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News from the Superintendent Includes New Strategies for Learning

Covington Independent Public Schools Superintendent Lynda Jackson has sent out her weekly Monday Morning Message which you will see below:


Research consistently shows that holding high expectations improves student achievement. However, the problem is that the definition of high expectations varies widely. For the next several weeks, I will be providing strategies from Doug Lemov's "Teach Like a Champion," as we continue to implement strategies to increase student engagement for all students.
In typical classes, when students don't know an answer, or don't want to try, they quickly learn the teacher will leave them alone if they respond to a question with "I don't know" or shrug their shoulders. Historically, the teacher will then moves on to another student. Instead, NO OPT OUT is a useful tool to get all students to the right answer, as often as possible, even if only to repeat the correct answer.
For example, as a review you ask Charlie, "What is 3 times 8?" He mutters, "I don't know" and looks away. Many teachers don't know how to respond, and students come to use "I don't know" to avoid work all year long. Instead, at a minimum, you can turn to another student, ask the same question and if you get the correct answer, turn back to Charlie, "Now you tell me what is 3 times 8."Charlie, and all of the students, have just learned that they can't get off the hook and must do the work in your class.

In a more rigorous form of NO OPT OUT you or another student can provide a cue. For example, in a class where a student was unable to identify the subject of the sentence, "My mother was not happy" the teacher asked another student, "When I am asking you for the subject, what am I asking for?" The second student responded, "You are asking for who or what the sentence is about." Then the teacher turned to the first student and said, "When I ask for the subject, I am asking for who or what the sentence is about. What's the subject?" This time the student was able to respond correctly, "Mother." The sequence began with the student unable to answer and ended up with him giving a correct answer.

It is imperative that the tone when using NO OPT OUT is positive and academic and use it to reinforce the belief in students' ability to get the right answer.

Your principal will be discussing the NO OPT OUT strategy in a staff meeting within the next couple of weeks to assist you in putting this tool in your toolkit of strategies for student engagement.

Jackson also offers her weekly "Kudos":

  • KUDOS to the Latonia Elementary School custodial staff for receiving the highest rating on the September Facility Walk Evaluation. The staff gets to proudly display the "Golden Bust the Dust Pan" in their school for the month of October. Latonia is one CLEAN school!
  • KUDOS to Becky Egan and Donna Frazier for taking on additional responsibilities of Infinite Campus.   They work tirelessly to make sure scheduling, attendance, and grading questions are addressed in a timely manner. Thanks for your hard work.
  • KUDOS to Shawn Stein and our  bus drivers for picking up students who live in City Heights and needed a ride to school last Friday while police had the streets closed. Some drivers made four trips to ensure that students arrived to school safely.
  • KUDOS to Renata Watts, Stacie Strotman, Tom Haggard,  Michelle Bertke, Amanda Johnson and Sarah Fortner for organizing a very successful Future Bulldogs Tailgate Party for our fifth grade students prior to the Homecoming game.
  • KUDOS to the kindergarten testing teams for completing the Birgance Assessment for the pilot year and entering the data into the Online Management System.
  • KUDOS to Sherrie Roberts completing all of the lunch applications and for keeping schools up to date on students who haven't turned in applications in.
  • KUDOS to Del New for donating his time and equipment to help the Nutrition Services Department with its homecoming float.
  • KUDOS to Latonia's administrative team for riding the school bus home last Friday with students who live in City Heights.  A parent sent a letter to the school to "personally thank you for coming home on the school bus with the children...the incident that occurred in the neighborhood was devastating and it meant a lot to see that you cared enough to make sure our children made it home safely.''

Here's what's coming up in the school district:

  • Principal Roundtable, Monday, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m., Instructional Support Center
  • John G. Carlisle Site-based decision-making meeting, Monday, 3:15 p.m.
  • Campus Leadership Team meeting, Tuesday, 9 a.m, Room 3110
  • Focus Visit Holmes High School, Tuesday, 12:30 p.m.
  • Holmes Alumni Association, Monday, 7 p.m., Hartman Room
  • Latonia Elementary Site-based decision-making meeting, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.
  • Sixth District Elementary Site-based decision-making meeting,Wednesday, 4 p.m.
  • Superintendent Awards, Sixth District, Thursday, 7:15 a.m.
  • Instructional Round, Freshman Academy, 8:15 a.m., Holmes High School
  • Board of Education Working Meeting, 5 p.m., Thursday, Holmes Middle School library
  • NO SCHOOL FRIDAY - ENJOY!                     
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