Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014 Shirley Sovereign

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Shirley Sovereign
Twitter:  ssovprincipal
SKYPE:  shirley.sovereign

St. Ansgar Teachers Visit Crestwood Elementary
Two visitors from St. Ansgar observed in Mrs. Kuhn's 1st grade classroom Feb. 5th. They were learning about implementation of the Jolly Phonics program. They observed a lesson, and then Mrs. Kuhn met with them to answer questions. They also observed in Mrs. Franzen's kindergarten room. They were impressed with the program and are eager to implement it in their classrooms.

Kindergarten Writing Suitcases
Mrs. Timp's students have started doing "Writing Suitcases." The students take turns taking a special backpack home and writing about adventures they have with the stuffed dog inside. They return it the next day to share and send home with the next kindergarten friend. They are learning about taking turns, responsibility, writing, drawing and using their imaginations. 

The kindergarten classes are finishing the LEAD 21 unit "Outdoor Explorers," where they studied about the outdoors. This unit included lessons on recycling and the four seasons. Students were involved in doing inquiry projects this week.

Kindergarten Writing Suitcases

Elementary Spanish Classes

I observed Mr. Josh Shimak teaching Spanish in Mr. Kevin Carter's classroom in Elma this week. Elementary Spanish instruction is done digitally in some classrooms since Mr. Shimak also has HS Spanish classes during several periods of the day.  The Elma 2nd & 3rd graders were motivated and participated well as Mr. Shimak involved them in learning transportation words in Spanish, a review of counting and then a game of Simon Says using Spanish directions.

Elma Preschool Special Guest

Ms. Burke has been teaching her preschoolers about teeth and dental health during February. She invited Angela Bries, Howard County Naturalist, to the Elma PK room this week to teach the children about animal teeth. Ms. Bries talked about dogs, alligators, elephants, snakes, and many other animals. Students were delighted with all the interesting things they discussed!

Title I Meeting
District Title I teachers met this week to re-organize the groups of students being served by Title I and Reading Recovery. The re-organization of instructional groups follows the winter assessments and assists teachers in being flexible and responsive to the needs of students. The Reading Recovery Program serves eight 1st grade students at a time for 18-20 weeks. The second round of students will begin classes this week. Title I student groups were also re-organized as a result of exiting some students and placing other students on the watch list for special education services. Parents will receive a letter about any changes made in reading support services for their students. 

The Iowa Farm Bureau 2014 Teacher Supplemental Competitive Grants were due this week. Mrs. Denise Shekleton wrote a grant to purchase books related to agriculture for the elementary library collection. Mrs. Mary Ellen Vachta submitted a grant for books about farming and animals for her Reading Recovery classes.

School Improvement Update
Teachers on the two teams, School in Need of Assistance (SINA) and Response-to-Intervention (RTI), met this week to review the Crestwood Elementary SINA Action Plan. Marcia Kruse, Keystone Consultant, facilitated the meeting. Several topics were discussed:
  • Use of "I Can" statements to implement the Iowa Core and support student achievement.
  • Parent involvement in literacy activities
  • Teachers observing in other classrooms
  • Reporting spreadsheets to facilitate teacher analysis of RTI data
  • Collaboration time for teachers
  • Organizing the bank of intervention strategies/resources for teachers
  • Review of data from staff survey
  • Brainstorming events for staff that support positive culture and climate 
Looking Ahead to Next Week
February 17:     No school; Presidents' Day Holiday
February 18:     School dismisses 1 hour early; P/T Conferences until 8:00 p.m.
                         CBE Team Meeting in Des Moines; Mr. Felderman and Mrs. Sovereign
                         will represent the team at this meeting due to conferences. 
February 20:     School dismisses 1 hour early; P/T Conferences until 8:00 p.m.
February 21:     No school;  P/T comp day
February 22:     Grow Howard County Meeting, 9:00 a.m., NICC-Cresco

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