UAI Staff News
- 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!
- 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 https://www.kumospace.com/. 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.
Birthdays This Week
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!
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.
- 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 assignments...direct 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!