effect temperature has on these variables. (March 6)  

On Campus Events!

Geographic Bee. Ten, 5th-8th grade competitors participated in the final rounds of the school level Geographic Bee. 8th grader Logan Riley came out on top as our champion and has gone on to take the state written exam. He will learn next week whether or not he is in the top 100 in the state, qualifying him for the state level Bee held at Central CT State University in April. (January 10)

Guest Speaker from Woman’s Support Services (WSS).  As part of their health class, 8th graders participated in the Peers Educating Peers training program. This is a program focused on self-esteem, conflict resolutions, critical thinking and leadership skills in the students. (January 19)

Guest speaker to share Japanese Culture. Junko Hidaka, a Falls Village resident and a native to Japan, joined the 5th and 6th grade social studies class to share information about her homeland and Japanese culture. (January 23)

K-1-2 Character Assembly and Tea.  As a culmination to a unit on character, the K-1-2 hosted a tea to honor town residents and employees that work to make the world a better place. (January 26) In addition to biographies, they shared their character song:

There are 5 simple traits that you can use

To be a better person if you choose

5 simple traits

All day long

5 simple traits to make you strong.

You can collaborate

Show integrity

Be compassionate

And commit to quality

Persevere

All day long

5 simple straights to make you strong

Rachna Indian Dance.  The K-8 were mesmerized by an interactive east Indian dancer that performed and shared stories behind the movements of her native dance. (January 26)

CT Read Aloud.  K-8 classes were blessed with the gift of readers in their classes, sharing beautifully illustrated and written books about people and places. Thank you to Woods Sinclair, MaryLu Sinclair, Lynn Marlowe, Mary Palmer, Bob Green, Pat Mechare, Vance Cannon.   (February 8)

Poetry Potluck. As a culmination to their study of the refugee experience in English Language Arts, the 7th and 8th graders held a poetry potluck. They enjoyed food from the lands of refugees about which they had studied, listened to a guest speaker speak of the support that is offered to make for a successful transition for a Syrian family in Salisbury, and read heartfelt and emotionally charged poetry they had written in the voices of those forced from their homelands. (February 10)

Regional Band and Chorus. Eleven of our 5th-8th graders participated in this year’s Regional Band and Chorus. After only 4 after school rehearsals. They graced us with a concert here at Kellogg. This was one of 7 concerts performed in a 2 day period. (February 15)

LifeSkills Training. The 6th and 7th graders have begun a life skills training in health class through a collaboration between the McCall Foundation and the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau (HYSB) The purpose of the program is “to promote health and personal development.  The focus of the lessons being implemented are to teach students about self-image and self-improvement, decision making, the myths and realities of smoking, alcohol and marijuana, advertising, violence and the media, coping with anxiety and anger, communication and social skills, assertiveness and resolving conflicts.  These are an important set of skills that will help students to succeed in this world and effectively deal with the many problems facing them currently and in the future.” (Beginning February 15) You can learn more about this program by following this link: https://www.lifeskillstraining.com/

Fire and Ice Mad Science Assembly.  Thank you to FOLKS for sponsoring Professor Presto who entertained us and educated us on the properties of fire and ice. The whole K-8 enjoyed his antics as well as his content. (February 17)

MYPLATE! The New Food Guide Musical.  Helen Butleroff-Leahy, a registered dietitian and Ex-Rockette, Broadway Dancer, Director and Choreographer, as well as a Falls Village resident, is bringing nutrition education to our 2nd through 5th graders, with a twist.  Her initiative for the next 6 weeks will be to implement a series of nutrition education classes in conjunction with rehearsals/physical exercise and a performance of an original nutrition/ entertainment musical. Stayed tuned for the performance date in April! (Beginning February 23)

Mark your Calendars:

Buy your tickets now for the annual 8th grade lasagna dinner. Friday March 24th!