August 9, 2015
Dear Lesher Families and Friends,
Question: What’s two weeks away, happens on our strikingly beautiful University Acres campus, and sure to be so much fun you might not be able to stand it?
Answer: The first day of school aboard the Viking ship!
Welcome to ANCHOR DOWN 2.0*! I’m thrilled to welcome our 750+ unique students from 25 elementary schools for 2015-16, our 55th year! What excites me most every year is the quality of our returning staff, and our new draft picks. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer with family and friends, and taken time to rest, reflect, and recalibrate, as we now rev up for the start of another school year. I look forward to continuing to spread the power of optimism, emphasizing simplicity, humor, and humility in building relationships with all of you and our school community. The goal remains the same, to create outstanding learning experiences and outcomes for every student at Lesher through equally high academic and behavioral expectations with support. It’s our moral imperative, it’s our professional responsibility, it’s what we do, and it is THE LESHER DIFFERENCE!
While you’ve been away we’ve continued to enhance our facility with:
- A new roof that should help keep our building cooler and the water out.
- Fresh sod and dirt around our extended concrete patio poured and painted last spring break.
- New signage above the information cabinet we installed spring semester in our main entrance vestibule.
- A freshly painted yellow goal post (we’re still working on a second goal post) and a new football blocking sled.
On Friday, August 7th our Leadership Team spent a day at Tamasag (http://www.thegriffinfoundation.org/tamasag.shtml) revisiting our vision, mission, and working agreements, learning group facilitation skills, and prioritizing our work for the year. While there is a lot to do, most of our work this year will center on these deliverables:
- Assessing Student Performance via the IBMYP Criteria, Strands, and AtL Skills
- Completing our IBMYP Self-study using ManageBac in preparation for our fall 2016 IBMYP 5-year verification visit
- Implementing a Building-wide Writing Framework to improve student thinking and writing
- Improving our MTSS and Progress Monitoring to enhance student academic, behavioral, and social/emotional performance
- Implementing EL Achieve to advance our Constructed Meaning and English Language Development (ELD) instruction
- Instituting a Co-teaching Model between our Integrated Services and General Ed. Teachers improve growth gaps for students with disabilities
- Beginning Peer Observations/Lesson Study using the 5Ds+ Standards-based Teaching & Learning Framework and IB’s Approaches to Teaching
So, get ready to anchor down on August 21st (with our 6th graders) and August 24th (with our 7th and 8th graders)! See you soon.
Living the dream,
T. DODD, PhD
*What's ANCHOR DOWN! you ask? Well, like Playmakers, All In!, The Lesher Difference, We are… Lesher, etc. its part mindset, part marketing. It’s a phrase used by the Vanderbilt University athletic teams, and I thought it had some carry over to what we are doing here aboard the Viking ship. You can learn more about Anchor Down! by watching this quick 5:11 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuM6a6lTHL8&feature=player_detailpage.