Monday, January 18, 2021

Week of January 19th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 26
January 19th, 2021

Principal's Message

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr day, and today, we are two days away from transitioning out of the tyranny of the Trump administration.  In his iconic I have a Dream speech, Dr. King said,

"So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed."

It is hard to listen and read this speech in the light of what we know today and what we have witnessed year after year as black men and women are subjected to oppressive and fatal treatment by those charged to uphold the laws of the "American Dream"

But believing and pursuing the dream in the face of all that we know and all that we have seen is precisely Dr. King's call to action.  There is no doubt we have gone through "difficulties" (too gentle of a word in today's sense or reality).  There is no doubt that these & new "difficulties" will continue through tomorrow and beyond.  However, our charge is to continue to dream and create the justice, equity, and egalitarianism for all people.  Together, in our daily lives and our daily roles, each of us are part of the work needed to realize the American dream as it should be (not necessarily as it was originally written).

Doing the work will be hard.  But know, that in doing the work, we are creating hope and preparing our future generation to continue building on this wave of change begun so many years ago, with a speech that generated a dream for generations.

  



Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings
There's QUITE A FEW NEW ONES this week!!!

Birthdays This Week

No Staff Birthdays This Week

Sunday, 17JAN:  Vicaa (11)
Monday, 18JAN:  Shaniya P (8)
Tuesday, 19JAN:  Anissa SL (6), Jahya W (9)
Saturday, 23JAN:  Uniyah (10)

                                                         


UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) No updates this week.

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday 11JAN to review plans for the staff engagement on Friday, 22JAN, a follow-up experience to understanding how Deficit Thinking appears in our classroom practices and how we can better plan and approach our lessons to remove barriers to learning and combat deficit thinking.  This Friday afternoon staff meeting will be facilitated by SRC members, Nina & Nadine!

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  The equity team has been working on gathering data to analyze growth of students after entering UAI. Suzannah and Nina have met with Phil to gain a better understanding of this data in order to share with all of the members of the equity team when we meet again Tuesday 1/19.


Focus Groups.  Thank you to all the folks who joined us for staff focus groups in thinking about how best to prepare for the remainder of the school year.  Thank you also to those of you who shared insights from your own student focus groups.  Those were incredible informative and helpful in thinking about next semester, and in some cases next year!  If you didn't get a chance to join a focus group and would still like to share your ideas or the feedback from your own student groups, please reach out to Kiri, Annie, or Jen.  We'll set up some time to meet with you!

NX Communication.  MP2 ends next Wednesday, 27JAN21.  For any students who will be receiving an NX for your course, please make sure to do the following by Friday 29JAN21:
  1. Please contact home and discuss with the families why the student has not yet met course standards and what they need to do in MP3 in order to meet standards by the end of MP3.
  2. For any family that you are unable to speak to, please let Kiri, Annie or Jen know and we will provide you with assistance and support.
 
Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday (but Tuesday this week because of the holiday).  By the end of the day on Tuesday 19JAN21, all gradebooks should have at least:  7 Participation Grades, 7 Progress Grades, and 1 Performance Grade.  By the end of the Marking Period, you have a total of 8 Participation Grades, 8 Progress Grades, and 2 Performance Grades.  You can review the Grading Policy to better understand what kinds of grades go into each category.

Feedback on School Policies for SRC.  The SRC will be reviewing the policies set in place last November.  Many, many thanks to the 14 folks who already completed THIS SURVEY to provide feedback on the policies.  Surveys are not ideal, but they do allow us to gather your input without loading up your calendars with tons and tons of meetings.  Your feedback matters! Please take some time to complete this survey.




Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

Peer Mentoring Program.  In a dual effort to provide students with academic support AND opportunities for leadership, we are launching a peer-mentoring program.  We are looking for 1-3 staff members to develop & lead this program that will be able to provide students with academic support from peers as well as provide students with leadership and mentoring experience.  In addition to building academic and mentoring skills, the goal of this program is to build student relationships and school community.  Please complete the per session form and email Annie with your interest.  Hours will range from 1-3 hours per week per staff member. Posting closes 01FEB.

Summer School Curriculum Writers.  In preparation for summer school, we need teachers to work collaboratively to write units and lessons plans for summer school NX students.  These curriculum writers will be expected to work 1-2 hours per week to meet/write/review units and lesson plans for the summer.  The goal will be to have fully complete lessons that can be reviewed with summer school staff by Monday, 14JUN21.  The team will be working on core subjects and working in conjunction with Annie and Kiri.  There will be 4-6 positions available.  Posting closes on 25JAN21.  Please complete the per session form and email Kiri to apply. Posting closes 25JAN.

SRC Sub Committees.  The SRC met on 04JAN to plan for the spring term to address revisions/redoing of the school schedule and to reflect on and evaluate the new pedagogical practices we implemented during remote learning.  We are looking for staff to join one of two subcommittees (Scheduling and COVID Lessons Learned).  These committees will meet regularly (as determined by the committee) to create the schedule for the 2021-22 school year, and identify and refine pedagogical practices from Remote Learning that will continue into the next school year.  Timelines on this are imminent, so this special post will begin as of today and close two weeks from today on Tuesday, 19JAN20.  Please complete THIS FORM by 19JAN20 to apply for either of these subcommittees.  As an FYI, the SRC is joining with the Circles Committee and Equity Team to revamp the hiring process.  The goal is to complete the revamp by 01FEB in time to launch our hiring season.  As a result, there wasn’t time to post a new sub-committee position for two weeks and meet the 01FEB deadline. Posting closes 25JAN.

Data Team.  The Equity Team and SRC are in need of data support.  We need a team of folks who have experience with basic functions in excel (using formulas, sorting, filtering, creating charts, etc.) and have a willingness to learn to master DOE data platforms (ATS, STARS, New Visions Data Portal).   The job will be to access DOE data platforms to pull requested data (as requested by the Equity Team or SRC) and use tools (like Excel) to present that data in accessible formats for the Equity & SRC teams and for the staff and community in general.  Hours will vary as needed, but will average at 1-2 hours per week (in training and working).  Posting is open through 25JAN, please complete the per session interest form and email Kiri if interested. Posting closes 25JAN.

Academic Skill Development Advisory Lesson Developer. The Counseling Team is looking for on person to help create advisory lessons that will support student academic skill building. Topics include, but are not limited to: Navigating GC efficiently, How to use Google Calendar to support time management and work submission, How to Navigate Pupil Path to support Informed decision making. The Ideal candidate will create at least 1 unit of lessons (8-10 lessons) . Lessons must include both the lesson plan for advisors and accompanying slides and student activities. Approx 20 hours of per session total. Posting closes on 25JAN. Please complete the per session interest form and email Jen if interested. Posting closes 25JAN.

Black History Month Community Activity Submissions. The Culture Committee is beginning to plan Black History Community Activities and we are looking for a wider range of staff voice and ideas. If you would like to help plan a community event for February, please complete the per session form ASAP. This year’s theme for Black History Month this year is: The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. Approx 10 hours of per session total per position with a minimum of two positions. 
Posting closes 25JAN.

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Week of January 11th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 25
January 11th, 2021

Principal's Message

Last week was certainly a roller coaster of political chaos.  From a recording of over election tampering & bullying to inciting an insurrection, Trump is the chaos agent that won't stop giving.  It is a cloud of darkness in the storm of COVID that is traumatic for all of us.

 Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the cavalry is around the corner.  Educators are now eligible for COVID vaccination.   Annie shared the link posted on twitter to register for the vaccine.  I do hope many of you were able to see that email and register.  As of this morning, it looks like all the spots have been taken.  However, the city website for making appointments for COVID vaccination is now up and running for educators.  So, please check there, too!

Certainly, there are many steps between getting the vaccine and returning to normal.  But, cherish this pivot.  We are at the first step of exiting the storm of COVID.  In at most 10 days, we will take our first step in exiting the storm of the Trump presidency.  While the first week of 2021 seemed like a grim continuation of 2020, these upcoming events promise a turn to a brighter future.





Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings
There's QUITE A FEW NEW ONES this week!!!

Birthdays This Week

Monday, 11JAN:  Happy Birthday Ms. Juelle!!
Tuesdya, 12JAN:  Happy Birthday Ms. Nancy!!

Sunday, 10JAN:  Yalani C (12)
Tuesday, 12JAN:  Shantana N (12), Lillian J (10), Alexis F (11)
Wednesday, 13JAN:  Jerlai T (6)
Friday, 15JAN:  Juvilee PB (12)
Saturday, 16JAN:  Stephanie M (10)

                                                         


UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) The Circle Committee met last Wednesday to plan this Friday’s upcoming staff circle. Friday’s discussion will be a continuation of our December Circle, with an emphasis on deficit thinking.

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday 04JAN to plan out the spring topics and created three subcommittees to interrogate & evaluate scheduling practices, hiring processes, and pedagogical practices developed during Remote Learning to suss out instances of bias, areas in need of improvement, and components to refine and keep.

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  No updates this week


Get Vaccinated!  As soon as you can, please sign up and get vaccinated.  At present, neither DOE nor the unions have mandated vaccination.  However, it is not unlikely that this will inevitably happen. The DOE mandates all sorts of vaccines for adults and students alike.  They have not yet released the options for any exceptions, but when they do I will share.  If you have any concerns, please do reach out!  Sarah R offered to discuss the vaccine via email earlier this weekend.  Similarly, my sister lead teams of researchers at Pfizer in the development of their vaccine.  I would be happy to share your concerns and questions with her, and I know she would be happy to join our staff for a Q & A with anyone who would be interested.


Talk to Your Students to Get Ideas for the Spring.  Our current rate of failing students is triple and in some instances quadruple what it was in our classes this time last year, before COVID.  In some sense, this is to be expected because each of us are brand new to teaching and learning through a screen.  Teachers are learning to master lesson plans based in technology, and our students are rapidly trying to develop the digital literacy and social emotional skills required to learn through a screen, independently at home.

When we first launched remote learning, we were all blindly grasping at whatever might work.  As we grew our technical skills, we found ways that worked & improved our approaches, but much of this came from throwing things at walls to see what stuck.

Now we have 10 months of experience & learning.  It is time to pause and approach our current predicament with science & logic.  Kids are struggling; we are struggling...while the vaccine is coming for teachers, there will be some many months before our entire community will be vaccinate.  We will be relying on screens for a significant portion of our students' learning for the rest of the year.  So, as we close out the fall and ready for the spring, we need to take a beat and discover more intentional approaches to our spring work.

This week & next, we're holding a series informal focus group sessions to find out from teachers & staff what they feel has worked and what support or development they feel is needed to be more successful in their remote teaching methods for the spring.  The goal of these informal focus groups is to gather information and ideas to prepare for our next full day of PD on February 1st, and for other PD experiences throughout the spring term.

STAFF TO DO:  Similarly, this week and next, us advisory and/or class time to gather feedback from your students to learn directly from them.  Focus on the answers you don't have.  Shape those into questions for the students who are at the center of those puzzles.  Also think about the students in your classes who have demonstrated success.  What do you want to learn from their experiences to help your own understanding of what to keep or change in your curriculum for the spring.  Finally, examine your curriculum from the perspectives of students.  Ask them questions that help identify any barriers that may exist for them in terms of access, engagement, and academic success.  What is required to be successful in your class and are there barriers that exist for some students that prevent them from having access to success in your class?
 

Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  Progress and Participation categories need to have at least 1 grade per week.  By the end of today, students should have at least 6 grades in Progress and Participation.  There are 4 more weeks remaining in the marking period.  If you do not have 6 grades in those categories do not create assignments to meet the minimum. Rather, shift your planning to meet the goal of at least 1 participation or progress grade per week.   

COVID Prognostication.  Now that we are in the pipeline for vaccination, many questions are popping up about what that means for a return to school.  DISCLAIMER - I do not KNOW anything for sure, but I will share my own DOE Tea Leaves interpretations.  Here's what I know and what I can best guess based on these knowings...
  • Only Four Weeks to Feb Break.  This is the first week educators are getting vaccinated.  There needs to be at least three weeks between the first and second dose (for both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines), and there are 135,000 employees in the DOE (not counting all the Charter, Parochial, and Private schools).  We will not be returning to in person school prior to February Break.

  • Almost 200K Vaccinated So Far.  DiBlasio has pledged to have 1 million vaccinations by January's end.  Since the vaccines arrived in NYC on 11DEC (one month ago), about ~192K (~177K - first dose, and ~15K - 2nd dose) have received vaccines.  NYC would have to more than triple that rate to reach DiBlasio's goal,  Given that they have not yet responded to the requests from Pfizer and Moderna to move the vaccines into pharmacies, that may be a hard goal to meet.  If they do make that move, the game will change and we will exponentially be able to near the goal. If that happens, there is a good chance that all DOE employees will be fully vaccinated by Spring Break.  

  • Spring Break is the Last Week of March.  It would make the most sense that IF we were to return to in-person working (notice that word choice), it would happen no sooner than after Spring Break (05APR21).  Of course, "making sense" has not been this current administration's forte...so take that prognostication with a large grain of salt. 

  • Not All Students Will Return To In-Person Learning This Spring.  Even if we reach a rate of vaccinating 1 million people per month, there are still 8 million people in NYC.  That means from today, it will take at least 8 months to vaccinate the entire population of NYC.   Many of our families will continue to choose to keep their children home until they themselves (and their children) are vaccinated.  Given our students and the majority of their parents age and health, many of our families will not be eligible for the vaccine for some time.  That means that we will need to have some form of remote learning for a chunk of our students and families for part or the rest of the school year.  What that specifically looks like will depend on the number of families choosing to send their children to in-person learning or remain in remote.  We are way too far out from that decision to make any clear guesses about that.  What we can say is that some form of Remote Learning is here to stay for the remainder of the year.

  • What if I don't want to get the vaccine?  I really don't know.  I don't know if staff will be allowed to return to the building without having been vaccinated, and I don't know if staff will be allowed to work remotely (meaning that the only other option would be taking a medical leave).  I can share that I am personally confident in taking the vaccine (I have my appointment on Tuesday), and I am personally making sure that my own family gets vaccinated.  However, these are my personal decisions as is the decision for you and your vaccination options is yours.  No one can force you to become vaccinated.  That is certain.  What is not yet clear is what that means in terms of your working conditions with the DOE.  Please reach out to your unions for more guidance.  I can 100% guarantee that your unions will have more information on this subject than me!!

Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

Summer School Curriculum Writers.  In preparation for summer school, we need teachers to work collaboratively to write units and lessons plans for summer school NX students.  These curriculum writers will be expected to work 1-2 hours per week to meet/write/review units and lesson plans for the summer.  The goal will be to have fully complete lessons that can be reviewed with summer school staff by Monday, 14JUN21.  The team will be working on core subjects and working in conjunction with Annie and Kiri.  There will be 4-6 positions available.  Posting closes on 25JAN21.  Please complete the per session form and email Kiri to apply.

SRC Sub Committees.  The SRC met on 04JAN to plan for the spring term to address revisions/redoing of the school schedule and to reflect on and evaluate the new pedagogical practices we implemented during remote learning.  We are looking for staff to join one of two subcommittees (Scheduling and COVID Lessons Learned).  These committees will meet regularly (as determined by the committee) to create the schedule for the 2021-22 school year, and identify and refine pedagogical practices from Remote Learning that will continue into the next school year.  Timelines on this are imminent, so this special post will begin as of today and close two weeks from today on Tuesday, 19JAN20.  Please complete THIS FORM by 19JAN20 to apply for either of these subcommittees.  As an FYI, the SRC is joining with the Circles Committee and Equity Team to revamp the hiring process.  The goal is to complete the revamp by 01FEB in time to launch our hiring season.  As a result, there wasn’t time to post a new sub-committee position for two weeks and meet the 01FEB deadline.

Data Team.  The Equity Team and SRC are in need of data support.  We need a team of folks who have experience with basic functions in excel (using formulas, sorting, filtering, creating charts, etc.) and have a willingness to learn to master DOE data platforms (ATS, STARS, New Visions Data Portal).   The job will be to access DOE data platforms to pull requested data (as requested by the Equity Team or SRC) and use tools (like Excel) to present that data in accessible formats for the Equity & SRC teams and for the staff and community in general.  Hours will vary as needed, but will average at 1-2 hours per week (in training and working).  Posting is open through 25JAN, please complete the per session interest form and email Kiri if interested.

Academic Skill Development Advisory Lesson Developer. The Counseling Team is looking for on person to help create advisory lessons that will support student academic skill building. Topics include, but are not limited to: Navigating GC efficiently, How to use Google Calendar to support time management and work submission, How to Navigate Pupil Path to support Informed decision making. The Ideal candidate will create at least 1 unit of lessons (8-10 lessons) . Lessons must include both the lesson plan for advisors and accompanying slides and student activities. Approx 20 hours of per session total. Posting closes on 25JAN. Please complete the per session interest form and email Jen if interested.

Black History Month Community Activity Submissions. The Culture Committee is beginning to plan Black History Community Activities and we are looking for a wider range of staff voice and ideas. If you would like to help plan a community event for February, please complete the per session form ASAP. This year’s theme for Black History Month this year is: The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. Approx 10 hours of per session total per position with a minimum of two positions.

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Week of January 4th

 UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 23
January 4th, 2021

Principal's Message

Welcome back from the winter recess everyone!  I do hope you were all able to find time to recharge & recenter.  As part of our collective new year's resolution, I hope we all find ways to create time within to claim this rest and recharge every day this year.  

As humans, we are naturally drawn to the problems and challenges ... to the things that we see are not quite right.  Then, as pedagogues, we are natural problem solvers .. trying to fix things and continually refine the challenges to be increasingly better.  Finally, as UAI staffers we are continually committed to working hard to uplift and support our students to thrive... a mission that is not without problems and challenges.  

The key to doing all of this well, we need to attend to our own mindsets, our own physical health, and our own motivations.  So, this week, as we launch into 2021 and relaunch our remote learning school, make space on your calendars to take at least a few minutes between each activity to stretch, walk, and breathe.  Then, make time in your week to step back from your choices and moves and move away from automaticity and towards reflective practice.  In so doing, we will all find our own sustainable and effective path to effectively supporting our students and their families!

Have a wonderful first school week of 2021, and I hope you find your joy this week!  



Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings

Birthdays This Week

No Staff Birthdays this Week

Friday 01JAN;  Blessing (11), Ashley M (12), 
Saturday, 02JAN:  Anaia P (9)
Sunday, 03JAN:  Harmony A (7), Wedad (12)
Monday 04JAN: Zannyah (8)
Tuesday, 05JAN:  Fatima A (8)
Wednesday, 06JAN: Aya E (9), Alisia R (10)
Thursday, 07JAN - No Bdays
Friday 08JAN:  Jakiara G (9), Macadamia (9), Patricia D (11)

                                                         


UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) No updates this week.

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC will meet on Monday 04JAN to plan out the spring topics and create a calendar to address school concerns about hiring, scheduling, and more!

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  No updates this week

Reconnection.  Take time in class and advisory this week to teach into routine and organizational skills.  We have all been away from our normal routines for over a week and a half.  Getting back into the computer saddle requires more intention and attention then getting back into the classroom seats.  Please prioritize connecting personally to your students in both your classes AND advisory, and listen to them to hear how they are doing & what they need so that you can understand what they need to be successful.
 

Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  Progress and Participation categories need to have at least 1 grade per week.  By the end of today, students should have at least 6 grades in Progress and Participation.  There are 4 more weeks remaining in the marking period.  If you do not have 6 grades in those categories do not create assignments to meet the minimum. Rather, shift your planning to meet the goal of at least 1 participation or progress grade per week.   



Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

No postings this week

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Week of December 21st

 UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 22
December 21st, 2020

Principal's Message

This is the last blog post of 2020.  Looking at last year's blog post, it was pretty amazing to see exactly how much has changed for our community in the last 12 months.  

Looking back at last year's post, the goals are certainly things for which we still strive, but this year, our goals of connecting with one another, our students, and their families and holding together as we navigate the COVID Global Pandemic together.  The strength of our relationships is the core of what sustains us as we moved through this year.  It has not been easy, but through it all, we have pulled together to learn and teach our students and ourselves so many different things this year.

Please enjoy a look back...



 


Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings

Birthdays This Week

No Staff Birthdays this Week

Sunday, 20DEC:  Kemisha (10)
Tuesday, 22DEC: Trecie (8)
Wednesday 23DEC:  Adara (9)
Friday, 25DEC: Cynthia A (6), Luzmaria (7), Jazmine W (7), Wen (8) Alyra (10)
Saturday, 26DEC:  Ashley S (11)
Sunday, 27DEC:  Jacquelynn (9), Shante R (10), Isabella V (12)
Monday, 28DEC:  Cherrell (9)
                                     Tuesday, 29DEC:  Jidiann (8), Blessence (9)
                                                                                                               Wednesday, 30DEC:  Stephanie U (10)
                                                                                                        Thursday 31DEC:  Olivia W (8), Sania S (31)
                                                         




UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) No updates this week.

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday and explored how the labels of "SPED" or "ENL" may be activating our unconscious biases.  The committee explored the immediate reactions we have when we first learn that students have IEPs or are learning English and how these reactions play out in our teaching and interactions with students.  This week, we are planning activities to engage staff in similar explorations for the next time we meet in January. 

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  The Equity Team just met to take a closer look at UAI's grading policy and grade books.  We were able to look at the grade books of students from each grade and found that there are vast differences amongst grade books.  Next, we ask that advisors share the Student Questionaire with their advisees next week to gather more qualitative data about how students experience and perceive the UAI grading policy.  We are still looking to further analyze data to identify the root cause of the disparities of grades and grade inflation between our Black and Latinx students and white and Asian students.  


Connections & Celebrations.  This upcoming break will be the longest break away from our students since the summer.  It is a time to recharge and relax, but before we sign off on 2020, please make time this week with your students to connect, take stock, and celebrate what you have been able to collectively achieve as a learning community this fall.  A simple prompt in the chat, pear deck slide, or even a whip around (ask students to pass the "talking" piece off to a peer - use the protocols we use in Circles to support the experience).   It is so easy to focus on the things that are hard and that are problematic.  It takes discipline and intention to remember the accomplishments and to celebrate them.  When we do make that time, we nourish our hearts, minds and souls!  So, make time for some celebrations this week!
 


>>REPOST<< Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  At this point, students should have at least 2 participation and 2 progress grades, and at least 1 performance posted up into Skedula.  As a reminder, this does NOT mean 5 assignments necessarily.  Individual assignments can have multiple grades.  For example, a single summative assessment could have participation grade (yes/no - for completion), a progress grade (how well did they implement feedback to show growth), and performance evaluation (how well did they master the content/skills being assessed).  





Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

No postings this week

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Week of December 14th

 UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 21
December 14th, 2020

Principal's Message

As we approach the winter holiday, the need for people to connect becomes increasingly more significant.  This week, prioritize two things:
  1. Connect with your Advisees.  This week, reach out to simply check in on families & students just to see how they are doing.  No academic or attendance updates - just show that you care and are there for them.  You may not be able to directly support or help them, but showing that you care will mean so much!

  2. Help your students connect with one another.   In remote learning, all of our students are lacking the adult-unmediated spaces where they can exercise their independent social emotional skills in forming and negotiating relationships.  Creating relationships through a computer screen is hard for adults.  It is almost impossible for students.  Social media interactions are empty and often misinterpreted.  Advisory has been an important space for this social development, but it is not enough.  This week and next, make space in your classes for students to connect with one another. Here are some ideas (just a few - definitely NOT an exhaustive list)

    • Make it Lighter & Fun.  Have your students work in constant groups for the next week and a half.  Have the first task be creating a team name or identity.  Plan fun in class games or friendly competitions (Family Feud, Jeopardy, etc.). Within the games, give groups the time to create their identities, prepare and support each other, and get ready for the fued.

    • Switch it Up.  Check out https://www.kumospace.com/.  In this online meeting forum, kids can work in groups in separate areas of a "room" and you as the teacher can move around to different groups.  Kids can also move around and speak at the same time!  It is the closet-to-real life interactions in a virtual space that I've seen so far.  Make sure you play around with it yourself (like I invited friends to a Friday hangout to check it out), and try it out on an iPad or on your phone so you can sense what kids will feel!  Good luck and have fun.

    • Shared Connections.  Sharing experiences (like how we shared our COVID experiences in Circles on Friday) or finding commonalities (e.g. your team has to find 3 things that you all have in common) are a great tool for paving the way to new relationships.  Make time to have students engage in these kind of activities in small groups.
When students are in spaces with people they consider safe (e.g. a trusted teacher, advisor, or with friends), they are more willing to take risks.  Remote Learning demands incredible risk-taking of our students.  They are on a single stage (zoom talking protocols mean that everyone has to listen when they talk); their mistakes are on display not only for their teachers, but also for students they do not know or trust. They are exposing private home experiences (little siblings or their bedrooms!) to strangers in their class; their private lives are on display and subject to unknown judgment.  As a result, students are muted and off camera...

AND that means that they are not learning as effectively as they could be.

So, we have tried to coerce, urge, and demand via our policies to get them to engage.

Now, we need to take a step back, re-evaluate, and prioritize their emotional safety.  Create a connection of friendships and colleagues in your classroom breakout rooms.  Teach them how to work collaboratively in study groups during your Office Hours.  Help them learn to rely on one another instead of just you.

When that happens, they will be happier, and you will be less stressed! 

Good luck everyone and have a stupendous week! 



 


Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings

Birthdays This Week

Happy Birthday Amy!!!
Friday, 13DEC20

Sunday, 13DEC:  Anayasia (9),   Waniya (9), Karla (10)
Monday, 14DEC:  Nahlay (6), Makayla V (8), Destiny V (8)
Wednesday, 16DEC: Attiya (10), Valeria (11), Vivian (11)
Thursday, 17DEC:  Sarah C (8), Manal (9), Sumaya (10), Dameia (11)
Friday, 18DEC:  Cierra T(12), Fariya (12)
Saturday: Neveah G (8), Denise M (10), Zarin (12)



UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) Last Friday, we facilitated the final staff Circle of 2020. During this Circle, we reflected on Covid’s impact in our personal lives, as well as considering the impact it’s had on our students and families. Part of the antibias/antiracist work is challenging assumptions made about students, especially during these difficult times. Our next Circle is scheduled for January 15. The SC Committee thanks every staff member for engaging in the Circle space for the past three months. Enjoy the holiday break and stay safe!
Attachments area

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday and engaged in doing a deep-dive analysis on a case study student to better understand both student and teacher needs for supporting our students with learning disabilities and/or students who are learning English.  The team encountered several hurdles, including trying to develop concrete and executable steps based on the information available in the PLOPs and IEPs.  In addition, the team struggled with finding supports that addressed actual learning issues vs. social-emotional skills.  On Monday, the team will plan an approach to engaging staff in finding and sharing practices that have worked with students with IEPs and/or who are learning English.  In addition, this staff engagement will analyze why those practices are successful in the goal of providing all staff with the tools and understanding needed to support our neediest learners!

 

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  No updates this week.  The Equity Team will report out on Friday in the staff meeting.


Plan for Re-entry.  The attendance & academic interventions are beginning their third week of work this week. As a result, you will begin seeing students in classes that have been absent for many, many weeks.  

  • The attendance team is charged with getting students back into the classes, but in order to keep them there, we need teachers to create a plan for them to stay.  The goal for re-entry is to keep them there first, and worry about making up things later.  For this week, as students return, just have them keep up with this week's assignments...direct them to the resources they'll need to engage, and tell them it is OK that they won't understand everything.  The goal is to try and submit something...Then you will be able to work with them to catch up.
  • The academic team is charged with closing learning gaps.  This means that they may need to advocate for students to work on foundational skills in place of assignments.  Please work with your grade team colleagues to figure out this balance.  More important than completion is skill development.  So, anything that leads to students closing learning gaps needs to be priority number one!


>>REPOST<< Tech Tuesday.  This Tuesday will be another opportunity for students to come in to school and exchange tech.  Students will be able to come to the school and exchange tech between 9 and noon.  Staff will be able to access the building during those hours as well.  Students will not be allowed access to the building.

>>REPOST<< Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  At this point, students should have at least 2 participation and 2 progress grades, and at least 1 performance posted up into Skedula.  As a reminder, this does NOT mean 5 assignments necessarily.  Individual assignments can have multiple grades.  For example, a single summative assessment could have participation grade (yes/no - for completion), a progress grade (how well did they implement feedback to show growth), and performance evaluation (how well did they master the content/skills being assessed).  





Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

The 8th Grade Yearbook Club Supervisor:  Congratulations Kristina C!
Applied:  Kristina
Staffed:  Kristina

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Week of December 7th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 20
December 7th, 2020

Principal's Message

We are about 1/3 of the way through Marking Period 2, and this brings a good time to step back and reflect.  How well IS instruction landing with our students?  How do we know?  If a large number or majority of students are not successful on (or not turning in) a performance assessment, what happened and where was the breakdown?  How do you find out?

Throughout this entire COVID instructional year, all of us are engaged in finding new ways to reach students through screens and in their homes.   There are many new and unknown variables.  As good scientific thinkers, we must always incorporate time to pause, look at our data, reconsider our hypothesis, and try out new approaches to issues the remain unsolved.

So this week, take a step back and look at how your instruction is landing with students.  Put aside what you think is going on for a moment, and study, observe, and think about what else could be happening. Be disciplined and methodical in your analysis.  Reach out to colleagues (both new and familiar) to help rethink approaches.  

You know that if students continue to be non-responsive to the efforts you've tried since September, and still they are not yet succeeding, then it is time to try something new.

These next two weeks, focus on the students who have >80% attendance in your classes.  The attendance team will be focusing on the rest.  For those students who are showing up in class, how many of them are not turning in work? Why is that? What's happening from their perspective?  Get into their heads to find out!  Ask them and find out more!  When you listen to their perspective and incorporate their voices & needs, you will find ways, previously unconsidered, to reach and subsequently teach them!



 


Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings

Birthdays This Week

Happy Birthday Nina!!!
Friday, 11DEC20

Sunday, 06DEC:  Akaiba (7),   Nadia G (11)  
Monday, 07DEC:  Adiba (8), Mckenzie (11)
Tuesday, 08DEC:  Mikyah (10), Karen F (10), Shania H (12)
Wednesday, 02DEC: Heba (6), Alea (9)
Saturday, 12DEC:  Jarin (9)



UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) Last week, the SC committee met on 12/2 and devoted our meeting looking at staff feedback of the Circle experience. We reflected on areas that were positive and areas of concern. Here are some things we will implement based on feedback:

  • Groups: The current groups were established during our 5th Circle on October 30th. In a survey sent out on 10/16, staff members voted to stay in the same groups for a few sessions. Groups will be changed after Circle #8 in January.


  • More ABAR work: Some staff members expressed shifting the Circle work from learning about each other to more antibias/antiracist discussions. In our Circle planning, we’re constantly trying to find the balance between building relationships and getting to the “nitty gritty” of the antiracist work. Not to worry! Our next staff Circle will get to the heart of that.  Relationship building will live through the opening icebreakers and determining the speaking order in small groups.


  • Time: Trying to have meaningful conversations within the 50-min time frame has been quite the challenge. We’ve seen feedback about needing more time to process the breakout questions. From now on, we will share the slide presentation with staff the morning of a Circle day.


  • Integrity of Circle Format: As part of the Circle format, participants have the option to pass or skip questions they do not wish to answer. The same is true virtually. We recognized that we haven’t been clear about this in our Circle meetings. Moving forward, the SC committee will incorporate passing in the guidelines of future Circles.

Attachments area

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday to begin our thinking and planning around systems and supports for our SPED and ENL learners.   The first meeting kicked off with a Five-Why protocol to begin to initial root cause analysis around what barriers exist that prevent our ENL and SPED students from succeeding on par with the General Education counterparts.  This conversation led to the team needing to gather more information and understanding from our teachers, learners, and families.  Monday's meeting will begin to plan ways to gather and engage these constituencies in pursuit of the goal of creating guidelines and checklists for planning to support our teachers to help SPED and ENL learners close learning gaps.

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  This week, members from the Equity Team planned and facilitated a meeting with Cassie from the Urban Assembly.  Cassie presented network-wide data reviewing UAI's college persistence data compared to the rest of the UA network schools.  Team members worked together to analyze data and identified trends based upon race, GPA, IEP, and ENL classification.  The team discussed possible root causes of the disproportionality of GPA based upon race.  Also, the team created a survey to send to UAI alumni to gather data about how well prepared they felt for college and life after graduating from UAI. Looking forward we will review the results from the alumni surveys and start diving into middle school proficiency data.  Our next meeting will be Thursday, December 17, 2020.


Tech Tuesday.  This Tuesday will be another opportunity for students to come in to school and exchange tech.  Students will be able to come to the school and exchange tech between 9 and noon.  Staff will be able to access the building during those hours as well.  Students will not be allowed access to the building.

Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  At this point, students should have at least 2 participation and 2 progress grades, and at least 1 performance posted up into Skedula.  As a reminder, this does NOT mean 5 assignments necessarily.  Individual assignments can have multiple grades.  For example, a single summative assessment could have participation grade (yes/no - for completion), a progress grade (how well did they implement feedback to show growth), and performance evaluation (how well did they master the content/skills being assessed).  




Per Session Postings

To Apply for any of the following per session opportunities, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and email the appropriate point person listed in this posting.  

The 8th Grade Yearbook Club Supervisor:  Congratulations Kristina C!
Applied:  Kristina
Staffed:  Kristina

Please CLICK HERE to indicate that you’ve read all the blogpost for this week.