Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome Back to Creek Life!

Our teacher's first day back to the new 2013-2014 school year was A Walk on the Wild Side!  

They began their adventure with a game in the front lobby and then were welcomed into the dining room where breakfast and a lunchbox of theme related goodies awaited. 

The teams, as tradition holds, introduced themselves through funny skits and then Principal Phillips outlined our data and year's goals and expectations. A personality survey was taken to identify teachers as doves, peacocks, owls, or eagles, and then buses awaited to whisk us away to the zoo. 

Teachers loaded the buses by their personality survey results and spent the bus ride discussing their personality characteristics. It won't surprise you, if you've ever taken this survey, that the peacocks created their own song and that the doves were so kind, they needed everyone's opinion to fill out each survey question. We are certain that the eagles finished the task first!  

Upon arriving at the zoo, each team was given a menu item of activities which had assigned points. The teams, through their scavenger hunt, could chose their activities, and were charged to send pictures to the principal using their iPhones as they fulfilled their task. Principal Phillips had a spreadsheet set up on her iPad so as the teams text their pictures, she could input their points. The Resource Team ended up winning the day's challenge, however most importantly, the day was primarily designed to build relationships with your team of colleagues. A poor zoo keeper or two were probably not as thrilled with a few of our tasks! 

The teachers enjoyed their zoo walk and then returned to the front entrance for lunch. The day didn't conclude without our new hire "hazing." The newbies can throw together a mean rap, and Mrs. Phillips reading our August/September Book of the Month. 

We recognize that this isn't a traditional teacher's first day of school, but we also know that the time spend in fellowship will pay off dividends all year long and defines the sense of culture that will infiltrate every aspect of our school life this year. Stay tuned to hear more about our Walk on the Wild Side...

Creek Life...A Walk on the Wild Side!

Each year a theme folds us in its embrace and carries us through the year. The theme is chosen to spotlight our journey as a learning community at a given point in time and to engage students. Our past themes are displayed on birthday candles in our front lobby and in totality tell our school story.  The year's theme is embedded in every aspect of our school's work that year. This year's theme, Creek Life... A Walk on the Wild Side, is sure to complete that mission and may prove to be an all time favorite!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome to CCE Summer Workshop for New Hires

Back in the day, we had large numbers of colleagues added to our faculty each year as our learning community grew from 600 to 1,400 students. Each summer, we would offer a three day Welcome to CCE Workshop to acquaint new teachers. The first day always focused on building relationships, and learning about our vision, mission, learner expectations, and school's history. The second and third days would focus on our Communication and Core Workshops. We always felt like the three days gave the new hires a head start and made them less anxious about joining our large staff. 

In the last five years, our student population has remained stable and our staff has been less mobile, therefore the Welcome to CCE Workshops have disappeared. This year, that's changed, again, with the district's support of more resources and a few faculty relocations and babies. We have, for the first time in years, added 11 new faculty colleagues, and have turned again to our Welcome to CCE. 

The difference now is that the new hires don't need a three day session. Two of them are home grown meaning they did their internships with us and then stayed connected as they taught in other schools for a while. A few others have Chets Creek colleague roots and have collaborated with our staff as they've served in other schools as mentors, lead teachers, and coaches. Others, that are new to teaching, have been added as co-teachers in experienced teacher's classrooms. Therefore, our Welcome to CCE this year was a one day workshop that focused on building relationships, sharing our vision, mission, learner expectations, history, and taking a scavenger hunt through our building. Each teacher was gifted our foundational book, Building a Community of Learners and Leaders, and was treated to lunch. We think that by giving new hires a preview, their school year will start off on a great foot and they'll feel comfortable asking questions. Stay tuned as their journey on the wild side begins...