Principal's Page

Printer-friendly version

Welcome to the 17-18 School Year Wolverine Families!!!

 

I am over-the-top excited to start my second year at West Middleton.  Last year was everything I imagined it would be and so much more.  I knew the moment I stepped into this school for my staff and family interviews last May, that this was my new home.  The thing I didn’t know was how much deeper I would feel that after having spent the last year with these amazing students and staff.  I have truly never worked with a more dedicated, compassionate and inspiring group of individuals.  

 

I’ve been taking the summer to analyze, plan, discuss, coordinate, learn and collaborate around so many different issues that affect our school community.  It’s important to me that you know how dedicated this staff is.  We have had multiple teams and committees meet throughout the summer to attend trainings, conferences, planning meetings, data dives, etc.  The number of hours that our staff has put in to set our students and families up for success starting day one is incredible.  

 

As I reflect back on this past year, there were so many things that we worked on and ways that we have grown that I haven’t had a chance to share.  Our building leadership team (SIT - School Improvement Team) attended an RTI (Response to Intervention) planning conference with the WI RTI Network where we analyzed school data, considered strengths and areas of growth and created an action plan to move our work forward.  Out of that came the primary school focus areas on literacy, specifically small group and one-on-one conferring as well as a school wide focus on the social/emotional health of all students.  We are also increasing the leadership capacity within our teachers and several teachers were able to attend trainings on Adaptive Schools and The Art of Coaching Teams.  Finally, we have committed to embracing Responsive Classroom, “an evidence-based approach to elementary and middle school teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL)”.  West Middleton has used Responsive Classroom strategies and techniques for the past few years, including Morning Meeting and Reset and Return.  We were able to send over ten teachers to a week long training this summer and we will continue to provide interactive professional learning for all staff members throughout the year.  If you are interested in learning more, you can view a brief introductory video here:  https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/about/.  There is also a wealth of information for parents on their website.  

 

The other two areas of focus that we will continue to build upon are family & community engagement and staff engagement & wellness.  This work is directly related to our district goals.  We will be implementing multiple strategies to increase communication with our families throughout the course of the year.  One project that we are piloting this fall is “Ready Set Go(al)” Conferences.  The idea is that teachers will offer 20 minute time slots to their families during the month of September to meet families, make connections and learn about their new students from their best experts, you (their parents/guardians)!!  This is a pilot program this year and we have approximately 25% of our staff participating.  We will be collecting data from parents and staff on the usefulness and effectiveness of this strategy to determine next steps.  We will also be sending out monthly newsletters that will include information from me, information on upcoming curriculum, information on Responsive Classroom and Second Step (our school wide social/emotional Guidance curriculum), PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) and lots more.  In addition, we have created a West Middleton Family Handbook that will be included in your Information Day packets.  The handbook will also be available on our website in September and you can access an electronic copy here:  http://bit.ly/2vymqQ6.  Our hope is to create clear, school wide expectations for all staff, students and families.  

 

In addition to all of the amazing work that has been happening this past school year and summer, we have also had a LOT of growth.  A new position was added near the end of the school year to help assist with our growing student population.  The title of this position is “officially” Student Advocate and Behavioral Leader, but for ease, we are going to use the title Assistant Principal.  This position is in place to help students resolve nonacademic problems they encounter which may interfere with their ability to benefit from the school’s educational opportunities; to help students achieve the fullest benefit from programs, services and offerings of the school; and to help provide a positive, proactive environment for all students and staff by addressing behavioral and discipline issues in a restorative manner.  We were able to hire an amazing individual, Jess Beem, who is joining us from Strawberry Hill Elementary in Iowa, where she held an identical position as the Assistant Principal.  Here is a brief introduction from Jess:

“Hello!  My name is Jess Beem. I grew up in Iowa and am recently moving from Monticello, IA. I was an Assistant Principal at Strawberry Hill Elementary in Anamosa. My husband, Rick, was transferred here in November and we are all looking forward to this next amazing life adventure! We have a daughter Abbey, who will be a senior this year and a son, Logan, who will be in 8th grade. We enjoy exploring, camping, hiking, and being outdoors as a family. In my free time I love to garden, bake, and read. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and working with each of you to make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve!”

 

In addition to adding this position, we have also added 2 new classroom teacher positions.  All grades but 3rd are at now at five classrooms per grade!!  Due to the increase in enrollment, we have revamped our master schedule and were able to spread out recess and lunch so each grade level will have their own lunch and recess time (with a brief overlap for 3rd and 4th).  This will help a ton with supervision and space.  You will see a lot of other new faces at West Middleton this year.  We had staff retirements, staff staying home with their newborns, staff attending grad school in CO, staff teaching in Venezuela, internal moves, several temporary contracts that ended and with that, the great opportunity to continue to build our West Middleton family with an amazing group of dedicated educators.  Please help me in welcoming all of our new staff as we look forward to a successful year and seeing you all in a few weeks:

  • Matt Schuh - K

  • Emily Brucker - K

  • Noel Vannieuwenhoven - K

  • Tara Fussell - 1

  • Bill Frain - 2

  • Ben Geissal - 2

  • Alex Schutz - 4

  • Rachel Hulsey - 4

  • Brenda Autz - Title

  • Kayla Meier - S/L (speech language)

  • Emily Stockbridge - School Social worker

  • Charlie Wilder - School Psychologist

  • Holli Johnson - PE

  • Lisa King - Special Education Paraprofessional

 

We spent a lot of time last year working through our hopes and dreams for West Middleton.  We have created a new school mission and guiding principles that will be shared in our September newsletter.  There has been a lot of thought, time and energy put into creating a collaborative, compassionate community for our students, families and staff and that work will continue to guide us in the years to come.  If I can be of assistance or if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at kkrych@mcpasd.k12.wi.us or at 608-829-9361.

 

With Gratitude and Anticipation,

Katrina Krych

Principal, West Middleton Elementary