Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bellevue District Soars into Spring

Bellevue District includes Bellevue Elementary, Kawana Charter, Meadow View Elementary and Taylor Mountain Elementary Schools.  Staff and tutors of Bellevue's CalSERVES programs have a lot to be proud about.

Just through February in the Bellevue District:
  • 510 Students have received academic support, enrichment programming and mentoring in the CalSERVES After School program
  • 596 Students have received 16,219 Tutoring Sessions in Literacy,  STEM, and Healthy Behaviors
Assessments show students already improving 1 whole grade level or more:
  • 39% of students receiving Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Tutoring
  • 22% of students receiving Literacy Tutoring
  • 59% of students receiving Healthy Behaviors Tutoring

Bellevue Elementary

Mr. Sosa, Bellevue's Healthy Behaviors Scholar, has done a fantastic job in increasing fruit and veggie consumption during the After School Program.  One particular aspect that Mr. Sosa has improved is the overall consumption of milk by students.

Each day the students look forward to snack because they know Mr. Sosa is always ready to greet every child as they pass by and pick-up their snack. "Remember to drink your milk!" he says and the children simply smile and do just that, they drink their milk!

Kawana Charter

These STEM tutoring students get their hands in peanut butter to learn all about tectonic plates.  Science is fun, especially when it is hands-on!

New STEM Scholar Celeste gets ready to teach her students how to use a microscope.

Meadow View Elementary

Fitness Week isn’t the only time Meadow View after school students enjoy physical activity. This January, they started new fitness classes. Classroom Leaders pick a sport or physical activity they are passionate about and lead a six-week fitness class with a consistent group of students. 

This has been highly successful. Students have responded well to the consistency and structure, and Classroom Leaders have enjoyed building on activities week after week. This was especially successful with our Cool Sports Basketball Team, which had regular practices twice a week. Our 3-6 grade boys really blossomed during the month before the competition. Under the guidance of their fantastic coaches, these students became a truly cohesive team. 

Taylor Mountain Elementary

Healthy behaviors are learned early as demonstrated by these Kinder students practicing their yoga poses increasing their focus, flexibility and strength.

Taylor Mountain students get a hands-on experience with fire prevention when the fire department visited...the hats were a popular bonus!

As you can see the Site Supervisors of the Bellevue District are inspiring their teams to promote wellness and learning in their students (Yesenia, Kate, Sandra & Katherine).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wright District Shines During AmeriCorps Week

As we celebrate AmeriCorps week, I wanted to share/brag about the great work our AmeriCorps members and staff are doing.  In locations all across the State, AmeriCorps is Getting Things Done.

This post showcases some wonderful things going on in the Wright Elementary School District.

Just through February at R.L. Stevens and Wright Charter Schools:

  • 264 Students have received academic support, enrichment programming and mentoring in the CalSERVES After School program
  • 305 Students have received 7,457 Tutoring Sessions in Literacy,  STEM, and Healthy Behaviors
Assessments show students already improving 1 whole grade level or more:

  • 46% of students receiving Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Tutoring (WJ III)
  • 33% of students receiving Literacy Tutoring (WJ III)
  • 42% of students receiving Healthy Behaviors Tutoring (mile times) 
Teachers are seeing the progress in all areas but here is a story about our new Healthy Behaviors tutoring from R.L. Stevens:
"Healthy Behaviors Tutoring has been an amazing asset to me and my students.  The students in my class this year are at that “borderline” age; not teenagers, not small children.  From a few of the girls, this transition is extremely difficult.  When Ms. Moore approached me about this program, I jumped!  [All my students attend tutoring] for different reasons, but the results and changes I am seeing are impressive.  Healthy Behaviors addresses the overly social situation, as well as the overly shy students.  For example, after about the third session, two of the girls wrote me “sorry” letters about their immature and disrespectful attitudes; all things they had discussed at tutoring...The focus of the program – nutrition, self-esteem, and teamwork – has been crucial to its success and the great improvement I have seen in the girls she tutors.  The girls are learning what it means to be healthy on every level; physically, emotionally, and socially.  They look forward to their tutoring sessions and always come back with comments that assure me they are learning something valuable.  Sometimes, they will say something was “hard”, which I love!  They are being challenged and remembering what they discuss, which is not always the case with 5th graders! Every week, I see the girls growing in positive ways.  I honestly wish I could send my entire class to Healthy Behaviors."
Wright District is on track to show truly impressive year-end results for our children.

R.L. Stevens Elementary

Ms. Kladar, Literacy Service Scholar, promoting literacy skill development and a love of reading!

The Buddy Reading program is a great way to promote learning and positive relationships.

Fifth graders prepping all the healthy food for school wide Matematicas y Munchies event.

Hula Hooping is not only fun but great exercise!

Wright Charter School

Fun math for 1st graders. A fist bump plus a high five equal a hand turkey.

Sunshine, smiles and missing teeth in Ms. Nanni’s 1st grade Cool School After School class.
1st-3rd graders learn about Dr. Seuss and the meaning behind ‘The Lorax’ during Friday clubs.

Former AmeriCorps Members and current Site Supervisors Taylor Ford, Wright Charter and Melissa Moore, R.L. Stevens are leading their teams to achieve amazing outcomes for their students.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Keys to Project Leadership

It has been a busy start to the year.  I am taking on some new projects, which is exciting but has expanded my workload exponentially (and slowed down my blogging!)  These new opportunities have given me cause to reflect on how I approach project leadership.

Here are some of the strategies that have been helpful to me: 

None of us is as smart as all of us.  Creating a dynamic team provides the greatest opportunity to influence project success.  It is important to take the time to understand strengths, define roles, and key into the motivations that enable a thriving community.  This community then needs effective structures to succeed.  It is especially necessary to pay close attention to the design of meetings and communication processes so they maximize collaboration, growth, and innovation.

See the forest through the trees AND the devil is in the details.  A comprehensive understanding of the big picture is necessary to determining what success looks like and the ability to communicate this is vital to effective leadership.  However, at the same time, it is necessary to get into the details of a project to understand the parameters with a degree of precision to enable an effective design of work flow.  Successfully navigating the tension between these two important but different dynamics is essential to achieving project goals.

Roll with the punches.  New projects often do not run a linear course and it is important to accept that there will be ups and downs along the way.  There will be challenges, but what is important is how we respond to adversity.  If we can stay the course and overcome, those around us can gain strength and confidence.

Follow-through is everything.  This one can be challenging when juggling multiple priorities; but a culture of accountability is essential for the team to be effective.  It is important for common expectations of responsiveness to be baked into the design and modeled at all levels of leadership.

The future is bright.  Most importantly, it is critical to keep the vision at the forefront.  Why are we doing what we are doing and what is the outcome we are seeking?  The team should be able to connect all their actions back to the vision.  A fierce advocacy for the vision being achieved should be paramount in the culture. It is the vision that can serve as the fuel for everyone.  It enables focus and perseverance and common pursuit of an outcome.