September 13, 2017
Dear Loma and CT Parents/Guardians:
Thoughts from Tuesday Night
This week, the Loma Prieta School District will honor our 2017 Teacher of the Year, Casey Lelake. Ms. Lelake joined our team full-time in August 2016 and brought our music program to life. She has earned the respect of her students, their parents, and her peers who selected her for this honor. The annual county-wide celebration is hosted by the County Office of Education and is designed to highlight the “Best of the Best.” Ms. Lelake certainly is one of the very best of the best.
This time of year, I always think about what makes a great teacher. Most of us can point to a teacher who made a difference or influenced our life path. Often those teachers never hear from the students they impacted the most. Great teaching is about relationships. Sometimes those relationships last a year, sometimes longer, but most of us know who the great ones were for us. I was in Ms. Lelake’s class this week while she was inviting 5th grade students to think about an instrument they’d like to try. I told Ms. Lelake, and her class, that I wish my elementary school music teacher had used her words and style. Ms. Lelake rocks!
So what is it that separates great teachers from good ones? There are lots of lists of qualities, skills, styles, etc. Here’s my list of what “Great Teachers Have:”
Passion backed by a depth of knowledge: Great teachers love what they do. They love to teach. They love to see the spark of learning in students’ eyes. Their enthusiasm for teaching and learning is contagious. They share, aren’t defensive or jealous, or care about anything other than what is in the best interest of their students.
They also know their stuff. They are experts in content and delivery. Great teachers know the outcomes they are striving to help all students achieve, and as professionals they know how they plan to get there. They instill confidence rather than fear. They model learning and provide an encouraging environment to take risks, try new ideas, raise your hand and speak your mind. Great teaching requires an intricate blend of instinct, tenacity and deep knowledge of the craft.
High Expectations for themselves and everyone in their world including students, colleagues, and themselves: Teaching and learning are both endeavors that include hard work. Great teachers work hard and help their students develop grit. Great teachers raise the bar for every learner. It’s not teaching to the middle; it’s making learning engaging across a broad spectrum of learners. The higher you go in the grade levels, the greater the potential for broad ranges of skills. You take the learner where you find them, and help them to move farther forward than they could have ever imagined. The work of a great teacher involves content knowledge, strategic thinking, thoughtful flexibility to think ahead, “shift gears” on the fly, evaluate and re-evaluate a lesson or an interaction sometimes to the extreme. Being a great teacher is not for the faint of heart.
An understanding that failure is required: Great teachers know that failure is part of any learning process. Riding a bicycle, inventing an airplane, creating great works of art, playing the clarinet, proving a theorem, etc., all require trying, experimenting, practice, management of frustration, and perseverance. Great teachers don’t give up on kids or themselves. Great teachers embrace creative problem solving and strive for products that evoke pride in workmanship not perfection in a cookie cutter model of what it means to “get an A.” Great teachers help students “earn” rather than “get” their rewards.
Finally, and perhaps this should have been first on my list, great teachers care! They care about their students, the families and communities we serve, the outcomes, the challenges, the victories, and the heartbreaks. Great teachers are builders of the future. They build relationships with students and between them. They create a classroom climate that empowers learners, inspires creativity, and fosters a strong sense of community. Great teachers care about your child, and every child. Great teachers change lives, often in ways they cannot immediately see.
We are lucky here in our small district to have many great teachers. If you have a chance this week, congratulate Ms. Lelake on being part of the very best of the best. Take a moment to thank a teacher who made a difference for your child/ren. Thank a teacher who made a difference for you. The Internet has made this easier than you think. Great teachers are humble, sometimes shy, and they always think of all the ways they could have done more. Great teachers need our thanks for the incredible gifts they share.
Casey Lelake, thank you for saying, “Yes,” to Loma and CT. Thank you for inspiring our kids and your colleagues. Thank you for putting the band back together and so, so much more!
Break out the combs! It is school picture time. Your child/ren’s pictures will be taken this Friday. The pre-order envelopes are coming home. Please look for them. School picture memories are even more amazing to look back on as your kids grow up. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to capture the Fall of 2017!
Important Traffic Alert
CT English will host a county-wide cross country meet on October 4, 2017. Traffic on campus and Summit Road will be very heavy throughout the afternoon.
CT Heads Up!
We still do not have enough parent/guardian volunteers to open the Snack Shack on Tuesday. Keep on packing for Tuesday lunches! Better yet, sign up to help at ctenglish.com.
You can tell when autumn comes to the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can smell it in the air and feel the weather start to change. That’s when you know it’s time for the annual Loma Prieta Education Fund (LPEF) Gala. It’s the social event of the year in our community. You can enjoy wine tasting from our renowned local wineries, have fun seeing your neighbors dressed up for an evening out, and take time to enjoy the beautiful redwood forest setting we live in and.
This year’s event, themed “Boots Under a Redwood Sky” will be held on October 7 at Maison du Lac starting at 4 pm.
The Gala is LPEF’s largest fundraiser for the district and has become a critical component to fund programs the district would otherwise have to do without. Yes, it’s for the kids. But it’s not just for them. The strength of our schools is in direct relation to the health of our sense of community, and let’s face it, even the value of our homes.
We are grateful for this year’s title sponsors who know and love our community. Thank you to Jill Cole & Michael Riese of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for their lead support. We are also excited that Gordon Smedt has created an original painting exclusively for the live auction at the Gala.
Even if you can’t make it to Maison du Lac for an evening of food, wine, dancing and the silent and live auctions, consider making a donation. It’s easy and every contribution helps make our mountain a great place to live. Tickets are $125 and sponsorships start at $500. For more information, visit www.lpef.org.
CT English Home and School Club Yoga Classes
Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves. Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yoga brings that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.
Like to garden? Myra Jones will be holding a meeting this Friday, 9/15 at 8:30 by the garden shed if you would like to volunteer.
Upcoming Loma Events
9/13 Regular Board meeting 7pm
9/14 TB Results 8:30-10, PE portable
9/15 School Picture Day
9/21 Wild Cats Assembly 12:30p
9/22 SoW assembly 8:30a
9/29 SoW assembly / Crazy Hair Day
10/7 Gala at Maison du Lac