Principal's Message, 2/25/18: Dear Addison Families,

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 10:58am

I hope you enjoyed the long holiday weekend.  We had a district-wide Professional Development Day last Friday. In the morning, the Addison teachers joined teachers from Duveneck, Palo Verde and Fairmeadow to delve further in to our new Bridges Math Curriculum.  We explored how to engage our student mathematicians through an inquiry based, real world approach to problem solving in mathematics.  We anchored ourselves in re-examining the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice that allows even our most proficient mathematicians the opportunity to go deeper and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to basic math concepts.

In the afternoon, we returned to Addison School and had the opportunity to talk about the tragic school shooting in Florida last week.  We re-committed ourselves to social/ emotional learning and have recently surveyed students to discover how well connected they feel to our staff.  We are also exploring new ways to evaluate how well students feel connected to their peers.  Many of our teachers are implementing Responsive Classroom activities and spoke about it on Back to School Night.  The core belief of Responsive Classroom states that in order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn a set of social and emotional competencies such as cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self control-along with academic competencies such as academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors. The Responsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. There are six guiding principles that guide the work:

  1. Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching academic content.
  2. How we teach is as important as what we teach.
  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  4. What we know and believe about our students-individually, culturally,  developmentally- informs our expectations, reactions, and attitudes about those students.
  5. How we work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contribution or competence.
  6. Partnering with families-knowing them and valuing their contributions-is as important as knowing the children we teach.

We also worked in grade level teams and across grade levels to identify the most important math standards taught at each grade level.  Teachers cover all the math standards outlined by the Common Core State Standards but have selected a few key concepts as essential to learn in a particular grade level: 2017-18 Essential Standards for Math: Addison

These conversations guided our exploration regarding how the concepts are taught in Bridges and where/when to provide intervention for struggling mathematicians.  Feel free to share your thoughts about the essential math standards or Responsive Classroom at any time with your teacher(s) or me as we value your partnership!

Finally, I want to thank our PTA and specifically, Mary Shapero and Vanessa Schreve for hosting a very enjoyable Family Science Night last week.  It was very well attended and so much fun to observe the wonder and curiosity in our children's eyes as they conducted the various chemistry experiments!

Amanda Boyce


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