Principal’s Message 5/5/15
By Daniel Zoller
A huge thank you goes out to all of the 2nd and 3rd grade families that came out to their first Academic Parent Teacher Team session on February 12th. It was excellent to see packed rooms and engaged parents. Our school was electric as the partnership between parents and teachers grew! March 5th is APTT #2 for Kindergarten and 4th Grade.
As many of you know we are working with a consultant team to implement APTTs at Lockhart and our core consultant gave us the analogy “In the past parents watched on the shoreline while teachers rowed the academic boat with their child.” With Academic Parent Teacher Teams it requires the parent to get off the shoreline and get in the boat with us.
Reviewing our Mid Year data we are already moving the line from last year’s end of year data. Currently our Math Scores are 8% higher and our Reading scores are 2% higher and only half of our year is over. This is very encouraging data and all of it is due because of our strong Lockhart Community of staff, students and families.
The most impressive data is comparing data between parents who are participating in our Academic Parent Teacher Teams and those that are not. Students whose parents have participated are outperforming their peers (w/o participating parents) exponentially. The main reason is no longer are parents lost in what to do for their child academically. The conversation has changed from parents asking what they can do to teachers teaching, modeling, and explaining to parents very specific things to do and how to teach them at home using activities we provide.
Our Academic Parents Teacher Teams are just in their infancy stages right now and will continue to flourish year after year. The question is how many parents can we get connected? Can we count on you for every meeting? Can we get parents to bring other parents next time who haven’t participated?
Jump in the boat with us! We will model, explain, teach, and give you all the supplies you need to be successful.
Principal’s Message 4/27/15
By Daniel Zoller
No...I am not asking you to send your child out to play while you sharpen your #2 pencils and buckle down with the fundamental concepts of Math and Reading! But I highly suggest that regardless if your child is in Kindergarten or 5th Grade, to sit down at least once a week and watch, help, assist, and scrutinize their homework.
As many of you know I have my own children, 1st and 5th grade, and during Track Out I have all the homework duty for the evenings to give my wife a break; usually we share the responsibility. The past week each night, Ellie my 1st grade daughter had 3-4 word problems for Math Homework. The first night we did pretty well and I was glad to hear her not only read fluently but answer the problems with little assistance. The second night was a bit different.
Ellie’s Tuesday Night Math Homework:
Problem #1: Tarquez has 2 fewer canoe oars than Kemiyah. Kemiyah has 6 canoe oars. How many oars does Tarquez have?
This problem frustrated me! She knows how to complete this problem but reading the word problem is what caught her up. It was interesting that she didn’t struggle with the names of the students but with the words “canoe” and “oar.” Oar is especially challenging for Ellie since she has trouble, just like her dad did, with saying the “r” sound.
After teaching Ellie the word canoe and practicing saying the word oar and reading the sentences at least 4 times we finally got to the Math in the word problem which she easily completed.
The next problem I whipped out my Phone and opened my voice recorder App. This time I recorded myself reading the problem and let Ellie replay it as many times as she needed to and this was much quicker. On the third problem she wanted to record her own voice using the App! It was great to see her excitement and engagement.
Almost every night I can see the value in the homework my children have (I sure hope so being a principal in our school district) but last week, I made a true connection that my child’s homework can give me a very clear picture to her exact ability in the subject being taught even if it isn’t the intended one.
I encourage all of you to “do your child’s homework” maybe not every night, but at least once a week sit down with your child and “assess” them on their abilities.
As I have discussed previously I fully believe that if you want your child to be successful in life and in school then the child needs to have at least one adult who is a strong parent in their life, and hopefully that is you! . Being a parent is defined as a person who brings up and cares for another but the word “cares” is what makes me think the most about being a parent myself. What does “care” mean?
During track out a group of teachers and I were discussing the word mandatory in a conversation about our Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) we started in November. The question was “Can’t we tell parents APTTs are mandatory to attend?” and the question generated discussions around parents attending because they have to or because they want to? One staff member said “Wouldn’t every parent want to?” That is where we were stuck with the word mandatory. Is making something mandatory the way to make something work or to see children succeed?
The way I see it is that our Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) are mandatory if you are fulfilling the role of parent for your child because mandatory is defined as required by a law or rule and one rule as a parent is doing everything you can to support your child’s success, APTT included.
K and 4th Grade (5:00-6:15)
APTT #1: November 20th
APTT #2: March 5th
APTT #3: June 3rd
2nd & 3rd Grade (5:00-6:15)
APTT #1: February 12
APTT #2: May 5
1st &5th Grade (5:00-6:15)
Starting in 2015-2016 School Year
Daniel Zoller- Principal
December is a fun and busy month, and our last day of school is December 19th (Early Release), which will be here before we know it. While this is a wonderful time of the year for many of us, it can also be a tough time for others within our school community. Thankfully we live in a community where we take care of each other, especially those in need.
If you are looking for a charitable activity for your family during the holidays, you can participate in our school food drive where we collect canned and nonperishable food goods or you can donate hats and mittens for our angel tree. Whether you participate in our giving project or those in the community and/or your place of worship, thanks for teaching your kids that giving is just as enjoyable as getting.
Have a great time with your families and other loved ones this month, and we’ll see you in the New Year when school resumes on Monday, January 28.
As you have noticed we are having quite a bit of construction outside of our campus. The Knightdale Transportation Department is redoing our curb, drainage and adding a sidewalk that will connect Knightdale Blvd. with Edenburghs’ Keep Subdivision. This is excellent news since it will increase the amount of walkers to our school each day. Plus, it will help with the standing water during rainy days and increase the visual appeal of our school.
It still will not fix our delays during Carpool from parents insisting on turning left. Although I would love to enforce no left turns, I can’t based on town policy. I can plea with all parents to turn right and switching our Morning Carpool from the bottom of our campus to the top has decreased the number of accidents but it will need to be a community response to create a better flow.
Turning right isn’t just safer but it also reduces stress for all of us. Please turn right each afternoon and morning to increase the flow of our carpool. Not just for the ease of our carpool but for the safety of you and your children.
I also ask that all of you team up and not follow the one or two that decide to keep turning left. The more of us that turn right the better it will get. Talk to your neighbors and make sure they are turning right as well.
In the Spring as we look toward the next school year I will be developing a Safety Committee to further analyze our arrival and dismissal procedures. If you are interested in being a member of this committee please email me directly at email@example.com I am looking further into grant writing to support our school’s needs as well.
Your partner in your child’s success
The first semester of the 2014-2015 school year is now behind us. Our teachers and staff have been working hard with each and every student to ensure that we are on track to meet our established academic goals for students. We believe in all of our students and their capacity to learn and achieve academic success. Educational research clearly documents that when families support student learning at home, there is a definite increase in grades, attendance, attitude, behavior, homework completion, social skills, state test results, and college attendance. Lockhart Elementary is excited with our decision to implement Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT) as an additional approach to supporting all students in reaching their full academic potential. The goal of the APTT model is to promote parent teacher collaboration to drive student achievement.
I want to personally invite all Kindergarten and 4th Grade Parents to join us by attending our 1st round of APTT meetings. Our Kindergarten and Fourth Grades will kick off our implementation this quarter with 2nd and 3rd Grade following in 3rd Quarter. We have assigned a date and time for our APTT meetings. Every teacher is currently working diligently with their colleagues in preparation for this important meeting with you. They are reviewing and compiling student data and strategically selecting key grade level skill building activities to share with you at your meeting.
All APTT team meetings will be 75 minutes in length and families can expect the following:
•A review of student progress data
•The establishment of academic goals.
•A demonstration of activities to do at home with your child.
•An opportunity to network with other parents from your child’s class to build school community.
Lockhart Elementary will continue to work diligently to ensure every child receives an excellent education.
We look forward to seeing you at our First APTT meeting! If you have any questions, please call our office at 919-215-2139 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing you at your First APTT meeting!
Your partner in your child’s success,
Daniel Zoller- Principal
As we finish our first quarter of school, our teachers will be analyzing their students’ data to adjust their instruction for continual academic growth. We use three main data points for each student at Lockhart for their Reading Abilities:
1. MCLASS (K-5)- a structured system of analyzing fluency, decoding and comprehension of texts.
2. Lexile Levels (1-5)- a test that allows us to measure the level of text to present to a student for increased fluency and comprehension.
3. Case21 (2-5)- Quarterly Benchmarks Tests that help teachers analyze how the students performed on specific objectives from the Standard Course of Study.
The reason we use three is it helps us understand a clear picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses across a very complicated learning measure such as Reading Ability. Your child’s data helps us predict if they are going to be proficient in their current grade and if they are going to make a year’s growth of learning. In Math we use more weekly assessments and end of quarter benchmark tests to do a similar data analysis as well.
Coming in the first few weeks of 2nd Quarter your teacher will be establishing parent conference times (many already have) to meet with you one-on-one to discuss how your child is doing. Here is one question I would recommend you ask your child’s teacher during your conference:
Based on the current data, do you believe my child will meet or exceed the end of year benchmarks needed to be proficient in the next grade?
Follow Up Question:Although it is encouraging that you think he/she will be proficient by the end of the year what are 1 or 2 things I could do at home to increase his academic abilities?
Follow Up Question
I understand he is below grade level. What can I do at home to help support him with her/his academics? What could I specifically do and let’s set up a time to meet in 60 days to discuss his progress.
At Lockhart our report cards are sent home Quarters 1-3 on the First Monday back from Track Out. For Quarter 1 this will be October 20th. This allows our teachers to collect and teach up to the last minute of the quarter and finish report cards during the break. It also allows you the ability to connect with your teacher quickly if you have any questions about your child’s progress instead of waiting until the teachers return from break.
I look forward to you learning more about your child’s data. If there are ways we can improve discussing data with your family please let me know. We are always looking to continually grow and improve our services.
The older I get the more I realize how much my parents shaped my values, my work ethic, and my life goals. I truly do not believe that I would be where I am without the support and encouragement of my parents. As a father I know how much influence I have in my own children’s lives academically, socially, and emotionally. Parenting is a very hard job.
As the school year begins I encourage all families to start one new “tradition” in their homes. As a parent figure out what you want to do and make a plan of action. Do you think your children watch too much TV or play too many video games? Why not institute a family reading night 2-3 nights a week. But the stickler is all members of the family must participate, which means you read as well. The image of you reading will spark your children reading.
I know I learned to love to read the newspaper because my father would plop down on the orange velvet couch in our living and room read it for the first hour after arriving home. My only options were to finish my homework or read with him. I can’t tell you how much Baltimore Oriole knowledge I gained as a child reading the Sports Page as well as falling in love with Calvin and Hobbes.
So what will be your initiative how will you change your children for the better?
How are you making a life long impact in your children’s lives?
For the Zoller Family this school year we are making sure there is at least a 30 minute section of our night outside or being active in the house as a family. I can’t wait to go on more walks with my family (and of course with our dog), collect more fireflies, and just plain old play. Amazing what a spontaneous dance party can do to perk up a family.
Daniel Zoller- Principal
Assessments are an essential part of today’s education. Many people think of assessments as a way to find out how much a child learned from the instruction they received. At Lockhart we not only use summative (end of instruction) assessments but we also use formative (before instruction) assessments. These formative assessments allow teachers to be strategic when planning their classroom instruction allowing them to design lesson that meet all students where they are at rather than teaching everyone the same thing at the same time.
Although formative assessments are essential to meeting all students needs they also are very labor intensive to administer to every student three times a year during the school day. So, this coming year our staff has decided at the beginning of the year to do it a different way. Instead of taking the first two or three weeks to carve out time during the instructional day to assess every student, our teachers are going to use two of their highly valuable teacher workdays to assess all of their new students.
More information about this alternative to “Meet the Teacher” will come home with report cards as well as a mailing with more information will arrive to all families in mid July. I thank all of you in advance for supporting this initiative that will support all of our Lockhart Lions!
How will this work? On the last day of school your child (Rising 1st-5th Grade students Only) will receive an appointment time to come to school to “Meet their Teacher” either July 24th or 25th. At your appointment time you will arrive and your child’s new teacher along with the other members of the grade level will complete all Beginning of the Year assessments with your child. Parents during this time will be able to relax, fill out all of the paperwork needed, get a carpool number, add money to their child’s lunch account, as well as learn more about the curriculum and benchmarks for their child’s new grade level.
This is a huge undertaking by our staff to organize and we are working hard on being strategic with how it is conducted. For example we are working hard to make sure if you have multiple students who attend Lockhart that their “appointments” are close to the same times.
We have always known how dedicated our staff is to our community and I believe this is just another opportunity to see how lucky we are to have teachers that are willing to give up two of their very valuable teacher workdays to save instructional time.
Daniel R. Zoller