Sunday, October 20, 2019

Week of October 21st

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 10
October 21st, 2019

Announcements

Happy Birthday to Nick! Nick Juliusburger, our 9th and 12th grade Physics Teacher will be celebrating his birthday on Wednesday.  Help him celebrate with some hallway high fives and/or notes and emails of well wishes.


A Big Thank You from the Recruitment Team!  Between fairs, school visits, and tours, the past two weeks have been busy for recruitment! We hosted our first two UAI tours last Friday and this Thursday of 8th grade girls who seemed excited and interested in joining us for high school. We visited and scheduled visits to elementary schools who have 5th grade girls that are interested in STEM. We hosted an open house and attended HS borough fairs and MS district fairs where we met with prospective families and students. And last but not least, we co-hosted a "Why UAI" event with Girls Inc for our 8th graders where they were able to visit tables representing different exciting opportunities at UAI HS.

We want to send a big, heartfelt THANK YOU to all the staff who have made this work possible- from actually attending these events themselves, to helping dispatch students to represent their clubs and organizations, to letting us use their classrooms, and especially for sparing their students who are so important to our recruitment work. Your support is so helpful for ensuring we have the right number of students to keep us strong and healthy next year! We have a few more weeks left of this "busy season," but feel free to email Lauren if you have any questions related to recruitment!


Fire Drill on Monday.  We will be testing out a new exit plan on Monday during a Fire Drill at 9:30.  This plan ONLY impacts classrooms that exit out the back stairwell.  That is all classrooms that end in 09/11/15 (so 309, 311, 315; 409/411, 415; 509, 511, 515).  Basement classrooms still exit out the basement doors, up the ramp and down to Jay.  All other classrooms (including gym) should exit down the front stairs and leave out of the front door to walk down Adams to Tillary.

  • The 09/11/15 classrooms exit down stairwell A (this is the one that goes straight down).  Take this stairwell all the way to the basement (past the first floor) through the door that will exit into the courtyard.  The alarm will ring.  That is ok - it's a fire drill.
  • DO NOT use stairwell E (the stairwell that is on the left when you head down the stairs).  These stairs do not go the exit you need to take. 
  • In the courtyard, turn left to walk up the stairs (not the ramp) to exit onto Johnson Street.
  • Turn right on Johnson Street and walk down the hill to Jay to wait in front of the Family Courthouse.
  • This is a new exit pattern.  So if you have prep 2nd period on Tuesday, we need your help to direct folks down stairwell A.  Right after 1st Period, please report to these locations to block entry to stairwell E (the back stairwell on the left) and direct passage down stairwell A (straight down the back stairs). 
    • Kelly & Giselle - 5th Floor Stairwell Landing
    • Joey & Rebeca C - 4th Floor Stairwell Landing
    • Brodie & Matthew - 3rd Floor Stairwell Landing
    • Val - 2nd Floor Stairwell Landing - Let AIL exit out of stairwell E, direct UAI down stairwell A
    • Kristina C & Sarah R - 1st Floor Stairwell Landing - note please direct them to basement exit (do not exit first floor or out the side exit).  Go down the stairs to the door to the courtyard.
    • Doris - Courtyard Exit - direct students up the stairs to Johnson Street (and away from the middle schoolers exiting up the ramp)
    • Danielle I - Stand at top of Stairs at Johnson Street and direct exit to Jay
    • Floor Sweepers Remain the Same.
      • 5th Floor & Gym - Courtney
      • 4th Floor - Annie
      • 3rd Floor - Jen
      • 2nd Floor - AIL
      • 1st Floor - Isaiah
      • Basement - Jelissa

    Kiri is Out Tuesday through Friday This Week.  My mother-in-law passed away last week, and my family needs to fly down for her funeral on Wednesday morning, and burial on Thursday afternoon.  We will be traveling on Tuesday and returning on Friday.  Annie will be in charge with Jen & Val supporting.  I will be available online and via text if you need anything.  Please still continue to call me if you are sick this week.  I will communicate and coordinate with Annie.

    To-Do This Week

    Upcoming PD.  Tomorrow will be our first in the series.  Here's the calendar for the next few sessions of PD
                • October 21st:  Aromatherapy and Stress Management for Teachers
                  • Agenda:  
                    • 3PM - Congratulations Ms. Cherry!  You will have the honor of reviewing the blog (and having a few minutes to give the special announcements you requested!)
                    • 3:15-4:10PM - Aromatherapy  & Self Care with Ms. Vanessa
      • October 28th:  Understanding Social Emotional  Learning & the DESSA
      • November 4th:  Grade Team Meetings
      • November 5th:  Implicit Bias and Instructional Practices
        • Teacher Consultancy Round II
        • Examining our Biases - Taking at look at our Data
        • Effective Student Discourse & Using Writing to Consolidate Learning
      • November 18th:  Consultancy Reflection (Nov 11th is a holiday)
      • November 25th:  Wellness & Self Care -UAI Teacher Potluck

      Class Time Dilemma.  We are still having problems with passing period and releasing students on time.  Please use class timers (or your phone) to keep yourself in lock step with the bell schedule.  When you let a class out (or in) late, you set off a chain reaction that disrupts the bell schedule for everyone.  Effective time management is part of your expected teaching practice.  In addition, being at your doorway to welcome students into your class if part of effective teaching practice and professional responsibility.  This week, we will be taking an audit of hallway practices to gauge teacher practice in these two areas.  Please put forth your best efforts to make sure you start and end classes on time AND that you are at your door welcoming students into your classrooms at the start of each period. 

      Student Support Services Update



      Per Session Opportunities

      Extra Prep?  This is not technically a Per Session Opportunity.  Rather it is a Per Diem opportunity (coverage pay).  We are looking to recruit staff for the following per diem (prep period coverage pay) for these activities:

      • Lunch Coverage during Early Voting Week.  Teachers will host up to 34 students for lunch in their classroom each day that the cafe is closed during early voting.
      • Prep Period Dean Support.  Our discipline support team needs some extra eyes and hands to more effectively manage our support practices.  Teachers will be tasked to duties including (but not limited to) hallway and bathroom monitoring, student removal from classrooms, save room coverage, and other duties.
      If you are interested in either of these activities, please email Kiri as soon as possible (if you have not already done so for the lunch coverage)


      Monday, October 14, 2019

      Week of Oct 15th

      UAI Staff News

      Volume VII
      Issue 9
      October 15th, 2019

      Announcements

      No Birthdays this week

      Examining Our Own Biases.  With the Columbus Day Holiday, we will not have PD this week.  In place, please find the time to think and reflect in your journals independently.  Through last year and this, our journey as a staff was to first understand that we all as human beings have some form of implicit bias.  Given that is the case, the question is what are our biases and how do we develop our awareness of them so that they do not unfairly inhibit the opportunities  and achievement of our students.  If you have not already done so, take the time to test yourself for hidden bias. Without explicit PD time this week, this will be an optional, but highly recommended activity.  The goal of our work around bias is not for you to be called out or shamed.  Rather, the goal is to educate, bring awareness, and then provide the tools and support necessary to control those biases from inadvertently acting negatively on our students.  If you decide to take these tests, take them alone, for yourself and honestly.  They are for you to reflect.  Use your journal to log your results and your thoughts & reactions to those results.

      November PD.  A number of you have been asking about PD for November's Election Day.  We have been working with the PD committee to refine the goals of that day, so I do apologize for the delay in communications!

      During that day, we will be digging deeper into our work around bias.  As a predominantly white and privileged staff working with predominantly brown as lesser privileged youth, there is no PD that is more important on that day than this.  Please plan to be in attendance for that day.  If we are to secure a strong and equitable education for all of our students, then we must ALL be part of the work that crafts the solution.

      To-Do This Week

      MP1 Grades.  MP1 ended last Tuesday and grades are due Monday at 3PM.  Please make sure all grades are accurate and correct in Skedula.  We will be sending messages home to families via Skedula and School Messenger to check Skedula.  This week during Family Outreach, please check to see if your students' families are registered.  If not, please reach out to help them register.
      Observations and Planning Documents.  Our original goal was to make sure that everyone has at least one observation by October 15th, and we are almost there, but will need a few extra days to complete.  All teachers should expect to have an observation (if they haven't already had one) by the end of this week.  As a reminder, please have your lesson plans printed and ready for collection when we arrive, OR have them accessible in your Pacing Guide in this folder HERE.  In addition, in this round, we are looking at unit and syllabi.  Please have your unit plans linked into your pacing guide and upload your syllabi to this folder (as per the start of year checklist).  Alternately, have your current unit and course syllabus printed and ready for collection when we arrive for observation.

      Observations and Lesson Look-Fors.  Please refer to these lesson look fors to maximize your performance evaluation.  In particular, student THINKING needs to be central to your lesson, at all points during your lesson.  We are looking to see how well you structure lessons so that students are demanded to think their way through tasks (and not simply identify information or facts).  Writing and Speaking are the two ways that you can use to get students to show their thinking.  Turn and Talks and writing prompts are easy ways to do this.

      Upcoming PD.  The PD Committee is currently working with the next round of presenters for our upcoming dilemmas that will focus on looking at implicit bias around race in our instructional and classroom practices.  In addition, we are looking to further our work around implicit bias and instruction during the November Election Day PD.  Finally, as promised, this year we want to make time for self-care and wellness throughout the year.  Next Monday will be our first in the series.  Here's the calendar for the next few sessions of PD
        • October 21st:  Aromatherapy and Stress Management for Teachers
        • October 28th:  Understanding Social Emotional  Learning & the DESSA
        • November 4th:  Grade Team Meetings
        • November 5th:  Implicit Bias and Instructional Practices
          • Teacher Consultancy Round II
          • Examining our Biases - Taking at look at our Data
          • Effective Student Discourse & Using Writing to Consolidate Learning
        • November 18th:  Consultancy Reflection (Nov 11th is a holiday)
        • November 25th:  Wellness & Self CareUAI Teacher Potluck


      Student Support Services Update



      Per Session Opportunities

      No New Postings This Week 

      Sunday, October 6, 2019

      Week of Oct 7th

      UAI Staff News

      Volume VII
      Issue 8
      October 7th, 2019

      Announcements

      This Week's Birthday Wishes! 
      Happy Birthday to Lauren! Her Birthday is Monday (07OCT).  She only works Weds-Fri so send her your well wishes via text or email (laurenm@uainstitute.org)

      Schedule Changes & Grades.  Student schedule change requests are no longer being accepted.  If a student has a schedule issue, they must speak directly to their teachers.  Then, if teachers find the issue valid and relevant, please reach out to me and we can accommodate.  We are mimicking the Add-Drop period that students will encounter when the arrive in college.  Schedule changes can of course still occur for student who need it, but this structure provides a teaching opportunity for student learn both why and how to stay on top of their out-of-classroom needs (like changing courses).  Teachers can still use the form to communicate change requests.  The form helps me keep everything in one place and allows me to more readily communicate back to you the status of those change requests.



      To-Do This Week

      Keep Time.  Please print and post the bell schedule below where you can see it while you're teaching.  In addition, if you are struggling with time management, include time allotments in your lesson plans and use a timer to help you stick to those times.  Last week's passing periods were much improved, but we still have some ways to go.  While some teachers are now at their classroom doors at passing, most are not.  Please make sure to end your classes so that you have sufficient time to be ready to welcome the next class into your room AND to send your class to their next classroom on time.
              • 1.  8:30-9:23
              • 2.  9:25-10:18
              • 3.  10:20-11:13
              • 4.  11:15-12:08
              • 5.  12:10-1:03
              • 6.  1:05-1:58
              • 7.  2:00-2:50
      Observations and Planning Documents.  Our goal is to make sure that everyone has at least one observation by October 15th.  As a reminder, please have your lesson plans printed and ready for collection when we arrive, OR have them accessible in your Pacing Guide in this folder HERE.  In addition, in this round, we are looking at unit and syllabi.  Please have your unit plans linked into your pacing guide and upload your syllabi to this folder (as per the start of year checklist).  Alternately, have your current unit and course syllabus printed and ready for collection when we arrive for observation.

      Observations and Lesson Look-Fors.  One trend that we've noticed in the observations conducted thus far are a lot of missed opportunities to maximize student thinking.   At the start of the year, it makes sense that many teachers emphasize structure and routine to communicate expectations for safe and orderly learning environments.  However,  taken too far, this plan can result in an over-control of student movements which leads to compliance-focused tasks and subsequently the inadvertantly squashing of student thinking and intellectual engagement.  When students are engaged in compliance (hallmarks of compliance activities are things like copying notes, completing graphic organizers, etc.) it takes important time away from thinking and constructing new understandings (e.g. discussing their ideas, reading texts to gain new understandings, or writing original responses to higher-order questions that involve applying what they've learned).  Make sure your lesson plans maximize student thinking time and keep compliance activity to a minimum.  Please refer to the UAI Teacher Observation Look Fors to help you prioritize your planning and instruction.  In particular, during this round of observations, we will be looking at:


      • 1D- Designing Coherent Discussion
        • Learning tasks include questions to push students to think - not just one answer questions and require students to create their own understanding through the application and synthesizing of prior and new knowledge.
        • Learning tasks include extensions, scaffolds and/or supports to provide equitable access to learning for students with learning differences.

      • 3B - Questioning and Discussion
        • Discussion structures are implemented daily in service of students discussing questions that push critical thinking and reflection where more than 90% or more of students successfully engage in the discussion structures. NOTE: The easiest way to meet this expectation is to have turn-and-talks planned throughout the lesson
        • Discussion topics and questions are implemented strategically to advance student thinking where more than 90% or more of students engage in the discussion to actively create new understandings and learnings.

      • 3D - Assessment
        • Criteria that tells students the content, skills and process/practice that is necessary for success and that you will give them feedback on.
        • Teachers actively seek to elicit from students their current understandings, skill mastery and ability to implement practices and the teachers track that information for planning and to give students helpful feedback. 
        • Throughout the class period, teachers regularly give feedback to students that pushes student understanding, skill and/or ability to implement and specific practice.  Feedback is for pushing and challenging the learner to deepen thinking not simply to complete the task. 


      <<Reminders from Last Week>>
      Marking Period 1 is Ending.  Next Tuesday 08OCT19 is the last day of the first marking period.  Teacher grades are due on 15OCT19 at 3PM.  Please see Ms. Jennifer and/or a member on your grade team for help with submitting grades via PADs.

      Monday PD.  October 7th is the first Monday of the Month, which is our traditional Grade Team Meetings which will have PLOP writing and Attendance Team Updates as fixtures on the Agenda.
        • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
          • Congratulations Cassandra! - You've been selected to review the blog this week!
        • 3:05-3:15 Skedula Grade Transfer
        • 3:15-3:50 - Attendance Team Update
          • 3:50-4:10 October PLOPs


        Student Support Services Update


        Per Session Opportunities

        No New Postings This Week 

        Tuesday, October 1, 2019

        Week of Oct 2nd

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 7
        October 2nd, 2019

        Announcements

        October 1st.  Coming from two months of vacation into three straight weeks of work is a hard transition for staff and students alike!  But we did it smoothly and successfully.  Inevitably, there are some things to improve and we are endeavoring constantly do so, but overall, the launch of the 2019-20 school year has been amazing!  That is due to all of your hard work.  In the first 19 days of school:
        • Overall Student Attendance is at 88.71 (down from 89.4 from last September and short of our 90% goal for the year).  Our newly minted attendance team worked through September to understand our systems, analyze problems and create an action plan which you will learn about at next Monday's PD.  While we fell short of the attendance goal, there were some positive gains around attendance this mone.  This year, we are more efficiently discharging students who chose not to attend UAI (outcomes of this work will reflect next month).  Also, more UAI staff are regularly taking period attendance in Skedula, allowing our main office team more effective use of their time to follow up on absent students.  We still need to work towards 90%.  One key effort in this work isn't just the stats and figure - it's the classroom teachers.  When a student is absent, make sure she feels missed when she returns to class.  The relationships we build and the instruction we offer are our two most potent tools in improving attendance.  The attendance team will work on the logistics, but we need everyone to help our students feel that they belong in school every day!
        • Too Early for Other Benchmarks.  Our other main goal this year is instructional improvement, specifically in student performance on state exams (Regents and MS exams).  MP1 ends on October 8th.  That will be the first indicator in our progress towards our goals this year.

        October has 20 instructional days broken up by Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, and Halloween (which has historically low attendance).  These first 17 days of school were a strong start to the academic year.  These next 20 days will be the ones that concretize all of that hard work to set up for a fantastic rest of the year!





        Happy Belated Birthdays!  It took a minute to get our birthday calendar up and running, and we missed a couple of key birthdays!  Happy Belated Birthday to: Jennifer (10SEP); Laura (21SEP); Tiffany (22SEP); and Judy (29SEP).  Hopefully, you all had fantastics days.  Moving forward, Nancy is now ready to send out regular b-day wishes as your special days come up!





        Schedule Changes & Grades.  All schedule requests have been updated (except for two students who will be completed tomorrow AM).  If your students have questions about why they have been moved, it is because either the student requested or a teacher requested.  Please use THIS DOCUMENT to help student understand how the changes were made.  If you entered grades, they will need to be transferred to the new course section.  Nina will walk through how to do that during PD on Monday. As a reminder, you should be updating Skedula at minimum of twice per month.

        To-Do This Week

        Tightening Up Some Structures.  When we provide super tight and seamless structures & routines for students, we create a predictable and safe environment for them.  There is comfort in routine and there is safety when systems run as they should.  One thing we need to work on is our passing periods.  If all teachers followed this two simple moves, that would do an enormous amount towards creating a safe and orderly school for our students.

        • Stick to the Bell Schedule.   As a reminder, teachers are expected to start and end classes on time as per the bell schedule (see below).  Schools are a very carefully choreographed and at UAI, we do not have bells that govern our classes.  We respect our teachers to have the agency to say when classes begin and eng.  However, when classes start or end late/early, students are released to the halls.  If you release too early or too late, you are not releasing in synch with the other teachers and thus, no one is at their doors to help usher students in.  Please track your time and follow the bell schedule.


                • 1.  8:30-9:23
                • 2.  9:25-10:18
                • 3.  10:20-11:13
                • 4.  11:15-12:08
                • 5.  12:10-1:03
                • 6.  1:05-1:58
                • 7.  2:00-2:50
        • Increase Hallway Presence.  UAI is spread out over 7 separate floors.  It is impossible to staff deans, hallway monitors, or admin on every floor for every passing.  We need all teachers to be at their doors to rapidly usher students into and out of classrooms.  Please do not remain in your classroom during passing.  If you need time to reset between classes, please make it a part of your lesson plan to reset during the Do-Now or during the Exit Ticket.  If you need to talk to students at the end of class, please do so at the doorway.  


        Marking Period 1 is Ending.  Next Tuesday 08OCT19 is the last day of the first marking period.  Teacher grades are due on 15OCT19 at 3PM.  Please see Ms. Jennifer and/or a member on your grade team for help with submitting grades via PADs.

        Monday PD.  October 7th is the first Monday of the Month, which is our traditional Grade Team Meetings which will have PLOP writing and Attendance Team Updates as fixtures on the Agenda.
          • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
            • Congratulations Cassandra! - You've been selected to review the blog this week!
          • 3:05-3:15 Skedula Grade Transfer
          • 3:15-3:50 - Attendance Team Update
          • 3:50-4:10 October PLOPs


        Per Session Opportunities

        No New Postings This Week 

         


        Monday, September 23, 2019

        Week of September 23rd

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 6
        September 23rd, 2019

        Announcements

        Climate Change Activism and the Vernal Equinox.  Monday is the first official day of fall (though it will feel more like the last day in June!).  Our students once again impressed us with their activism in championing their right to a healthy planet.  Clearly, we all need it!  Many thanks to everyone who pitched in to help our students participate safely.  Many congrats to our young women!




        Final Schedule Changes.  Monday also start the last week of September.  Now that we have DRP and IXL data in for the middle school, I'll be analyzing that data to refine enrichment groups and elective classes this week.  All of those changes will take place by Friday.  For AP Class rosters, students and teachers should continue to use THIS FORM  to submit requests for changes.  All changes will be processed by Friday and students should begin their new programs after Rosh Hashanah.

        Curriculum Night.  Thank you to everyone who pulled together to make a wonderful event for our parents on Thursday night.  Our attendance was significantly less than usual.  We need to step up our outreach to make sure families connect to our school.  Mr. Isaiah, our parent coordinator, has been charged with tracking down contact information if you're having problems reaching home.  He will call students down to call home and update information in ATS so Skedula contact info is accurate.  Having working numbers is so essential to building strong family ties.  So, please reach out to him for assistance

        To-Do This Week

        Monday Professional Development.  This Monday is our first Teacher Consultancy Reflection.  We'll meet back in our groups from last week to reflect on the week's instruction after the last consultancy.  What did we try to in our practice as a result of the consultancy?  How did it go?  Who in your group wants to present at the next consultancy?
        • Consultancy Protocol
          • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
            • Congratulations Rachel! - You've been selected to review the blog this week!
          • 3:05-3:10 Reaffirm Norms
          • 3:10-3:20 - Presenters Reframe Dilemma & Reflect
            • 6th Grade:  
              • Phillan (presenter), Alison (facilitator)
              • Sarah M, Sarah R, Laura, JJR, Marni (group)
            • 7th Grade:  
              • Kristina (presenter), Rebecca C (facilitator)
              • Cherry, Emma, Joanna, Jake, Brenda (group)
            • 8th Grade:  
              • Natalie (presenter), Annie (facilitator)
              • Cassandra, Matthew, Amy, Christina, Pauline
            • 9th Grade:
              • Jamie (presenter), Kiri (facilitator)
              • Nick, Danielle R, Nadine, Damon (group)
            • 9th Grade:
              • Tiffany (presenter), Marsha (facilitator) 
              • Brodie, Val, Doris
            • 10th Grade:  
              • Kelly (presenter), Rebecca F (facilitator) 
              • Elena, Rachel, Nina, Amanda
            • 11th Grade:  
              • Suzannah (presenter), Joey (facilitator)
              • Tom, Judy, Juelle, Danielle I
          • 3:20-3:45 Group Reflects
          • 3:45-4:00 Group Selects Next Presenter & Help Form Dilemma
          • 4:00-4:10 Individual Journal Reflections


        Social-Emotional Learning Updates


        Per Session Opportunities

        No New Postings This Week 

         


        Sunday, September 15, 2019

        Week of September 16th

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 5
        September 16th, 2019

        Announcements

        First Full Week.  Congratulations on completing your first full week of school for the 2019-2020 school year.  It can be a shocking transition from summer into the full swing of school, but the silver lining here is that we have three uninterrupted weeks of instruction to establish strong expectations for our learning environments and academic achievement.  Setting this strong foundations early will make for a more successful school year.

        Schedule Changes or Problems.  All student schedule requests have been processed.  Please continue to use THIS FORM  if you still see problems that have not been resolved.  This week and next, we will finalize MS elective and small groups as well as AP class rosters.  By 27SEP19, all changes will be complete for the year.

        Curriculum Night and Family Outreach.  This Thursday night is our annual curriculum night.  This is a required evening even for all classroom staff.  Please use your Tuesday outreach time to remind families about Thursday, and use your independent work time to prepare your classrooms and bulletin boards as per the school opening checklist.  Here is the agenda for Thursday

        • 5:00PM - 
          • All staff report to Cafeteria to welcome families and join first PTA meeting of the year
        • 5:30PM -
          • All staff report to assigned rooms to prepare presentations
          • Parents remain in cafeteria to meet deans, counselors, admin support, and partners
        • 5:45-8:00PM 
          • 8th Grade Parents will join Ms. Lauren in the library for a HS Application Workshop
          • 12th Grade Parents will join Ms. Doris & Ms. Danielle in Rm 205C for a College Application workshop
          • 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade Parents will rotate through 4 different sessions
            • Session I:  Math & Science Teachers
            • Session II:  Social Studies and English Teachers
            • Session III:  Breadth Teachers
            • Session IV:  PupilPath Sign Up
          • Teachers will have 30 minutes in each session
            • 10min - Short Do Now or Activity to illustrate the type of learning students engage in at UAI
            • 10min - Review of Course Syllabi
            • 10min - Q & A


        To-Do This Week

        Monday Professional Development.  This Monday is our first Teacher Consultancy
        • Consultancy Protocol
          • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
            • Congratulations Jake - You've been selected to review the blog this week!
          • 3:05-3:10 Reaffirm Norms
          • 3:10-3:20 - Presenters Present Dilemma
            • 6th Grade:  
              • Phillan (presenter), Alison (facilitator)
              • Sarah M, Sarah R, Laura, JJR, Marni (group)
            • 7th Grade:  
              • Kristina (presenter), Rebecca C (facilitator)
              • Cherry, Emma, Joanna, Jake, Brenda (group)
            • 8th Grade:  
              • Natalie (presenter), Annie (facilitator)
              • Cassandra, Matthew, Amy, Christina, Pauline
            • 9th Grade:
              • Jamie (presenter), Kiri (facilitator)
              • Nick, Danielle R, Nadine, Damon (group)
            • 9th Grade:
              • Tiffany (presenter), Marsha (facilitator) 
              • Brodie, Val, Doris
            • 10th Grade:  
              • Kelly (presenter), Rebecca F (facilitator) 
              • Elena, Rachel, Nina, Amanda
            • 11th Grade:  
              • Suzannah (presenter), Joey (facilitator)
              • Tom, Judy, Juelle, Danielle I
          • 3:20-3:25 Group Asks Clarifying Questions
          • 3:25-3:35 Group Asks Probing Questions
          • 3:35-3:50 Group Discusses Dilemma without Presenter Participation
          • 3:50-3:55 Presenter Reflects
          • 3:55-4:00 Groups Reflects on Process
          • 4:00-4:10 Individual Journal Reflections


        Social-Emotional Learning Updates


        Per Session Opportunities

        Student Recruitment Committee.  If you are interested in helping us recruit more students for the 2020-21 school year, we are looking for you!  Please reach out to Ms. Jen for more information.  We are looking for people to support us in hosting school fairs, district and citywide fairs, UAI open house and other recruitment events and duties.  

         

        Sunday, September 8, 2019

        Week of September 9th

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 4
        September 9th, 2019

        Announcements

        School Opening.  Thank you to all who shared their feedback on the survey.   Overwhelmingly, the feedback was positive, particularly with respect to the PD workshops.  There were some common logistical concerns:

        • More Time to Set Up ...   There never is enough time to start the year.  Unfortunately, two staff days is never enough time to get through all that we need to do.  It's one of the reasons we provide per session the week before so teachers can have time for classroom set up.  Last week, teachers spent a collect 217 hours to come in and set up their rooms and those who were able to do so did a great job in creating a warm and welcoming space for our students!  This time has been and will continue to be made available to teachers each year.  It will always be the last Tues, Weds, and Thurs, of August from 8:30-12:30.  
        • More Time with the Staff Handbook...The Handbook was released for your review on September 2nd.  It was designed for you to read on your own, and the review during PD was solely aimed at highlighting specific policies that changed.  If you haven't had a chance to do so yet, please make the time to read through the Staff Handbook (Please CLICK HERE to review the handbook).  This handbook is made for your reference.  It will answer your questions about who is doing what this year and how to contact them (School Table of Organization and Contact Information), it will also explain in detail any School Policies and Expectations that may have gone too quickly for you during PD. If after reading through the handbook, you still have questions or require clarification, please submit your questions HERE.
        • General Supplies... We didn't get a chance to get you general supplies. To be honest, it fell through the crack as we focused on getting you the items that were ordered over the summer! Annie made moves to get folks supplies at the end of last week. If you still need general supplies (like paper, tape, etc.), please submit a request HERE and we'll get those supplies to you by the end of the day on Monday!


        Initial Planning Conferences.  Annie, Val, and I will be completing all Initial Planning Conferences this week.  Read through the School Table of Organization and Contact Information to see who your evaluator is and email Annie or Val if you haven't been scheduled for your IPC by the end of the day on Monday. 

        Schedule Changes or Problems.  Despite the many efforts, inevitably small mistakes with the schedule happen.  There are a million minute moving pieces in a schedule, and that's before you even include the kids!  So mistakes will happen.  They don't always become evident until we've moved through the schedule.  Thank you to everyone who has brought the errors to my attention.  Running through the schedule is an important step to making final corrections.  Please continue to use THIS FORM  to ask for student change requests AND to notify me of problems within the schedule. 


        To-Do This Week

        Monday Professional Development.  The PD Committee met on Friday to begin planning for the year.  The committee currently consists of Marsha, Rebecca C, Rebecca F, Rachel, Joey, and Jamie.  It is open to everyone.  Please let Kiri know if you want to join.  Currently, we meet in 401, but if more want to join, we will relocate to a larger space.  Here is the plan for the year

        • First Mondays.  Grade Teams will meet the first Monday of each month to review Attendance Team agendas and begin preparing Present Levels of Performance for the IEP reviews that are coming up for the month.
          • Grade Team Agendas for 07OCT, 04NOV, 02DEC, 06JAN, 02FEB, and 03MAR
            • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
            • 3:05-3:30 PLOP Writing
            • 3:30-4:10 Grade Team Attendance Meeting
        • Teacher-Led Consultancies.  For the 2nd and 3rd Mondays we will be working collaboratively to support colleagues on pushing each other to work to eradicate the "soft bigotry of low expectations" and collaboratively problem-solve to help one another provide equitable access to rigorous tasks within each of our classrooms.  For this first round, we will be working in Grade Teams to deepen working relationships and strengthen connections and trust.  We are looking for teachers to sign up and volunteer to present for one of these Mondays.  Once you sign up, someone from the PD committee will meet with you one-on-one to prepare you.  CLICK HERE to sign up.
          • Consultancy Protocols for 16SEP19, 23SEP19, 21OCT, 28OCT
              • 3:00-3:05 Announcements
              • 3:05-3:20 Presenters Present Dilemma
              • 3:20-3:25 Group Asks Clarifying Questions
              • 3:25-3:35 Group Asks Probing Questions
              • 3:35-3:50 Group Discusses Dilemma without Presenter Participation
              • 3:50-3:55 Presenter Reflects
              • 3:55-4:00 Groups Reflects on Process
              • 4:00-4:10 Individual Journal Reflection
        • Last Mondays.  We will use the last Mondays to continue to plan and take the opportunity to recharge through wellness and self-care activities.  


        School Opening Checklist.  Many of you were able to complete the checklist.  Use your prep time and independent work time after parent outreach to complete the checklist, including uploading your Pacing Guides and Courses Syllabi (please reference the checklist for directions and the links). 

        Teacher Observations.  We will begin the first round of teacher observations this week.  As you know the number evaluations are minimum requirements.  At UAI, you can expect to have more than your minimum number required.   For this first round, we are following through on the thread that Kelly, Suzannah, and Nadine helped illustrate in our Workshop on Planning for Thinking last week.  Please refer to THIS DOCUMENT for our own observation look-fors.  We will be evaluating planning and preparation in Domain 1, so please have your lessons linked in your pacing guides by the end of Tuesday.   If lessons are not linked in pacing guides, please have lessons and units pre-printed and ready for collection upon evaluator entry into classrooms.

        Social-Emotional Learning Updates


        Per Session Opportunities

        After School Clubs and Activities.  If you are interested in working after school, we have hours available to pay per session to teachers to run clubs and activities.  All clubs and activities must sustain a minimum of 10 students in each session.  If sessions routinely have less than 10 students, they will be canceled.  Teachers are responsible for recruitment and will report to Ms. Vanessa or Ms. Kim of Girls Inc, our after school partner that coordinates all after school activities.  All after school teachers are required to participate in all Girls Inc mandatory activities like Winterfest and Springfest.  If you are interested, please submit your idea (just a paragraph description is fine) and the number of hours/days you are willing to work each week with students to Jen at jenc@uainstitute.org.  We will send out final approvals with total hours in next weeks' blog post.

         

        Monday, September 2, 2019

        Week of September 1st

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 3
        September 1st, 2019

        Announcements

        School is Starting!  We all have a wide spectrum of feelings as the start of September approaches.  For me, one of the things I love most about my job is that each year I have the opportunity to take the best of the year before, learn from the worst and start anew a little bit wiser and with a lot of hope and excitement for a positively wonderful year.

        You'll learn more about this on Tuesday, but for the last four school years, these lovingly learned lessons and painstakingly achieved achievements has put our school on a constant upward swing in almost all categories!  This is an exciting time to work at our school and a wonderful time to be part of the staff who are bringing increasingly excellent learning experiences to our students and families.

        Some quick logistics:  Students report on Thursday 05SEP19.  Breakfast for students begins at 8:00AM. We will have an adjusted schedule for the first few days of school which will review with you in PD this week.  Teachers report on Tuesday 03SEP19 to prepare for the new year!  Tuesday and Wednesday are professional development days (PD days).  The day length for pedagogues is 6 hours and 50min on PD days.  For all PD days this year, teacher hours are 8:30-3:20PM. 


        Well Done AP for All.  The AP for All Boot Camp was a huge success.  Both students and teachers were excited for the year and we are thrilled to be providing our students the support they need to excel in advanced-level course work.

        Schedule Changes.  The schedule has been uploaded and you should be able to check your rosters in Skedula.  If you do not have access to Skedula, please email Phil (philb@uainstitute.org) to set up access.  If students reach out to you regarding their schedule, please help us help them first.

        • Accelerated Student.  Students who were accelerated (e.g. they took Earth Science instead of Living Env last year or they took Geometry instead of Algebra) will take a second year of the course if they DID NOT pass the regent.  If students were not accelerated, they can move on to the next math or science course without the regent exam.  The next course will be their next chance to pass a math/science regent (they only need one to graduate).
        • "I want this teacher not that one". Students who want to change teachers (e.g. same course, but different teacher) will not be allowed to do so.  We do not change teachers.
        • "I didn't sign up for this AP.  I don't think I can do it" Students enrolled in AP Classes are going to remain in their currently assigned AP courses for the first few weeks of September.  Many students have never experienced the AP level work and have limited experience on which to make valid decisions.  The goal is to give them a taste of the course and the experience before making a judgment.  We are aiming to encourage and push our students to push themselves.  After the trial period, students who still want to switch their AP courses at the end of September will be allowed to do so.
        • "I want to be in an AP class" Students who did not get into any AP course need to complete the program change request form.  Where there is space, we will find them a seat!
        • "I don't want to be in class with xyzOn a case-by-case basis we will change the programs of students who have pre-existing issues.  Typically, we have already put in the work (mediations with students, mediations with students and parents, etc.)  Sometimes, theses mediations do not have the desired outcomes and we will separate the girls.  Annie & Jen are tasked with making these final decisions.  Please send students to them and they will make the final call.
        • Use the Schedule Request Form.  I cannot track email requests.  I get about 500 emails a day.  Emailed schedule requests will be lost in the haystack.  So, THIS FORM helps me keep track and follow up on the change requests.  Please enter and/or direct students to enter all change requests into it.

        To-Do This Week

        Staff Handbook Review.  The UAI Staff Handbook is updated for the 2019-2020 school year.  Please CLICK HERE to review the handbook, and when you are finished, please CLICK HERE to sign off.  You must review and sign off on this handbook prior to your initial planning conference.  Please check your emails for the calendar requests for you initial conferences.

        Staff Professional Development.  We will launch the year with two days of Professional Development.  Here are the agendas
        • Tuesday 03SEP19 Agenda - PD Day (Staff Hours 8:30-3:20) 

          • 8:00AM - Breakfast (Optional)
          • 8:30AM - Welcome & Connections and IceBreaker Activity
          • 9:00AM - The Why of UAI
          • 9:45AM - Workshop I:  Understanding Implicit Bias & Our Charge in Disrupting Systems of Inequity 
          • 11:30AM - Lunch (on your own)
          • 12:30PM - Workshop II:  Planning for Student Thinking & Intellectual Engagement
          • 1:30PM - School Opening Checklist & Initial Planning Conferences
            • IPC Schedule - Your individual IPC appointment will be sent to you via google calendar invite so check your email!


        • Wednesday 04SEP19 Agenda (Staff Hours 8:30-3:20)
          • 8:00AM - Breakfast (Optional)
          • 8:30AM - Welcome & Connections and IceBreaker Activity
          • 9:00AM - Staff Handbook & School Policies Update
          • 9:30AM - Workshop III:  Professional Goal Setting
          • 10:30AM - Workshop IV:  Grade Team Meetings
          • 11:30AM - Lunch (on your own)
          • 12:30PM - First Day(s) Logistics Review
          • 1:00PM - School Opening Checklist & Initial Planning Conferences
            • IPC Schedule - Your individual IPC appointment will be sent to you via google calendar invite so check your email!

        School Opening Checklist.  On Thursday 05SEP19, we welcome our students to another school year.  Please makes sure to complete all the items on this checklist (which is the same stuff that I listed in last week's blog) to be ready for the first day of school!


         

        Sunday, August 25, 2019

        Week of August 26th

        UAI Staff News

        Volume VII
        Issue 2
        August 26, 2019

        Announcements

        Farewell to our Former Staff Members.  We honor those teachers who are moving beyond UAI onto different chapters of their lives.  The work we do on a daily basis is crucial, and the commitment and passion that all of our teachers bring for our students and their families are integral to their future growth and achievement.  We appreciate the hard work that all of our teachers invest in our school, our families, and our students.  A particularly heartfelt thank you goes out to those teachers whose life paths are leading them to chapters beyond UAI.

        • Megan Goodwin, 7th Grade Science & AP Biology.  Megan joined UAI as a new teacher two years ago.  Working with Marsha this past year, Megan grew significantly in her pedagogical practice.  This past June, Megan left UAI to begin her new life with her fiancee in Boston.  At the end of the year, she was able to secure a position in Brookline and was wrapping up her loose ends to move over the summer.  Her work with our students and families will always be appreciated, and we wish her the best of luck!
        • Meaghan Haughaard,  ICT Science.  Meaghan joined UAI as a new teacher three years ago.  She was a committed teacher who stepped up to fill in as a science teacher in her first two years.  As an ICT science teacher, Meaghan used her deepening knowledge in science to support our students who struggled most.  Meaghan's life path led her to move to California this past summer.  We appreciate all that she did to contribute to our UAI community and our students.  We wish her the best in her future endeavors!
        • Tracy Kornrich, Dance.  Tracy has been with UAI since 2007.  Over the years, Tracy worked both as a visual art and dance teacher.  Tracy was committed to improving her practice, seeking out support from the UFT and external PD to enhance her classroom skills.  Tracy brought opportunities for our students to express their creative side and her efforts to do so will always be appreciated!  As Tracy moves forward in her next roles, we wish her the best!
        • Kristi Lee, Earth Science.  Kristi was with UAI for just one year, and throughout that year, she fully committed to trying her best to bring high-quality lessons to UAI Earth Science students.  Her efforts were valued and appreciated, and we wish her the best of luck as she moves on to explore career paths outside of teaching.
        • Zach Utter, Global Studies.  Zach is originally from upstate New York and came to NYC last year to join UAI.  Zach had an incredibly successful year with Kelly, Suzannah, and Annie which led to amazing results on the new Global Regent exam.  During the summer, Zach resolved that living in the city did not mesh with his smaller town roots. He informed us in July that he is moving back upstate, and we wish him the best of luck and continued success as he continues to grow as a teacher.




        Welcome to our New Staff Members!


        Aasiya Raheem, ICT Science.  Aasiyah began her journey as an educator in 2011 in the Montessori Schools. While working, she earned her Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education and her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with Education Specialties. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Education Teaching Urban Adolescents with Disabilities ay LIU Brooklyn.  Aasiyah has traveled to over 10 countries and has taught public, private, and homeschools in 3 of these countries. These experiences have led her back NYC; to the city in which she spent most of her school years. Equipped with the strong influences of Dr. Maria Montessori and the Honorable Marcus Garvey; Aasiyah is on a mission to facilitate a way by which our children are “prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization." 



        Rachel Batson, 10th Grade English & AP English Lit.  Rachel began her teaching career in South Carolina, but in 2009, she moved to California, where she she taught for 7 years. During this time, Rachel ran intervention programs, AP vertical alignment teams, grade level teams, and after school programs. Rachel’s  niches in teaching and leading are planning, coaching, providing direct, actionable feedback, and infusing curriculum with engaging, rigorous, relevant themes and activities. In 2016, Rachel moved to NYC and began teaching at Success Academy's High School, where she served as an AP English teacher and interim Dean of English. Rachel left SA after one year for Brooklyn Ascend High School to be the English Chair and 11th grade ELA teacher because of their restorative practice program. For Rachel, teaching is more than a job; it's a calling, a craft, a catalyst for change. In joining UAI, Rachel has joined a group of like-minded professionals!



        Nick Juliusburger, 9th & 12th grade Physics. Nick Juliusburger worked for thirty years in the tech industry before leaving the company he helped found to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. Returning to education, he completed a combined major of Adolescence Education & Physics at the State University of New York in New Paltz where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He is excited to have the opportunity to share his passion for physics with the students of the UAI. When Nick is not in the classroom he can be found biking around Manhattan, hiking upstate, or watching films.





        Amy Cheng, Living Environment and AP Biology. Amy has been teaching for over ten years, in Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey. 2019-2020 will be her second year teaching in New York City. Her former students now live and work everywhere, from a biology educator at Turtle Back Zoo in Newark, to a professional scientist in Salt Lake City, to a master’s student in Oxford, UK. Amy is committed to the personal and professional growth of her students. Outside of teaching, Amy enjoys hikes with her family, cooking healthy (and irresistible, not-so-healthy recipes), and reading non-fiction.


        Emma Sweikert, 7th Grade Science and MS Elective. Emma is completing her summer residency with the Teaching Fellows and is excited to begin her first year of teaching at UAI. Emma's passion is connecting with and supporting newly arrived immigrant communities, particularly refugee youth. Prior to joining the Teaching fellows, Emma worked at the Arab-American Family Support Center where she provided academic support in developing literacy and leadership skills. During her work, she also developed and executed STEAM curricula for middle schoolers. Throughout her work, Emma incorporated trauma-informed approaches and socioemotional development in the classroom.

        Sarah Rosenblum, 6th Grade Science and ICT 6th Grade Math. Teaching middle school science is my passion. Sixteen years ago, I joined Teach for America and began working as a sixth-grade science and math teacher. At both Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS)  and more recently at MS 839, Sarah has always been committed to ensuring that every student receives an excellent science education. Sarah is a lead teacher with Urban Advantage which provides high-quality professional development support and a variety of resources for science to schools just like ours. Sarah understands that students are faced with many challenges in and out of the classroom. She continually strives to offer her students a variety of opportunities and experiences designed to help them not only address their immediate problems but to grow and thrive as people.

        More Announcements

        Final Schedule.  After reviewing the needs of incoming students and final grades from summer school, there have been some adjustments to the schedule.  CLICK HERE to see the final schedule.  We will be making adjustments to rosters this week, so you will not have your final rosters until Tuesday's PD.  We will be going through all of the specific program changes in person during PD when we are all together on Tuesday 03SEP, so send me your questions so that I can integrate those into that bit of the PD!



        UAI's First AP Boot Camp!  Rebecca C. and the AP teachers have been working hard to launch our very first Boot Camp for AP classes.  With our partnership with AP for All, UAI launched four AP classes: AP Spanish, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, and AP English Language.  Now, with support from AP for All, we are launching an AP Boot Camp to give our next round of students an improved ability to perform in these demanding courses.  This year, we will add two more AP classes (AP World History and AP English Literature) bringing UAI's AP offerings to a total of 6, far exceeding our goal of launching 5 courses within 3 years.  Many congrats to our team of AP teachers and many thank yous to Rebecca C for coordinating all the efforts around this amazing feat!


        Introduce Girls to Action Sports through Building Boards.  Over the summer, Ms. Nina (10th Geo/12th College Algebra) struck up a new partnership with Stoked, an organization committed to closing opportunity gaps through board sports.  To support this project, Nina created a Donors Choose project.  Please help her get the word out by posting to your social media and sharing in your circles.  We have a number of young women who would be soooo stoked to be part of this program.  Help us help Nina get this project off the ground!








        To Do This Week

        This Week's Prep and Planning Time for Per Session.  All staff are invited to come in from 8:30-12:30 to set up classrooms, create welcoming bulletin boards, and get a jump on their planning for the school year.  Teachers who come in must stop by Nancy's office to collect a time card and clock in and out for training-rate per session.  Please do not forget to clock in and out.  If you forget, we will not be able to process your hours for payment.  This year, Annie will be approving per session hours.  Please submit your timesheets to her by the end of day on Friday for approval. 

        Expectations For 1st Day of School Launch.  In addition to per session time this week, teachers will also have some time at the end of the PD days on Tuesday and Wednesday next week to prepare for the 1st day of school.  To be ready, here's what we need to do:
        • Planning and Preparation.  The key to a strong start to the year is immediately providing students with challenging content via effectively planned lessons and activities.  
          • Pacing Guide & September Lesson Plans.  When we conduct classroom observations and visits, we look at the pacing guides prior to visiting the classroom to review your lesson plans.  If you prefer, you can printed copies ready for us when we arrive in the classroom.  You can either make a copy of your pacing guide from last year or make a copy of this template.  Upload your pacing guide to this folder using this nomenclature "Teacher Name_Course_Pacing Guide 2019-20" and link your September Lessons into the guide by the first day of school.  Note:  When you link lessons to your guide, please do NOT copy the URL from the web browser.  Rather, click on the "Share" button to grab the link that you can copy and paste into your pacing guide.
        • Classroom Set-Up.
          • Furniture.  Classroom has sufficient chairs and desks for students and furniture is clean and well-organized in preparation to receive students.  
          • DecorClassroom decor is text-rich, communicates rigorous expectations, and creates an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students
          • Materials and Books.  All classroom materials & books have been organized and stored in classroom shelves and/or closets.  All packing materials have been removed from the rooms and there is nothing stored in large packing crates or boxes on table surfaces or floors.
        • Bulletin Board Prep.  At UAI, we do not obsess about bulletin board updates, but we do recognize that hallway bulletin boards are where we have an opportunity to communicate UAI's expectations for student learning and achievement to both our own community and to those visitors who come to see what we do.  Please do NOT post anything directly on the walls.  You can tape things to tiles, but do NOT post on the paint (as per custodial request).  Periodically, you will receive bulletin board prep time to update boards in preparation for visitors and events (e.g. Curriculum Night, Student-Led Conferences, etc).  This first round of board work will be in preparation for Day 1 AND for our first Curriculum Night (19SEP19).  Boards should include:
          • Title Your Bulletin Board (or Board Section).  Make sure your bulletin board has a title so that viewers know what your board is about and to which class(es) and teacher(s) the board belongs.
          • Images and/or samples of Student Work(ing).  Hallway bulletin boards should draw viewers in.  Creative use of Images or other visual work (e.g. displays that highlight student achievement) are highly encouraged.  As you highlight student work (e.g. work from last year if you have it or a model response that you created to illustrate expectations), step into the shoes of the viewer.  Ask yourself
            • Is it clear why this work is being featured?  What concepts are being highlighted and why?  How does this board illustrate rigorous course expectations?