Monday, November 29, 2021

Week of November 29th

 UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 14
November 29th, 2021

Principal Message

No Message This Week.  This is a late post this week.  Had a later than expected return from Thanksgiving Weekend.  Moving straight onto to announcements and To Dos.

Important dates this month.  

  • 29NOV21: Staff Circles - Meet in Library First
  • 06DEC21:  Monthly Full Staff PD - Meet in the Library
  • 07DEC21:  Monthly Grade Team Meetings
  • 10DEC21:  Holiday Happy Hour at 3PM
  • 20DEC21:  Staff Circles - Remote at 4PM
  • 23DEC21: Rapid Dismissal at 1:45PM for All Students (Same Staggered Dismissal)
  • 24DEC21 - 02JAN22:  Winter Recess - NO SCHOOL

Committee Updates

Equity Team.  No Updates this Week

Circles Committee.  Reminder to please complete your culture tree and bring it to tomorrow's Staff Circle either physically or digitally. We will be framing our discussion around this.  If you need a reminder of the activity, here are the linked slides.  Please reach out to the Circles Committee with questions.

Consultation Committee.  No Updates this Week.  Please review the consultation committee notes from the meeting on Thursday, 18NOV21.  We discussed Staff Attendance, Learning Labs, and Masks & Technology issues (See Below).  The next meeting is scheduled for 12JAN21.  The agenda will be shared out in the Sunday blog on 09JAN21.  Damon will be facilitating, so please do share agenda items with him!


Announcements

Do NOT upload Grades THIS week.  We've been waiting until the end of the Marking Period to make some adjustments to the course codes.  For example, kids can all be in the same PE class, but for 11th graders, that code is PPN43 and for 12th graders it's PPN44.  If we changed codes in the middle of the marking period, you would have lost all grades, and that would not have been ok.  Jennifer and I will be working this week to align codes for grades 8-12 classes (6 and 7 - you are ok to go).  Then, I'll ask Brodie to re-share the Skedula lesson that shows you how to combine all the codes into one section.  The goal is to complete this work by then end of today, but hold on grade entry until you receive the all clear from me!  

<<REPOST>> January Regents Week.   We will not be having many students taking regents during January Regents week.  During the PowerUp week prior to Regents Week, those courses terminating associated with a Regent exam this year (Living Environment, Earth Science, Algebra I, English, and US History) will be taking a practice regent exam.  We need to take a litmus test of how students are doing in these courses to determine June Regents plans and course plans for next year.  The mock regents will be designed by the Instructional Leadership Team and based upon the course topics you will have already taught by then.  We'll be using these assessments during Regents Weeks in planning teams to determine spring planning and preparation.
 


To Do This Week

PAY ATTENTION TO THE YELLOW HIGHLIGHTS
This is the stuff that requires your attention AND it's stuff you need to do!


Staff Handbook Signoff & Attendance Policy UpdatePlease review the updated attendance policy under "Sick & Personal Days" in the UAI Staff Handbook.  Please sign off on the sign-off form and update any Emergency Contact information by Wednesday, 24NOV21.  Please also complete the request for a non-classroom work day for MP2. 

<<REPOST>> It's Shopping TimePlease use ShopDoe to submit your orders for the Spring Term.  Submit your order requests to THIS folder by 30NOV21.  We are aiming to enter all submitted orders before the winter break so that items arrive by the start of the Spring Term.  I know it seems so far in advance, but everything in the DOE moves slowly, so we have to create a timeline to accommodate for this.  

Learning Labs Expectations.  Learning labs need to be stabilized before we can flexibly use them.  For MP2, all learning labs will be fixed and silent.  
  • Implement Learning Lab Expectations.  Please make sure to create silent study time for Learning Labs using these expectations.
  • Take Attendance.  All teachers should have access to their Learning Lab rosters in Skedula.  Please reach out to Phil/Jennifer if you cannot see your learning lab in your Skedula.  Please take attendance in Skedula and please send students to their correct rooms. DO NOT send students or admit students from other Learning Labs into your room.
  • Fluency Work.  Nearly all students are behind in their foundational reading, writing, and math skills.  All ELA and Math teachers are being asked to create fluency tasks for students to complete in Learning Lab (see Rachel & Judy, Math & ELA ILT leads for details).  Students should have fluency work to complete each day in Learning Lab.
  • Google To Do List.  All teachers should be posting assignments in Google Classrooms so that those assignments appear in a students' to do list.  
  • What do I do if a students says they have no work
    • Check Google To Do List - work on those assignments
    • Work on Fluency Assignments - posted on Google Classrooms and in this DOC
    • If they finish All of their work, students can always read or journal!  Please have paper or direct to news articles online available for students.
    • If students need help - have them use email or G-chat to get help. Learning Labs are to be silent work time for all during MP2.  Please do not make an exception in your own learning lab.  It makes everyone else's learning lab 10 times harder than it needs to be.


Per Session Postings

  • Club Teachers.  If you are interested in running a club during Lunch, Learning Lab or After School, please email Kiri and complete the Per Session Interest Form.  For Lunch/Learning Lab clubs, you will be paid a prep period coverage.  In-day clubs must be during your prep time for a prep-period coverage.  After school clubs can meet as often as you'd like.  Clubs must have at least 8 students to be viable.  Teachers will submit student attendance along with per session sheets.  <Posting Closes 06DEC21>

  • SERS Teachers.  We're looking for teachers to work with our Special Education Students after school to do tutoring and intervention work with a group no larger than 8 kids. If interested, please email Kiri and complete the Per Session Interest FormHours are flexible (as many as you are willing to offer.  Both Gen Ed and Special Ed licensed teachers (and paras) are all eligible to apply.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Week of 22NOV21

UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 13
November 21st, 2021

Principal Message

Thanks and Appreciation.  As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, it comes at time when the Courts of Kenosha, WI acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse for murder and gun violence.  

Our country is still very much broken, and that weight can exert a heavy burden.  I don't have words for this verdict, yet.  I am still processing much.

However, it is especially in the moments when things seem darkest, that I dig deep to find appreciation and gratitude for those things in my work and home life that are beacons of light.
  • I am lucky and am thankful for having an amazing life partner, healthy & funny child, and even appreciate my satan-cat whose love is only expressed through scratches and biting.
  • I am really grateful for working with so many dedicated and talented people who share my vision for creating a school and learning experience worth of our students and their families.
  • I am on my knees saying thank you thank you thank for having a short week to give us all a much needed break and time with loved ones.
The dark and negativity will always find a way to seep in.  It doesn't need our help.  Finding gratitude or the slivers of good in the daily challenges we face requires intentionality and effort.  Make the effort this week to focus on the good and celebrate the things both at home and at work that you are lucky to have and enjoy.  Celebrate the light!


Important dates this month.  

  • 22NOV21:  Staff Potluck - 3PM in the Library
  • 23NOV21:  MP1 Grades Due at 3PM
  • 24NOV21: Rapid Dismissal at 2PM for All Students
  • 25NOV21 & 26NOV21:  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • 30NOV21:  PTA Zoom Meeting

Committee Updates

Equity Team.  No Updates this Week

Circles Committee.  No Updates this week.  Our next Staff Circle will be on Monday, 29NOV21 at 3PM in the library (then breaking out into separate rooms)

Consultation Committee.  The consultation committee met on Thursday, 18NOV21.  We discussed Staff Attendance, Learning Labs, and Masks & Technology issues (See Below).  The next meeting is scheduled for 12JAN21.  The agenda will be shared out in the Sunday blog on 09JAN21.  Damon will be facilitating, so please do share agenda items with him!


Announcements

Staff Handbook Attendance Policy Update.  As the principal, I am charged with supervising staff around both instructional performance and employee responsibilities (like professionalism and time & attendance).  

In a typical year, we have always had issues with folks calling out a lot, but this year, things are triple that problem, leading to an increased instability and loss of instruction for our students coming back from an already unstable year of school riddled with countless amounts of lost learning.  

At this date in 2019 (the fall before COVID hit), we have 54 staff absences.  This year, we have 159.  We are almost triple the rate. 

At the same time, staff are tired and exhausted.  All of us are tired and exhausted, and all of us need some space for our mental health.

There needs to be a solution that ensures students receive the high quality learning that they deserve and provides time for teachers to have some out-of -classroom time to catch their breath to ensure that students continually receive high quality learning.

There is no language in the contract (either via UFT or DOE interpretation) that entitles staff to the right to use 10 days of calling out each year.  The entitlement is that staff will be compensated for up to 10 days.  For example, if someone called out on Mondays and Fridays for 5 weeks in a row, they would be paid for those 10 days, but they would also be subject to disciplinary actions because this is a clear abuse of the use of these days.  Also, it doesn't make sense to wait 5 weeks to jump in and have a conference.  The goal is have a conference earlier enough for behavior to be corrected, without further discipline and the quality of student learning is preserved.  Please Review the Updated Policy HERE.


January Regents Week.   We will not be having many students taking regents during January Regents week.  During the PowerUp week prior to Regents Week, those courses terminating associated with a Regent exam this year (Living Environment, Earth Science, Algebra I, English, and US History) will be taking a practice regent exam.  We need to take a litmus test of how students are doing in these courses to determine June Regents plans and course plans for next year.  The mock regents will be designed by the Instructional Leadership Team and based upon the course topics you will have already taught by then.  We'll be using these assessments during Regents Weeks in planning teams to determine spring planning and preparation.
 


To Do This Week

PAY ATTENTION TO THE YELLOW HIGHLIGHTS
This is the stuff that requires your attention AND it's stuff you need to do!


Staff Handbook Signoff & Attendance Policy UpdatePlease review the updated attendance policy under "Sick & Personal Days" in the UAI Staff Handbook.  Please sign off on the sign-off form and update any Emergency Contact information by Wednesday, 24NOV21.  Please also complete the request for a non-classroom work day for MP2.

<<REPOST>> It's Shopping TimePlease use ShopDoe to submit your orders for the Spring Term.  Submit your order requests to THIS folder by 30NOV21.  We are aiming to enter all submitted orders before the winter break so that items arrive by the start of the Spring Term.  I know it seems so far in advance, but everything in the DOE moves slowly, so we have to create a timeline to accommodate for this.  

MP1 Ends Friday.  Marking Period 1 ends on Friday 19NOV21.  Grades are due on TUESDAY 23NOV21 at 3PM.  


Learning Labs Expectations.  Learning labs need to be stabilized before we can flexibly use them.  For MP2, all learning labs will be fixed and silent.  
  • Implement Learning Lab Expectations.  Please make sure to create silent study time for Learning Labs using these expectations.
  • Take Attendance.  All teachers should have access to their Learning Lab rosters in Skedula.  Please reach out to Phil/Jennifer if you cannot see your learning lab in your Skedula.  Please take attendance in Skedula and please send students to their correct rooms. DO NOT send students or admit students from other Learning Labs into your room.
  • Fluency Work.  Nearly all students are behind in their foundational reading, writing, and math skills.  All ELA and Math teachers are being asked to create fluency tasks for students to complete in Learning Lab (see Rachel & Judy, Math & ELA ILT leads for details).  Students should have fluency work to complete each day in Learning Lab.
  • Google To Do List.  All teachers should be posting assignments in Google Classrooms so that those assignments appear in a students' to do list.  
  • What do I do if a students says they have no work
    • Check Google To Do List - work on those assignments
    • Work on Fluency Assignments - posted on Google Classrooms and in this DOC
    • If they finish All of their work, students can always read or journal!  Please have paper or direct to news articles online available for students.
    • If students need help - have them use email or G-chat to get help. Learning Labs are to be silent work time for all during MP2.  Please do not make an exception in your own learning lab.  It makes everyone else's learning lab 10 times harder than it needs to be.


Per Session Postings

  • Club Teachers.  If you are interested in running a club during Lunch, Learning Lab or After School, please email Kiri and complete the Per Session Interest Form.  For Lunch/Learning Lab clubs, you will be paid a prep period coverage.  In-day clubs must be during your prep time for a prep-period coverage.  After school clubs can meet as often as you'd like.  Clubs must have at least 8 students to be viable.  Teachers will submit student attendance along with per session sheets.  <Posting Closes 06DEC21>

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Week of Nov 15th

UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 12
November 15th, 2021

Principal Message

First Power Up Week.  This week, all new instruction pauses as we provide ourselves and our students some time and grace.  Launching this year after a year like no other was bound to have its bumps and curves.  We expected that our best laid plans may not really turn out the way we want.  Turns out we were right, and the same thing happened for our students.

As we travel down the path of competency-based grading, we are still fine-tuning the balance between feedback and progress and summative assessment performance.  Ultimately, we will reach a place where we will have enough information through our student activity and feedback cycles to know how students will perform on their summative, performance assessment.  Ultimately, students will also know how they ill perform on that final assessment.

Today, we are not quite there - but there are definite signs, we are on the right path!
  • On the Parent/Student Check In, responses were overwhelmingly positive across all areas
    • Community and Connections
    • Academic Challenge
    • Engagement and Fun
    • Representation and Individuation
    • Feedback
  • Some key quotes
    • "Enjoy that feedback is given. It helps know where I am at in the class."
    • "They helped my child improve on assignments she had struggles on."
    • "I like how it is easy to communicate with my teachers."
The better we get at providing regular and useful feedback to kids (either written on tasks or given verbally while circulating in class or a combo of written/verbal feedback in conferences), the more our students will be able to improve and achieve.

The fastest way to get better at giving students useful and more frequent feedback is to know precisely what you want students to be able to know and do, and why those skills are essential in your students learning.

Being as clear as possible with your students about what they should be able to know and/or do (or say/write) will help them better understand what they need to shift in order to achieve those outcomes.  

This week, as you target students skills.  Be clear with them why these particular skills are the most necessary for the next (or future) units.  Provide concrete examples of how students will know when they have developed competency in those skills.  Give activities that allow students to independently apply and test their own knowledge this week.

In so doing, you will be laying the seeds of intrinsic motivation, which is the our next pillar of competency-based grading.


Important dates this month.  

  • 15NOV21 through 19NOV21:  Our first PowerUp week
  • 19NOV21:  MP1 Ends
  • 18NOV21:  Next Consultation Committee Meeting
  • 19NOV21:  End of Marking Period 1. 
  • 21NOV21:  Staff Potluck
  • 22NOV21:  MP1 Grades Due
  • 24NOV21: Rapid Dismissal at 2PM for All Students
  • 25NOV21 & 26NOV21:  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • 30NOV21:  PTA Zoom Meeting

Committee Updates

Equity Team.  The Equity Team met Thursday 11/17/21 to examine classroom removal data in order to identify disproportionality.

Circles Committee.  No Updates this week.  Our next Staff Circle will be on Monday, 29NOV21 at 3PM in the library (then breaking out into separate rooms)

Consultation Committee.  Elena is setting the agenda for the next Consultation Committee meeting which has been moved to November 18th at 3PM.  Please submit any items you'd like on the agenda to her.  We'll be meeting in room 403.
  • Staff Attendance
    • In light of the amount of absences we as a community experienced this first marking period, we need to update our attendance policy.  We'll be reviewing this in consultation committee on Thursday.
  • Learning Lab 
    • This Learning Lab policy was shared at the start of the school year.  It is not being implemented.  We need to discus and adjust for re-launch of labs for MP2.   


Announcements

Being Fully Inclusive.  We continue to work on our own biases daily, and still we fall a little short - not out of maliciousness - sometimes simply as a function of time and knowledge.

In this instance, our families who require translation services disproportionately did NOT have completed family conferences this week.  Family connection and partnership are core to the success of our students.  However, if you don't know where to go, it can be an insurmountable hurdle for staff to connect with families.  Luckily, there are many options for language support.  Please make the time this week to support our families whose primary language is something other than English.  Leverage the resources here, and connect with them to give them the same access and opportunities that all of our other students had this week.  You can find all of the below resources HERE.  Individually, they are linked here:

Also, Google Home Assistants (on your smartphone or at home device) also provide translation support if you cannot get support via the DOE services.  Find out how to use this feature by clicking here.  

 


To Do This Week

PAY ATTENTION TO THE YELLOW HIGHLIGHTS
This is the stuff that requires your attention AND it's stuff you need to do!


PowerUp Learning Lab Reset.  This week, please reset ALL learning labs to be silent, independent work time.  I will send an email to families and kids this week to clarify expectations.  I need all teachers to enforce expectations.  

In the Principal Advisory Group this week, the kids expressed that they wished their teachers all enforced the same expectations for learning lab.  It is very hard for students to negotiate multiple expectations.  It is very hard for teachers to feel like they are the only one implementing expectations.

THUS, for everyone to be successful, we all must be pulling in the same direction, consistently. Please make sure that in learning labs this week, your enforce that:
  • ONLY students assigned to your learning lab are in your room.
    • Teachers can use small group time to work with kids this week.
    • Please do NOT bring students into your learning lab this week.  It will confuse things.
  • All students must work silently this week to provide quiet time for all students to complete work assigned and/or foundational skill activities assigned by their teachers.
    • If students need to work with peers, they can do so in writing via G-chat or comments on a shared G-Doc.  But there is to be NO talking - only silent work.
  • Students MUST work on academic work this week.  
    • DRP and MAP math data show that almost 100% of students are below or well below grade level.  Therefore, students should be working on fluency work. All ELA and Math teachers should be assigning fluency exercises (via Khan, Delta Math, etc.) or independent reading for students to complete in Learning Lab.
    • Any student with <90% in their courses should be working on course work assigned by their teachers to improve grades.  If students say they have no work, have them show you their Grades in PupilPath.
  • This is the week to catch up and/or solidify skills and knowledge that kids will need the most as they move forward in your course.

<<REPOST>> It's Shopping TimePlease use ShopDoe to submit your orders for the Spring Term.  Submit your order requests to THIS folder by 30NOV21.  We are aiming to enter all submitted orders before the winter break so that items arrive by the start of the Spring Term.  I know it seems so far in advance, but everything in the DOE moves slowly, so we have to create a timeline to accommodate for this.  

MP1 Ends Friday.  Marking Period 1 ends on Friday 19NOV21.  Grades are due on 22NOV21 at 3PM.  


Complete Remaining Parent Conferences.  Overall, almost every single advisor did a great job in connecting with families.  Almost every advisor connect with all advisees or only have 1-2 remaining.  We do have a couple of advisors with more than 2 advisees remaining.  Annie, Jen & I will be reaching out directly to those folks this week to see what's happening and how we can support.  For everyone,
PLEASE CONTINUE TO REACH OUT To FAMILIES AND COMPLETE ALL CONFERENCES BY TUESDAY



Per Session Postings

  • No New Postings This Week

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Week of November 8th

UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 11
November 8th, 2021

Principal Message

Focusing on the Foundations.  This is the last instructional week of our first marking period.  In speaking with lots of folks the resounding theme of instruction this marking period is that while it is so much better to teach in person with real, live, little humans, those same little humans have significant gaps in their learning.

As a result, units that pre-covid took 3 weeks are now taking 5-6 weeks.  We are all learning to readjust our assumptions on what kids know and shifting our practice to plan from where they actually are vs. where we would expect them to be.

It turns out - that IS the best practice both pre-during-and-quasi-post covid times.

So, our challenge this year is to find the right mix of introducing and developing new content and skills with backfilling and strengthening their foundational skills.  While this has always been the requirement, this year, the scope of foundational skill gaps is much more significant for all students and as such is requiring more space and time in the curriculum.

AND that is OK!

Sal Khan talks this idea in his Ted Talk "Let's Teach for Mastery - Not Test Scores".  In this talk, he describes what many HS math teachers experience as they try to teach more advanced math skills with their students.  He asks, "Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven't always grasped the basics?"

This is the core of our work this year towards Competency (aka Mastery) Based Learning.  The core is not to see how many standards we can get TO, but rather we are aiming to develop high competency in the standards are choosing to teach.  Now, more than ever - less is more.

As you engage your students in summative assessment work this week, do not be surprised if many students do not yet meet proficiency expectations.  We are still fine tuning our capacity to plan and coordinate progress activities, formative assessment, and effective feedback to help students develop mastery.  Our students are still acquiring the core social emotional skills required to ensure academic achievement in class.  As we develop our own skills in supporting students SEL development and planning our own competency-based curricula, we will see outcomes in students performance & improvement, and thus increased outcomes in their grades.

Until we are more developed, we will have some scaffolds to support our work - our PowerUp Week.  The last week of each marking period is designed to have NO new instruction so that you can use data from the final summative assessment to create tailored activities for students (e.g. station work, asynchronous lessons, conferences, small group instruction, etc.). For your students meeting or exceeding standards, they should have activities that deepen their understanding of the standards taught in MP1.  For students not quite there yet, plan small instructional groups during class to remediate and support student learning and preparation for the next unit.

In particular, if you require students to develop the skill of doing work outside of your class, that is an academic behavior that needs to be taught.  You'll need to build out lessons and expectations that connect independent work outside of the classroom to learning and performance on the final summative assessments.  For example, a small group activity might look like
  • Targeting a single skill (multiplication fluency or sight word recognition)
  • Small Group Direct Instruction on the skill in Class
  • Independent Practice on Skill in Class with Teacher Conference & Feedback.  For example 
  • At home "corrections" or retake on related questions on summative assessment with reflection on how the skill work made doing the work again (or correcting their work) improved.
Like almost everything we're doing this year, it's time to rethink our assumption around why kids don't do work outside of our classes.  Take a listen to this podcast from Hidden Brain, The Obstacles You Don't SeeRather than think of what you can do to fuel motivation via a carrot/stick, think about what may be getting in the way of students doing what you need them to do to optimize learning.  These "frictions" are often right out in the open, and many times are easier to address and remove.  If you get stuck on figuring out what is happening in your kids' heads, make time during PowerUp week to simply talk to them.  Create conference time to sit down and talk during class and find out for sure what makes your kids tick!


Important dates this month.  

  • 07NOV21:  Daylight Savings Ends (we all get an hour to sleep in!)
  • 08NOV21:  SPED PD with Phillan & SPED team (3PM in Library)
  • 09NOV21:  Grade Team Meeting & Attendance Review (3PM in Grade Tm Rooms)
  • 10NOV21:  Evening Fall Family Conferences via Zoom at home (5-8PM)  
  • 12NOV21:  Afternoon Fall Family Conferences via Zoom at home (12-2:50PM)
  • 11NOV21:  Veteran's Day - NO SCHOOL
  • 15NOV21 through 19NOV21:  Our first PowerUp week
  • 19NOV21:  MP1 Ends
  • 18NOV21:  Next Consultation Committee Meeting
  • 19NOV21:  End of Marking Period 1. 
  • 21NOV21:  Staff Potluck
  • 22NOV21:  MP1 Grades Due
  • 24NOV21: Rapid Dismissal at 2PM for All Students
  • 25NOV21 & 26NOV21:  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • 30NOV21:  PTA Zoom Meeting

Committee Updates

Equity Team.  The Equity Team met Thursday 10/28/21 to co-create a mission for this school year as we start our work identifying the root cause of disproportionately in our discipline policy.

Circles Committee.  No Updates this week.  Our next Staff Circle will be on Monday, 29NOV21

Consultation Committee.  Elena is setting the agenda for the next Consultation Committee meeting which has been moved to November 18th at 3PM.  Please submit any items you'd like on the agenda to her.  We'll be meeting in room 403.


Announcements

6th & 7th Grade Advisors.  For those kids in your advisories who are 11 and under, we are hosting a Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic on Monday, 08NOV21.  Students who get vaccinated are eligible for a $100 gift card from the city!  Parents can either accompany kids or provide written or verbal (over the phone) consent.   Please connect with your students who are eligible to let them know!

Google Home Can Translate.  Many of you may have already known this, but I accidentally discovered it this weekend when my Google Home device became a Spanish language translator while Dashiel and I were working on his homework.  At least for Spanish, it was fairly accurate, but I am not 100% sure how accurate it is in other languages.  I'm sure it will be able to provide the gist!  I'm sure Alexa and the Amazon Echo do the same thing.  Check it out by clicking here.  You could certainly use this during parent conferences if you are not able to connect with support from the DOE over-the-phone interpretation support (be on the lookout for an email from Laura with details on that!)

 


To Do This Week


<<REPOST>> It's Shopping Time.  Please use ShopDoe to submit your orders for the Spring Term.  Submit your order requests to THIS folder by 30NOV21.  We are aiming to enter all submitted orders before the winter break so that items arrive by the start of the Spring Term.  I know it seems so far in advance, but everything in the DOE moves slowly, so we have to create a timeline to accommodate for this.  

Upload Grades, Provide Student Feedback.  Marking Period 1 ends after parent conferences.  So students will be using your feedback and posted progress & performance grades in Google Classrooms and Skedula to reflect on their growth and achievement.  If you have not already done so, please make sure you have posted Progress and Performance grades in Skedula and you have an up-to-date Google Classroom by Wednesday 08NOV21.  In addition, please make sure students are receiving regular feedback (verbal and/or in writing) to use to improve their skills and content knowledge. 


Parent Conferences.  Marking Pe



Per Session Postings

  • No New Postings This Week

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Week of Nov 1st

UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 10
November 1st, 2021

Principal Message

It's November!  While each hour seems endless & completely exhausting, there is a blessing in that the days and weeks seem to fly!  We are already in November, and before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas and then POOF!  - it's the end of the fall term.

There's a lot on the calendar this month.  
  • 02NOV21:  Our first official asynchronous learning day is tomorrow (Election Day)
  • 07NOV21:  Daylight Savings Ends (we all get an hour to sleep in!)
  • 08NOV21:  SPED PD with Phillan & SPED team (3PM in Library)
  • 09NOV21:  Grade Team Meeting & Attendance Review (3PM in Grade Tm Rooms)
  • 10NOV21 & 12NOV21:  Our Fall Family Conferences (see Announcements for details)
  • 11NOV21:  Veteran's Day - NO SCHOOL
  • 15NOV21 through 19NOV21:  Our first PowerUp week (see Announcements for deets)
  • 18NOV21:  Next Consultation Committee Meeting
  • 19NOV21:  End of Marking Period 1. 
  • 21NOV21:  Staff Potluck
  • 24NOV21:  Rapid Dismissal at 2PM for All Students
  • 25NOV21 & 26NOV21:  Thanksgiving Recess
  • 30NOV21:  PTA Zoom Meeting
It feels like a lot, I know.  However, keep in mind, we remain constant in our goal towards creating a warm and strong learning environment through continuing to build strong relationships with our students & families.  These relationships develop out of our constant feedback and care we give our students and the regular communication we share with our families.  Through constant feedback, students and families see that we care AND students (and teachers) improve our work towards mastery!

Be aware of all of the things that continually fly across our radar (like that huge list of happenings above), but remain focused on the end goal - our students' academic success through strong relationships and high expectations of learning.


Committee Updates

Equity Team.  No Updates this week

Circles Committee.  No Updates this week

Consultation Committee.  Elena is setting the agenda for the next Consultation Committee meeting which has been moved to November 18th at 3PM.  Please submit any items you'd like on the agenda to her.


Announcements

Student PAG Meeting Updates.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with students to hear their concerns and issues this week.  I wanted to share back some of their feedback and let you know where we're moving with their issues and input!
  • Cleaner Bathrooms.  All students complained about the status of the bathrooms and that sanitary products and tiny trashcans were not located inside the stalls or bathrooms.  We will be working with our custodial staff to finalize a bathroom schedule for cleaning that is more frequent and regular.  We do have problems with some students misusing sanitary products (e.g. plastering them to the mirror).  So we're going to work on an education campaign (e.g. posters to hang in the stalls, lessons in advisory) to go along with including the products in the bathrooms.  

  • Vending Machine & Water Fountain.  All students across all different PAGS unilaterally requested a vending machine and one of those water fountains that allow you to fill up a water bottle.  Dai is currently working on purchasing at least one of each right now, and we hope to have more information on when we can expect those to arrive/be installed by the end of next week.

  • Classroom Engagement and Feeling Heard.  Several students across the PAGs did mention that they sometimes feel bored and/or dismissed in their classes.  
    • Refine your lesson plans.  In your planning teams, continue to work collaboratively to find ways to increase the thinking and engagement in your lessons.  Some lessons will be better than others in terms of impact and student engagement.  Pay attention to those that work and with your planning partners, figure out what is working and why so you can carry it into future lessons.  
    • Feedback and Active Listening.  In addition, the more you increase in-class feedback in your classroom, the more you will be able to show students you see and hear them.  When students only feel that their role in the class is to passively receive information, it makes it difficult for them to see where their voices matter.  Lessons need to have opportunities for students to show learning and share their voice and perspective.  Make sure you are listening to learn from your students and that you're using your own active listening skills to show them that you hear them.

  • Lockers.  Finally, the last theme across the PAGs was that students want to use the lockers.  Jen sent out a notice earlier this week.  Before we can distribute lockers, we need all students to remove their stuff from the lockers.  Please message to your advisees this week in advisory and also post on Google Classrooms as a constant reminder that ALL lockers must be emptied and locks removed no later than Friday.  Starting next week, any locker with a lock will be considered abandoned.  We will clip those locks and put any items in the locker in the trash.  Once all lockers are emptied and cleaned, we will begin assigning student lockers - targeted for the week of November 15th.

 


To Do This Week

It's Shopping Time.  Please use ShopDoe to submit your orders for the Spring Term.  Submit your order requests to THIS folder by 30NOV21.  We are aiming to enter all submitted orders before the winter break so that items arrive by the start of the Spring Term.  I know it seems so far in advance, but everything in the DOE moves slowly, so we have to create a timeline to accommodate for this.  

<<REPOST>>UAI teachers choice due TOMORROW Nov 1.  All staff have $250 to spend for UAI classroom/office supplies.   Staff will be reimbursed up to $250 (tax is not reimbursable, so please get the tax exempt paperwork from Del - or be prepared to pay tax yourself).  All receipts are due on next Monday at 3PM.  To submit receipts
  • Tape All Receipts to a 8.5x11 piece(s) of paper.  Try to get as many on one page as possible to be visible, but definitely use as many pieces as necessary.  Write your name, the date, and "UAI Teacher's Choice" at the top of each page (and include page number and total pages at the top of each page).
  • Scan the Page(s) into a PDF.  You can download any Scanner App on your to scan to a PDF and email the pdf to yourself.
  • Complete the UAI Teacher's Choice Form.  Please complete THIS FORM no later than 3pm on November 1st.
Please note - UAI Teacher's Choice is NOT the same as the DOE funds.  DOE funds will be due later this fall.  Please be on time with this form.  There will be no extensions. 


Election Day Schedule. All staff work from home.  Students work Asynchronously.
  • Agenda
    (Note - All PD Days are 6 hours and 50 minutes in length.  Tomorrow, all staff will have 90 minutes of programmed time with the full staff, and then the rest of the day will be staff-directed work time to accomplish the To Do list.)
    • 8:30-11:00AM - Independent Work Time
      • Take Student Attendance
      • Begin completing the DESSA for each Advisee
      • Begin Schedule Parent Conferences
      • Sign up for Fall Observation
      • Begin Uploading Grades
      • Lesson Plan and Provide Feedback
        • Also - submit order for spring supplies
    • 11:00-12:30PM
    • https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83017662940 (Passcode: D9stZG)
      • 11:00-11:15- Announcements
      • 11:15-12:15- Staff Circles
      • 12:15-12:30- DESSA Review

    • 12:30-3:20PM
      • Submit List of Absent Students
      • Finish the DESSA 
      • Finish Scheduling Parent Conferences
      • Finish Uploading Grades
      • Continue Lesson Planning and Providing Feedback
  • To do by the End of Election Day
    • ~10-30 minutes Take Student Attendance 
      • Send Your Own Google Attendance Form to your Advisees and then mark them present in Skedula when they respond.
      • Call/Text Students who do not complete form by 10AM
      • Submit List of Absent Students to this form by 1PM

    • ~45-60 minutes Complete the DESSA 
      • Follow these DESSA directions or each of your Advisees.
      • Review this deck that Jen Shared out earlier to learn more about the DESSA.

    • ~30-45 minutes Schedule Parent Conferences 
      • Call and Schedule Advisees for Family Conferences via Zoom
      • Complete this Appointment Form

    • ~ 5-10 minutes Sign Up for your Fall Observation
    • Upload Grades, Provide Student Feedback, and Continue Planning
      • Marking Period 1 ends after parent conferences.  So students will be using your feedback and posted progress & performance grades in Skedula to reflect on their growth and achievement.  If you have not already done so, please make sure you have posted Progress and Performance grades in Skedula by the end of the day on Tuesday.  In addition, please make sure students are receiving regular feedback (verbal and/or in writing) to use to improve their skills and content knowledge. 



Per Session Postings

  • No New Postings This Week

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Week of October 18th

 UAI Staff News

Volume IX
Issue 8
October 18th, 2021


Principal Message

Shifting our Minds to Mastery.  This is the 6th week of the school year, leaving about a month until the first marking period wraps up.  

Many of you have already begun to think through your first steps into mastery grading and how to work through this new paradigm in your instructional practices.

The first thing to remember is that anything new is never perfect, give yourself the grace to learn.  As a reminder, all of our grades are split into to categories Performance (60%) and Progress (40%).  For this marking period, have the goal of being clear on what the summative, Performance assessment will be.

Here's an analogy that may help.  An athlete or musician will have countless practices or rehearsals before the race, competition, or show.  These final performances do not occur without countless efforts to rehearse, refine, and perfect their skills.  In any given season, there are only a set number of games and endless hours of practice.  In any given musical tour, there are only so many concerts, and endless days and nights of rehearsals.

In your classes, what are those final performances?  What are you using to assess student skills - not for testing the acquisition of learning, but rather for seeing the level of their capacity to perform.   These 1-2 things will be your performance measures this marking period, and they will constitute 60% of the students' grade.  

Just as is true for athlete and musicians, we want our students to be as prepared as possible for their competition or show.  Leading up to these final performance grades, you want to give students as much practice (or at-bats) as possible.  Using language like "this is a practice" will help.  Or even language like "The real <<assessment>> is on <<this date>>.  This is a practice to show you how you would do if you took the real <<thing>> today."

In order to shift grading practices, we have to shift our mindsets - kids and adults.  Policies set the stage, but it is language and actions that enact the shifts in our practice.

This week, please reach out to your Instructional Leads for support and ideas in talking through your classroom practices and grading.  Do not expect to conquer it all this MP.  Focus on achieving clarity on Performance pieces and setting up students with enough practice to be as successful as possible on the first time they sit for those performance assessments.  



Committee Updates

Committees are Staffed and Meeting!  Weekly updates from committee leaders will begin in next week's blog.


To Do This Week

Meet in the Library at 3PM on Monday.  We will be having a staff circle on Monday at 3PM.  All staff should meet in the library to start, and then we'll break out to separate spaces for smaller circles.  This circle will be another step in our community's work to heal this week.  Further steps include, circles with senior advisories, and then working with students and their other teachers to rebuild trust in their other classes. 

Tuesday Zoom Curriculum Night.  We will be using our Family Outreach time to have our curriculum night on Tuesday at 6PM.  

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81592784110
                                    Meeting ID: 815 9278 4110
                                    Passcode: UAI123
  • 6:00PM - Welcome to UAI Curriculum Night!
  • 6:15PM Meet the Teachers
    • 6th & 7th Grade
      • Will all be in same breakout room together
      • Each teacher will have 10 minutes each to talk
      • Order will be: English, Social Studies, Science, Math, Project STEM
    • 8th grade - 12th grade
      • (10min) English Teacher Breakout Rooms
      • (10min) Social Studies Teacher Breakout Rooms
      • (10min) Science Teacher Breakout Rooms
      • (10min) Math Teacher Breakout Rooms
      • (10min) Breadth Teacher Breakout Room (Language, PE/Dance, Theater, Project STEM)
  • 7:05PM Extra Curricular Activities and Girls Inc After School
  • 7:15PM Parent Engagement Opportunities
  • 7:25PM Wrap Up of Curriculum Night



Advisory Leadership Council.  I'm launching the student PAGs this week, but I'm still missing some representatives.  If you emailed me, and you're not on the list, please fill in your rep on THIS FORM so I can invite them to the meetings (which I split up, because having everyone on the same Friday would have been too many students)
    • Wednesdays:  
      • 3rd Period:  8th Grade PAG
      • 4th Period:  6th & 7th Grade PAG
    • Thursdays:
      • 1st Period:  11th Grade PAG
      • 3rd Period:  9th Grade PAG
    • Fridays: 
      • 1st Period:  12th Grade PAG
      • 3rd Period:  10th Grade PAG

Finalize Learning Lab Small Groups.  Folks should have sent in their final learning lab small groups to me by now.  Please send them to me now, if you have them.  Small groups will finalize on Monday, and small group teachers should small group direct students to  meet them in their assigned small group classrooms.  (scroll to the bottom of the Learning Lab tab to see the list of kids assigned to each small group teacher)

Per Session Postings

  • PAG Teacher Coach.  Work for 1 hour a week to plan PAG meetings and student supports with Kiri.  Teacher will receive per diem coverage to join in meetings with student PAG.  Posting closes 26OCT21