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September 19, 2017

OCTOBER 2017 DISTICT DISPATCH This year our school district is initiating a new professional development program. After months of examining data and researching several options, our administrative team and district leadership team determined that a professional development program based upon the ideas presented by Dr. Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and Dr. Mike Schmoker in his book, Focus, would be the most beneficial in terms of helping our students achieve their maximum potential. After decades of research, Stanford University psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset, i.e., those who believe that abilities are fixed, are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset, i.e., those who believe that abilities can be developed. Dr. Dweck’s book reveals how dedicated teachers, managers, and parents can put this idea into use in order to foster and promote outstanding levels of accomplishment. In his book, Focus, Dr. Mike Schmoker discusses what is essential in order for schools to succeed. In his view, it really comes down to three simple things: (1) coherent curriculum (what we teach); (2) sound lessons (how we teach); and (3) authentic literacy (purposeful reading and writing in every discipline). Dr. Schmoker notes that if we understand and embrace the concept of simplicity, which starts with a recognition that “less is more” in terms of focusing on what we teach, how we teach, and authentic literacy, then our schools will achieve great things. Through our work with this professional development program, our school district is committing itself to the following goals: (1) Students will leave the Underwood Community School District ready for college, the military, and/or the workforce; (2) Students will approach complex problems using a growth mindset (both academic and life-skill based); (3) Students will be able to communicate with research-based writing; (4) Students will build knowledge through reading informational and literary text; (5) Teachers will develop and enact an essential curriculum for every course; (6) Teachers will work collaboratively to reach the school district’s goals; (7) Teachers will incorporate the effective instructional strategies using Focus; and (8) Underwood Community School District will be a destination school district. Please note that we will be having a 2:30 p.m. dismissal at the end of the first quarter on Friday, October 20, 2017. Parent-teacher conferences will be held on Monday, October 30, 2017, and Thursday, November 2, 2017, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. There will be no school on Friday, November 3, 2017.

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