Sunday, December 13, 2020

Week of December 14th

 UAI Staff News

Volume VIII
Issue 21
December 14th, 2020

Principal's Message

As we approach the winter holiday, the need for people to connect becomes increasingly more significant.  This week, prioritize two things:
  1. Connect with your Advisees.  This week, reach out to simply check in on families & students just to see how they are doing.  No academic or attendance updates - just show that you care and are there for them.  You may not be able to directly support or help them, but showing that you care will mean so much!

  2. Help your students connect with one another.   In remote learning, all of our students are lacking the adult-unmediated spaces where they can exercise their independent social emotional skills in forming and negotiating relationships.  Creating relationships through a computer screen is hard for adults.  It is almost impossible for students.  Social media interactions are empty and often misinterpreted.  Advisory has been an important space for this social development, but it is not enough.  This week and next, make space in your classes for students to connect with one another. Here are some ideas (just a few - definitely NOT an exhaustive list)

    • Make it Lighter & Fun.  Have your students work in constant groups for the next week and a half.  Have the first task be creating a team name or identity.  Plan fun in class games or friendly competitions (Family Feud, Jeopardy, etc.). Within the games, give groups the time to create their identities, prepare and support each other, and get ready for the fued.

    • Switch it Up.  Check out  In this online meeting forum, kids can work in groups in separate areas of a "room" and you as the teacher can move around to different groups.  Kids can also move around and speak at the same time!  It is the closet-to-real life interactions in a virtual space that I've seen so far.  Make sure you play around with it yourself (like I invited friends to a Friday hangout to check it out), and try it out on an iPad or on your phone so you can sense what kids will feel!  Good luck and have fun.

    • Shared Connections.  Sharing experiences (like how we shared our COVID experiences in Circles on Friday) or finding commonalities (e.g. your team has to find 3 things that you all have in common) are a great tool for paving the way to new relationships.  Make time to have students engage in these kind of activities in small groups.
When students are in spaces with people they consider safe (e.g. a trusted teacher, advisor, or with friends), they are more willing to take risks.  Remote Learning demands incredible risk-taking of our students.  They are on a single stage (zoom talking protocols mean that everyone has to listen when they talk); their mistakes are on display not only for their teachers, but also for students they do not know or trust. They are exposing private home experiences (little siblings or their bedrooms!) to strangers in their class; their private lives are on display and subject to unknown judgment.  As a result, students are muted and off camera...

AND that means that they are not learning as effectively as they could be.

So, we have tried to coerce, urge, and demand via our policies to get them to engage.

Now, we need to take a step back, re-evaluate, and prioritize their emotional safety.  Create a connection of friendships and colleagues in your classroom breakout rooms.  Teach them how to work collaboratively in study groups during your Office Hours.  Help them learn to rely on one another instead of just you.

When that happens, they will be happier, and you will be less stressed! 

Good luck everyone and have a stupendous week! 


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

Birthdays This Week

Happy Birthday Amy!!!
Friday, 13DEC20

Sunday, 13DEC:  Anayasia (9),   Waniya (9), Karla (10)
Monday, 14DEC:  Nahlay (6), Makayla V (8), Destiny V (8)
Wednesday, 16DEC: Attiya (10), Valeria (11), Vivian (11)
Thursday, 17DEC:  Sarah C (8), Manal (9), Sumaya (10), Dameia (11)
Friday, 18DEC:  Cierra T(12), Fariya (12)
Saturday: Neveah G (8), Denise M (10), Zarin (12)

UAI Committee Updates.  

Staff Circles Committee (Members: Annie, Jennifer, Juelle, Marsha, & Nakita) Last Friday, we facilitated the final staff Circle of 2020. During this Circle, we reflected on Covid’s impact in our personal lives, as well as considering the impact it’s had on our students and families. Part of the antibias/antiracist work is challenging assumptions made about students, especially during these difficult times. Our next Circle is scheduled for January 15. The SC Committee thanks every staff member for engaging in the Circle space for the past three months. Enjoy the holiday break and stay safe!
Attachments area

School Restructuring Committee (Members: Annie, Courtney, Jen, Kiri, Laura, Marsha, Nadine, Nina, and SarahM).  The SRC met on Monday and engaged in doing a deep-dive analysis on a case study student to better understand both student and teacher needs for supporting our students with learning disabilities and/or students who are learning English.  The team encountered several hurdles, including trying to develop concrete and executable steps based on the information available in the PLOPs and IEPs.  In addition, the team struggled with finding supports that addressed actual learning issues vs. social-emotional skills.  On Monday, the team will plan an approach to engaging staff in finding and sharing practices that have worked with students with IEPs and/or who are learning English.  In addition, this staff engagement will analyze why those practices are successful in the goal of providing all staff with the tools and understanding needed to support our neediest learners!


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).  No updates this week.  The Equity Team will report out on Friday in the staff meeting.

Plan for Re-entry.  The attendance & academic interventions are beginning their third week of work this week. As a result, you will begin seeing students in classes that have been absent for many, many weeks.  

  • The attendance team is charged with getting students back into the classes, but in order to keep them there, we need teachers to create a plan for them to stay.  The goal for re-entry is to keep them there first, and worry about making up things later.  For this week, as students return, just have them keep up with this week's them to the resources they'll need to engage, and tell them it is OK that they won't understand everything.  The goal is to try and submit something...Then you will be able to work with them to catch up.
  • The academic team is charged with closing learning gaps.  This means that they may need to advocate for students to work on foundational skills in place of assignments.  Please work with your grade team colleagues to figure out this balance.  More important than completion is skill development.  So, anything that leads to students closing learning gaps needs to be priority number one!

>>REPOST<< 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.

>>REPOST<< 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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