Friday, May 9, 2014

May Blog

Faculty Laptops

All Faculty laptops must be turned in before you check out in June. Please create a personal backup for your data prior to turning in your laptop. Laptops will be re-imaged for use elsewhere. Bring me an external hard drive by May 30, if you would like me to show you how to back up your data. After that date, you are on your own as I will be swamped with end of the year tech tasks. 
Email ACS Help Desk  if you have any questions. 
Thanks, Mary Beth and Dave

Do you want to purchase your current laptop?

All Faculty laptops will be replaced this year. If you would like to buy your current laptop, please let me know. If you have a white MacBook unibody, you may have the laptop for free once it has been reset to factory settings. If you have a MacBook Pro, the cost is $500. It will be reset to factory settings. The MBP's still have one year of Apple Care on them.

You will need to back up all your documents, photos and videos on a personal external hard drive. Then I will take your computer and reset it.  This will need to be done before you check out in June. 

If you need help backing up your data, please bring me an external hard drive and I will help you. The external hard drive can also be used for any future backups of data in your personal and school computer. When I set up the hard drive for you, I will create two partitions for you, one for school data and one for personal data. Then you can get into the practice of backing up your own computers at home as a secondary safeguard in case the servers at school crash, or the computers themselves crash.

In summary, to purchase or keep your laptop, you need to do the following:
1. Send me an email at telling me your want to keep or buy your laptop. 
2. Back up your laptop data on a personal external hard drive.  (Bring me the hard drive, if you want me to help you.)
3. Bring me the laptop and a check for the amount of $500 for the MBP made out to ACS, and I will reset your now personal computer. 
    OR bring me the MacBook Unibody and I will reset your now personal computer. 
4. Remember all faculty laptops, whether you are purchasing them or not, must be turned in before you check out in June. 

Let me know if you have any questions,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Blog

  • We will be having a lockdown drill involving students on this Friday, April 4th at 10:05.  See Schedule below.

For this drill our focus will be on locking the doors and hiding the children in an interior barricade. Please have your walkie-talkie with you and/or cell phone. We will only stay hidden for 5 minutes before I will call the all clear. At that point, please evacuate to the outside field for roll. You are not expected to barricade the door but you should cover the windows as much as possible.

A note has been sent to parents about the drill so that they can talk with their children about it.

I have talked to a number of knowledgeable people and thought a lot about how to present this to children, especially our younger ones. The goal is to make this procedure, like what we do for fire or earthquake drills, feel somewhat routine. That way, children will know what is expected in a real situation. We should not make a game of something that is so serious. Instead, we should be very matter-of-fact.

 “Here at school we practice drills to keep everyone safe. For a lockdown drill, we need to hide silently inside to keep safe. Here is how we do that in our class.”

You do not need to go into what the danger is outside or explain. I know that students may ask or want to tell. Just let them know that this is what we do for this drill to keep safe – lock the door, gather in this area, stay as quiet as possible.

Schedule for drill:
·      10:05 – Announcements (phone and walkie-talkies) and blasts on air horn. Admin watches areas rather than taking part. They check to see that doors are locked and if they can see children.
·      10:15 – All clear announced. Classes evacuate to outside field.
·      10:20 – Roll is done followed by dismissal back to class.

 Please feel free to email me questions or come talk to me about your ideas/concerns.


  • To Access the color copier from a computer:

First: run Managed Software Updates

To run Managed Software Updates, go to Finder - Applications - Utilities- click on the Managed Software Update. 

Inline image 1
Follow the prompts to download and install. You may choose to install by logging out of not. If you have to restart, you will be prompted to do so. 

Once the install is complete, you will have all the up-to-date printer drivers to make printing work. 

Second: Select RM2_Sharp_MX6240N

Open the document you wish to print, select RM2_Sharp_MX6240N. 

*Once you have selected the printer, click on the Copies and Pages drop down menu. 
Select Job Handling.

Inline image 2
Select Authentication.
Inline image 3

Click on the button next to user number. Then type in your 5 digit code for copying. 

Click Print. 

*You will have to do each of the bolded steps every time you wish to print to the copier. Otherwise, the print job will not go through.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Blog

2nd Trimeseter Report Cards

The report card system is now open. Report cards are due on Monday, March 17th at 9:00.

Earthquake Drill
There will be an earthquake drill on Thursday, March 6th. The drill will not be announced to students ahead of time. Please review with students how to duck, cover, and hold, as well as how to evacuate your room safely before then.




I want to thank all the faculty for their support of prospective students as we complete the admissions process for the first round of decisions. We virtually doubled our applications in the five weeks after winter break making it a challenge to fit in all the shadow days, assessments, and family interviews. All of this information helps the Admissions Committee make the best choices possible. If you have any outstanding student assessments, please send them to Mary Jo Heindel as soon as possible.

Mark your calendar for the teacher appreciation luncheon on March 21 during in-service day. 

If you have not yet rsvp'd for the auction, I encourage you to enjoy an evening at the Downtown Summit Center. Convenient parking, good food and, from what I hear, a good DJ.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tech Tips for February

Gala, Our Trusty, Hard-Working Server
The server that syncs and backs up all school faculty and student data is at 84% of its maximum. Everyone can help reduce this number by deleting old files that are no longer needed or used.

To make sure you don't repopulate your home directory with deleted files, you must:
1. Empty your trash after you delete your files.
2. Make sure your sync your computer right after you have deleted your files while you are still on campus.

Remember a file includes any document, photo, video, or graphic.

If you have any trouble deleting or syncing files, please let me know.

Future Note: Faculty Computer Replacement
Next year, all staff that currently has a computer will get a new computer. Between now and then, it would be a good idea to begin to delete redundant files. You will also need to put any personal and school photos and videos on an external storage device such as a flash drive or an external hard drive before you turn in your old computer.

Deleting and Adding Printers and Applications
Your computers are no longer set up to add printers or applications. If you want to add a school printer or an application to your computer, you will add it through Managed Software Updates. The Software Update under the Black Apple menu in the upper left hand corner of your screen no longer works. Let Dave know if you want to add a school printer or an application and he will configure it so that it can be accessed through Managed Software Updates which is stored under Applications or Utilities. By managing printers and software this way, we can make sure that defunct printers don't show up in your choices and that all pieces of a software application get installed properly which will minimize your issues with using the application.

Looking for photos appropriate for student use in the Public Domain.

When your students are looking for photos that are copyright friendly and child friendly, one great resource is Pics4Learning. It isn't as robust as Google Images but you won't run into undesirable images either. The photos have been contributed mostly by teachers. Be sure to preview the pictures in a category first as they may not be catalogued correctly. For example, I searched for images of Nevada and found pictures of Yosemite included.

As always, if you have any questions, please send your questions to ACS Help Desk.

Thanks, Mary Beth and Dave

February Blog

Thanks to everyone for a successful Enrollment Open House in January. Applications for the first round of decisions closed on February 7 with 75 applications to process before the Admissions Committee meets in early March. During the family interviews one of the most frequent comments we get is how welcoming and friendly our students are to shadows. I know you help our students learn those skills and want you to know what a positive impression they make on prospective families. We will continue to hold weekday open houses once a month for preschool and kindergarten prospects as long as we have capacity. Janet

Patriotic Assembly

Just a reminder that the Patriotic Assembly is coming up the week after our Presidents’ Week break. The title is Go USA and the theme is Healthy Individuals.

The assembly is on Thursday morning. There will be practice times on Tuesday and Wednesdaywhen you will be able to get into the auditorium and work with your class on stage. I will send an email out this week about this, and will have the sign up sheet in the faculty room.

New Drapes

Hopefully, you have noticed the new drapes hanging in the Apple Orchard, Elizabeth Pombo’s room, and the Elementary Science room. Many thanks to Veronica for making this happen.

Elementary teachers, please take a look at the drapes in the Science room and think about whether you would like something like that for your room.

Emergency Cards

A big “thank you” to Helen Herr for creating our first set of emergency cards. These are cards with each student’s medical and emergency information as well as pick up permissions. She has put them in plastic holders that hang on students’ necks. These are kept in the emergency shed and will be invaluable in an emergency. We will use them as a way to check attendance, to be sure of who we can release them to, and to have medical information at hand.

These cards are also being created for faculty and staff as well. To make them viable, we will need to get more detailed emergency information from many of you, such as your provider, conditions, and emergency contacts. We will request that at some point this spring.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January Faculty Blog

Dear Faculty,

The next Enrollment Open House will take place on Saturday, January 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
. January is usually our biggest open house. We look forward to welcoming potential families that day. These families really appreciate the opportunity to meet teachers and learn more about the classroom experience at ACS. Thanks in advance for the time and effort it takes to make your room inviting. 

ACS is moving to automatic re-enrollment this year. Families will receive information later this week about the mechanics of the new program. I will send the timeline document to everyone on the faculty and staff so you will have what the parents see. This week families on financial assistance will receive a memo from Steve regarding the new third party financial aid evaluation tool called FAST. It is accessed from the website and provides the financial aid committee with consistent financial aid information based on families' incomes and assets. Also this week, the families of current begindergarten students will receive their placement for next year (JK or K). 

Over the break ACS continued to receive donations to the Annual Giving Campaign. Thanks to the generosity of  faculty/staff, parents, board members and alumni, the AGC has topped previous records and tops $323,000 in gifts and pledges. Parent participation stands at 63%. 


Patriotic Assembly - Thursday, February 27th at 9:00 am
Please notice the date change. The Patriotic Assembly was moved to the 27th to accommodate the First grade play.

Practice days will be Tuesday and Wednesday, the 25th and 26th.

In conjunction with the Sochii Olympics, the assembly will focus on the Healthy Individual ESLR and will have the title of Go USA! (Actually, we are open for a better title.)

PLP Reminders
Here are the due dates for PLPs:
·      enrichment/elective teachers - comments due to homeroom teachers on Tuesday, January 21 by midnight.
·      homeroom teachers - final copies (including enrichments) to Gary/Cecilia on Thursday, January 23, by midnight.

Clearly, early finishers will be appreciated.

So you know, you will have dedicated time to work on PLPs on:
Tuesday, Jan. 14 - after-school meeting dedicated to PLPs
Tuesday, Jan. 21 - 10:00 - 12:00 (inservice day)

Homeroom teachers should have gotten an updated PLP template for this year by email from Gary. Please contact him if you did not or have questions.

Fire Drill, January 28th
This fire drill will be unannounced to students and will be sometime in the afternoon.

App Fair
The first annual ACS App Fair will be a chance for students and parents to share and present apps, programs, and coding projects they have created. This will be after school on April 9th and open to grades 3-8. Students in K-2nd  grades who are interested can speak with Mrs. Gay or Mr. DeMoss about taking part in the fair. There will be more information coming out to parents and students about how they can take part and times students can work on their own projects at school. Mary Beth and Gary are organizing this showcase of our students’ talents with computers and programming. More information and details soon.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Did you know you could do a Google search by reading level?
Read on to find out how simple it is!

How to Search a Topic by Reading Level

Go to Google and type in the topic you want to research.

Click on Search Tools

Click on All results and you will see other choices in the drop down menu. Select Reading Level.

At the top of the list of resource list, you will see a graph that shows you how many of the following resources are at each of three reading levels.

Then as you scroll through the list, under each resource heading, the reading level is noted.

 Hopefully, this will help you and your students to focus on resources that are at an appropriate reading level for them.