Back to School for Educators
The first day of school for teachers was Monday where we started with our annual District Kick-Off at CCHS. All staff in our district come together to hear a common message, meet new staff, and find inspiration. This year we heard from our Superintendent, George Welsh, our Assistant Superintendent, Adam Hartman, and Canon City School Board member, Shad Johnson. They shared the new mission, vision, and Core Beliefs of Canon City Schools and the direction we are heading. I have been in the district for over 25 years and I can tell you I’ve never been so excited about the future of this district! I love that we have developed four Core Beliefs that guide our work. CES’s UIP (Unified Improvement Plan) was written for this year centered on the 4 Core Beliefs of the District. The UIP is a guiding document for our plan for continued improvement and growth. Below, I’m including the one-pager of our UIP that is a snapshot of the bigger document. I provide this for teachers so that they can easily be reminded of the goals for this year.
Our school district’s new mission statement reads:
The Canon City School District is future focused, providing innovative educational opportunities to successfully prepare all students to meet any challenge they may face.
Our district has also adopted Traits and Skills that we believe are important in an innovative educational environment and life. Throughout the year, in this blog, I will bring awareness to how CES is providing opportunities for our students to develop these skills and traits. Take a look at them below and see if you can identify some ways your children have already been developing these here at CES.
TRAIT: A personal quality that can be influenced or developed over time.
|Trait||Defined||Level||Observable Look-Fors By Educational Levels|
|Knowledge||Acquiring understanding through experience or learning.||K-5||Students demonstrate an understanding of content and concepts.|
|6-8||Students demonstrate and apply an understanding of content and concepts.|
|9-12||Students demonstrate proficiency in content and concepts on a range of assessments and apply it to real life scenarios.|
|Innovation||Creating and adapting behavior that is fueled by curiosity.||K-5||Students demonstrate curiosity and creativity.|
|6-8||Students take ideas and new thinking to create something new|
|9-12||Students apply all traits and skills in the creation of something new.|
|Tenacity||Persisting without exception.||K-5||Students consistently put forth their best effort.|
|6-8||Students persevere even in difficult situations.|
|Agency||Acting independently, with calculated purpose, courage, and power.||K-5||Students consistently demonstrate personal responsibility.|
|6-8||Students consistently demonstrate skills necessary to act with purpose.|
|Agility||Learning from experience and adapt to new situations.||K-5||Students reflect upon and be flexible in their actions and choices.|
|6-8||Students reflect upon experiences to adapt to different situations.|
|Civility||Valuing personal identity and beliefs while honoring those of others.||K-5||Students treat themselves and others with respect.|
|6-8||Students identify their core values while treating others with empathy.|
|Integrity||Doing the right thing even when no one is watching.||K-5||Students choose right over wrong.|
|6-8||Students demonstrate independence while making choices for the betterment of all.|
SKILL: A useful ability acquired through guided practice.
|Skill||Defined||Level||Observable Look-Fors By Educational Levels|
|Collaboration||Working effectively with others, assuming shared responsibility, and valuing individual contributions.||K-5||Students work productively with others while sharing responsibility for specific tasks being accomplished.|
|6-8||Students work effectively with others, share responsibility, and value individual contributions.|
|Communication||Articulating thoughts and ideas through various means and listening effectively to decipher messages.||K-5||Students actively listen and communicate effectively.|
|6-8||Students advocate for personal needs and listen to the needs of others.|
|Solution Seeking||Asking significant questions that clarify needs and lead to desired objectives.||K-5||Students ask questions to develop and extend understanding to propose solutions.|
|6-8||Students analyze needs, ask questions, test possibilities, draw conclusions and propose unique solutions to challenges.|
|Contribution||Enacting a set of intentional strategies designed to accomplish goals and contribute value.||K-5||Students provide input for the benefit of others.|
|6-8||Students actively engage to achieve a common goal.|
|Reflection||Evaluating practices and experiences to gain awareness of thinking and learning.||K-5||Students evaluate learning experiences with the purpose of improving overall performance.|
|6-8||Students accept personal, teacher, and peer feedback to further develop skills and knowledge.|
|Empowerment||Taking charge of your own circumstance through trait and skill development, and by being personally vested in the results.||K-5||Students take ownership of their learning experience and the overall product.|
|6-8||Students display the confidence to take risks, choose their actions and make decisions.|
|Leadership||Accomplishing goals by building strong relationships, communicating effectively, and modeling expectations.||K-5||Students demonstrate personal responsibility and value the strengths in others to increase teamwork.|
|6-8||Students model expectations to empower others and increase interdependence.|
We are all excited about a great year ahead!
Teachers are Learners Too!
All day Wednesday, CES teachers were able to continue to improve their Choice Theory (CT) knowledge with our school’s founder Molly Merry. We had a great day learning some strategies to use CT in our day-to-day life in school. After all, CT is something we live not just do. We recognize that the language and actions of Choice Theory may look different depending on the developmental age of kids, and we also have learned that our teachers are working at different developmental levels too depending on their experience and time spent. Choice Theory is so important to the foundation of the Exploratory model that we are dedicated to continue to devote time throughout the year adding to our skill set. We will continue to work with Molly and on our own to build our capacity to facilitate Choice Theory with our students and with our parents.
On Thursday, elementary teachers spent their morning learning about 6-step Phonics and the Traits and Skills. Middle School teachers worked on getting familiar with their new curriculum resources, and SMARTs teachers met in their content teams with other district staff.
Teachers were able to spend a good chunk of Thursday and all of Friday working in their rooms to get ready for tomorrow. We’re all excited to get kids back in the building!
Our Caring Kids
Last week Erin and Ryan Sallie, Jocelyn Raymer, and Breesyn and Lili Sutton gave up some of their last precious moments of summer to have a lemonade stand at the Splash Park and raised $41 to donate to CES to help other students who might need a little extra to pay for their tech or trips. They also donated a beautiful brand new backpack. How awesome is that?!
Thoughts from Molly…
As the new school year begins it is important to remember that CES has a strong school culture based on William Glasser’s Choice Theory. A school culture is very different from a school or classroom behavior management program. Management is a process of controlling student behavior through rules imposed upon them. Culture is a way of being, an expected set of attitudes and behavior that are motivated internally by a desire to succeed. Management=controlled by someone else. Culture=self monitoring and control. Everyone at CES is part of the school culture; all staff, all students, and all parents.
All of CES is dedicated to helping students make healthy choices for relationships, learning, and responsibility. Everyone on the CES staff understands the importance of modeling a culture that is collaborative and supportive. Support does not mean rescuing, it means reassuring students that they can develop skills to solve and prevent problems. It means asking questions, not giving answers. Growing up is not an easy journey but a school that is nurturing through the inevitable challenges and frustrations is a significant part of any childhood. Support helps prepare children for the challenges of adulthood.
At a traditional school, there may be separation of teachers and other staff. At CES every adult in the building is a teacher reinforcing student goals and growth by modeling positive attitudes, hard work, and strong relationships. CES encourages parents to learn and understand Choice Theory and become part of a team. When parents, students, and staff at CES work together it greatly enhances student learning and growth.