Hello Roseway Heights! January 4, 2018
Happy New Year for all those that celebrate the solar new year. Since joining this community I have a great appreciation for the markers of time and the different ways we create space and time to reflect on what has been and what is to come. For me, the solar New Year is the second of 3 new year celebrations I participate in (the Jewish New Year is in September/October, the January 1 New Year and then the upcoming Tet/Lunar New Year) and each one has very different significance for me.
From the school perspective, the winter break signals the heart of the school year. From now until Spring Break we have mostly full weeks without many interruptions and we will get into a strong groove that yields big gains in learning. All the emerging brain science tells us that what we think of as “learning” is really connections in our neural pathways, connections that depend on previous knowledge to connect to. As we move into the main part of the school year, we will be able to hang new information onto the knowledge and experiences we have built thus far. For our emerging readers, this is why there is an acceleration once the basic decoding skills are gained, and for our confident readers there is so much to be gained about other topics from reading.
There is, however, a downside to how our brains work. Sometimes we need to spend time undoing or “re-learning” something because we have it wrong or because it no longer works for us. Years of thinking one way have created strong pathways between ideas and it takes hard work and repetition to change them. This is why the racial equity work is so important to me and to the school and district. We all have unconscious bias that needs to be made conscious and then addressed. As we look forward to this new year, and the planning that goes into creating two new schools (Roseway Heights and Rose City Park) we need to be especially careful to not let our biases, our habits and our preconceptions create our reality for us. What we think of as “normal” at Roseway now, will need to be looked at and possibly shift in order to create a welcoming school for all the students at the new Middle School and for the students who will be joining us from Beverly Cleary. Although our brains like us to use the pathways we already have (efficiency is privileged in the brain because it is faster and uses less energy) we have the opportunity to see these new schools as our very best thinking, and we can benefit from the thinking of those that have different experiences and thus different pathways.
I am excited for this new year--2018 is the year Rose City Park opens as a neighborhood Elementary and the PERMANENT home of the Vietnamese Dual Language program, and Roseway Heights opens as a comprehensive Middle School program. There is lots of work to do for both schools and I invite you to participate in the planning, the thinking and equally importantly the LISTENING to all the many voices that will make up our newest school communities.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, email me at email@example.com or call my cell phone at 503-319-3245
(The Last) Principal, Roseway Heights K-8
Given new information, PPS District leaders have decided the Pioneer Program will remain at the Holladay-Youngson facility for the 2018-19 school year. PPS remains committed to ensuring that all students receive a high quality educational experience in a positive and supportive learning environment.
On Wednesday, students across the nation chose to speak out on the issue of school safety. In many school communities, students observed a moment of silence and walked out of class to give voice to their thoughts and feelings. We should all listen.The horrific mass shootings that have taken student lives in recent years have provoked an incredibly important dialogue and created a valuable “teachable moment” for all of us.
With Grant putting an exclamation point on winter by winning a state title in boys basketball, it’s time to turn the page on sports seasons. Competition in high school spring sports started last week. Here’s a quick overview of the Portland Interscholastic League:
1:55 PM - 2:30 PM Middle School Team Time
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Board Finance, Audit and Operations (FAO) Committee Meeting
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM Board Teaching and Learning Committee meeting
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Board Legislative Committee meeting
6:00 PM District Board Meeting