Sunday, December 6, 2020

Week of December 7th

UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 20
December 7th, 2020

Principal's Message

We are about 1/3 of the way through Marking Period 2, and this brings a good time to step back and reflect.  How well IS instruction landing with our students?  How do we know?  If a large number or majority of students are not successful on (or not turning in) a performance assessment, what happened and where was the breakdown?  How do you find out?

Throughout this entire COVID instructional year, all of us are engaged in finding new ways to reach students through screens and in their homes.   There are many new and unknown variables.  As good scientific thinkers, we must always incorporate time to pause, look at our data, reconsider our hypothesis, and try out new approaches to issues the remain unsolved.

So this week, take a step back and look at how your instruction is landing with students.  Put aside what you think is going on for a moment, and study, observe, and think about what else could be happening. Be disciplined and methodical in your analysis.  Reach out to colleagues (both new and familiar) to help rethink approaches.  

You know that if students continue to be non-responsive to the efforts you've tried since September, and still they are not yet succeeding, then it is time to try something new.

These next two weeks, focus on the students who have >80% attendance in your classes.  The attendance team will be focusing on the rest.  For those students who are showing up in class, how many of them are not turning in work? Why is that? What's happening from their perspective?  Get into their heads to find out!  Ask them and find out more!  When you listen to their perspective and incorporate their voices & needs, you will find ways, previously unconsidered, to reach and subsequently teach them!


Don't Forget To Scroll To the Bottom to See This Week's Per Session Postings

Birthdays This Week

Happy Birthday Nina!!!
Friday, 11DEC20

Sunday, 06DEC:  Akaiba (7),   Nadia G (11)  
Monday, 07DEC:  Adiba (8), Mckenzie (11)
Tuesday, 08DEC:  Mikyah (10), Karen F (10), Shania H (12)
Wednesday, 02DEC: Heba (6), Alea (9)
Saturday, 12DEC:  Jarin (9)

UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) Last week, the SC committee met on 12/2 and devoted our meeting looking at staff feedback of the Circle experience. We reflected on areas that were positive and areas of concern. Here are some things we will implement based on feedback:

  • Groups: The current groups were established during our 5th Circle on October 30th. In a survey sent out on 10/16, staff members voted to stay in the same groups for a few sessions. Groups will be changed after Circle #8 in January.

  • More ABAR work: Some staff members expressed shifting the Circle work from learning about each other to more antibias/antiracist discussions. In our Circle planning, we’re constantly trying to find the balance between building relationships and getting to the “nitty gritty” of the antiracist work. Not to worry! Our next staff Circle will get to the heart of that.  Relationship building will live through the opening icebreakers and determining the speaking order in small groups.

  • Time: Trying to have meaningful conversations within the 50-min time frame has been quite the challenge. We’ve seen feedback about needing more time to process the breakout questions. From now on, we will share the slide presentation with staff the morning of a Circle day.

  • Integrity of Circle Format: As part of the Circle format, participants have the option to pass or skip questions they do not wish to answer. The same is true virtually. We recognized that we haven’t been clear about this in our Circle meetings. Moving forward, the SC committee will incorporate passing in the guidelines of future Circles.

Attachments area

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday to begin our thinking and planning around systems and supports for our SPED and ENL learners.   The first meeting kicked off with a Five-Why protocol to begin to initial root cause analysis around what barriers exist that prevent our ENL and SPED students from succeeding on par with the General Education counterparts.  This conversation led to the team needing to gather more information and understanding from our teachers, learners, and families.  Monday's meeting will begin to plan ways to gather and engage these constituencies in pursuit of the goal of creating guidelines and checklists for planning to support our teachers to help SPED and ENL learners close learning gaps.

The Equity Team (Suzannah, Nina, Elana, Kelly, Phillan, Annie, Nakita, Rebecca C, Damon, Ms. King (Kianna’s mom), Ms. Barnes (Alyssa’s mom), Ms. Martuscello (Veronica’s mom), Kianna King, Emily Payamps, Jerlai Tyner, Jamilah Alshawish, Salia Naschel).  This week, members from the Equity Team planned and facilitated a meeting with Cassie from the Urban Assembly.  Cassie presented network-wide data reviewing UAI's college persistence data compared to the rest of the UA network schools.  Team members worked together to analyze data and identified trends based upon race, GPA, IEP, and ENL classification.  The team discussed possible root causes of the disproportionality of GPA based upon race.  Also, the team created a survey to send to UAI alumni to gather data about how well prepared they felt for college and life after graduating from UAI. Looking forward we will review the results from the alumni surveys and start diving into middle school proficiency data.  Our next meeting will be Thursday, December 17, 2020.

Tech Tuesday.  This Tuesday will be another opportunity for students to come in to school and exchange tech.  Students will be able to come to the school and exchange tech between 9 and noon.  Staff will be able to access the building during those hours as well.  Students will not be allowed access to the building.

Weekly Grade Upload.  As a reminder, please upload your grades by the end of the day on Monday.  At this point, students should have at least 2 participation and 2 progress grades, and at least 1 performance posted up into Skedula.  As a reminder, this does NOT mean 5 assignments necessarily.  Individual assignments can have multiple grades.  For example, a single summative assessment could have participation grade (yes/no - for completion), a progress grade (how well did they implement feedback to show growth), and performance evaluation (how well did they master the content/skills being assessed).  

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.  

The 8th Grade Yearbook Club Supervisor:  Congratulations Kristina C!
Applied:  Kristina
Staffed:  Kristina

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