September 28th, 2016
Our back to school night event was well attended this year. Survey responses were very positive, from finger printing on site to time with teachers and teams, parents were pleased with the event and grateful for the time teachers and staff put into making it a very informative evening. Changes for next year will include space considerations and perhaps a bit more time at each team level.
- Local Principals to Conduct Instructional Rounds at Horizons K-8
On November 8th, principals from schools across the state will be coming to conduct instructional rounds here at Horizons K-8. Faculty will be working on developing the focus for these rounds over the next few weeks. Feedback from principals will help to support our internal conversations about various instructional practices that we are exploring together here at Horizons K-8.
- What is the Big Picture Team?
People often hear about this group and wonder what it’s role is here at Horizons. The team was formed three years ago to support and activate authentic shared leadership in a teacher led school.
This group exists to create a systemic level structure to support and enhance teacher leadership and development at Horizons K-8. With a Big Picture Team, both teachers and administration can move together toward supporting the relevant and needed work of the school that will ultimately impact student learning and allow for a stronger sense of the collective K-8 practices.
- Team and team meeting representation
- Planning and facilitation of Friday meetings
- Professional development workshops
- Big picture vision keepers
- Responsive to school data in terms of PD and school-wide goal
- UIP Committee will be a subgroup of the Big Picture Team
- Keep an eye on the big picture issues of the school, i.e. culture, climate, curriculum
- Looks at year long faculty and school wide calendar and sets dates and agenda for staff approval
- Big Picture team members represent a collective voice and bring individual’s ideas to the group
- Administrators become an integral part of this group providing the administrative lens to the conversation
- This is a one year commitment and rotation is encouraged among team members and position could be shared (final meeting of the year will be new members with old members to pass the torch).
- Meets Wednesday mornings at 7:30-8:15 AM (if there is no faculty meeting, we may skip a weekly meeting)
- Everyone is encouraged to consider membership in this group at some point in their tenure here at Horizons.
Teacher Leadership and democratic practices require that no one has a right to no opinion on issues that impact the Big Picture of our school. So the creation of this group does not abdicate responsibility of every individual to stay informed and involved.
We have begun our routine of monthly drills this year. Most months include two drills that include fire, lock-down, lockout, evacuation and shelter in place. We have formed our Emergency Response Team and will have our first meeting in early October. BVSD has a new format for our Emergency Response Planning and I recently attended a full day training to complete our version of this document. It is quite comprehensive and covers the many possible scenarios that need to be taken into account while keeping our students safe while here at school and in the field. We are now in our second full year of conducting “Reasonable and Prudent” meetings prior to every trip that goes outside of the school building. Please let me know if you would like to review any of our plans or documents. Keeping our students safe so that they can do their best learning is our highest priority.
- Superintendent Visits and District Leadership Teams
We were recently visited by Superintendent, Dr. Messenger and Area Superintendent, Marc Schaffer. Both continue to be very impressed with the quality of instruction here at Horizons K-8 and were effusive with their accolades for our school culture and community that we have collectively built here at Horizons. They were very appreciative that I have had regular attendance at the district leadership teams at both the elementary and secondary levels. Our partnership with the school district is distinct and they are clear that they feel confident that my presence at this level has made a difference for our school and for the district as a whole. I was grateful that I was recently asked to consult with district leaders on their initiative to implement social and emotional learning practices across BVSD. Horizons is a school to learn from on every level, and it is exciting that they are coming to both see and learn from all that we are doing here.
As I took my annual drive to multiple outdoor education sites to visit our students and teachers, I was reminded how powerful it is that we invest the time and energy into making these opportunities happen for our students. So much happens for both our students and our teachers during these experiences and we so appreciate your trust and support for these critical practices here at Horizons. We can feel confident that we are truly changing lives with these experiences.