Monday, November 7, 2011

Important News and Notes


Greetings! I have a few important notes to share with you...

1) Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTC) will be this Thursday and next Tuesday. Our goal is 100% participation from our parents. The middle school and high school teachers will be calling their advisory student's parents to see when you will be available to come and visit. All PTC will be in individual teacher rooms this year. PTC are an important way to learn about your child. Here are tips to help you have a more successful PTC:

*Plan for it. Before you come to your conference, write out questions you'd like to ask. Here are suggestions:

-Does my child get along with others?

-How is my child's behavior in class?

-Does my child read at the level you would expect for this grade?

-Is my child able to do the math that you would expect for a student at this grade?

-What are my child's strength's and weaknesses?

*Keep an open mind. Your goal is to work for cooperation between you and your child's teacher. Even if the teacher says something you disagree with, try to listen to what he/she has to say.

*Ask to see your child's work. There's no better way to see how your child is progressing.

*Ask for suggestions. If your child is doing well, ask what you can do to keep things on a positive track. If there are problems, ask what you can do to help.

*Clarify and summarize as you go. Teachers sometimes use educational buzz words. If you don't understand something the teacher says, just ask.

2) There will be a Public Hearing on Thursday following PTC at 8:00pm in regards to sharing football with Ruthven-Ayshire. If you cannot attend the meeting, but would like to provide input, please contact me directly before the meeting.

3) Winter is coming! I will be sending a test alert today to test our communication system. Here are a couple of ways to stay informed:

* This is the site most of our district uses. Follow the directions to sign up to have alerts directly sent to your phone.



*All local radio stations

Thank you for sharing your students with us everyday. We take pride in the education that we provide for our students. If you have questions, concerns, or feedback please feel free to contact me. Have a wonderful week!



Jesse Ulrich, Principal

Graettinger-Terril CSD


Twitter: @jdulrich76

Skype: jesseulrich

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Friday Focus 11.4.11

I listened to Shawn Cornally, a teacher from Solon CSD speak to our group about assessment (good timing for me). You may want to read the entire focus this week, there is an assignment at the end :)

Quote of the Week: "You’ve got to get to a stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing." -Arthur Ashe

Shout Outs: Big thank you to our PBiS leadership team for planning for our end of the quarter celebrations! Also, a big thanks to our middle school staff for their recent interdisciplinary units!

Thought of the Week: I'm beginning with the end in mind with the change coming in our district. It is a topic that has been haunting me at night, and until we can get on the same philosophical page with it, we can't move forward. I want to take a few moments to talk about assessment for/of learning.

Here is a question for you...if you stood in the front of your class the 1st day of school and said, "I have a bag of 100,000 M&M's...I will offer any student an "A" for the course if they choose to sort the bag of M&M's by color rather than taking the class traditionally." After the students realize you are many students would take you up on the offer? Think about it for a second and then be real to yourself (your gut answer is probably right). Reality is MOST of our students would take the "A" and sort the M&M's. WHY??? Its the same reason students always ask how much an assignment/paper/project is worth. Have you guessed it yet?

Answer: We (as a society and an educational system) have put more value on what the final grade for the course is rather than what was actually learned.

The point is this, the whole basis of teaching is informing students what we want them to learn, teaching/guiding/facilitating knowledge, and then assessing if they know what we wanted them to learn. Assessment is not a compliance issue. The reason I bring this up is I believe we are too focused on homework completion rather than if students actually are learning what we are asking them to learn.

So how can we fix it? I have ideas, but I want to hear yours. Your assignment this week/weekend is to respond to this blog with your thoughts/reflections/opinions on the issues I've talked about in this Friday Focus. It is due Monday by 8:00am. I'm looking forward to the conversations