#MESPAChat Coming Wednesday & Rethinking Open House
MESPA Monday Memo
September 5, 2016
#MESPAChat This Week!
Join us for our monthly Twitter chat:
Wednesday, September 7 @ 8:00 pm
Topic:  Back to School Ideas
  1. What is your favorite back to school tradition?
  2. What new initiatives do you have in your school this year?
  3. What are you striving to do differently this year?
  4. What are you most excited about this school year?
  5. What new technology did you try out this summer that you are using this year?
New to Twitter chats?  Follow the group – and jump in if you feel ready.
Rethinking Open House:
Relationships First

Most schools have been through their openings days for staff and students – or will be this week.  Now it’s time to think about families.  As is the case for students and staff, we should begin by thinking about relationships first.   

The fall issue of Ed. (Harvard Graduate School of Education’s magazine) has a piece about open houses “ Scenes from an Open House” by Lory Hough. It was the subtitle that caught my attention, however, “ Why Do We Continue to Blow It With This Annual Back to School Event?”    Drawing on the work of Karen Mapp, the article makes a strong case that we should reexamine some our practices when it comes to open house and offers some ideas for other ways of doing things.   

Mapp challenges us to move open house beyond lectures about school and classroom rules and homework policies. She suggests that family-school partnerships be relational, interactive, collaborative, developmental (build capacity) and linked to learning.   

Some open house examples I have seen implemented by teachers over the years, include having parents:
  • Participate in a Responsive Classroom-style class meeting (relational and interactive).
  • Solve a math problem based on the new standards or engage in a “thinking routine” used in the classroom (interactive, linked to learning)
  • Fill out index cards describing one important thing about their child the teacher should know or hopes and concerns for the coming year (collaborative)
  • Sign-up for an individual “listening conference” with the teacher early in the year to help the teacher get to know the child and family (relational and collaborative)
Mapp suggests Open House should send the message that “ We care about you. We want your engagement… Families should leave feeling excited about the year and have an understanding about learning goals.  They should learn at least three or four things their child will know by the end of the year and they should definitely feel included.”    No small order! But one worthy of consideration as we plan for this fall’s open houses.   

Karen Mapp is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the faculty at HGSE, she was the Deputy Superintendent for Family and Community Engagement for the Boston Public Schools.  She has written extensively about family engagement, including the book, Beyond the Bake Sale. The fall issue of Ed. will be, but is not yet, available on line at http://www.gse.harvard.edu/ed/  You can hear her speaking on these ideas in an 8 minute video clip at: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/14/09/8x8-hgse-faculty-share-their-bold-ideas-improve-education  

Rick Rogers
MESPA Executive Director
  From the MESPA Blog:
This Week’s Post: “Success in the School Corn Maze”
by Mike Leander, Principal of the Athol Community Elementary School
Mike is about to open a beautiful brand new elementary school in Athol.  He uses an annual family trip to a corn maze as a metaphor for the phases that educators can go through during a school year. Good luck to Mike and the ACES community as the school opens its doors for the first time this week!

Want to write a post for the MESPA Blog? Click here to sign up to write a post.
  Upcoming Workshops at MESPA
Offered in Partnership with Ribas Associations
In-Person Workshops for Teachers and Principals
  • September 22:  Creating a Socially, Emotionally, and Academically Appropriate Classroom for Advanced and Gifted Learners
  • September 27:  Working with Students with Behavioral Issues
  • September 29:  Overview of Disabling Conditions in the Classroom
  • October 13:  Eight Brain-based Teaching Strategies for Developing the Cognitive Context for Learning and Other Brain Based Strategies
  Online Workshops (open for 7 days)
  • Opens September 26:  Overview of Disabling Conditions in the Classroom
  • Opens October 4:  Working with Students with Behavioral Issues
  • Opens October 11:  Eight Brain-based Teaching Strategies for Developing the Cognitive Context for Learning and Other Brain Based Strategies
  • Opens October 17:  Executive Function: Implications for Teaching and Learning
  I n-Person Workshops for School Leaders
  • October 6: Educator Evaluation Time Management and Time Saving Strategies
  • October 17:  How Can We Make Our Meeting and Teacher Meetings More Engaging and Effective?
And many more…for a complete listing and registration go to:
Coming Later This Week:
Regional Principals’ Support Groups
Watch for the flyer announcing our six new regional support groups for principals.
MESPA Website Updated
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Join or Renew Your Membership!
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Click here for membership form:  http://tinyurl.com/MESPA-Member-Form
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contact Victoria Ellison (vellison@mespa.org)  
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