Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Attendance: We Don't Just Want You Here - We Need You HERE!

Lane Community,

Welcome to our the 2016-2017 school year!

September has been proclaimed as Attendance Awareness Month by our Superintendent Dr. Lexmond. "WHEREAS good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation, and we are committed to dedicating our resources and attention to reducing chronic absenteeism rather, with a focus starting as early as kindergarten."

At this time of the year we all need reminders....this post is going to be short, but specific to attendance at school! While we all have things come up and illnesses happen to everyone - besides those unforeseen circumstances - WE NEED YOU HERE!

Our school district has committed to the following three 'will dos':

  1. Make clear that improved student attendance is one of our school district's top priorities among all of our teachers and school leaders.
  2. Use data to raise public awareness, establish targets and goals, track progress and assure accountability.
  3. Engage parents and the community - inlacing civic and elected leaders, local businesses, clergy members and nonprofit organizations - to help us spread the message that good attendance matters and help us come up with solutions to ensure all children are in school as much as possible.

Not only is academic achievement tied to school attendance, but don't forget about the social and emotional growth that takes place in our middle level Scholars by being present at Lane. The following is some information that was shared by our Department of Instruction:

  • Chronic absence is a leading, early warning indicator of academic trouble and later dropout
  • Good attendance helps Scholars do well in school and eventually in the workplace
  • Relationship building is fundamental to any strategy for improving Scholar attendance and Scholar success
  • Excused and unexcused absences easily add up to too much time lost in the classroom
    • Scholars are considered at academic risk if they miss 10 percent of the school year
  • Chronic absence, missing 10 percent of the school year or more, does not just affect the students who miss school
    • Absences limit Scholars collaboration with peers and teachers
  • We need to monitor how many days each Scholar misses school for any reason - excused, unexcused or suspensions - we we can all intervene early
  • Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community, along with parents and schools get involved in improving attendance
  • Reducing chronic absence can help close achievement gaps
We want all of our Scholars at Lane as much as possible - it is just too great a place to not be at every day! If there is anything any staff member at Lane can do to ensure that your Scholar(s) are at school please let us know. Please know that if attendance becomes a question either myself or our Dean of Students Mr. Stolpe will be in contact so we can support the Scholar and his/her family.

As a small measure we will be making our daily attendance to start the year a daily message via our social media platforms - as the year moves along we may move to a weekly announcement.

Yours in Learning,


Monday, August 29, 2016

Lane Intermediate 3.0

Lane Intermediate Community,

I want to welcome everyone to the almost start of a new school year! We are only a couple of days away from the words, 'It feels like we never left.' or "Where did the summer go?' I am hoping that there are way more, 'I can't wait to get back(s)!'  As educators this is always an exciting time of the year for many reasons, but mostly that we get to welcome back our Scholars and community to another school year. This year is also bringing a few other new things to the Lane Intermediate Community - a new principal (that would be me) and a building staffed to serve Scholars in grades 6th through 8th!

While there are many topics that could be addressed at this time - there is a specific lens that I want to start to share. I believe that a primary goal of a school is to support each Scholar in being able to tell his/her story.  This is not just a story solely focused on academics, but also incorporating community and culture. Over the course of this school year and the school years to come our school community as a whole will help to design, define, and grow clarity around what it means to be a Scholar and a learner at Lane Intermediate.

There has been so much strong work done at Lane already so coming in as a new principal there is a bit of a learning curve that takes place, but there are two words that I have been using and will continue to use that I feel will support growth for every scholar: Agency and Ownership. These are not terms that I made up, but ones that I'm taking a loan out on as powerful pieces that need to be driving our learning environment.

Agency and Ownership For Scholars Means....Scholars understand who they are and are able to uncover with growing independence his/her needs academically, socially, and emotionally to best make decisions on his/her journey. Agency and Ownership is about Scholar empowerment and being in control of one's own learning. This grows a mindset of learning as accomplishments rather than a burden.  Scholars grow in sharing, 'I was able to do, 'what I now now how to do, and 'what I plan to do with what've learned.' Scholars frame learning more about goals and personal work rather than assignments. (Thanks to Jim Rickabaugh & Next Generation Learning Challenges for helping to grow these definitions.) Two links to share around this would be Next Generation Learning Challenges and The Institute For Personalized Learning.

September 1st, 2016 will be the first time in a long time that Lane Intermediate will be fully operational and serving Scholars in grades 6, 7, and 8 - what an exciting time for our staff, scholars, community, and school district! Welcome Lane Intermediate to your year 3.0!

As the school year grows I would like to let our community know that I will be using this BLOG format as my primary way of communicating what is taking place at our school. If there are any questions let me know and look for upcoming Principal Connections.

Yours in Learning,