On Monday our School Improvement Team did what we call our Quarterly Review. The school improvement team is composed of representatives of all grade levels and perspectives in our building as well as a parent representative. Our goal is all about how we, as a school, continue to improve and grow. Each quarter, we pull our academic data and go through protocols to look for patterns and trends. We discuss the reasons we believe data looks the way it does. These conversations can be difficult but always incredible in encouraging our work in student achievement for all students.

On Monday, we talked about the many ways we can approach student achievement. And it was interesting how one idea that our families can help us with seemed so simple and yet so critical and that is the idea of time. As educators, we use each minute of the day. In fact, I know many teachers that begin teaching individual groups even while students enter the building and others that keep on teaching long past that last bell. We discussed the fact that we have two days next week of school. We also noted the three days before the winter break. We expressed our concern that put together, this is an entire week of instruction that could be potentially lost through extended family vacations.

We recognize the incredible opportunity educational leave can be. But we also are concerned that our days and minutes of instruction can be lost when students come late to school or leave early. I have always shared that only in the teaching world do we look at 3 minutes left before a transition and a teacher uses those three minutes to grow students’ minds.

Throughout my observations yesterday in multiple classrooms, I again noted the use of each precious moment with students. Our kindergarten students note the minutes they reach with their stamina in reading. As students enter after recess in third grade, the teacher immediately engages students in reflecting on the day before and learning. Fifth grade teachers capture moments before students transition to Spanish to check questions from homework. An intervention teacher skip counts with her small group of students on the way down hallways to their learning space. Our Lawyers Read program starts at 8:00 on the dot to read with some of our first grade students. Parents come for Book and Bite and help students enjoy lunch and the gift of reading. Even as I move around the building, I talk about learning with students and try to engage in what they are doing in the classroom.

Each minute counts every day. We encourage our families to try to make appointments after hours and look ahead at our school calendar. Our teachers truly want every minute to teach. And we look forward to every minute of our students learning. We are thankful to our families who also take seriously these moments of the day. Together we want to see each of our students grow in learning.