The Influence of an Elementary School

How are you influencing your students?
The William Tennent Class of 1983
Thanksgiving weekend usually brings together high school class reunions.  I was privileged to be able to attend our 30th class reunion, the William Tennent Class of 1983.  (Yes, I am a product of the 70’s and 80’s and yes, I’m dating myself.)  It’s interesting to graduate from a large suburban high school, because half of the people in the room, I did not know or remember.  I was walking around collecting donations for the class scholarship, introducing myself, “Hi, I’m Vicki.  Who are you?  I’m sorry, I don’t remember you.”  Sometimes folks would say, “Yes, Vicki, I remember you.”  Oh, oops, sorry for that.  This is what happens when you move away for 30 years.
Although this was a high school reunion, what was very poignant and noticeable to me was our Stackpole Elementary School connections.  A group of us gathered around, reminiscing about our elementary school, our teachers, the Pocono trip we did in 6th grade, and the joy of being an elementary student in a wonderful school setting.  Maybe it was because they tore the building down to consolidate and we are mourning the loss of that building, but there were definitely conversations and laughter remembering the impressions and influences of our teachers and adults from elementary school.  And yes, of course our principal Mr. Hodge.  I was terrified of him, I think we all were.  These were all positive impressions, memories of caring adults, fun times, and a nurturing environment.
It was funny to me that I really did not engage much in a conversation about high school.  Maybe it was because of the closing of our elementary school that we brought the memories back from Stackpole.  The things I remember from high school are of course my music endeavors and that we had a smoking alley.  What was that about?  Things just do not resonate with me about high school, the friendships do, but not the influences of adults other than my music teachers.  Maybe it is because this was the time for all of us to start finding our way in life and wondering what we are going to do after high school.
It was great to reconnect with everyone that night, although barely a quarter of our classmates showed.  (We are a class of over 800.)  As an elementary principal and educator, the takeaway for me that evening was the connections and conversations about an elementary school and the memories we shared.  This is how I would want our elementary students from the East Side to remember us and our school 30 years later.  It’s not only about academics, but the influence and the relationships we set and model for our kids. What will be your legacy?
Have a great week. Vicki Other News:

  • Bus Duty for Nov. 18 – Dec. 6 Team 6:  Connie Tubbs, Kelly Ayen, Bev PhelpsUpcoming bus duty Dec 9 – Dec 20 Team 7: Paula Bates, Marcie Tyler, Sarah Pawananon.
  • Please make sure you are checking the emails from Betty for rehearsals.  Our K-2 concert is December 3rd.
  • A link to the EdcampNJ Smackdown.  Awesome links to check out!
  • Please make sure you are checking your emails and website announcements.  We have lots going on these next three weeks!
  • Our East Side Holiday party is this Friday, December 6th at Paula’s house.  Let’s relax and celebrate!
Things out in the Blogsphere 
Thinks out in the Twitterspher
  • Please check the East Side Announcement page for updated dates, announcements etc.  Lisa is updating this continually!
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!

Other Items of Interest

Unbelievable as it may be, the holidays are upon us and it’s time to think about how toappropriately acknowledge the holidays. The ADL has a new, quick guide to “The December Dilemma.”
SED announced that they are going to [slightly] trim the testing times of some ELA and math 3-8 tests. Exact details will be included in the testing guides.
Math This article offers tips and strategies for helping students learn academic vocabulary in STEM classrooms, both Tier 2 and Tier 3 words.
Prolific Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher offer suggestions for tackling informational text (other than literary nonfiction).
Is your school and team working to strengthen your work as a Professional Learning Community? The PLC support group that meets next on December 19th. Come join the conversation.
This Regents item about a set of new standards for the arts provides background about the effort. Any adoption by New York would still be well into the future.
Here are ten suggestions for implementing an iPad program.
Vid 2

This RSAanimate explains “outrospection,” which is a way of looking at the world with empathy and a perspective of social change.

Remember Harry Wong? Many of his columns for Teacher.Net are archived and are perfectly suited to a quick, focused mini-lesson in new teacher training or a faculty meeting. Processes and procedures!


review of research about family involvement in education includes these findings:
  • Family involvement can make a contribution to literacy and numeracy
  • All parents, no matter their background, can be engaged with schools which positively impacts student achievement

The Board of Regents received this update about NY Common Core implementation at their meeting this week. SED is considering making some adjustments to their re-application for an NCLB waiver. They have a “think tank” working on it.

This timeline expresses education assessment changes in New York since the New York State Learning Standards were introduced in 1996.

Thinking about making the switch to Standards Based Grading? This video provides a short introduction.

Which fast-food restaurant best describes how you are implementing theCommon Core? Wendy’s? Burger King? McDonald’s? Or is a slower, more thoughtful approach needed?

Standards-based education and differentiation work together to promote high levels of achievement for all students. As part of the latest cohort of Scaffolding for Student Outcomes: Meeting Diverse Needs, participants will:
  • Explore the similarities and differences in learners and gain insight about how they are likely to respond to classroom instruction
  • Identify options for meeting the needs of the wide range of students including gifted students, struggling learners, students with special needs, second language learners, resistant and reluctant learners Explore UDL and options for scaffolding within CCLS target learning outcomes
This list of eight things about copyrights is pretty easy to understand.

We can talk about grit, perseverance, perspicacity, and advocacy& or we can use the term, agency, to wrap all of this into one term. It’s a big part of true College and Career readiness.

What is the “golden circle” and what does it have to do with leadership? This TED Talk explains the importance of “why.”
As we go through the changes of Race To The Top and the Regents Reform Agenda it is important to remain grounded in what we know works in schools. The principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools are just as research-based as ever.
White paper

This white paper describes the role that the school library plays in the implementation of the Common Core.

All Grades | Math | Scaffolding
All Grades | All Subjects | Discussion
All Grades | All Subjects | Exit Slips
A Touch of Humor

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