• Email, Social Media, and the Battle for Balance

    Posted by Tony Galietti on 7/14/2019

    In an attempt to continue to provide the best education possible to our kids, Sierra Verde is joining the growing movement of organizations looking to greatly reduce the amount of email communication which can consume more than 20% of employee time.  Email communication and on-demand correspondence interferes with our staff's ability to devote the majority of their time to plan, implement, and adjust their high quality lessons to our students everyday.  Starting this year, my charge to all staff is to limit email use to brief windows before and after student contact time 7:00 am - 8:30 am and 3:30 - 5:00 pm daily and never on weekends or holidays.  

    Last year, our staff discussed the amount of time spent and the amount of stress that our staff felt to check and reply to emails in real time.  Surveys were sent out, and we dissected the results of these surveys together and it was very apparent that email is a monster that needs to be tamed.  We have concluded that our teachers spend an overabundance of time, energy, and stress over email, and this is an issue that hurts morale, leads to burn-out, and ultimately, students suffer.  Constant attention to email fragments our attention and also creates an unstructured inbox information overload that induces anxiety and never fully allows us to unplug, recharge, and focus deeply on the truly important work of teaching and inspiring kids.  

    Our new email policy mandates that staff will not have their inboxes open while students are in class.  This means that they will be unable to handle any on-demand requests from parents/guardians. If you have a message that needs to be conveyed to your child, you must phone the office and they will route and deliver these messages in a consistent and scheduled manner.  This policy also prohibits our staff from sending emails after work hours and on weekends or school holidays. The intent behind this policy is to allow for a healthy work-life balance that allows our staff to be fully present for their family and friends. Sierra Verde staff will still reply to email communication within two working days of receiving an email.

    Last year I deleted email from my phone in an effort to break myself from constantly checking my inbox and in an overall attempt to reduce screen time that was distracting me from deep work and focus.  This is a practice that I have adopted in my personal life as well, in an attempt to spend more quality time with family and to allow my brain to relax and recharge, I have deleted all social media from my phone in an effort to take back my time and spend my energy on more important endeavours.  I also challenged staff to join me in deleting email from phones and tablets to further emphasize the importance of recharging and remaining fresh during work hours.  This year I would like to challenge any/everyone in the SV community to join in this effort to unplug from work and spend more quality, focused time with family, friends, and recharging from the 24/7 social media feeds and emails which have become a far too invasive part of our lives.

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  • An Extraordinary Year

    Posted by Tony Galietti on 6/3/2019

    I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you Vipers for helping to make 2018 - 2019 an extraordinary year at Sierra Verde.  Each and every day, I see many of you living out our mission and demonstrating acts of kindness, responsibility, and respect.  You've worked hard, practiced grit and continued to fail forward through struggles, revisions and reflection.  Some of you have achieved great academic accolades, earned honor roll, principal's list, or achieved fantastic results on AzMERIT or AIMS.  Many of you have excelled in one of our clubs, sports teams, or in our band, choir, or arts programs.  Congratulations on all of these outstanding achievements and keep reaching and striving to grow.

    This year we have embraced and explored the concept that #anythingispossible at Sierra Verde.  I have watched you work hard on solving problems and tackling challenges using the Engineering Design Process.  You have worked together with your classmates and designed amazing structures, apps, 3D creations, websites, and other STEAM based projects all year long.  You've taken some amazing field trips, had a great time at Bingo Night, Carnival, STEAM night and ran your hearts out at our Fun and Color Runs.  These are memories that will stick with you for many years to come.

    As we close out this year at Sierra Verde, I urge you to continue sharpening and practicing all of these important skills you've developed.  Continue to explore, create, design, test and revise in and out of school.  Find ways to demonstrate kindness and grit, look for opportunities to fill buckets and reach out to those who need a friend.  Set big goals for yourselves and don't give up until you've accomplished them no matter how many times you fail.  Learn from your mistakes, demonstrate gratitude, and celebrate your growth and success.  To our Kinders through 7th graders, we look forward to welcoming you back to an even better year in 2019 - 2020.  To our 8th graders, we wish you all the very best in high school.  I cannot wait to see the big things that are in store for you as you develop and grow into tomorrow's leaders.  I am proud to be your principal!




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