Sunday, April 5, 2020

Week of April 6th

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 31
April 6th  2020


Announcements

Happy Birthday Mr. Courtney!
Sunday, 05APR20 is Mr. Courtney's Birthday.  Bring your festive well-wishing to our AM Zoom!



Week 3 UAI Online Instruction.  We are in our 3rd week of online instruction, and first and foremost I want to Thank You all for digging so deep to find the motivation and inspiration to bring your best online game to our students and their families.  In the midst of all your work, I want you to know that I see you  all committed pedagogical heroes in your own right.  Through your work to engage our students in your instruction, you are definitely contributing to the fight to control this outbreak and maintain the health and safety of our city.  In addition, you are working hard to fulfill your commitment to our school mission, ensuring that our young women receive the education they both deserve and need to become empowered young women.

As you probably already know, there was another flurry of announcements from Chancellor late Friday evening after our Friday PM check-in.  There were a number of announcements, but the two that are the most pressing this week are the ones referring to our use of Zoom for online instruction and the fact that April 9th and 10th are no longer holidays. 



To Zoom or Not to Zoom.... You all were on top of the zoom concerns almost from the start.  As a result, our zoom vulnerabilities were greatly ameliorated, as compared to many other schools across the city.  As a reminder there were several things that you figured out early:

It is not clear whether or not the DOE is aware of all the measure that folks like you have taken to secure the Zooms.  It is also not clear how well the DOE understands the amount of time and energy that you have invested over the last three weeks learning about Zoom, on-boarding your students, communicating with families, and establishing co-teaching structures to optimize the live sessions.

However, I do understand all those things.  I am closer to your work, and have better perspective.  So, my information will obviously be more complete and accurate.

The explicit language from the DOE around Zoom is "DOE staff and service providers should cease using Zoom as soon as possible".  Well, it took us three weeks to get into Zoom, at minimum, it will take just as much time to get out.  In addition, the alternate suggested, Microsoft Teams, requires that every single user (student and teacher) access Teams using their DOE emails.  NONE of our students use their DOE emails, and many of our staff do not either.  To onboard our entire community into MS Teams will take even longer than three weeks.  Ergo, our "soon as possible" will not happen before then end of this school year.

The feedback from all constituencies (Parents, Teachers, Students, Partners), is unilaterally positive around the significance and appreciation of live interaction.  We will be preserving our Zoom structures while we develop a plan to transition to Teams at a yet to be determined future date.




Spring Not Break ... On Friday night, the Chancellor also announced that we will be working through April 9th & 10th, the days that Michael Mulgrew had originally announced would be off.  At first shock, I could see how insulted everyone must have felt to be cast in the role of baby-sitters.  However, we are in fact not just baby-sitting.  We are creating meaningful learning experiences to engage students in thinking, and as a result, we are providing essential services that will aid in the fight to flatten the curve and keep our kids and families engaging in school work, rather than risking exposure or inadvertently spreading the virus.  To that end, see the letter co-written by the Chancellor and Dr. Barbot, the Commissioner of DOHMH.

Here's our plan for Thursday and Friday this week.

Equity of Access to Learning Online.  Thursday (09APR20) and Friday (10APR20) will be days for students to work on and submit any assignment they missed since we started online instruction.  Access to technology and the non uniformity of home experiences require that we create flexibility so that all students have the chance to perform equitably.

Feedback over Judgment.  Whenever we give a number grade, we are passing a judgment on student work.  We are in the time of heightened stress and anxiety for everyone.  Imagine trying your hardest to access online learning, suffering bad data access, competing with siblings or cousins, or even worse, contending with the illness of a loved one.  Take all of that in your mind and reflect on how well you are ready to receive a judgment of your performance - a grade or an evaluation.  OR, Imagine if I popped in on you guys and said, "Hey your online class today was Developing!"  - would that bit of information help you improve?  Not at all.  On Thursday and Friday, use your work time to provide students with feedback that is aimed at improving their performance.  Imagine what your idealized student performance would looks like (AKA your "Look For"), and give feedback to students to help them shift or correct their performance so that is closer to your ideal.  If you want some help with giving feedback, please visit Annie or Kiri this week for our own Office Hours to collaborate with you on constructing feedback for your students on the work they submit.  

Here's our plan for Monday Thru Friday next week.
The Big Picture.  Each day students will have the opportunity to engage in live interactions with each other and their teachers.  In addition, teachers will have significant time to plan and prepare for online instruction in the likely event that we do not return to school on April 20th.  

The Labor Logistics.  The Unions and DOE have come to an agreement that 4 additional CAR days will be added to your banks.  Yes, I realize that you are being asked to work 7 days but are only being give 4....I confess not to understand the logic here.  But that's what is currently on the table.  In addition, you are able to take religious observance days on Thursday and/or Friday (I believe at no cost to your CAR - but now I can't find that wording - so if anyone else has that, let me know).   Regardless of how the religious observance is structured, I purposefully created flexibility in Passover and Good Friday so that you could have enough space and time to attend to family and religious observations.  You are of course entitled to take the days if you see fit, but you should not feel as if you forced to do so. 

UAI Logistics. The schedule is still in construction, so please do share your feedback.  I wanted to share with you while in construction so that I could integrate changes where necessary.  I am trying to make it so that Monday-Thursday everyone has one live instruction day, one office hour day, and two planning days. On Fridays, we'll be focusing on giving feedback to students on submitted work, and reaching out to families and students who are still struggling.


To-Do This Week

Refine Your Outreach Lists.  Thank you for completing this list of students who are not showing up to Office Hours.  Those that are highlighted in Red (3+) or Yellow (2) have been listed by multiple teachers.  Those are the students we will begin our focus of support on.  We'll be having a meeting on Monday with all of our Out of Classroom Staff to strategize support for them.  We ask that by EOD on FRIDAY 10APR20, please revisit this list and remove any student who has caught up in your class and/or who no longer requires the additional intervention.

Zoom Security PD.  If you feel like you need more support in securing your zoom sessions, please join Kiri at 12PM on Monday to walk through how to do that.  In addition, stay on the call to have her do a one-on-one check of your individual security preferences.

Feedback Support Or Any Other Questions.  Please reach out to Annie or Kiri for one-on-one support with providing feedback or any other support you need to improve your instruction and planning for Online Learning.  We'll be visiting classes again this week to reach out to individuals as well!



 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Week of March 30th

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 30
March 30th,  2020


Announcements

Week TWO UAI Online Instruction.  There are 8 days of Online Instruction before the Spring Break.  With no clear path or message about where we will be after the break, it is imperative that we focus our energies on tasks and skills that will be useful and applicable for when we do return to a normal schedule at school.

Questions about the logistics of grading are valid, but challenging to answer.  We don't want to expend significant time and energy into creating an equitable and fair grading policy that effectively applies in an online learning environment.  However, the question then immediately follows is how do we communicate with students the significance and purpose of actually doing the assignments?

Well, the answer to that is Assessment and Feedback!  In the classroom setting, much of your energies and time is spent thinking about the lesson and activities.  Less time and energy is spent planning for assessment and feedback.  In the virtual setting, because many kids are participating asynchronously and not in the live zoom (or even in tutoring/office hours), student performance and your feedback becomes significantly more important.  In a virtual setting, you are more heavily reliant on student output to see whether or not your instruction is landing where it should.

For the next 8 days of instruction, prioritize your efforts on providing students with the coaching and feedback that improves their practice.  You should have about 1-2 summative assessments (see below) for actual grading, but the remainder of your tasks and assignments should be used so that you can give constructive feedback - not numeric grades.  Message to students that through the feedback and practice, students prepare for the summative assessment coming later this week (and/or before spring break).


To-Do This Week

Identify the Lowest 3rd to Provide Extra Supports.  This week we need to make the best of our tutoring sessions (slash Office Hours).  Identify the students who are struggling the most in your class (your lowest 3rd), and mandate them to attend your one-on-one or small group tutoring sessions in the afternoon.  They do not need to come everyday.  They do need to come and meet with you as often as you deem necessary!  In addition, provide these students with online resources that they can independently work on to build their foundational skills and understanding.  Please reach out to your colleagues for ideas that kids can use at home to improve foundational skills in your subject area.

Check out the PD Offerings this week.  They will be live and recorded to post up on the UAI GC.  We'll get exact dates from the PD presenters during Monday's AM Check In.  The links to the technical explanations of how to use the following tech tools are linked below.  However, joining the PD will give a chance to work with peers to understand how you can optimally use the tools in your own instruction.

  • Broad Spectrum Pulse Taking - Getting a Sense of the Forrest 
    Using The Question Tool in Google Classrooms to Take Attendance AND Assess
    Jamie will be hosting a live zoom for teachers who are looking for ways to streamline taking attendance.  In addition, the Question Tool in Google Classroom gives the opportunity for students to quickly take a quick pulse check of the class as a whole, thus giving the teacher a general picture of how well the class grasped the day's concepts.  Multiple Choice questions for comprehension checks are ideal for this purpose.  
  • More In-Depth Understanding - Getting a Sense of the Trees
    Using Breakout Rooms in Zoom to Structure Discussion and Assess
    Nina will be hosting a live zoom (and posting a recording later) for teachers who are interested in using breakout rooms to structure discussions and student collaboration.  In addition, she'll share how she uses assignments to generate student questions which become the foundation for planning her classroom Zooms and Office Hour/Tutoring sessions.  Open ended discussion questions that require students to reason and apply concepts and skills (e.g. prompts that require students to analyze, justify, prove, explain, or synthesize).

Student Attendance.  If you haven't already done so, please adopt a digital method for taking attendance (e.g. a quick google form or the question tool).  CLICK HERE for a complete list of students.  You may want to use this list to help you organize your attendance and grades for entering into Skedula.  If you are interested, stay with me after Monday's check in for a quick overview (which I'll later post up on the GC - Google Classroom).


Grades vs. Feedback.   Traditionally, the exchange between teachers and students is disproportionately on grades.  When athletes compete or when musicians have a performance, prior to the meet or appearing on stage, there are hours and weeks of trying, failing, and learning from frequent and directional feedback from an experienced mentor, coach, or teacher.  This week I have been hearing a lot of expressed need to figure out how grades work in our new online environment.  But I want us to pause on that.

We are in an unusual circumstance, and we are presented with an environment that is giving us a unique opportunity where feedback can and is more important than the grade.    This week, rather than spending your time "grading" to give students back a number, focus giving them tasks that asks them to show their thinking so that you can give them advice how how to improve their performance.  After several experiences (e.g. at least three at-bats), only then give them a task that tests how well they have integrated your coaching.  That assessment is their track meet, competition, or performance.

Between now and Spring Break, you should have multiple opportunities to provide constructive advice that pushes student growth and improves their performance.  HOWEVER, you shouldn't have more than 1 or 2 performance assessments (the unaided test of what they can do).

If you are struggling to see how this could work, visit Jamie or Nina's sessions to discuss with them and your colleagues how it may work with the digital tools we have.  No one of us has all the answers, but together, we can definitely come up with ideas to make the ones we need!

In short, if you absolutely need to put in a "grade" for formative assessments - they should be pass/fail only, with the focus on giving feedback and coaching to help students improve and get ready for a summative assessment.  The summative assessment (only 1 or tops 2) in the next 8 days should be independently (no notes, no coaching, nada) completed so that each student has an accurate picture of what she can do on her own.  If you provide enough feedback and coaching BEFORE the final assessment, they will have the confidence needed to excel on the summative test (or essay or project or performance).



Social-Emotional Learning Update

No Updates this week

Per Session Opportunities

All Per Session Activities are Cancelled Until Further Notice.


 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Week of 23MAR20

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 29
March 23rd,  2020


Announcements

A Note from Kiri.  What a difference one week makes within our new pandemic reality.  Last week we didn't know whether schools would be closed.  This week, we do not really know when they will re-open.  In this intense public health crisis, the uncertainty is unmeasurable, and the fear and anxiety is skyrocketing.

That said, I am so proud of our team.  We are ready to launch into an Online Learning School and we made that happen in one very short week.  Because of your commitment to our students and families, and your passion for providing our students and families with an experience that closes the gaps of inequity, almost all of our families are poised and ready to begin their digital learning journey with UAI tomorrow.  I cannot find the words to thank you enough, and words cannot begin to capture the amount and depth of pride that I have in each and every one of you.

All year, I have been questioning the strength and investment of our community.  In this crisis, I question no more.  I have seen you each step forward to support one another, advocate for students, and connect families to much needed resources.  The levels of collaboration that extend between each of you and our community is exactly the type of interdependence that will ensure the best of all outcomes for our students and their families.

This week, in your inevitable bouts of stress and anxiety, I want you to remember that yes it is incredibly hard and unyielding work.  BUT, because of you and your work, you are securing the right to learn and grown for hundreds of UAI children and you are part of a global movement of teachers and support staff that are do the same for millions of children around the globe.  Your work and effort matters more than anyone can say, right now.  When we come through this period (and we will) the work and effort that you will have done will transform the way teachers and support staff are viewed and respected throughout the world.

This is social justice in action, and I am both lucky and proud to lead us through it together!

Thank you UAI for all you've done this week.  Remember, Annie, Jen, and I are here daily to support, and we'll be dropping in to visit and troubleshoot alongside all through this week.  It will definitely not be perfect, but it will be done with care, foresight, and heart.  And through that heart, we will continue to improve and tailor our approach to best suit the needs of us all!

To-Do This Week

Go Through The UAI Online Learning Checklists.  Before you launch your zoom tomorrow, please make sure you have taken the time to test it out and that you've read through the UAI Checklist (CLICK HERE).

Online Schedule of Live Streaming.  Please clarify with students that there are NO individual schedules.  Instead, there is a schedule of when teachers will be live streaming their instruction.  Direct them to THIS document (the list tab is still in development).  Jen is going to post that up on our website too.  It is the schedule, with your Google Classroom Codes and Zoom links.  Rather than have multiple documents for kids and families to reference, I combined all of our info into one.  Please link your zoom links on the Link tab when you make them.  If you change your zoom, you'll have to update the links here, too, don't forget.

Technology Update.  95% of our students have smartphones, tablets, or laptops, now.  There are a handful who still need a laptop or some other device.  I am going into the building on Tuesday to pack up the remaining tech and deliver it to the kids who need it/keep it at my house as back up for those who need it.  If you would like to volunteer to assist me, please text me to let me know.  Please message to the kids, that our goal this week is to make sure everyone has a WiFi enabled device.  Smartphones and Tablets will work.  The Urban Assembly has gathered information around WiFi offers and tech support (CLICK HERE) that students and staff can use to facilitate our transition into online learning.  For those with persistent issues with access to WiFi, we are coordinating with other UA schools to purchase WiFi enabled Chromebooks with Sprint.  That will take some time, however.  So, students will have to make it work with free NYC hotspots and their existing devices (from school or personal) until then.  Please do share the GoFundMe campaign far and wide throughout your networks to help us make this happen.

Read the Letter to Students and Parents.  Please re-read (or read) the letter I sent to you, students and families. This letter contains important links and information. Inevitably, students and families will be reaching out to you for various reasons.  Use the letter (and embedded links) to help you deal or forward that information.

Check the UAI Google Classroom & Calendar Daily.  Throughout our Online Learning at UAI, the UAI Staff Google Classroom will be the main place to check for updates, resources, and zoom invites.  In addition, check your calendar to see any meetings or other events that are being planned.


 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Week of 16MAR20

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 28
March 16th,  2020


Announcements

Preparing for for School Closure.  There has been no official word on school closing.  However, pressure is mounting both internally and externally for the DOE to follow the examples of cities like LA and Seattle and to listen to the recommendations of the CDC.  Pressure from the unions and parents is also mounting, too.  But for now at 1PM on Sunday (16MAR20) afternoon, NYC DOE Public Schools remain open.

Student and Staff Attendance.  I respect the personal decisions of parents, families, and staff to take the steps they find necessary to protect the health and safety of themselves and their families.  As per guidance from the Chancellor's office, no punitive actions will be taken towards students, families, or staff on absences that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annie and Jen are already collecting information from families, students, and staff regarding their plans.  I am asking that people share their plans so that we can create contingencies to ensure the health and safety of those that do continue at UAI this week.  Please message to your students and families that if they are planning to keep students home, attendance will not negatively impact them.  However, we do need to know if they are planning to come so that we can prepare at UAI.  Please have students/families reach out directly to Jen. For staff, please reach directly out to Annie with your plans.

Adams Street Campus.  In the event of school closing, the Adams Street Campus will likely remain open as a food services site.    I am currently working with building leaders and staff (along with central DOE leadership) to figure out the logistics on this, but I am also reaching out to see if there are any folks who are willing to voluntarily work at school.  If you are, please email me directly.  Please do not feel pressured to do so.   This is strictly a personal decision, and even if you are willing, it is still not yet certain that the campus will open.

Moving to Online Learning.  Student and staff attendance is expected to decrease significantly as time goes on.  If we look at cities like Seattle, LA, Cleveland, Detroit, and even closer to us in NJ and Long Island, ultimately NYC DOE schools will close.  We have no idea how long that will be, so we must prepare for the worst case scenario and move instruction to be online.  We are still finalizing specific logistics on this, and we will be sharing the plan and providing training & support during Monday's PD & Tuesday extended after school time (if we are still in session).   To streamline communication with families and students, we need to all be on a common platform.  Overwhelmingly, from the survey I sent out last week, the vast majority of teachers are on Google Classrooms.  The majority of students are most familiar with that platform.  Over the course of this week, we will be moving all classes onto Google Classrooms and pairing staff who are new to the platform to colleagues who are more experienced so that everyone has individualized support and training.  To best prepare for tomorrow's PD, please fill out this SURVEY so I can make sure to address any questions and concerns that you have.



To-Do This Week

MP4 Grades are still due at 3PM on Wednesday.  Because there is a risk that MP4 may be the last marking period this year that was minimally impacted by Coronavirus, we need to make sure we have an actual snapshot of student progress.  We are still too far out to give specific guidance around grades based on online learning, but I can say it will be different than grades given for in-person instruction.  I do not yet know what the long-term effects of this pandemic will have on students' future (e.g. how will colleges look at student transcripts), but to secure the future success of our students, I want to make sure we encapsulate their current performance as clearly as possible.  All grades are due in by 3PM on Wednesday.  However, because of this current period of uncertainty, if you are able to submit them early, I am asking that you do so.

Staff Attendance.  Please share with Annie your circumstances and plans for attendance through the end of this week.  We will continue to solicit updates as long as we remain open.  To reiterate, the Chancellor has explicitly stated that no disciplinary action be take around COVID-19 related absence.  If you have individual questions, please connect with me (in person, via email, or phone) and we can discuss your personal situations.

Student Attendance.  Please continue to communicate with Annie if students inform you that they are absent because of Coronavirus related issues.   We will continue to update that in ATS so that student absenteeism is accurately recorded. 

Benchmarks and Student Led Conferences.  We will not be giving benchmarks on Thursday and Friday.  When will we give benchmarks?  That is still TBD.  We will be keeping to the benchmark schedule, if we are still in school.  During the extended time, teachers are to work with students to individually assist and train them on how to access your Google Classroom and to review your expectations for participation and work if school is cancelled and we are learning online for an extended period of time (this is also what we will be reviewing during Monday's PD). 

We need to make sure that all parents have registered in Skedula.  Through Skedula and School Messenger, we are able to send messages (in their home languages) to families in order to keep them up to date on everything that is happening at UAI.   In addition, with parent emails, we can provide families access to our Google Classrooms.  Please make sure you are updating the SLC Appointment Sheet with family emails and phone numbers.  Without your help in getting accurate information, our ability to keep families informed is severely impacted.  Please update the document as soon as you have the information so that we can update ATS.

If we are still in school on Thursday and Friday, we will have virtual conferences by phone or video.  We will keep the scheduled appointments, and we will focus conferences on helping families access UAI online resources like Google Classrooms, Skedula, and the UAI website.


Today, This Week, and Longer Term Planning.  Until we have definitive information from our leadership (president, governor, mayor, chancellor), it is impossible to construct solid plans that will be in place for anything more than a day out.  This creates an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety that only exacerbates people's concerns around Corona.  It's not ok.  To the extent possible, my aim is to mitigate the anxiety and stress that you must be feeling.  To that end, please send me your concerns and questions as they come up.  If I can, I will most definitely address them.  For UAI, our digital presence was pretty significant for most classes and teachers.  So, the move into online learning is a big push for some, but certainly not for all.  I will ensure those in need of more support have it.  In the end, our work to move online is a positive thing for our students and families.  Online learning cannot replace teaching and learning in classrooms.  However, online resources can significantly help our students and families improve and achieve in our classrooms.  These resources are coming online because of a crisis, but in the end, they will be practices and resources that will only enhance the quality of teaching and learning at UAI.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions.  What about prom? graduation? grades?  If we close, will re reopen? If I'm working at home, does that mean I have to use my CAR?  How will we be evaluated for work at home? 

There is definitely so many, many more.  I want to collect those questions, too, so that I can answer them as soon as I get that information from the DOE.  Please make sure you are sharing your ideas in the survey above!


Social-Emotional Learning Update

No Updates this week

Per Session Opportunities

All Per Session Activities are Cancelled Until Further Notice.


 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Week of March 9th

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 28
March 9th,  2020

Special Announcements

Celebrate International Women's Day.  Today is international women's day.  At UAI, we celebrate women every day all year long.  I count myself lucky to work alongside of you in this wonderful work!  It is a blow that despite a historically diverse panel of democratic presidential candidates, we are yet again presented with a choice among white men.  However, change, especially change the disrupts the power narrative, takes time, persistence, and a LOT of energy.  I encourage you to focus on the joy of our work today and enjoy the onset of Spring to celebrate the very special women in your lives and build up the women who inspire you!  Happy International Women's Day!!



Updates on Coronavirus.  On Friday, the Chancellor held an informational webinar with the city's principals.  Much of the webinar focused on belaying fears with facts and emphasizing the pro-active habits we should all take to prevent the spread of the virus (washing hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and coughing into elbows).  There was no explicit instructions about the possible closing of schools, but he did say the this situation is evolving daily.  As soon as I know anything I will share with you. 

For UAI, here's what's happening:  
  • Custodians are cleaning surfaces daily with disinfectant soap.  This includes handles, railings, and surfaces.  
  • There is hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and disinfectant spray available for staff use in addition to custodial cleanings.  We do have limited supply, but ask for some in the main office.
  • Bathrooms are continually stocked with soap. PLEASE let us know if you hear of any supply need in the bathroom.
  • In the event that school is cancelled, we want to gather information to begin to build a contingency plan.  Please take a minute to COMPLETE THIS BRIEF SURVEY
Moving forward, please remind students (AND ourselves & fellow staff) to:
  • wash or sanitize hands frequently (after bathrooms trips, before and after lunch).  
  • limit contact with your faces 
  • cough or sneeze into your sleeves.
Again, the panic of this viral spread is spreading.  While taking precautions It's equally important to focus on the facts and to stay informed CLICK HERE.  Remember Coronavirus has a 3.5% death rate, which means is has also has 96.5% survival rate!!

Announcements
Happy Birthdays to: 
Sherri-Ann (Girls Inc) 10MAR20 and Vanessa (Girls Inc) 14MAR20!


Last Weeks' Events.  Last week was a busy one with class visitations to SLJ, PSAT/SAT testing, the Summer Opportunities & College Fair, field trips, and two, very important Saturday events - the Hiring Fair and the Recruitment Brunch.

I'd like to extend a thank you to all of the staff who stepped up throughout the week to make these events happen! The events were incredibly successful. It was a truly UAI collaborative event with so many staff giving their time and energy to make these events wonderful experiences for staff, students and families!

A special thanks to 

  • Jen, Lauren, and the entire recruitment team for organizing a fun and engaging morning with prospective students on Saturday!  It was amazing!!  We had a super packed house with several families coming up to us to say  such amazing things, like "This is the first school she has ever felt happy about.  Please let her come here!" 
  • Annie and the entire recruitment team for interviewing over 20 candidates and working hard to find the best candidates for our upcoming school year.
  • Jen, Danielle & Doris and all of the staff who volunteered to share their personal college experiences during our summer opportunities & college fair.  
  • Annie and everyone who stepped up to be on the Culture Committee!  We look forward to the work you do to bring UAI from good to great!

Soft Lockdown Drill. On Tuesday 10MAR20, there will be a Soft Lockdown Drill at 10am. As a reminder, when the drill is initiated - all students and staff must move to the corner of the room, out of sight, with lights off and must remain silent until the drill is lifted. The drill typically lasts less than 5 minutes so it shouldn't interrupt instruction too terribly. Please let Annie know if you have any questions.

Field Trips.  Quick note: Per Chancellor's Regulation A - 670, the high school ratio for field trips is 15:1, and middle school is 10:1. Due to a rapidly disappearing bucket of money for substitute teachers, we need to hold to these ratios for field trips moving forward... Please plan your trips accordingly.

  • Upcoming Field TripsIf you are planning a trip, in addition to communicating with Annie, please remember to inform all relevant teachers via email when you schedule a field trip so plans can be made for missing students! So far these trips are approved:
    • March 11th - Rebecca F and Laura are taking these students to the Met.
    • March 26-27th - 11th graders (list tbd) on College overnight trip.
    • April 7-8th - 10th grade (list) in Washington DC!
    • May 14th - 6th and 7th grades (list tbd) go to Six Flags!

Culture Committee Visits. The Culture Committee (Damon, Suzannah, Judy, Rachel, Jamie, Natalie, Kristina, Courtney, Annie) will be conducting classroom walkthroughs this week! Please expect us to be in and out of your rooms!

Attendance Update. While we are in our series of March Not Madness PDs our next grade team time won't be until April. We still want to update folks on how we're doing attendance-wise. So here are some key stats:
  • Overall School Attendance is holding steady at 90.9% which is above our target goal!
  • Chronic Absenteeism school-wide is currently at 27% which is our target goal!
  • See here for an update on completed home visits by our attendance teacher, Alan!
Benchmarks. Our spring benchmarks will be held on March 19 & 20th. Please review the benchmark schedule (here) carefully and let Joanna know if you catch any mistakes.  Many thanks to Joanna and Rachel & Rebecca who helped us make a mock AP exams happen for our students!


Important Dates.  
              • Week of March 9th It's Spirit Week! Please remind your kids and wear your best outfits!  
                • Monday - Pajama Day!
                • Tuesday - Female Icon Day - dress as your female hero!
                • Wednesday - 90's Day! 
                • Thursday - Twin Day!
                • Friday - UAI Spirit Day!
              • Wednesday 11MAR20. UAI Awards Night & Girls Inc MarchFest.  
              • Friday 13MAR20.  MP4 Ends.  MP4 grades will be due at 3PM on Wednesday 18MAR20.
              • Wednesday, 18MAR20.  Kelly hosts Affinity Schools Visit (will be using room 147).  
              • Thursday 19MAR & Friday 20MAR.  Students Led Conferences and Spring Benchmarks.  
              • Wed 24MAR through Fri 26MAR.  NYS Middle School ELA Testing.
              • Tuesday 07APR & 08APR.  The 10th graders go to Washington DC!
              • Wednesday 08APR.  The day before spring break, we will be having a rapid dismissal at 2:30pm. 
              • Friday 01May20. The GSA is hosting UAI's first drag show - 6-10pm! 

To-Do This Week


Monday March Not Madness Assignments!  CLICK HERE to review your assignments for our March Not Madness series of Monday PDs.  Also, all teachers should review the Survey Questions prior to their Survey Focus group.

Tuesday Outreach - Continue to Schedule SLCs.  Student Led Conferences are on March 19th and 20th.  Please begin scheduling SLC appointments for all of your advisees.  SLCs will be from 5-8PM on Thursday (19MAR20) evening and 12-2:50PM on Friday (20MAR20) afternoon.  As usual, Spring Benchmark exams will be happening on those days as well.  All appointments need to be scheduled by the end of Parent Outreach this Tuesday 10MAR20.  CLICK HERE to enter your appointments.  

Social-Emotional Learning Update

No updates this week!

Per Session Opportunities


  • March 11 - one representative from each grade team for UAI Awards Night! 5-7pm, first come, first served.
  • May 1 Drag Show - 10 staff
  • May 15 - 8th Grade Prom Chaperones - up to 10 staff
  • May 21 - Senior Prom Chaperones - up to 6 staff

Important Dates.  As a reminder (see blog post of 24FEB for details), here are the important dates:
  • Week of March 9th We were spread thin with everyone out doing recruitment work last week.  So Spirit Week has been moved to next week!
  • Wednesday 04MAR20.  SAT Day
  • Saturday, 07MAR20.  Applicant Brunch and First Hiring Fair.  
  • Wednesday 11MAR20. UAI Awards Night & Girls Inc Marchfest.  
  • Sunday 08MAR through Thu 11MAR.  Kiri @ SXSW presenting with a  panel of principals 
  • Friday 13MAR20.  MP4 Ends.  MP4 grades will be due at 3PM on Wednesday 18MAR20.
  • Wednesday, 18MAR20.  Kelly hosts Affinity Schools Visit.  
  • Thursday 19MAR & Friday 20MAR.  Students Led Conferences and Spring Benchmarks.  
  • Wed 24MAR through Fri 26MAR.  NYS Middle School ELA Testing
  • Tuesday 07APR & 08APR.  The 10th graders go to Washington DC!
  • Wednesday 08APR.  The day before spring break, we will be havin.g a rapid dismissal. 

To-Do This Week

March Not Madness PD.  This Monday we will be kicking off our March Not-Madness Annual PD Series.  Here are the final assignments for the month!  See the blogpost from 24FEB for descriptions!

    Tuesday Outreach - Continue to Schedule SLCs.  Student Led Conferences are on March 19th and 20th.  Please begin scheduling SLC appointments for all of your advisees.  SLCs will be from 5-8PM on Thursday (19MAR20) evening and 12-2:50PM on Friday (20MAR20) afternoon.  As usual, Spring Benchmark exams will be happening on those days as well.  All appointments need to be scheduled by the end of Parent Outreach on Tuesday 10MAR20CLICK HERE to enter your appointments.  Try to have at least 1/2 of your advisory scheduled by the end of this Tuesday.

    Social-Emotional Learning Update


    Per Session Opportunities

    None this week.


     








    Sunday, March 1, 2020

    Week of March 3rd

    UAI Staff News

    Volume VII
    Issue 27
    March 3rd,  2020

    Announcements

    Happy Birthdays to: 
    Phillan 03MAR20 and Suzannah 05MAR20

    Check our your March Not Madness Assignments!  This was too buried in last week's blog, so I decided to lead with it this week.  CLICK HERE to review your assignments for our March Not Madness series of Monday PDs.  Also, all teachers should review the Survey Questions prior to their Survey Focus group.

    Field Trips.  During the first Survey Focus group, clearer communication came up as one of the things we could change to improve our community and culture at UAI.  Particularly, communication around Field Trips came up as a need.  We'll be adding a section on upcoming Field Trips to the blog and posting these trips in the UAI School Calendar to better improve communication in this area!
    • March Field TripsWe have several field trips coming up! If you are planning a trip, in addition to communicating with Annie, please remember to inform all relevant teachers via email when you schedule a field trip so plans can be made for missing students! So far these trips are approved for March:
      • March 5th - all 11th graders are out on two trips - Painting and College visit
      • March 5th - Nina is taking these students to Girl Day at City Tech
      • March 11th - Rebecca F and Laura are taking these students to the Met
      • March 26-27th - 11th graders (list tbd) on College overnight trip

    Summer Opportunities & College Fair during MS and HS Lunch.  We are still looking for volunteers to come talk with students during their lunch period about your own college experiences and your personal journey to college, including your experiences outside of school (extra curricular clubs, sports, activities, jobs, etc.).  In addition, we're looking for staff to help us help our girls get involved in extra curricular activities both inside of UAI and outside of the school this spring and summer.  If you are interested and are willing to spend your lunch period on March 6th chatting with our wonderful young women, please reach out to Jen, Kiri, or Danielle I.


    Important Dates.  As a reminder (see blog post of 24FEB for details), here are the important dates:
    • Week of March 9th We were spread thin with everyone out doing recruitment work last week.  So Spirit Week has been moved to next week!
    • Wednesday 04MAR20.  SAT Day
    • Saturday, 07MAR20.  Applicant Brunch and First Hiring Fair.  
    • Wednesday 11MAR20. UAI Awards Night & Girls Inc Marchfest.  
    • Sunday 08MAR through Thu 11MAR.  Kiri @ SXSW presenting with a  panel of principals 
    • Friday 13MAR20.  MP4 Ends.  MP4 grades will be due at 3PM on Wednesday 18MAR20.
    • Wednesday, 18MAR20.  Kelly hosts Affinity Schools Visit.  
    • Thursday 19MAR & Friday 20MAR.  Students Led Conferences and Spring Benchmarks.  
    • Wed 24MAR through Fri 26MAR.  NYS Middle School ELA Testing
    • Tuesday 07APR & 08APR.  The 10th graders go to Washington DC!
    • Wednesday 08APR.  The day before spring break, we will be havin.g a rapid dismissal. 

    To-Do This Week

    March Not Madness PD.  This Monday we will be kicking off our March Not-Madness Annual PD Series.  Here are the final assignments for the month!  See the blogpost from 24FEB for descriptions!

      Tuesday Outreach - Continue to Schedule SLCs.  Student Led Conferences are on March 19th and 20th.  Please begin scheduling SLC appointments for all of your advisees.  SLCs will be from 5-8PM on Thursday (19MAR20) evening and 12-2:50PM on Friday (20MAR20) afternoon.  As usual, Spring Benchmark exams will be happening on those days as well.  All appointments need to be scheduled by the end of Parent Outreach on Tuesday 10MAR20CLICK HERE to enter your appointments.  Try to have at least 1/2 of your advisory scheduled by the end of this Tuesday.

      SAT Day. This Wednesday the 10th graders will be taking the PSAT and the 11th graders will be taking the SAT.  9th and 12th graders will not be in school that day, and the middle school will have regularly programmed classes.  There are some room changes so all MS and HS teachers should review Joanna's SAT schedule to understand the program for the day.  Please CLICK HERE to see the schedule.

      Summer School.  Yes, you read that right!  We are beginning to gear up for summer school.  If you are interested in teaching some of all of summer school, please email Kiri by the end of next week (Friday 13MAR20).  These are the options
      • HS Credit Recovery.  Students complete work from failed classes to earn credit.
        • Mondays-Thursdays 1 hr per section + 1 hr of prep time each day (3 sections max or 4 hrs per day max)
          • Humanities Credit Recovery - must have SPED, ELA, or SS license
          • Math Sci Credit Recovery - must have SPED, Math or Sci license
          • PE Credit Recovery - must have PE or Dance license
      • MS Enrichment.  Students who are in the lowest 10% (citywide) of performance on the ELA or Math exams, will be mandated to attend enrichment for the middle school.  
        • Mondays-Thursdays 1.5 hrs per section +1 hr of prep time each day (2 sections max or 4 hrs per day max)
          • 6-8 ELA - must have ELA, SS or SPED license
          • 6-8 Math - must have Math, Sci, or SPED license
      • Regents Prep.   Students do test prep in preparation for August Regents.  Teachers signing up for Regents prep are signing up for test prep instruction, proctoring and grading.
        • Regents Prep is open to ONLY the following for the summer
          • CC Alg I, Earth Science, Living Environment, Global, USH, and English
          • There is no summer Regents Prep provided for GEO or ALG 2.  We will offer them if kids want to sign up, but we won't be able to fund prep for those this summer.

      Social-Emotional Learning Update









      Per Session Opportunities

      None this week.


       




      Sunday, February 23, 2020

      Week of February 24th

      UAI Staff News

      Volume VII
      Issue 26
      February 24th,  2020


      Welcome Back from The Break!
      Hopefully everyone enjoyed the time off and made sure to prioritize self-care and restoration!  We will return for another 6 weeks before the long Spring Break, after which, it will be a rapid whirlwind to the end of the year.  Each year, the time just keeps flying faster and faster!


      School Culture Reset
      Guest Post from Annie:

      With the return from break, it is a perfect time reset behavioral expectations for both staff and students.  Before break, we received feedback from teachers which helped us identify key areas of need.  The Culture team has narrowed in on these areas and created a plan to address them.  Please CLICK HERE to see the full plan.  Here are some highlights:


      • Midyear Discipline Snapshot. Overall, our suspension rate and classroom removal rates are lower than last year, with an increased number of mediations.
      • Recidivism & Progressive Discipline. Survey Feedback, "There is a lack of progressive discipline for low-level repeat behaviors." To address to this, Restorative Circles and Grade Team Interventions will be instituted. CLICK HERE for details. 
      • Expectations Reset.  This week we will be re-establishing schoolwide expectations.  The plan:
        • Expectations Tour.  School Leadership & Deans will visit each sections of all grades to set expectations for behavior and compliance with school rules.
        • Culture Committee.  Those teachers interested in joining a committee to support this work should email Annie and CLICK HERE for details. 
        • Hallway Duty.  Staff stationed on hallway duty will be given more explicit details and expectations.
      Traditionally, the shift from winter into Spring and Summer brings with it a rise in behavioral challenges.  By establishing strong systems of expectations as a united team of educators, we can collectively work to ensure that our students have the safe and healthy learning environment they deserve!

      Announcements

      Happy Belated Birthdays to: 
      Kelly 16FEB20, Kimberly 18FEB20,
      Elana 19FEB20, Alison 22FEB20


      Survey Responses Data is In!  All staff will be given the opportunity to sit down with Annie or Kiri to dig deeper into the survey responses (click to see the Survey Questionsto better understand the outcomes and develop ideas for improving performance.  Please take your own time to review the results, and come prepared with ideas for school improvement to your assigned Survey Focus Group session during our March Not Madness PD series.

      Summer Opportunities & College Fair during MS and HS Lunch.  We are looking for volunteers to come talk with students during their lunch period about your own college experiences and your personal journey to college, including your experiences outside of school (extra curricular clubs, sports, activities, jobs, etc.).  In addition, we're looking for staff to help us help our girls get involved in extra curricular activities both inside of UAI and outside of the school this spring and summer.  If you are interested and are willing to spend your lunch period on March 6th chatting with our wonderful young women, please reach out to Jen, Kiri, or Danielle I.

      Important Dates.  We have six and a half weeks until the next big break, and it is jammed packed with events.  The calendar is always the main source for information, but here's some highlighted events to keep on your radar for this upcoming month+.

      • Week of 24FEB.  Home Visit Blitz. Throughout this week, the recruitment committee (Marsha, Phillan, Lauren, Jen, Jennifer, Marni, Kiri, Annie, and Jen) will be out of the building conducting home visits to over 500 student applicant's homes.  The goal is to maximize the number of students committing to UAI so that we can meet our enrollment goals for 2020.  The team will be out of the building this week (Annie & Kiri will be alternating days out).  So if you need to reach any of them, please email!
      • Friday 28FEB20.  Black History Month Assembly.  This Friday will be our annual celebration of Black History month.  We will be having an assembly during last period.  Please look out for more details and directions via email as we get closer to Friday!
      • Week of March 2nd.  We are kicking off celebrating Women's History Month with a Spirit Week Celebration (stay tuned for details).  The spirit week will culminate in a Summer Opportunities and College Fair on Friday 06MAR20. 
      • Wednesday 04MAR20.  SAT Day for 10th & 11th Graders.  There will be no Classes for 9th and 12th graders on SAT Day (they stay home).  All other grades (middle school, 10, and 11) will be at school that day.
      • Saturday, 07MAR20.  Applicant Brunch and First Hiring Fair.  We are hosting two events on Saturday.  The first is our Applicant brunch where we are inviting folks from our round of home visits to learn more about UAI and the application process in general.  The second is our first hiring fair of the season where we will be interviewing candidates for the 2020-21 school year.
      • Wed 11MAR20 - UAI Awards Night & Girls Inc Marchfest.  We will be celebrating our young women during this month of women's history by honoring their achievements and supporting their artistic expression.  Please join us for a night of fun and festivities.
      • Sun08MAR through Thu 11MAR.  Kiri will be out of the building representing UAI and the Urban Assembly at South by Southwest (EDU).  She will be presenting on a panel of principals from across the country, describing the challenges and rewards of leading a school in an urban setting.
      • Friday 13MAR20, MP4 Ends.  Marking Period 4 ends on Friday, March 13th.  Final MP4 grades will be due at 3PM on Wednesday 18MAR20.
      • Wednesday, 18MAR20.  Kelly hosts Affinity Schools Visit.  The Affinity Schools Network is three superintendencies spanning schools partnered with New Visions, the Urban Assembly, Outward Bound, and many more.  Kelly has been honored with the selection of having her classroom host teachers from across all affinity schools to visit her classroom as a model class.  Congratulations on this great honor for you and UAI Kelly!! 
      • Thursday 19MAR & Friday 20MAR.  Students Led Conferences and Spring Benchmarks.  Our next round of benchmarks and students led conferences are only  3.5 weeks away.  This is an important round because we focus on choices and changes students need to make in order to finish the year strong and successfully promote.
      • Wed 24MAR through Fri 26MAR.  NYS ELA Testing begins on Wednesday 24MAR for grades 6-8 and ends on Friday 26MAR20.  Special testing schedules will be shared with teachers and students as we near those dates.
      • Tuesday 07APR & 08APR.  The 10th graders are leaving UAI for their trip to Washington DC!
      • Wednesday 08APR.  The day before spring break, we will be having a rapid dismissal.  All staff and students must exit the building.  All after school activities are cancelled for that day.

      To-Do This Week

      March Not Madness PD.  This Monday we will be kicking off our March Not-Madness Annual PD Series.  Here are the final assignments for the month!  As a reminder, here's the description of those workshops:
      • Pedagogical Effectiveness Workshops
        • Developing Strategies to Support Students with IEPs:  Hallie from the Affinity Support team will be running a PD to help teachers understand how to best leverage student IEPs and develop strategies to better support the academic success of those students in their classrooms. March 9th ONLY. 
        • Classroom Management Techniques:   Ms. Nina will be hosting a classroom management PD to share her strategies and techniques for creating a safe, warm, and orderly learning environment.  March 23rd ONLY. 
        • Scaffolding Readings & Assessments to Support ENL Students: Ms. Rebecca F & Ms. Laura will be running a workshop on supporting teachers to develop strategies and approaches that increase ENL student entry into rigorous texts and more accurately assess their learning. March 16th ONLY. 
        • Independent Work Time with Co-Planning Team:  Teacher teams may elect to choose a Monday to get a jump on the week's planning.  Repeating Sessions.

      • Mindfulness & Well-being Workshops
        • Learning Walks:  Walking with a colleague and just talking about pressing topics is a great way to process your thinking and collaborate on new ideas around issues that have been persistent struggles.  On the learning walks, staff can choose a topic, colleague and destination (e.g. walk across the Brooklyn Bridge). Repeating Sessions.
        • Yoga: Exercise and Meditation combine to provide staff with a means to manage stress, health, and exhaustion.  We will have a yoga class offered to those who are interested in joining!  Exact Date still TBD.
        • It's Game Time!: By popular request, we have created a Game Day PD.  Come join your colleagues in blowing off steam with games and puzzles.  I'm bringing Elena's cards against humanity and Dashiel's new game called "Joking Hazard."  I also have Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, and others.  Bring in your favorites (puzzles and games alike). Repeating Sessions.
        • Sip and Paint:  Also back by popular demand is the Sip and Paint workshop.  The "Sip" portion of the Painting PD will be open to all at the UAI staff happy hour on March 20 (after our PM SLCs have completed) and the Paint portion will happen the following Monday on March 23 ONLY.

      Tuesday Outreach - Begin Scheduling SLCs.  Student Led Conferences are on March 19th and 20th.  Please begin scheduling SLC appointments for all of your advisees.  SLCs will be from 5-8PM on Thursday (19MAR20) evening and 12-2:50PM on Friday (20MAR20) afternoon.  As usual, Spring Benchmark exams will be happening on those days as well.  All appointments need to be scheduled by the end of Parent Outreach on Tuesday 10MAR20.  


      Social-Emotional Learning Update


      Per Session Opportunities

      None this week.