- Scott Elementary School
Principal's NewsletterPosted by Hugh Boger on 5/27/2020
Choose the View All box above to see the Year-End 2020 newsletter from Mr. Boger.
Summer 2020Posted by Hugh Boger on 5/27/2020
May 27, 2020
Dear Scott Community,
In August of 2017, I stood in front of the Scott Staff in a professional development session for the first time as the Scott School principal. It was also my first step in building support for a shared vision and belief statement for our school. The following two statements were shared on that day and continue to be a foundation for all of our work:
- Vision - Positively influence the trajectory of every student through quality instruction, social emotional growth, and collective efficacy among staff, students, and families.
- Belief - An exemplary school ensures Every Child, Every Day, is Successful. Together We Can.
Quality Instruction and social emotional growth are concepts we think about, talk about, and reflect upon daily. The concept of collective efficacy, on the other hand, is less concrete and isn’t always explicitly addressed. However, research indicates that collective efficacy has a tremendous positive impact on student growth and a school’s overall success.
There are several definitions of collective efficacy, depending on the setting and context of where it is applied. In an article of Educational Leadership titled “The Power of Collective Efficacy” the concept is explained as follows: “When a team of individuals share the belief that through their unified efforts they can overcome challenges and produce intended results, groups are more effective.” Research emphasized that a “shared belief” is a critical component of collective efficacy. In other words, a group must truly believe they can accomplish more as a group before they reap the full benefits of their collective efforts.
We can look back on the last couple months of remote learning and find plenty of ways it could’ve been better implemented. There’s value in doing so as long as it is solution-based and growth oriented. For today, I challenge us all to consider how we worked together, as a community, to support each other during the pandemic. Here’s a few that come to mind:
- Home and School initiated a large scale donation process for school supplies and crafts. I estimate that over two hundred families have received the “Grab and Go” craft bags, and we continue to hand them out as needed.
- Meals and food items such as cereal, breakfast bars, and applesauce packs have been donated and disseminated as needed.
- Electronic Devices were delivered (and in some cases were donated) to families needing additional technology support for remote learning and for other uses.
- Parades, videos, Padlets, and Flipgrids were organized, made, and shared to promote camaraderie and connection.
Last, but certainly not least, I am absolutely aware of the work of families to support their Scott Eagle in remote learning. It was certainly not easy and some could even argue it wasn’t practical in all situations. I have a daughter who participated in remote learning and know first-hand the support needed – regardless of their age, level of independence, or levels of performance.
You’ve probably heard your child say “Together We Can” and possibly heard me say it as well. My hope is that this is much more than a catch phrase or a short-lived trend as a result of COVID 19 (as we see and hear it more and more on social media). As I addressed above, research is very clear that we can accomplish so much more together. However, we must truly believe it in order to reap the full benefits. Next time you hear or read the phrase, please take a moment to consider how we can work better together than we can as individuals. I will do the same. The students of Scott School depend on it and deserve it.
I sincerely thank each and every one of you for what you do for your child and what you do – directly or indirectly - for our Scott community. As I wrote above “When a team of individuals share the belief that through their unified efforts they can overcome challenges and produce intended results, groups are more effective.” I believe this. I hope you do as well.
If there’s anything I can do to help you during the summer, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or by leaving a voicemail at (630) 420-6477.
I hope you have a peaceful, healthy, and fun summer.
Together We Can,
Winter 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 12/20/2019
Dear Scott Community –
There are a lot of things about Scott School that make me both thankful and proud. One of these is the work of our parent-led organizations. Home and School is one of these organizations that does so much for the students at Scott. As their mission states, Home and School “ promotes cooperation and communication between school and home for the maximum benefit of students.” Some of this is done at our open monthly meetings or other meetings with members of the Home and School Executive Board. Much of it is done through the ongoing work of committees under the leadership of committee chairpersons. Examples of this include major event planning and organization, room party coordination and planning, assemblies, and fundraising. This year, Home and School provided over $10,000 that went directly to teachers and classrooms. This was in addition to the other unique learning opportunities funded by Home and School such as field trips and assemblies.
Last week, I asked staff to share with me some thoughts about the value of our robust Home and School organization. Here are some of the statements:
They help create the village that supports our students and strengthens our community.
During our in-school health screenings (vision/hearing and dental) we are quick to get volunteers to help. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them!
Every year our students are able to experience a field trip or two without financial worry thanks to the generosity of Home and School.
Scott Home and School more than doubles the amount of books the LC can purchase each year. We are beyond extremely grateful for the leadership and support of the Scott Home and School Book Fair committee.
The Family Connections Committee through Home and School has assisted our Scott School families throughout the years with clothing, toy, food, and tangible donations that have made a life changing impacts on our students and their families.
It’s amazing to see our kids having a blast and learning at the assemblies funded by Home and School.
Our students get so excited about the room parties. They always have a great time.
We are lucky to have several parent led organizations that support our mission and our commitment to Every Child, Every Day, A Success. SUCCESS (School Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) and Scout troops are a couple others that significantly contribute to our mission. We also have you, the adult in your child’s life, that contributes every day to the success of your child and others.
I am thankful for all the work you do – whether it’s through Home and School, SUCCESS, Scouts, park district community coaches, any other organization, or through the work you do independently with your child each and every day. We all benefit from your work and commitment!
Together We Can.
I hope you all have a wonderful winter break. I’ll be around if you need anything!
Fall 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 9/25/2019
Dear Scott Community –
At Scott School, we believe that more can be accomplished as a collective group than can be accomplished individually. This is just one reason we state “Together We Can” in unison as part of our morning announcements.
“Together We Can” is relevant on many different levels – for two or more students in the classroom or on the playground, for teachers analyzing data and designing responsive instruction, and for all other stakeholders that influence the growth of Scott students.
The research is clear. When teachers and parents work together, students will learn and grow more. One way our staff is working to improve this collaboration is to keep you better informed. In fact, increasing communication to parents is part of our formal school improvement process.
Here are four items that staff should be sharing with you on a regular basis:
- What your child is learning in reading, math, writing, and social emotional learning (SEL).
- What your child can do well in reading, math, writing or SEL.
- What your child needs focused improvement on in reading, math, writing, or SEL.
- Key dates and events
Teachers can do this in a variety of ways. Some possibilities include a newsletter, e-mail, technology (SeeSaw, Remind App, Canvas, etc.), sending student work home, or a phone call. Please do not hesitate to contact your teacher if you have specific questions about your child’s progress.
Speaking with your child about what she/he is learning in school is one way to show how you value what is being learned/taught. Ideally, you could also find opportunities to integrate what is being learned/taught into your child’s everyday life experiences. This makes learning relevant, which is extremely important.
I encourage you to share ways you are doing this at home with other parents and Scott Staff. One way you might do this is to send a tweet to @scottprincipal and/or @H_Boger Twitter pages. Another way is to share it with your child’s classroom teacher.
If you ever have ideas on how we can better serve
all students, please do not hesitate to share them
with me. Together We Can!
Thanks for being our partners!
August 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 8/12/2019
Hello Everyone - The Scott Staff and I are incredibly excited to see your children this coming Thursday for grades 1 to 5 and kindergarten on Friday. I know this because of the energy I see, hear, and feel in the building as our teachers prepare their classrooms to make this year extra special for your child.
Please note a few items new to Scott School this year:
Change to Dismissal Procedures for Walkers
Students being picked up via the parent drive (in a car) will continue to exit Door 1 the same as last year. Students that will be met by a parent, on foot, will exit either Door 13 or 14 (marked as K and 1 above). Adults will remain in the waiting area (noted on the attachment) until the child reaches this area and is joined with the adult. This will be the only location on school grounds that adults will be allowed to wait for their child on foot. We have created a new staff supervision location to support this area and to ensure all students are supervised until with the appropriate parent/guardian. Note – If more often than not your child will be picked up on foot with you in the waiting area, please notify the classroom teacher. In the event your plans change, staff will easily direct your child to the appropriate location using other supervisory staff or communicating by radio. This change was initiated by both community members and Scott staff to address ways to improve the safety and security of all students at dismissal. Thank you for your patience as we explore this change.
Scott School is proud to have the following new staff members for the upcoming year:
- Christine Germany – Math Specialist
- Kimmy Krzyszkowski – English Learner Teacher
- Dan Bajek – Filling in for Kayla Wagner as the Physical Education teacher while she is on a one year leave of absence
- Dawn Weathers – Will start in early September as the art teacher and work for approximately 12 weeks while Katie Nichols is on an extended leave.
- Dianna Duddy – Student Support Coordinator
- Jon Crawford - Student Support Coordinator
- Kristen Kowalkowski - Student Support Coordinator
- Sue Bowman – Occupational Therapist
I am very excited to announce our breakfast pilot program will continue this year. Attached to this correspondence is a letter with details about the program. Please note two changes (highlighted in yellow). Based on community feedback, we will start serving breakfast at 7:45 and the majority of students will eat their breakfast in the gymnasium instead of the classroom. Students eating breakfast must complete breakfast in time to fully participate in instruction starting at 0820.
I am fired up about the upcoming school year and I hope you are as well. I can’t wait to “high five” your kids on their first day of school!
As always, I hope you will contact me if you have questions, concerns, or feedback on how to make Scott a better place for all.
Summer 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 6/6/2019
Dear Scott Families –
As our school year comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you. I thank you for sending your children to school every day, for trusting me with their safety and growth, and for partnering with me to ensure they are successful every day. The Scott staff and I could not do it without you.
Needless to say, the energy in the building is busting at the seams. While many are counting down the days and thinking about summer break, it is also a great time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished. Together we’ve learned quite a bit. We’ve learned about traditional academic topics, about how to improve our social/emotional skills, and about how to be an integral part of a community. Hopefully, what we’ve learned and the positive experiences we’ve had will remain with us long past the last day of school.
The Scott Staff has learned quite a bit as well. Our school improvement plan focused on increasing rigor, how to provide more meaningful and relevant feedback to students, and how to create a classroom culture that proactively supports high levels of engagement and positive behavior. Next year, we are going to continue this focus but with a specific emphasis on math instruction.
As a principal in year two at Scott, I’ve also learned quite a bit. Some of what I’ve learned is as concrete as how to (or how not to) run a more safe and efficient arrival/dismissal plan. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are better now than we were two years ago. I’ve also learned some more general skills related to better understanding our community, partnering with all stakeholders, and collectively working towards a vision where all students can be successful…every day.
As you start to think about summer, I ask one favor. Please dedicate consistent time to read aloud with your child. Whether they are going into 5th grade or kindergarten, the research is clear - reading aloud with your child has tremendous benefits. According to a blogpost I recently read via Twitter (https://happyyouhappyfamily.com/raising-smart-kids
- Your child will hear a wider variety of words.
- You grow your child’s brain, literally.
- You put her/him on the path to be a lifelong reader.
- Your child’s behavior will improve.
- You build a stronger bond with your child.
- You increase your child’s capacity for empathy.
I encourage you to read this blogpost. It addresses some common barriers/challenges to reading aloud with your child. I will be much better at reading with my children this summer as a result of reading this post!
Thanks for being my partner! I’ve once again had a blast and consider myself lucky to be a part of your community! If you need anything from me, please call the office or just stop by. I’ll be in the office almost all summer!
Have a great summer break!
Sincerely, Hugh Boger
Spring 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 3/22/2019
A few Saturdays ago, I attended a “Trivia Night” fundraiser for my son's preschool - Hobson Academy. The first category of the evening was Naperville history. I was able to answer one question about Mayor Pradel but it was a question all others knew as well. I was no help for any of the other questions. The next category was pop culture and I wasn’t much help there either. Then came a history category. Despite this being a relative strength of mine, I couldn’t answer the questions in this category either. Unfortunately, most of the questions dealt with pop culture-type history and not the historical categories I read or study.
But, then came the music category. The very first question in this category was - "Name the song and band in the very first video on MTV." I nailed it! In fact, this drew a few remote high fives from across the table. Then came a couple others that I knew - Elvis. Elton John. Louis Armstrong. I was able to answer most of the questions in this category – several when the rest of the group had no guess at all. After this category, I was rejuvenated and “fired up.”
While reflecting on the night, I remembered the experience of one of our 5th grade students at Outdoor Education. This student hit the archery target with every shot he took. Most shots taken by students don’t even make it to the target or fly well past. After hitting his final target, he turned to a teacher and said "I am so happy I found my hidden talent. I feel so good about myself." There was no sarcasm in his voice. It was sincerely a statement of pride, confidence, and comfort. Beautiful.
The concept of "Every Child. Every Day. A Success." connects directly to how a student feels when she/he leaves school each day. My hope is that we’ve created an environment, culture, and multiple opportunities for every student to feel good about who they are through some measure of success. As teachers, I believe we have an awesome opportunity and an ethical obligation to ensure each student, each day, feels good about who they are and has the confidence to become who they want to become.
One small way we try create opportunities for students to be proud of who they are is through the Scott School Mission Maker program. This program mirrors the district level program of the same name. The purpose is to identify students that exemplify our district mission which is to produce students who are self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community Contributors. I’ve added some Scott specific criteria as someone who exemplifies the concept of “Together We Can” and anyone that helps Scott move “One step closer to being the kindest school on the planet.” The students can be nominated by any adult in the building. At the end of the month, all students nominated receive a certificate by me, a letter explaining why they were nominated, and are recognized on the morning announcements.
The Scott staff and I hope initiatives such as the Mission Maker program, along with daily authentic opportunities, will create a school culture where we recognize the unique gifts and talents of all students. We want every child, every day to be proud of who they are and excited about who they can become. While we certainly have work to do, we strive to move closer to this goal every day.
Please let me or your child’s teacher know if you have ideas on how to better support your child in finding her/his talents, feeling proud about who she/he is, and being excited about who she/he can become. Together We Can.
Winter 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 12/22/2018
Dear Scott Families,
A few years ago, I watched a Tedx Talk by Dewitt Jones titled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” Dewitt Jones was a National Geographic photographer for several years. I’ve been following his blog since then and often return back to it when I need some inspiration and a refocus on the positive. His general philosophy, as indicated on his website (www.celebratewhatsright.com), is as follows:
Every time they [National Geographic] sent me out, they would ask me to Celebrate What's Right with the World. I did, and it changed my life. Every day I see images that make me want to celebrate, and have discovered that there is far more right with the world than there is wrong with it. Celebrate What’s Right with the World… It's a simple yet powerful idea that encourages us look at our world through a more positive lens.
Earlier this month, we hosted “GiftMart” for the first time in District 203. This was an opportunity for some of our families to purchase donated but new toys for their children at a drastically reduced price. Words cannot describe how beautiful this was. It was beautiful for those that participated and equally as beautiful for those that volunteered. It also generated over $600 that will go directly back to our school “scholarship fund” to support others in need. I sat in my office yesterday, long after the last volunteer left, in awe of what I just experienced. Looking at a couple of Dewitt Jones’ photos hanging in my office reminded me to “Celebrate What’s Right in the World.”
We have a lot of great things happening at Scott School and in partnership with our community. A few weeks ago, our community collected over 800 pounds of food and associated items as part of our Fall Food Drive. That’s double what we usually collected. Families in our community directly benefitted from this food drive. A couple weeks ago, the Scott SUCCESS group made 150 holiday cards for an assisted living facility in the area. Between the Naperville Education Fund (NEF), our Home and School, HURRAH, Kids Hope, and our community partnerships, I could write pages of “behind the scenes” ways these organizations support our students and our community.
We must certainly continue to identify areas for growth and challenges to overcome. However, I was reminded yesterday to also “Celebrate What’s Right in the World.” In my opinion, we have a lot to celebrate right here in our Scott community.
Thank you for all you do to support Scott School and our community.
Fall 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 9/24/2018
Dear Scott Families –
On Saturday, my seven year old daughter and I went to the Casey’s Foods to get some skirt steak tacos from the grill they fire up on the weekends. This has become somewhat of a tradition for my children and me when we have the opportunity. While the food is certainly good, the experience is even better. My son especially likes the energy and enthusiasm of the gentlemen working the grill. My daughter loves to sit at the picnic table with new people each time. Overall, it’s just a “feel good” experience!
While enjoying the conversation with my daughter and our table mates on Saturday, I observed Mr. Casey himself walking out to the parking lot. He spent about ten minutes gathering up empty grocery carts and then returned them to the storefront. I was so surprised at this sight that I confirmed his identify with the two cashiers. Not only did they confirm that it was him, but they shared that this was a common occurrence.
Perhaps Mr. Casey spends some of his time collecting empty carts because research says it positively impacts profits. Maybe he does it just to show everyone he is willing to do it. Or, maybe he has nothing better to do. I don’t believe any of these are the real reasons. I believe he does it because he loves what he does, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make shopping at his store a positive experience for all. It’s probably a collection of little things like this that make eating a skirt steak taco at a picnic table with complete strangers such a wonderful experience.
The Scott School community is filled with adults like Mr. Casey, who will do whatever it takes to make a child’s school experience positive. Teachers often do “little things,” which have a tremendous impact on their students’ academic and social/emotional growth. It’s also the seemingly little things you do that make a difference. You don’t have to be a school volunteer or serve on a committee to have a positive impact on your child’s education. Whether it’s reading with your child at night, talking to them about their school day, celebrating their efforts, or simply having them well-rested and ready for the school day…the “little things” you do make a difference. Thank you.
If you are looking for ways to positively influence your child’s school experience, don’t hesitate to ask. Likewise, don’t hesitate to contact me or your child’s teacher if you have ideas on how we can make Scott a better place for all. Even the little things count.
Together we can.
Hugh Boger, Principal
Summer 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 8/13/2018
Dear Scott Community,
It’s Saturday morning. I’m sitting in the conference room listening to the sounds of construction workers placing their finishing touches on our new heating, air conditioning, and plumbing elsewhere in the building. It’s a beautiful sound; School construction on Saturday produces a much better sound than construction on a Monday!
This morning while enjoying a donut with my pajama clad children at Dunkin Donuts, I ran into a Scott parent. He and I introduced our children, talked about Scouts, and made small talk about the upcoming school year. He did not appear to judge me for my pajama-like attire, nor did I judge them on their post “camp out” attire. It was a wonderful conversation that reminded me of how lucky I am to be a part of such a great community.
While sitting in the conference room accompanied by the scent of “Peace” (an essential oil gift and inside joke between me and a collaborative parent), I can hear the rhythmic sound of a jackhammer on concrete. Perhaps it’s the irony of peace and jackhammers that cause me to reflect on my morning and the myriad of conversations I’ve had very recently with parents- many of which will either directly or indirectly impact the success of their child. The conversations ranged from pleasantries to difficult, critical conversations. Some ended with complete agreement and some did not. But all ended, at least in my mind, with the absolute confidence that we all want what’s best for Scott students and our community.
This year I’ve added “Together We Can” to the oft used and referenced Scott phrase “Every Child. Every Day. A Success.” “Together We Can” is relevant on many different levels – for two students in the classroom or on the playground, for teachers designing lessons to meet the needs of all learners, and for you and me. In my opinion, it’s a concept that we can all benefit from – at the community, state, and national levels, and beyond.
As the new school year is upon us, I consider how lucky I am to be a part of this community and at Scott for a second year. In order for success and growth to continue, Mr. Ernst and I need you. We need each other in order for every child, every day to be successful. We don’t need to always agree. In fact, I find extreme value in differing perspectives and ideas. However, the more effective we partner, the stronger our community will be. This is what I believe. Together, we can.
I can’t wait to see you and your children on the first day of school. I’m fired up!