Sunday, October 18, 2020

Week of October 19th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 13
October 19th, 2020

Principal's Message

Working Smarter not Harder.  This week, I've heard from a variety of different folks about how much work they have - particularly with grading and feedback.  

In the digital learning milieu, you have lost access to quick assessments and informal, non-verbal feedback.  There is an efficiency in brick and mortar learning that is lost in Remote Learning.  Where you used to be able to quickly walk through the room to hear students or check on their work, or when you could readily exchange an encouraging or redirecting facial expression with many students, now you no longer have those quick go tos.  They are replaced with writing in the chat, jotting on shared slides, or putting notes into Pear Deck.   The upside to this is that you are getting significantly more and more accurate information from students.  The downside is that it takes a lot longer to sift through and respond to student responses.

To account for this, you need to be be relentlessly intentional.  The moves you made on these lessons last fall when you were in person were motivated by different reasons and adapted to different circumstances.  Remote lessons are completely different.  So as you plan, slow down and ask yourself and your co-teachers
  • What is the goal of teaching this way (asking that question, using groups, using the chat)?   Is this the best move in a remote lesson?  Why?  Will another move get us to student thinking (and thus higher quality student engagement) faster?

  • Why am I grading and when am I giving feedback?  When is assessment information for the teacher to see how the lesson is landing and when is it a vehicle for feedback for or evaluation of students? How am I communicating which is which to students?

  • If my students aren't talking to each other (or at all), why is that?  Have I done enough to make the environment safe?  Have I planned to build peer relationships or did I assume that they would grow naturally (like they do in person...but wait...we're not in bad assumption)?  How well do I know each of my students as individual people?  What are my plans for getting to know them as individual people?  
Remember...the goal is not to simply get work done, but to get the best work done with the most efficacy and least waste of time & effort.  In order to do that, you need to make time in your planning and thinking to invest in intentionality.  When you do, you will find yourself working hard, true, but working a lot smarter, too!

Staff Birthdays This Week

NO Staff Birthdays This Week

Office Hours & Intervention.  There are four more weeks until the end of the first quarter.  Now is the time to see evaluate which of your students are in need of your support and intervention.  Your grades should be updated in Skedula by now, and you should use that to quickly identify students in need of your support.  Prioritize students at risk of failing MP1 for your Office Hours this week and on Fridays.  Please document the students' response to your intervention in Skedula and cc their advisor so that they can help you.  Office Hours are also an excellent time to get to know your students as individuals.  When students feel that YOU care about them, they will want to engage (and perhaps even put those cameras on!).  Practice some perspective shifting and think about how your students think about you.  Read their feedback too.    If you still don't know, ask them.  

REPOST from Last Week:  
    • 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/Jen) for extra support

Small Groups.  Several teachers have dedicated periods to do Small Group work with students in greatest need of intervention and extra support.  These groups are NOT in place of Office Hours with classroom teachers.  Rather, these groups are additional supports for students.  Classroom staff should refer students to the following grade teachers for extra support if/when they find that their office hour and other classroom based intervention are not sufficient.  Please email the names directly to these teachers and they will coordinate small groups with you.  There are two types of small groups 
  1. Small Groups for General Ed students in need of extra help in addition to Office Hours, and 
  2. Small groups for ENL or SPED students in need of extra support in addition to Office Hours - note- these students are already mandated (see links below).  Please reach out to teachers for specific supports you feel your ENL or SPED students need for your course.
  • General Ed Small Groups
    • 6th Grade:  Alison, Marsha, Sarah R
    • 7th Grade:  Alison, Marsha, Sarah R
    • 8th Grade:  Marsha, Cassandra
    • 9th Grade:  Marsha, Cassandra, Nina
    • 10th Grade:  Rebecca C, Nina
    • 11th Grade:  Rebecca C, Joey
    • 12th Grade:  Joey - Joey also time to work in small groups and individually with seniors on their college statements.  Please refer students for support with these, too.
  • ENL Small Groups:  CLICK here to see the Tracking Guide Laura made for our ENLs!  It's awesome! Thank you Laura!
    • Laura (grades 6-8); 
    • Rebecca F (Grades 9 & 10); 
    • Suzannah (Grades 11 & 12)

  • SETTS Small Groups:  Also CLICK HERE to see the SETTS schedule Nadine made for our kids who have SETTS on their IEPs.  It's also awesome!  Thank you Nadine!!
    • MS & HS Group SETTS:  Tiffany & Christina
    • HS Individual SETTS:  Danielle R & Nadine

Bringing Our Work Outside of the Circles.  Our collective work around Anti-Racism and Full Inclusivity does not exist in circles or meetings alone.  Already, there are many instances of how our work is expanding beyond our meetings.  Some examples:
  • Applying ABAR (anti-bias/anti-racist) strategies - Individuation & Perspective Taking.  Structures like Small Groups, Office Hours, and Advisory have given staff the opportunity to use two key strategies to overcome implicit bias.  We learned about these last June with the Office of Equity and Paul Forbes.  Today, these structures allow us all time to get to know our students and families and better understand their stories and needs.  Similarly, Annie, Jen, and Kiri have established regular one-on-one meetings and lead small teams of staff to achieve the same goal of individuating those whom we lead and understanding the perspectives of those in our charge.

  • Engaging in Belief & Awareness Work with Circles.  Our Circle committee is skillfully planning experiences to build relationships and allow us to connect with one another while at the same time, providing us with much needed experiences to build our awareness and shift beliefs.  In some instances, several teachers have already adjusted curricula to be more culturally responsive and inclusive. 

  • Investigating and Analyzing Systems of Inequity with our Equity Team.  Our Equity Team has launched their work in studying our Grading Policy in order to identify & confront inequity & construct a new the policy that includes the perspectives of all stake-holders (parents, students, staff) and ensures equity and success for our students.  This is work that is slow and intentional, but it is important work to make sure we do right!

  • Process Change Work of the School Restructuring CommitteeOnce launched, the SRC will begin the work of analyzing schools systems and structures (like hiring, scheduling and professional development) and root out racists and exclusionary structures so that we can build new systems and policies that protect the rights of and include all.
This work is a collective responsibility of all of us.  These are the big examples of what folks in our community are doing, but daily there are small positive steps that each of us can do to move our school further along the continuum to becoming a fully antiracist, fully inclusive school community.  

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.  

Student Newspaper Advisors.  Jen is looking to recruit teachers to be advisors and supports for a student run newspaper.  Hours will be 1-2 per week.  Posting will close on November 2nd.  To apply,  email Jen directly AND COMPLETE THIS FORM

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 Kiri by 19OCT20.

Anti-Racist Committee Work (aka School Restructuring Committee).  Posting closed:
Applied:  Nadine, Sarah M, Courtney, Laura, Marsha
Staffed:  Nadine, Sarah M, Courtney, Laura, Marsha

Per Session Positions Staffed To Date.  The SRC will be looking at UAI systems and structures to confront and dismantle any biased practices.  Staffing & Hiring were one of the main priorities raised by staff last spring.  It is important that we keep an eye on our movements and attend to making sure opportunities are offered and staffed equitably.  Here is our YTD data from September (it doesn't not include the PD hours offered to all staff in August).  Please review and share your feedback (anonymously) so that the SRC can make any adjustments as needed. 

Diversity & Equity in Staffing Analysis YTD:  
  • 17 people (of 44 total or 39% of staff) staffed 24 positions
    • 2 counselor/dean (of 5 total) - 40%
    • 2 paraprofessionals (of 4 total) - 50%
    • 13 teachers (of 35 total) - 37%

  • Of the 24 positions filled
    • 41% - 10 positions are filled by black staff (6 people)
    • 13% -   3 positions are filled by non-white staff (2 people)
    • 46% - 11 positions are filled by white staff (9 people)

UAI teams working on co-constructing UAI into an Anti-Racist & Fully Inclusive School
  • Circles Committee:  Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, and Nakita  (not staffed Kristina, Laura)
  • Equity Team: Damon, Elana, Kelly, Nakita, Phillan, and Rebecca C  (all applicants staffed)
  • School Restructuring Committee: Courtney, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, and Sarah M (all applicants staffed)

UAI teams working on school culture and student recruitment
  • School Culture & Student Activities:  Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Rachel, & Rebecca F  (not staffed Jelissa, Nadine, Rebecca C)
  • Student Recruitment Committee:  Christina, Jelissa, Phillan, and Rebecca F (all applicants staffed)

As an FYI- Here are the UAI Staff Race & Staff Position Demographics:


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