Dr. A's November Principal Coffee Recap: The Battle Continues

Miss last month’s coffee event with Dr. A?  Read on to hear the continuing saga of CPMS news…

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MYP Visit

The International Baccalaureate bigwigs are on their way to CPMS this December.  Their visit (which has since occurred) is part of the five year reauthorization process that every IB school goes through.  Two people from IB central will spend two days meeting with CPMS admins, our MYP coordinator Amy Hattendorf, district reps, and every teacher, as well as check out every classroom.  It’s basically an external review team, similar to a high school accreditation process.

What are they looking for? Well, they are interested in reviewing our recent self-study and the instructional strategies, and how CPMS is implementing MYP curriculum.  This type of self reflection is invaluable for schools.

And how did it go?  Here’s Dr. A’s report:

  • It's clear that we are aligned with the IB philosophy and that we support and encourage participation for all students. It was also expressly noted that our special education students are part of the MYP and valued part of our school community.

  • They specifically commended our special education and inclusion policy.

  • We received several commendations for our collaboration time and dedication to using it for our MYP work.

  • They were very complimentary about the things they saw going on in the classroom; students were engaged and there was clear evidence of inquiry.

  • We use a variety of teaching and learning strategies that incorporate a range of resources and technologies.

  • Our systems for reporting student progress aligns the IB assessment philosophy (which has also made a district wide impact, resulting in our standards-based report card).

Unsure about what IB and MYP even are? Here are a couple ideas to read:

Official IB Website describing MYP (Middle Years Program).

October Principal Coffee Recap: The Secrets are Spilled

Advisories: A Work in Progress

The advisory program at CPMS continues to improve.  This year’s change to just once a week proved to be the optimal amount of time and 40 minutes has been better for getting through this year’s defined lesson plans.  

However, the move to the afternoon has been less than stellar— kids are too antsy! The leadership council is pondering moving it back to the morning for next school year.

The goal of advisory?  A chance for students to maintain a three-year relationship with a staff member.  Even the administrators have an advisory group. It’s also meant to be an academic and social experience.  The first advisory of each month is dedicated to creating social connection between the kids. The counselors have also put together a cyber bullying lesson to be shared with students.

This month, Cedar Park is running a board game drive in hopes of boosting the options available to advisories.  Board games are an awesome way to socialize between students and their advisor.

Cell Phone Policing

Is there any greater challenge than managing a tween’s phone use? Nope. Now imagine regulating hundreds at a time.  Can’t even. January’s staff meeting will include a conversation about phones, Cedar Park’s current “off and away” policy, and the results of December’s parent cell phone survey.

Of course, with any change, Dr. A expects there to be quite an adjustment period for all involved-- staff, students, and the wayward parents who text their kids during the school day.  (Admit it-- you’ve done it too). The biggest change will be how it affects habits and behavior at lunch.

Transitioning to High School

8th graders will have several options this spring to check out Beaverton or Sunset high schools.  Beaverton offers shadow days for rising 9th graders, and Sunset hosts a rather extensive open house.  Once the option school window has closed, 8th grade parents can look forward to loads more info regarding open houses, presentations, visits, and forecasting for high school.

Math Options Remain

With Summa transitioning out of Cedar Park, a lot of parents are questioning what that means for their mathematically inclined children not in the Summa program.  Other middle schools are in the same boat and are trying out several programs/initiative to boost those students, such as monthly lunch activities, socratic seminars, and extra projects.

Here at CPMS, all incoming fifth graders will continue to be given the opportunity to take a math placement test each spring.  Our beginning math program (which all sixth graders take) is already accelerated with students taking Math 6-7. Those that qualify will be moved into either Math 7-8, AGS1, or AGS 2.

Confused with all the acronyms?  Let’s break it down.

  • Math 6-7 and Math 7-8 are part of the CPM program (College Preparatory Math).  Parent and student support can be found at https://cpm.org.

  • AGS 1 & 2 (Algebra Geometry Statistics) are high school level programs.  Here at Cedar Park, most students will take AGS1 as 8th graders, with the option to retake it freshman year in high school, though Dr. A expects to always have a class of AGS 2 students. Module support can be found here.

When in doubt?  Google the module and check youtube.  SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT.

Interesting Nuggets You Would Know if You’d Been There:

  • The painters have been busy after school!  Cedar Park’s hallways and lockers are slowly getting an update of orange and blue.

  • Thursdays are rep your university days, where kids and staff are encouraged to wear college gear (go Zags!). Tokens will be given out for kids wearing college apparel.  This is all a part of the AVID approach-- encouraging college readiness and allowing all our students to imagine themselves on a college campus.

  • The search continues for a long-term PE substitute.  The position is hard to fill since it’s only part time and would mean a sub would be giving up a full day’s work (an unpopular choice).  However, another teacher is writing lesson plans to gain more consistency into the classroom, er, gym.

  • Spiritwear is happening, America!  Socks, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats… it’s all coming soon to boost our halls and school spirit.  

  • The water bottle filter is installed. Cedar Park’s fountains are difficult to upgrade, since the filtered water bottle station requires power. However, most classrooms have a faucet.  All BSD schools had their water tested for lead in 2016 and any questionable faucets were upgraded.

  • Hear a rumor?  Contact the admins, even if you aren’t positive on all the details.  They need to know what rumors are out there to help stop them and protect students.

  • BSD’s IT department is hard at work!  By the end of the school year, parents should be able to access their student’s search history-- remotely!  Yes, yes, little cherubs. We’ll finally see just what you’ve been up to.

And there it is! Look for another Coffee & Tea with Dr. Anderson in 2019!