December Newsletter

With the holidays fast approaching and winter break just around the corner, things are as busy as ever here at Johnson. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it’s important to pause, reflect and celebrate all the good things happening at Jaguar Country. We continue to take a “go slow to go far approach.” At the center of everything we do is our mission of inspiring, empowering and growing leaders. Student success is our end in mind. We continually work to improve on what we are currently doing, as well as introduce and refine new strategies, structures or programs to make us better each day, week, month and year. This school year, we have narrowed our focus to three buckets: school improvement, student leadership, and espousing a culture of thinking.

Pragmatically, what does that look like? If you know anything about school improvement, you know that is one mighty large bucket! Specifically, we are dedicated to using best instructional practices to deliver curriculum in a way that ensures all students are successful. Through our three tier intervention model, including our district wide Tier II W.I.N (What I Need) literacy intervention, every student gets the support that he or she needs. Our “Leader in Me” initiative continues to define the culture of our building. Students and teachers speak the common language of the 7 habits of highly effective people. Goal setting encourages students to reach their personal best – academically and behaviorally. An added focus this year has been a systematic approach to introducing staff to “Cultures of Thinking.” We are being more intentional and thoughtful with our instruction and using “thinking routines” to increase opportunities for student engagement, collaboration, communication, questioning, and higher order thinking. If you were to walk our halls or classrooms, you might see evidence in the form of charts titled “I used to think…now I think,” sentence strips synthesizing poignant learning “Headlines,” “Compass Points” highlighting student ‘Needs, Worries, Suggestions, and Excitements’ about a topic. Again, all evidence that we are capturing and celebrating thinking!

Each and every day, we continue to see the fruits of our labor. Student achievement, as measured by multiple metrics including M-STEP, NWEA, and district assessments, continues to trend upwards (as more information regarding the M-STEP is released, I will be certain to share, as I foresee more celebrations in our near future). Through the offering of multiple leadership opportunities such as Student Lighthouse Team, student learning leaders, office aides, greeters, journalists, and mentors, students continue to recognize and hone their “inner leader.” After school enrichment opportunities such as Mr. Mauller’s computer coding courses or Mr. Browne’s intramural floor hockey classes give students a chance to “sharpen the saw.” We, at Johnson, are grateful for our parents and staff, and most importantly, are proud our students for their continued dedication to student success. Undoubtedly, in 2017, great things lie ahead!

With Jaguar Pride,
Josh Gignac
Principal, Johnson Elementary