Sunday, June 21, 2020

Week of June 22

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 42
June 22nd, 2020

Principal's Message

Last Week of the 2019-2020 School Year.    This is it.  We have arrived at the last week of this school year.  This has definitely been quite the roller coaster of the year.  

On Friday I got to have so many wonderful conversations with about 12 of you.  It gave me a glimpse into so many different perspectives of UAI's progress through this year, and in particular during COVID and our work in creating a more racially equitable environment at UAI.  

I began this year's work around implicit bias asking all of us to embrace discomfort and to boldly walk towards our biases.    At the November PD, we took a looking at What's in our Shopping Cart and Understanding Disproportionality (Nov PD AM Implicit Bias WorkNov PD PM Teacher Consultancies).  The last big PD day we had together in January we did a deep data dive looking at disproportionality at UAI (January PD:  Data Dive on our Grades).

Through one lens (or window as Pauls IB series would call it), we completely failed.  Trust with me & staff; Annie & Jen and staff; and staff to staff is broken.  Throughout this year, we have focused our work on undoing the inequity falling upon our students.  Throughout this year, I did not attend to reversing the inequities falling up on our staff.  

Today that is different.  Today, we have our ACT and SCI Committees whose work will be continued with our summer restructuring committee.  These committees are examining practices (e.g. how are coverages assigned; who gets what programming positions and why; who gets onto what committees; who gets hired; what are the budget allocations - how are those distributed and why ... and so many more).  Already we have increased transparency in sharing staff preferences, coverage assignment data, and per session applications.  In committees, we are still working to find the right spot between sharing too much or not enough.  But the goal isn't to get to an answer first.  The goal is to get the the solutions that work best, and that means trying (sometimes failing or missing the mark), but continually trying and trying again.

A couple of people I spoke to yesterday said that these last couple of weeks have been incredibly hard, draining, and demanding on their emotional state and energy.  But, the work was necessary and worth it.  Everyone I had the chance to connect with spoke of being hopeful and looking forward to next year.

I made myself stop for a minute and relish those words.  After COVID, reinventing instruction for Remote Learning, and experiencing the immensely powerful and challenging conversations around racial equity at UAI, everyone (at least the dozen I spoke to on Friday) - they all looked ahead and saw hope.

That's what makes UAI a great place.  We hold hope through thick and thin, and we use that to fuel ourselves and our work.  There is so much that is unanswered and unknown right now, and for many, that can be an unwieldy and anxiety-producing circumstance.  

To have hope in the face of all that we have already been through and all that we will face together illustrates the commitment each of you have for our school, our students, and their families.

It is that hope which will bring us together in celebrating our students and connecting with our families to end the year.

It is that hope which will propel us through the summer as we prepare and build a newer, more equitable (and more digital UAI) for launch in Fall 2021!

Thank you all for your honesty, your courage, and your persistence in taking on so many different and significant challenges this year.  I see what you do and how hard you work.  I'm working on being more socially adept at sharing with you how much you are valued.  But until I get there, know that I do hold you and cherish your work for our girls and their families at UAI!!

Happy last week everyone!


Happy Birthday!!!
Ms. Amanda (Friday, 26JUN20!!

Happy Father's Day to All our UAI Dads and all of your Fathers/Father Figures!!!

First Annual UAI Juneteenth Teach-In.  Over 50 people joined the first annual UAI teach in.  Many huge shout outs to Nina, Natalie, Suzannah, and Olivier for putting this together on top of everything else that they had to do as graduation and the end of the year approached!  Student, staff, parents, and community members joined this event to learn more about the history of Juneteenth and to understand some of the steps that can be taken to act to make Juneteenth a recognized national holiday.  It was a beautiful and informative event.  Nicely done!!

College Awareness Week.  This week for students, Jen is working with Danielle & Doris to plan a series of events to engage students in exploring and learning about different college options.  Please be on the lookout for their email so that you can promote it in your google classrooms this week.  

To-Do This Week

Implicit Bias Training Registration.  Please remember to complete the three 45-60min workshops prior to Tuesday at 12PM.  On Tuesday at noon, we will join Paul Forbes, Executive Director of Educational Equity, Anti-Bias and Diversity.  Please register in their system HERE.  As an FYI:

Module 4 will be facilitated in the DOE Zoom platform. For you to participate, you MUST sign into the DOE ZOOM account using your DOE log in and password. If you have a personal Zoom account, you will NOT be able access this session until you register/sign into the DOE Zoom account. The security reasons and the way to log-in to this account can be found HERE. You should have received an email about these security measures from Chancellor Carranza on May 7th.

If you are encountering technical issues with your email address, password and/or accessing Zoom, you will need to contact the DOE Help Desk at 718-935-5100. 

The link to the live, Module 4 session for Tuesday, June 23rd from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM is HERE.
Meeting ID: 995_8098_2786
Password: 952899

From Paul:  At the end of my session, time permitting, there will be an opportunity for participants to share their "Where I'm From" poem that you learned about and started in Module 2. I hope a few of you are interested in sharing your poem in the live session. If so, you can go HERE to hear and see samples of "Where I'm From" poems (including my poem). You will also find a template on page 4 of the document that you can utilize. During the session, if  you are interested, you will be unmuted and allowed to share your poem.  I look forward to our session together!

Final Grade Review.    Jennifer, Phil, and I performed a series of technological dance steps to finally get the grades loaded up into STARS.  Skedula and STARs in Remote Learning is a whole new set of skills!  Many thanks to Jennifer & Phil for working so hard to get that done.  Many, many thanks to you both!  Later today, I will be posting up the grades for your review in the Remote Learning document (I need to whip together a Father's Day BBQ and Brunch first).  When it does get posted, look for the email so that you can review your grades and make any changes before we run final report cards on Wednesday.

Graduations.  All staff are expected to join in celebrating the culmination of hard work for our 8th graders and 12th graders.  All staff should join the 8th grade stepping up virtual ceremony on Wednesday at 11AM and the 12th grade virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday at 11AM.  Virtual ceremonies are not an ideal replacement for real life ones, but there are what we have for now.  Please join to help us bring celebration and meaning to each of our young women during this important rite of passage!

Attendance.  Yes, we still have to take attendance through the last day of school.  Please continue to post your daily attendance questions and please also promote our College Activities this week to engage students.

Last Day of School.  We will have our final staff meeting from 8:30-9:30 on Friday 26JUN20.  After that meeting, all advisors are expected to email out final report cards and also confirm receipt (via email, text, or phone).  If you have more than 12 advisees, please reach out to Annie.  She will coordinate out-of-classroom staff to support you.  After you have confirmed receipt of report cards, you are finished for the year!

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