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
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Shared Leadership

As we started the first day of school, I am always amazed how everyone pulls together as a team at East Side.  This is a big school, and the principal alone cannot manage every little thing in such a big school.  This is why I am blessed with such an amazing staff at East Side and share the leadership.  You are all professionals and it was such a wonderful thing to watch everyone take leadership roles in the opening two days of school.  This is how an effective school runs because it is not about “I” but about “we”.  My friend, colleague and mentor, Tony Sinanis writes about shared leadership and distributed leadership and has set goals to improve how he will work with his staff that I love and have adopted them.  Here they are:

  • I want to ensure that our teachers feel supported and empowered. 
  • I want to ensure that our teachers know that taking risks and failing is considered a good thing – go for it! 
  • I want our teachers to know that if they have an idea, there is always a forum for them to share their ideas and eventually put them into action. 
  • I want our teachers to know that I trust them. 
  • I want our teachers to know that there isn’t just ONE way to do things and that they can try different things in their spaces. 
  • I want to ensure that our teachers feel heard, valued and respected.
  • I want to ensure that our teachers have the opportunity to collaborate – there is power in numbers (in a good way).
  • I want our teachers to know that I would be honored to “set the stage” for them to assume leadership roles.
  • I want our teachers to know that I learn from them EVERY SINGLE DAY!
  • I want our teachers to know they are the true leaders of our space and that our children’s growth and development is because of their daily efforts!

You are all the best of the best and I cannot ask for anything more.  Thank you for a wonderful opening to our first week of school!  Be a champion for our kids!


  • There is a staff meeting on Monday, September 9th in the computer lab room 47.  Please sign-up by midnight Monday to enroll and get professional development hours.
  • Please make sure you are using the correct goals sheet form that I will update and email on Monday and please set-up a time to meet with me through Lisa Sheen.,  The sheet will be emailed Monday morning.
  • Just a reminder that group 1 lesson plans are due to me by Friday, Sept. 13.
  • I will be pushing out information and “to do’s” via email and any updates.  Communication needs to be key!  Please be checking your emails.
  • We are working on having a plan in place for Common Core Math Modules.  Please be patient because we need to poll you folks.  When the email arrives, please do the poll.  There will be a deadline so we can move forward.  (We are listening to you!)
  • Make sure that you are using Formative Assessments in your daily instruction.  The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a great position paper that I highlighted. 
  • 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:

We have been told that the Commissioner’s next edition of News and Notesis due out Monday and it will include updated information about which curriculum modules are complete, which remain under revision, and when to expect the others.

Teach students to use public domain pictures in their presentations. Here are seven sources to use.


If you are wondering about how to assess the 4Cs (communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking) you might want to join this September 17th webinar from EdLeader21 and P21.


Description: 'Constitution of the United States, Page 4/4' photo (c) 1787, The U.S. National Archives - license:
September 17th is US Constitution Day. As you might expect, Larry Ferlazzo has collected many resources to help you observe the day.
The Hero’s Journey, the Common Core, Star Wars, and Project-Based LearningThis video makes the connections.

Rick Wormeli’s YouTube channel addresses many topics, including short videos about grading,late work, homework, and worthwhile assignments. He helps us understand a different paradigm deadlines, zeros, and multiple opportunities. This one is a good starting point.


LogoShould you start off right away with PBL? The answerdepends on how whether a foundation needs to be laid, first.

Don’t expect students to spontaneously work well in groups. It takes deliberate instruction and scaffolding. You have to build a foundation for collaboration.


new ASCD book identifies the three distinguishing characteristics of highly effective teachers:
  1. Highly effective teachers challenge their students.
  2. Highly effective teachers create positive classroom environments.
  3. Highly effective teachers are intentional about their teaching.


The New York Times published a special section about science and math education, including information about standards, instruction, technology, and more.

Engaging academics, effective management, and positive community intersect in The Responsive Classroom model. If you want these three characteristics to be true of your school and your classrooms, read more.

A Touch of Humor
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