February 15, 2019
Heather Dominguez, Director, Educational Services
Launched in 1995, Random Acts of Kindness Week is an annual opportunity to unite people around the world through kindness. This year, it is observed February 11 through 17, capping off the week with “Random Acts of Kindness Day” on February 17.
This seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act – one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, RAK estimates that millions of schools, celebrities, businesses, and partners have participated in these week-long celebrations.
Veronica McGilvery, Principal, Lake Arrowhead Elementary School
When students across the district get out of school early for a modified day, educators remain on campus to improve their practices. Each Wednesday, elementary sites in Rim of the World USD have early student release days that enable our teachers and support staff to engage in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). PLCs are a process. This is a valuable time for teams of committed educators to work together collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research in order to achieve better results for the students they serve. “PLCs operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators.” (Rick DuFour)
The 3 Big Ideas of a PLC are: Ensuring that students learn; A culture of collaboration; A focus on results. There are 4 “Guiding Questions” that our PLCs operate under 1. What is it we expect students to learn? 2. How will we know when they have learned it? 3. How will we respond when they don’t learn? 4. How will we respond when they already know it? As our teacher teams come together on Wednesday early release days, they may be determining what essential standards and aligned curriculum should be a learning focus, designing common formative assessments for monitoring student learning, analyzing student data for improved learning outcomes, designing additional learning structures or interventions for students needing additional assistance or for those students needing challenge. In addition, teachers share best instructional practices with one another they have had positive learning results with, or perhaps a professional workshop attended.
Our early release days assists each site with building capacity in areas that contribute to High Performing Schools—specifically clear vision, collaboration time, aligned curriculum, knowledge of best practices, high expectations, and frequent monitoring. So, when your students arrive home early on Wednesdays, keep in mind that teachers continue their own learning.
Mr. Zaeske is teaching other teachers about the Google Classroom platform.