Monday, October 12, 2020

Week of October 13th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 12
October 13th, 2020

Principal's Message

Finding the Joy
!  Thank you to all of you who shared their moments of JOY during Thursday's meeting.  I think we all need reminders of the work we do daily and the value our efforts bring for our students and families each and every day!  Even in this tiny little picture, there at the back is a happy hand waving in excitement as her classmates focus on their screens, pursuing their first college credit through their senior LINCT QR course.  

Here are some quotes from your colleagues.  Please enjoy their JOY:
  • I'm having a lot of success working with one of my advisees who is usually really hard to contact, but she feels comfortable enough now to text me/ask any questions about her progress, which feels like a huge win!

  • A student emailed me and told me because of how comfortable I was being myself they felt empowered to come out to their mom. I cried.

  • Not really a story but just a shout out to the 6th graders who have changed advisors so much. They have been rolling with the changes and are really shining in class discussions and support of each other. They have even organized Zoom lunches and study help sessions for themselves.

  • Every Monday and Tuesday in Earth Science we play music that relates to the lesson we are going to teach while students log on. I usually dance to the music and some of the girls laugh or join in! Pretty cute and makes them feel comfortable.

  • [One of my students who has had a rough start to this year] is showing that she really wants to do and be better this year. She's been turning in all her work ON TIME and participating in the chats during live lessons. I'm so proud of her!

As I have come to know, teaching and learning in the time of COVID will always have endless challenges and obstacles. I've also learned that each of these challenges can be all-consuming and overwhelming.  However, the eternal optimist in me is incredibly stubborn, and as a result, I've also realized that alongside (and sometimes buried within) each of these hurdles, there is always a nugget of something beautiful and amazing.  All we have to do is to choose to see.

So this week, challenging yourself.  Find the joy, and when you do, share it (with your students, your colleagues, your friends & family, or, if you're feeling super share-y- shoot me an email to post it in next week's blog!

Staff Birthdays This Week

NO Staff Birthdays This Week

Grading, Analysis and Feedback.  This is our 4th week of instruction this year!  We have five more weeks until the end of the first marking period.   While the launch of this year was smoother than our sudden shift to remote learning in March, there were still quite a few shifts, changes and hiccups!  Use your time this week to analyze student work, and provide the support and feedback necessary to overcome barriers to learning and growth!
  • Look at Student Work in Co-Planning.  Assess student work with your co-planning team.  Understand why students are succeeding, missing the mark, or not turning work in at all.  Ask:
    • How well are our lessons landing with students and how do we know?
    • How many students did well on this assignment and why is that the case?
    • Which assignments had the biggest success rate (students turned in and did well) and why?
  • Plan Intervention and FeedbackAfter global analysis, work together to create and execute plans for feedback and to identify students in need of intervention.  
    • Which students are missing assignments and why have they not turned them in?
    • Which students turned in work, but completely missed the mark? What help do they need?
    • Which students turned in work, but need a little help to improve their work quality?
    • Which students performed excellently, and why was it so good? How do we celebrate that?
    • Which students showed the biggest growth; how did they do that? How do we celebrate that?
  • Skedula Updates.  Please make sure to update Skedula with all grades by Friday 16OCT20.  You do not need to transfer attendance, only grades. If you are wondering "How do I transfer Google Classroom Grades Into Skedula" and try these directions.  (Please note, never be shy about just googling your question!  There are many, many imperfect things about Google - but they are super useful for finding answers to technical questions like this!!)

SRC Scheduling Committee Updates.  The SRC Scheduling subcommittee met on Friday to address feedback from staff on programming needs.  We will be hosting a Q&A Session on Tuesday at 3PM to answer your questions and address concerns.  For now, here are the updates that are going in place starting tomorrow:
  • Friday Flexibility.  
    • CHANGE:  Instead of assigned small groups, Fridays will now be a day-long block of Office Hours.  Staff can use the time flexibly for office hours or extra grading/feedback.  
    • RATIONALE:  Many staff are calling for more time for grading, planning, and feedback.  The original plan for Fridays was to create small groups for intervention and support.  By changing Fridays into a block of Office Hours, teachers can flexibly use the day to do both as needed.  Kiri will leave the Teacher & Programs the same - that way students and teachers will be able to see which times work best for each teacher's Office Hours.
  • Friday Attendance
    • CHANGE: Advisors will be responsible for taking attendance for all advisees each Friday.  This week, advisors need to teach into the process for attendance on Fridays:
      • At 8:30, advisors will send out a mass email/send Remind/text to have students submit attendance via a Google Form.  Forms need to be submitted by 9AM.
      • At 9AM, advisors email/call/text/send Remind to advisees who did not submit form.
      • At 9:30AM, advisors call parents/guardians of advisees who did not submit form to find out what is happening with the student for the day.
    • SAME:  Zoom teachers (PE, Theater, Spanish) still continue to take attendance in Skedula on Fridays.  All teachers post Asynchronous work for students to complete on Fridays.
    • RATIONALE:  We still need to take attendance on Fridays.  Advisors are the only ones who have consistent contact with everyone on Fridays (PE/Theater/Spanish only see some students)

Tracking Intervention.  As we are midway through the marking period, it is important that we rapidly identify students in need of support so that we can intervene and prevent failure.  Intervention and support are always important, but in Remote Learning, intervention and support are critical components to students success. 

As we move towards the end of the marking period, Annie & Kiri will be reviewing your intervention lists in their one-on-ones with you to see what support you need to help students achieve.  This year, all student attendance and interaction in Office Hours and Small Groups (not - ENL/SETTS they will have their own attendance tracking soon) should be entered into Skedula as a comment.  Please copy their advisor so that they advisor can track/support intervention.
    • Students who have NO documented evidence of intervention cannot receive a failing grade.
    • If a student does not show up to intervention (or refuses intervention), teachers must call home.  Please record notes of conversation in Skedula (and cc Advisor).  
    • If you cannot reach a student, please escalate immediately to advisor and direct supervisor (Annie/Kiri)

Co-Facilitating Duties.   The SRC Subcommittee met to clarify responsibilities of Co-Facilitators.  Here are the duties.  Co-Facilitators are charged with the supporting the online classroom management of synchronous lessons.  Please remember to add your Co-Facilitators to your Skedula classes so that they can perform their duties.  Those duties include:
  • Zoom Attendance Management.
    • Manage the Waiting Room (let students in, send wait room messages, etc.)
    • Take Attendance & Upload into Skedula
    • Send Link to lost students
    • Block potential bombers

  • Zoom General Management
    • Mute students when needed 
    • Turn off student video when needed
    • Turn off annotations (if enabled)
    • Change Screen Sharing Permissions
  • Zoom Breakout Room Management
    • Set up breakout rooms (given direction by lead teacher)
    • Visit breakout rooms to prompt conversations/keep students on target
      • This is just to get the conversations going or keeping them on track
      • This is not instructional assessment of prompting - this is class management
    • Send messages to support time management
    • Support technical troubleshooting in breakout rooms
  • Zoom Chat Management
    • Ensure students are chatting appropriately
    • Raise up questions/comments to lead teacher
    • Share necessary links/prompts in chat for students
    • Save chat if needed

Co-Teaching Duties.  You can review and update Co-Teaching Duties as needed.  In Co-Planning Meetings This Week, please 
  • Invite Annie/Kiri to Co-Planning.  We'll begin our visits to meetings this week.
  • Review AgreementsCLICK HERE to review & update Co-Working Agreements as needed.

Zoom Class Visits Begin this Week.  Jen, Kiri and Annie will be visiting zooms and Google Classrooms to provide feedback and support this week during one-on-ones and in writing.  Please make sure to share your links and Google Classrooms so that we all have access!

Per Session Postings.   As a reminder, there are NO per session opportunities without a posting.  This is one of the changes we made to increase transparency and equity for UAI.  Several folks have asked about submitting hours for things that have NOT been posted this year.  Those hours cannot be approved without proper process (two weeks posted) and thus will be automatically rejected (or if they slip by on accident because Del/Kiri/Nancy missed them, they will be adjusted accordingly).   If you want to propose a per session activity, please reach out to Annie/Kiri/Jen and the soon to be composed SRC committee.  If approved, your idea will be posted below publicly below in the Per Session Postings section.  

Per Session Postings

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

Testing Coordinator.  Joanna has moved on from UAI, and we are in need of someone to coordinate all testing and compliance activities.   The testing coordinator manages all components of schoolwide testing.  Historically, tests include DRP, SAT, AP Exams, Regents, Middle School Exams, NYSESLAT, Regents etc.  This year, we do not yet have a clear picture of what exams are being offered, but the testing coordinator will be charged with tracking and organizing around that information as it arises. The testing coordinator reports to Kiri.  Teachers with prior testing coordination experiences preferred (please write about that when completing the form).  Hours will vary as testing periods come and specific requirements of exams.   Please apply by completing the form above and emailing Kir by 19OCT20.

Anti-Racist Committee Work. The Summer Restructuring Committee met to discuss next steps and set plans for the remainder of the year incorporating the feedback that some of you shared in last week's survey (thank you for that!).  Moving forward, the SRC will now be known as the SCHOOL restructuring committee, and we will begin recruiting and selecting members for the committee.  This committee will work in conjunction with the Equity Team to evaluate systems and policies at UAI and take the steps necessary to ensure that they are equitable.  Please COMPLETE THIS FORM by 13OCT20 if you are interested in joining!

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