FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents and Community Members: It’s been an exciting (and short) week since we last spoke. I hope everyone had an amazing and relaxing Labor Day weekend. Even though Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer, we’ve been back and rolling now for quite a while. Can you believe that we have been in school for one whole month? The time has flown by! We celebrated by rewarding our hard-working teachers with donuts and coffee hand-delivered by our admin team last Friday. Needless to say, they loved it!! In just the short amount of time since we last spoke, some amazing things have taken place outside of and within our building. Outside of the building, our school leadership team (made up of all of our grade-level chairs and specialty lead teachers, including Gifted, ESOL, Specials and Special Ed.) participated in a great day of learning and collaboration downtown at APS’s Instructional Services Center. Funded by our Foundation, we learned about how to effectively lead grade-level conversations and collaborate with our teammates in a way that will help us get results! A big focus of mine is building internal leaders. Just like my former Principal gave me the opportunity to learn and lead a grade level, I too want to help our teachers grow and develop into school and even system leaders themselves. Our teachers are gaining the tools necessary to lead their teams (and the school) in critical discussions centered on student knowledge and data. I was so excited to hear the feedback that we’ve already received this year and the eagerness of our teachers to take what they’ve learned back to Brandon and share with their teammates! It was a fantastic day and I enjoyed hearing the candid conversations of our teachers as they shared what they love and could improve about our school.
Within our building, I saw great instruction from Madame Darlis as her first grade students learned vocabulary through a very familiar song set to the tune “head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” We welcomed back our English Language Learner families during our “Get on the Bus” back-to-school night hosted by Ms. Cutshall and Ms. Bull, and we welcomed High Touch High Tech into our Primary Center (AKA our student’s FAVORITE in-house science field trip). Ms. McKinley’s class (and the rest of 4th grade) traveled back to Revolutionary times as they traveled away from school on their first field trip of the year and Ms. Harron’s 5th grade class practiced active listening skills as they demonstrated what it means to be a good listener and to show you care during her weekly SEL (Social Emotional Learning) lesson. A big shout-out goes to our gifted team that is fully rocking and rolling across ALL grade levels and content areas. All students are being challenged within our collaboration model as our gifted team works hard to extend critical thinking through specially designed instruction meant to help our students think outside of the box. Ms. Chu’s 2nd grade team learned about divergent thinking and her 3rd grade team worked on their growth mindset as they participated in the paper challenge. As the days roll on, so does our instruction — and more importantly — our love for learning. As always, please continue to reach out to myself or a member of our admin team with any questions or concerns and be sure to follow us at our new school page on twitter @MorrisBrandonES.