On Saturday, I attended the Girls in STEM conference at Schoolcraft organized in conjunction with LPS and Ben Hillard. Ben had hoped to have 60 girls and was blown away when over 150 girls signed up. Cooper was well represented! I came with Carys and, therefore, had both my parent and educator hats on. It was AWESOME! I was beyond inspired and it left me hungry to help my daughters, all girls, and all students live a life of passion.
When listening to the presenters, I wanted to stand up and cheer. I was so moved by what they had to say and I want to share with you some of their key messages.
- We need to connect the purpose for girls. Why should they care about math and science? How can they use math and science to solve the problems of the world? Remember, we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist.
- Watch the unsaid. Girls, especially, need multiple voices in their head telling them that they belong at the table. They often need implicit permission to do something. Don’t assume that they know what they can do with math or science. Don’t assume that they know that their critical thinking skills or questioning ability is an asset. Watch who you call on in the classroom. Choose your words carefully.
- Acknowledge progress. Growth mindset is so important. Integrate opportunities for students to reflect on their growth. Create an environment where it’s not only ok to fail but expected and valued.
- Do not put the entire burden of education on the classroom. We need an “educational ecosystem” where parents and teachers work together to advocate and create opportunities for girls in STEM (and all students.)
- Let teachers teach! Teachers need to create an environment where 1) students know they are cared for and 2) students are involved in rigorous, challenging, lessons where they don’t have to be perfect. We should prioritize soft skills. We need less testing and more project based learning.
I believe 110% in all of this. Karl Klimek, the executive director of Square One Education Network, spoke passionately about the state of education today. He advocated for the end of so much testing and stated that when we don’t allow teachers to teach, teachers burn out. That is what we are seeing. Brene Brown stated that “If we can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” Yet, that is what we have resorted to in education. Klimek argued that we need to disturb the status quo. How do we create high quality STEM opportunities? How do we prepare students for jobs that don’t exist?
Klimek stated that dream+action=reality. We all have big dreams for our students. There are many constraints right now that are impeding our action. How can we make this a reality for our students and ourselves? This is the important work. We can increase engagement and joy and that will increase academic scores and behavior. We have to think outside the box. Makerspace, Genius Hour, Passion Projects. These are all avenues for this work. Isaac Newton said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Who’s ready to build a bridge?
Watch this video on Computer Science and Coding: What Schools Don't Teach
"Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity."
"We have the opportunity to create the future and decide what that's like."
"It was like walking through the wardrope and into Narnia when I was at your school. It is exciting to go into a different world and see what else is out there."
-Susan Maurus, Principal of Jefferson Elementary, after visiting our Makerspace and Genius Hour.
A very big thank you to our Parent Lighthouse Team for organizing the first 7 Habits Family Movie Night. Lynn was instrumental in leading this team and popping all of the popcorn! Thanks to Mary Ann for stuffing the popcorn boxes and Bill for helping the PTA leaders to sell concessions and anti-bullying bracelets! It was a big success!
It's time for Teacher and Student Perception Surveys! Kristi and I will be sending out the Teacher Perception Surveys for you to do on us. The deadline for completing the survey is March 18. Also, the Student Perception Survey window is March 3 through March 23. Kristi and I are still finalizing the schedule so we will let you know when we will pull classes to take the survey.
This week starts March is Reading Month. Every Wednesday is "Trick Your Friends Into Reading." Wear a shirt that has words on it. Mondays are "Books should be Read" and we will be wearing red shirts. Our goal is to read 5,000 hours. For every 1,250 hours, I will run for 15 minutes. The goal is to get me to run for an hour. Students will have an opportunity to run with me. Any staff can join! Let's promote reading and fitness!
Calendar for the Week of February 29:
Monday: 8:00 Leadership Day Planning
11:45 Student Lighthouse
Tuesday: Tornado Drill
Yearbook Orders Due
All School Read In
7:00 Vocal Triad Concert
5:30-7:30 DSIT (Sarah)
Music Information Night
Wednesday: 8:00-11:00 QAR Visit-Niji Iro (Sarah)
11:15 PTA Leaders Meeting
Ski Trip (Daraskavich, McGlinch, Kimball, Webster)
Thursday: 8:00 Staff Meeting in LMC-Superintendent Visit with Andrea
1:00-4:30 Elementary Principals' Meeting
Ski Trip (Lietz and Erickson)
PTA Dine 2 Donate-Granite City
Friday: 8:45 Teacher Swap
Begin with the End in Mind...
Monday: Anti-Bullying Assembly with Rodney Page
Tuesday: 6:30-7:30 Family Game Night