Ms. Kathee and Ms. Laura having fun at school!
Middle School Mini Musical
Third grade recorder band
James Pinto our first place winner at the state science fair!!!
Athena and Ms. Boni and the state science fair
News & Director's Notes
September 27, 2016
Director's Notes 9/25/16
Each child, in each school, in each of our communities deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. That's what a whole child approach to learning, teaching, and community engagement really is.Being a school leader is more about bringing together the critical people who directly effect the lives of children than anything else. It begins with the classroom teacher. This year all teachers are engaged in a variety of mentor programs. The reciprocal mentoring begins with each teacher having a grade level partner - at each grade level, there is a veteran and a new teacher. The geographical reconfiguration done this summer, so that each grade level teacher could be adjacent to each other was done by design. During the summer, I also asked each veteran Bridges teacher to "adopt" a teacher who is new to Bridges so that informal, "as-needed" meetings could occur in order for such things as learning about the Bridges culture, sharing teaching strategies, etc. The veteran teachers eagerly jumped at the idea of welcoming the new Bridges family members. The new teachers eagerly welcomed the perspective of the Bridges veterans. Additionally, every teacher, employed by Bridges who has not completed California's mandatory tier-two, clear credential program (a teacher has five years in which they must take additional coursework to obtain a "clear" credential) is enrolled in the Ventura County Mentor Program. These teachers have been assigned an official induction mentor from Bridges who may, or may not be their "adopted" informal Bridges veteran buddy. There is a host informal partnering that occurs before, during, and after school, and each Friday the entire teaching staff formally meets together as a whole staff (K-8), or in grade span groups (K-2; 3-5; 6-8), or in grade level teams (1st/1st, 2nd/2nd, 3rd/3rd, etc). It is a thing of beauty to watch them plan curriculum and assessments together, and share best practice. One more thing that is different this year than in previous years, is that I am offering increased substitute time for peer-to-peer observations, demo lessons, team teaching etc. An example of this type of professional development occurred two weeks ago when one day, two teachers taught a Lucy Caulkins Writers workshop and two teachers observed each of those lessons. Our team approach is extending well beyond the classroom, as well. Each week I meet with a grade span leadership team, comprised of representatives from k-2, 3-5, and 6-8. We collaborate on a wide variety of educational issues including, but certainly not limited to curriculum, instruction and assessments, conflict resolution, trash management, and playground safety. And our students are becoming a bigger part of the culture of community mentoring and leadership. While we have always had reading buddies, I never want to under-utilize the greatest gift on our campus - the Bridges students! Eighth grade honors students have been assigned to tutor in the primary grades, and a powerhouse student leadership group has been formed, currently consisting of middle school students. We have expanded on our Builder's Club and CHAMPS leadership teams to form super-group named "The Wolf Pack". They meet regularly, spearheaded by Mr. Jason, and are currently tackling our battle with campus trash with a beautification program modeled after "Adopt a Highway" to ensure campus cleanliness and environmental stewardship. Over the course of the next few weeks, I am sure you will be hearing about our Adopt a Hallway program! This year, partnerships are such an important component of Bridges success. So how do parents fit in and how are they best able to keep the bus moving in the right direction? Clearly we have the right people on that bus and clearly volunteerism is at the core of Bridges support. At our Friday Room Parent meeting, we discussed some key issues and challenges that are inherent in any parent/teacher partnership.Teachers are the only ones trained to lead a classroom; all those who otherwise enter, are there to support. Yet, teachers face a daunting task, especially if they attempt to teach in isolation. So, the Room Parents and I came up with a few important intentions in order to maintain a positive supportive relationship between parent and teacher:
- The absolute best, most sure fire way to help...keep conversations with teachers and other parents positive, constructive, and productive.
- If a legitimate concern arises, determine the appropriate channel through which to communicate this concern. Direct concerns regarding your child to the teacher. Direct concerns regarding curriculum, classroom management, or school wide matters to the Administration (Mr. Jay or Ms. Cindy).
- Encourage teachers through words of affirmation, a hug, small tokens of appreciation (coffee, treats etc.).
- Give teachers time to adjust to their new classes of students and parents.
- Keep teacher communications confidential; it is never appropriate to discuss concerns about one teacher to another teacher (doing so puts both teachers at risk).
- When communicating to teachers and administrators, keep the tone of the conversation solutions based (rather than complaining)
- The foundation of all strong relationships is TRUST. Our goal is to foster trust among the administration, teachers, and parents.
- Human interactions are complex due to different perspectives and expectations. It’s important to remain patient, open, and positive as we navigate through our interactions with each other.
- When we discuss areas of growth, our words must remain positive and point to the next step needed to move forward.
- Many of the changes that occur at the school wide level are not arbitrary but rather are needed for legal compliance and liability concerns.
- Teaching is challenging. When providing feedback, we must be especially sensitive to our new teachers, as ell as our veteran staff.
|FAMILY DONATION PROGRAM Our Family Donation Program has begun! You should have received an envelope and complimentary magnet from your child's classroom. Donations are still coming in! Thank you! The current total is $11,096. Our goal is 100% participation. Please take a moment to check out the budget for the 2016-2017 school year, so you can see what your tax deductible donation will pay for. Thank you to the families who have participated!STAFF AND TEACHER PLANNING TIME TREATS This year as part of giving back to our BRIDGES community, PAC would like to start by acknowledging our teachers every other Fridayby bringing them treats for their whole staff planning period, 1:45-3:00. If you would like to volunteer to bring something for the teachers to share please contact Carmen.HOT LUNCH WEDNESDAYS AND PIZZA FRIDAYS Hot Lunch Window is closed. The next ordering window is Sept. 26-Oct. 1. If you have any questions regarding ordering please email Carmen Holder. BRIDGES' KIDS Our students are thoughtful, amazing children and young people. PAC would like to feature a student each week who has done or is doing something exceptional for our community. If you would like to share something please email Carmen Holder. FINGERPRINTING PAC wants to help you get FINGERPRINTED! We have budgeted $3,000 to fingerprinting for this year. This means you get close to a 50% discount! You pay $34 and PAC pays the rest, $35. Please call Jay Ravens at (805) 777-8171 or visit his office at 2277 Townsgate Rd. Westlake Village. No appointment needed. PAC REPORT If you have any PAC related events to add to eachWednesday's PAC Report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org byMonday 4:00 pm for inclusion. Thank you!|