- Sierra Verde STEAM Academy
- From the Desk of Mr. Galietti
Friday Update August 16, 2019Posted by Tony Galietti on 8/16/2019
Happy First Friday Vipers,
Our kids have had another fantastic week working hard on campus. Our teachers have been able to screen almost all of our students with beginning of the year reading and math assessments in these first 8 days of school. These results will allows us to group students and put interventions in place to ensure that all our Vipers are growing with the support they need in class and during Response to Intervention (RTI) time.
Viper Spirit Gear is still available for purchase until next Wednesday when the online shop closes for print and delivery. See the attached flyer or visit www.spiritgeardirect.com/shop to check out new styles.
PTSO had its first meeting last night, and we had over 20 parents in the media center to help share ideas, plan events, and develop strategies to help build our SV community this year. We have a lot of exciting events and opportunities coming, please get involved and support our school. Be sure to visit their website at https://sierraverdeptso.weebly.com and sign up to volunteer. Even just 1 hour of your time all year makes a difference.
Curriculum Night is next Thursday, August 22, for all grades. Each grade level will have a designated half hour time to present. Below you will find the list and locations for all our teams. Just a reminder, that this is an informational night about curriculum, and teachers will not be able to conference or answer questions regarding individual students.
Sage room 710
Sage room 710
Our drop off and pick up are continuing to get faster and we wanted to remind everyone of a few policies to keep all our kids safe.
- Placards: Please remember to have your placard visible in the dash when you are in the front pick up line. If you need any additional placards, please pick one up from the office or let your teacher know and we can send one home with your student.
- Potter Gate: This gate will be closed beginning Monday, August 19. Students may enter at one of the three other gates or use the front parking lot drop off loop. Please visit our website to view the map for locations.
- Front drop-off/Pick-up Loop: Please remember to stay in your vehicle when you are in the unloading/loading zone. Teachers are available to assist students.
Remember next Friday, August 23 will be another 90-minute early release day. We will dismiss at 2:00 pm and lunch will be served to all students.
Have a safe and relaxing weekend,
Friday Update August 7, 2019Posted by Tony Galietti on 8/9/2019
Happy First Friday Vipers,
It is so great to welcome everyone back to campus for the 19-20 School Year! Thanks for helping to make it a great first week of school. Our kids are already settled into their classroom routines, learning about new grade level expectations, and are diving into their work.
Viper Spirit Gear is now available for purchase. See the attached flyer or visit www.spiritgeardirect.com/shop and be sure to order your Viper pride shirts before August 21 when the online shop closes for print and delivery.
PTSO is having its first general meeting open to all on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 6:15 pm in the Media Center. We have a lot of exciting events and opportunities this year, please get involved and support our school. Be sure to visit their website at https://sierraverdeptso.weebly.com where you can become a member and get plugged in to the SV community.
This year we are hoping to strengthen connections and keep all our families informed with the extraordinary experiences that happen at Sierra Verde each and every day. Head on over to our Sierra Verde website where you can now stream our daily announcements each day and stay-up-to-date with our campus. Our website has just been updated, be sure to read about our newest teachers, learn how you can donate to our teacher’s Amazon wish lists and Donor’s Choose projects, read the Principal’s blog, and listen to Mr. Lane and Mrs. Scofield’s new “Nailed it” Wall Podcast at www.dvusd.org/sierraverde . Also be sure to follow @SVViperPride on Twitter to see pictures of amazing vipers in action working hard throughout the week.
We would like to thank all of you for helping to shave over 45 minutes off our opening week dismissal process time compared to last year! We have worked hard to make sure our arrival and dismissal is as safe and efficient as it can be to handle the large volume or parent pick up and drop off here on campus. We would also like to remind everyone, that parking along Potter in the back of campus and picking up kids is unsafe and creates dangerous situations where kids cross between cars without a crosswalk or adult supervision. We do not have the staff to safely monitor two pick up locations and we have cleared our front-parking loop in under 20 minutes for the first two days of school. Please direct your kids to go to parent pick up in the main loop so we can keep them supervised and safely load them into vehicles. We are in contact with the City of Glendale to have signage posted that clearly denotes this information.
Remember next Friday, August 16 will be our first 90-minute early release day for this school year. School will end 90 minutes earlier than the usual end time for teacher collaboration. Lunch will be served on Friday, but all Sierra Verde students will be released at 2:00 pm to allow teachers to attend their Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Please contact our office if you have any questions about this release.
Thanks for a great opening of school, have a wonderful weekend,
Being Proactive About Mental Health in Our KidsPosted by Tony Galietti on 8/1/2019
As we begin another school year, one of the major goals for Deer Valley, and for Sierra Verde specifically, is to identify, treat, and work through mental health issues among our kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and behavior problems are all on the rise over the past 10-15 years. This is an unfortunate trend that most educators would verify with their own anecdotal evidence and is a trend we would all like to reverse. In addition to our school counselor Ms. Dibrito, and our school psychologist Dr. Green, this year, Sierra Verde is partnering with Southwest Behavioral and Health Services to bring a Licensed Counselor on our campus, one day per week as part of a joint agreement between Deer Valley and SBHS. We are grateful to be able to partner with SBHS as it will allow our students access to more licensed professionals who are trained to deal with mental health in children and families. This partnership will also allow students and families to receive services off campus to continue to provide support in areas outside of the school setting and beyond the scope of Sierra Verde staff.
One of the other trends that has surfaced over the last few years is the increase in “helicopter”, or “lawn mower” parenting. The basic premise is simple, we don’t like to see our kids struggle so we attempt to remove any obstacle or barrier in front of them to remove said struggle. This notion comes out of love, however it only benefits kids in the immediate term. Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute warns “This style of parenting has longer term consequences as focusing on short-term parenting goals will take away from the practice of important, long-term goals that kids can benefit from like resiliency, grit, problem-solving, conflict resolution and coping skills. When parents are removing obstacles for their child they are really taking away that opportunity for kids to learn those problem-solving techniques”. When kids rely on their parents to deal with everyday struggles, minor setbacks, and peer conflict, they are impeding their ability to develop and sharpen these skills which are a necessary and healthy part of every child’s development.
Empowering Parents has a great article that outlines 6 behaviors that will help you avoid helicopter parenting. The six behaviors are simple to understand, but require patience to put into practice:
- Don’t hover over your child
- Don’t make your child the center of your universe
- Don’t put your worry on your child’s back
- Don’t label your child
- Don’t take it personally if your child doesn’t agree with you, or does things differently from you
- Don’t focus on your child as a way of not having to deal with your own struggles
Part of our mission at Sierra Verde is to prepare our students to be problem solvers and to work through difficult tasks and situations. These situations are not just academic in nature; we want our students to learn to advocate for themselves, confront problems and conflict in a healthy manner, and to learn to cope with, and learn from setbacks. This often means that a student may experience an uncomfortable confrontation in class, or get into a disagreement on the playground. This is also why it is not healthy to ban playground games or free play that may lead to conflict. Kids need to learn to cope with this conflict and deal with setbacks as they naturally occur without an adult micromanaging or preventing the situation. By removing barriers or banning activities or games which may lead to conflict and disagreement, we as adults set up an artificial set of circumstances that delays the development and sharpening of grit, conflict resolution and problem solving skills that we all need to be successful and productive.
Sierra Verde will also be implementing a new Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum this year for all our students K-8. This program is called Second Step, and is a research-based program that teaches kids skills and strategies to deal with emotions, anxiety, and coping mechanisms to help them deal with these emotions in healthy and productive ways. These lessons are aligned and sequenced to be taught weekly and will build at each grade level as students progress through Sierra Verde. We are excited to offer these new tiers of support on campus for our students and we hope you will join in helping our students learn to deal with conflict, setbacks, and adversity in healthy ways. Nobody enjoys conflict, but it is essential that we all work on these skills to develop into healthy and productive young adults.
#anythingispossible in 2019-2020Posted by Tony Galietti on 7/26/2019
I hope all of our Vipers are enjoying their summer and are getting ready to come back to campus for another year of learning and innovation. Our teachers are preparing classrooms, designing lessons, and finalizing all the back to school details in preparation for another fantastic school year. I am thrilled to begin year two of my Sierra Verde adventure, and am excited for all that lies ahead of us this year. We will continue to show that #anythingispossible when you work hard, excercise grit, and think critically to solve problems no matter the obstacles. We will also be working to answer the essential question “How do we conserve at Sierra Verde?” this year as the unifying theme for our STEAM days and projects for all grades. Our STEAM days will no longer fall on early release Fridays, but every team will continue to have monthly STEAM projects which will work best for their lesson plans and pacing guides.
Next week, our back to school events begin with New to SV orientation and tours led by our Student Council on Wednesday, July 31 at 1:00 pm in the media center. This event is for 3rd - 8th grade students only (parents can pick up their kids at 2:00 pm). On Thursday, August 1 at 5:00 pm we have our Intro to Kindergarten night in the media center for all enrolled Kindergarten parents. This event is for parents of enrolled Kindergarten students only, not for students or siblings as it will be an information session without childcare. Meet Your Teacher night will be Monday August 5th from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. MYT Night will be an open-house drop-in format where you will be able to see classrooms, meet the staff, sign up for PTSO, open meal accounts, determine transportation options, and catch up with friends before school officially opens on August 7.
As we head into another extraordinary school year, I would like to encourage all of our families to join our PTSO and volunteer just one hour of time in some capacity this year. We have a brand new PTSO that is full of energy, ideas, and strategies to help support our kids and provide a first class educational experience for all our students. Please sign up and make an impact on campus this year. We look forward to a huge turnout on August 5 and are ready for our annual back to school Happy New Year celebration on August 7.
Email, Social Media, and the Battle for BalancePosted 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.
An Extraordinary YearPosted 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!