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Welcome Back!

Dear Parents and Community Members: And we’re back! It seems like forever ago that we last spoke and I hope everyone had an incredible, restful, family-orientated time off. I hope you were able to spend some valuable time with your children (I know I did!) and got lots of rest, rejuvenated for the New Year to come. While our staff came back a little earlier than the students did, everyone was buzzing about how restful and relaxing our time off was, especially with all of the end-of-year activities taking place before our break. With the New Year comes new possibilities, new goals, and new ways of thinking. I love seeing all of the our kids’ faces these first few days back and I’m so impressed by their excitement to return to school as our wonderful staff welcomed them back with open arms.

One of my goals this year is to continue fostering internal leaders within our building, helping to give teachers the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing work they do outside of the classroom. It has to do with building on teacher strengths. Several months ago, Dwight Hutson, our PC Program Admin, paired with Fume Ekpere, our Assistant Principal, and started Brandon LEAD, an opportunity for teachers to do just that. The highlight so far was seeing our staff teach other staff about what they do best. On Friday, before our children returned, almost 20 teachers took on this opportunity by hosting sessions on guided reading, Wit and Wisdom, student-led conferences, the Comprehensible Umbrella for language acquisition, writing strategies and effective reading centers, among many more. Seeing our amazing staff in front of their colleagues, stepping out of their comfort zone but really doing what they do best, was a great sight to see. I was so proud of all who participated and it was a great way to ease back into the New Year. We truly have some of the best teachers around.

As we start second semester, we are refocusing our attention on what matters most – rigorous instruction paired with social-emotional learning. All grades have now started Module 2 in Wit and Wisdom, our ELA curriculum, and students have been previewing the books they will be reading and analyzing this semester. Module 2, especially at the upper grades, has a much larger focus on student writing and grammar. I’m excited to see the work our young scholars produce! Aside from that, our teachers continue to start each morning with a morning circle in every class paired with a Second Step lesson to help get the day started right.

We are continuing to focus our attention on our school-wide priorities for this year, with a major focus being reading and Language Arts. To that end, I have to give a huge shout-out to two students who won APS’s Jacket2Jacket challenge facilitated by the Georgia Tech woman’s basketball program – both Maxwell and Harrison O’Boyle will be recognized at halftime of a Georgia Tech basketball game for reading more pages than any other 1st grader in the entire system! Aside from that, Sra. Estrada’s KK homeroom collectively read more pages than any other Kindergarten class in all of APS! Let’s continue to READ whenever we can and log minutes in Beanstack to track our progress. Also, remember that all of our students now have accounts for MyLexia. If your child is struggling with a concept or skill, or just needs practice or even acceleration, be sure you have their unique login provided by your teacher.

I am looking forward to an even better 2nd semester, as there is a lot going on in the coming months. Our GoTeam is working on finalizing our Strategic Plan for 19/20 helping to lay the groundwork for our budget. We are building next year’s schedule as we speak in order to not only better maximize our staff and instructional time, but also to give our students the Specials time they need in PE, art and music. We also will begin to look at our class placement procedures for next year. As always, please reach out to me or a member of my team with any questions or concerns you may have.

Until next week!

j

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