The Pride of East Side

     I would like to share my reflection about the afternoon event this past Friday at our Staff Development Day with Frank Pastizzo.
I know some folks were not there, but you’ll get the gist of what was shared with us.
     Maybe you felt the same thing – maybe not.  But as the leader of our school, I have to say, there was a sense of pride regarding our school and our work environment.  Frank stated that we have a “work life” and a “personal life” but that the majority of our time is spent in our “work life”.  He asked if we looked forward to coming to work.  He also talked about the attitude we bring to work and that we are the moral compass for our kids.  And, at the end of the day, it is about what is best for our kids.
     I felt that  many of the things that Frank talked about, we do already at East Side.  At East Side, we are not perfect.  We agree to disagree, we state our passions, our beliefs of what we think in a manner to not insult or demean each other.  As a staff, East Side holds no punches and you tell it like it is, without holding grudges.  What we  have to put in the forefront and remember is that what we do needs to be what is best for our kids. is it best for our kids?    We have lots of change happening around us and I have asked you to be open-minded and work together as a team.  It truly is a team atmosphere and we always come together to find solutions to our problems.
      As I was sitting in the front, laughing and tearing up at times, I couldn’t be more proud as your principal to have such a devoted team and think, “Yes, we do that!”  Thank you everyone! Remember, you are more than a score and you are the best of the best.  Enjoy the week.
Other News
  • Bus Duty for Mar 24 – April 4  Team 4:  Jennifer Prevost, Marci Woods, Kathy Buell.  Upcoming bus duty:  April 7 – April 25 Team 5: Gina Caldwell, Kate Spriggs, Megan Weldon
  • The ELA NYSED Tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders is April 1, 2, and 3.  All tests will start at 8:30a.m.    We need to start at this time to get extended time in prior to specials.  We need to change the special area schedule.  First Grade will move  into the 5th grade spot, and 5th grade into the 1st grade spot.  Please mark this on your calendar.
  • The pie in the face assembly is Friday, March 28th at 1:55p.m.
Things in the Blogosphere
  • Mike Hynes, Superintendent of Shelter Island CSD on Long Island guest blogs on Peter DeWitt’s blog about Professional Capital.
  • The Buck Institute is using Google Hangout on Air to help with professional development for teachers to implement Project Based Learning in the classroom.  Check  out this post about Managing Projects in Elementary Schools.
  • 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
  • This SED memo describes the impact of the February Board of Regents action on APPR regulations.  
  • The research about starting school later is making schools consider a change to their schedules.   Here are 20 tips for managing projects, including the application of social media.  
  • This series of videos helps to explain the Common Core – from unpacking to application.
  • Even in the midst of a transition to the CCLS these videos can help.    
  • Here are ten quick questions to ask yourself before giving an assessment.  
  • This interactive story about the completion of the new World Trade Center in New York from Time is informative and pretty darn cool – especially the zoomable 360˚ view.  
  • This article describes one school where they eliminated faculty meetings in favor of comprehensive professional development.   Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) is a coordinated approach for schools to create multiple opportunities where students can be physically active and develop skills to last a lifetime. This free webinar will help you get started.
A Touch of Humor
Close to Home

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

Exciting Things are Happening at GCSD

Hi All:

I want to share with you some exciting developments that are happening in our school district.  As you may be aware, we are working on a new Strategic Plan as Mrs. French has indicated in her email.  I am privileged to sit on this committee as we work with three gentlemen from CITECH who work on strategic plans.  Please review the vision and mission statements that Mrs. French has shared with us and give us your thoughts with the choices presented.  I have also linked it here for you to view.

The other exciting project that we are working on is the Capital Project.  The Board of Education along with Mrs. French and March & Associates held an open meeting on August 5 at 6:30pm regarding the project as it will affect renovations in many areas of various schools.  The capital project will be focusing on needs such as safety, security, ADA compliance, instructional supports, traffic flow, and enegery efficiency.  I have presented areas that are in need and have created a list for review.  This is on a google docs and you can access it by clicking on this >  “Capital Project Needs for East Side“.  (You need to be signed into the gcsk12 domain to access this document.) Please follow the directions I have listed.  Just so you know, construction will not happen until the spring of 2015 and it will be in phases.  We are in the planning stages, so be patient with the process.

Exciting things, don’t you think?  We are back up and running on Monday, August 19th.  Please be patient with us as this is the first day we have the main office open.  We are on a deadline to get Kindergarten letters out to parents on Monday and Lisa and Nicky will be manning the office, supplies, phone calls, parents, and Begindergarten.  Do stop in and say hi to us.

Also, if you are planning to come in this week and need to access your room, especially in the 1-3 grade levels, please call first to see if you can get into your room.  Marty and the crew are starting to wax the floors and put final touches on our building.

As always, have a great week.  There’s lots of stuff on this post today, so enjoy!


  • Come explore and journey with us as I host a book chat on Twitter on the book Teach Like a PIRATE.  I will be blasting reminder emails regarding this event.  I am so excited because Dave Burgess, the author, will be joining us.  He’s great!!  You can sign-up here.
  • Read my new post:  Using Twitter as a Professional Development Tool.  I posted this Friday and it has been going viral on our chat’s this weekend.  Great “how to” to get you started and follow some MAVENS!
  • Please remember to mark on your calendar our Meet and Greet for Sept. 3 from 6:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.
  • Read my friend Tony Sinanis’ heartwarming post Ode to Paul.  It reminds you of what is important every day!
  • My friend Peter DeWitt questions, “Is Education Filled with Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?”  Another great post by him!
  • 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!  

Other Items

Kim Marshall has another column in Education Week about teacher evaluation. He’s staying on message offering pragmatic advice.

Enough Video
This IGNITE video
 says “enough!” to what’s wrong about education and “not enough!” to what is really important. You can use it at the beginning of the year.
This collection of maps from The Washington Post is claimed to explain the world – and they just might fulfill that bold claim. Noglobal studies teacher should be without it!

This collection of grade-by-grade, ELA/Literacy checklists can be a helpful tool as you map out your ELA curricula and scopes and sequences.

Some teachers say they don’t have time for Project-Based Learning. In this blog, Andrew Miller has a couple of questions to ask in return: “How’s the coverage working for you?” and “Do you really cover everything?”


These suggestions for a pre-observation conference will lead to a deeper consideration of the curriculum and instructional priorities.


This report considers consolidation and mergers for small, non-rural school districts. The authors suggest that we should take a look at non-rural schools of less than 1,000 students.
Back to School


Take a peek at how one elementary school begins a new school year. This video is one part of the series that follows Mission Hill School in Boston through a year.


This infographic expresses tips for mentoring teachers. It’s a great tool to use during your mentoring process – both mentors and mentees could add to the infographic with their own ideas.

Trying to set the stage for PBL as a key route to the Common CoreThis post does it succinctly.

Tire Eater Image

If you are someone who wrestles with the proper use of semicolons, you might appreciate this explanation.

Data-driven instruction does NOT mean looking at summative data and panicking about state test scores – assessments that have accountability for their purpose do little to actually impact classroom instruction. Data-driven instruction means groups of teachers regularly employing common formative assessment and then doing something about those data.

There is an online tool that takes complex text and simplifies it, especially more difficult phrases. It can help learners understand complex text and learn new words. While we want all students to wrestle with authentic text, this might be a tool that can help you level some material.

Paenut image

Whether or not you are allergic to peanuts, check out this explanation for whypeanut allergies have gained such attention during the last decade.

Make sure your interventions are aligned vertically, says this short post. Some suggestions for doing this are included.
Sir Ken Robinson

This older interview with Sir Ken Robinson is perhaps more relevant now than it was then. He tells us why creativity is so important.

Achieve the Core has released a series of “courses” about the ELA/Literacy and Math Shifts in iTunesU.
Ashton Kutcher Video


Unfortunately, the audience for this speech doesn’t seem to have been listening. Despite that, this Ashton Kutcher speech has some pretty good messages for teenagers. Maybe you could use it during advisory.

A Touch of Humor

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