Sunday, November 27, 2022

Week of Nov 28

 UAI Staff News

Volume X
Issue 13
November 28th, 2022




Finishing 2022 strong.  Welcome back from the Thanksgiving Holiday!  Hopefully you enjoyed fabulous food with friends and families, and hopefully you were able to steal some time to rest and recharge! 

As we turn the corner into December this week, we have 4 solid weeks of uninterrupted learning.  This is an excellent chance to settle into a rhythm and focus on accelerating learning to end the calendar year on our strongest note yet.  Here are some big picture habits for students that we can all collectively support and cultivate over the next few weeks.
  • Joy & Power - Address Absenteeism and Lateness.  Student attendance is a huge issue that we need everyone's help to curtail.  Nicole and Aisha are working hard in the morning to collect IDs from students who arrive late, thereby making it impossible for students to go out for lunch.  This is a school wide push tactic to curtail student lateness.  It has had positive effect, but it's not sufficient. We also need 1st period teachers to create a pull tactic.  Students need a reason to be to your classes on time.  Through conferences, calls home, and/or grades, students need help making the connection between being in your class on time, everyday and excelling in your class.  Students will vote with their feet if you help them see how much power they build by being in class on time, and how much joy they feel by being successful in your class as a result.  

  • Rigor & Equity - Learning Lab.   Math & ELA teachers should have already (or will be this week) assigned independent fluency work (math) or independent reading (ELA) for their students.  Students need to be working during Learning Labs at all times.  They should be working independently and silently at all times.  Students often complain that they want to be able to work with classmates on an assignment.  Please affirm them, but be firm in saying that Learning Lab time is designed to be independent time to close learning gaps (as shown on the MAP and DRP assessments).  The homework is important, but so too is firming up skills that are not yet solid.  Students need to understand that closing the holes in their foundational skills is necessary for them to be able to successfully engage in rigorous tasks, and that this engagement is necessary for them to be able to equitably compete with peers in college and careers beyond UAI.
Content instruction is clearly important, as these topics and skills are the items measured by state exams.  However, these key habits - in this case coming to school on time everyday and shoring up foundational numeracy and literacy skills -  are the engine to accelerating content acquisition and mastery.  Helping our students make the connection between coming to school on time everyday and practicing foundational skills will be a key motivation to accelerating their growth and learning in all of our classrooms.  

Important dates. 

  • Monday, 28NOV22.  Circles & Subject Team Meetings
  • Tuesday, 29NOV22.  Progress Report Updates 
  • Monday 05DEC22.  Courageous Conversations
  • Monday, 06DEC22.  Eagles Home Basketball Game
  • Wednesday, 07DEC22.  UAI Paint & Sip
  • Friday, 09DEC22.  Staff Holiday Celebration
  • Monday 12DEC22. Competency Based Grading
  • Tuesday, 13DEC22.  Progress Report Updates
  • Monday 19DEC22. Advisory PD
  • Tuesday, 20DEC22.  UAI Staff Holiday Potluck
  • Friday, 23DEC22.  Rapid Dismissal for Holiday break

Announcements & To Dos

MP2 Planning.  As you prepare for the next few weeks of MP2, please remember some key learnings that came out of Instructional Rounds visits this fall.
  • Plan for the Removal of Scaffolds.  An ultimate goal is to move from scaffolds and worksheets to student-directed note-keeping.  For example, in college or even in our current professional develop work, rarely if ever are we provided worksheets to sustain or support our learning.  As we introduce thinking and concepts to students, scaffolds and worksheets make sense to provide entry points and guidance.  However, they never seem to go away.  As you go into MP2 lesson planning, please make it a point to make a target date for weening and ultimately removing scaffolds from student learning.  For example, think about how you will move them from a worksheet with guiding questions to being able to generate those questions for themselves.
  • Feedback and Independence.  Three teams of instructional rounds observed a high amount of student dependence on teachers.  Students rely on teachers to lead them through the activity, make the questions the need to answer, and tell them exactly what they are supposed to be doing at each point in the activity & lesson.  As you move into MP2, think about how you are cultivating students independence and their own inquiry.  How are they learning to ask their own questions and to navigate their own pathways through activities?  When and where are you teaching them not only the content of your course but also a pattern of thinking and analysis in your classroom?  How do you provide feedback that helps students cultivate that independence?  
  • Thought Partners & Support.  These are hard things to develop and do well.  To do this well, you need feedback from your co-teachers, students, instructional leaders, and school leaders.  Reach out to folks for support to get their feedback on your ideas and lessons.  In order to move our students from doing to thinking, we must first move ourselves from doing to thinking.  Get ahead in your planning and think through your lesson choices with a colleague and/or trusted students.  Talk through your ideas and use that feedback to grow your practice!

Gradebooks & Google Classrooms.  Google Classroom grades must be kept up to date.  The expectation is that there is at least one graded assignment (Progress or Performance) entered in Google Classroom Gradebooks each week.  This upcoming Monday, ILT leads will work with subject teams to provide support to staff in making sure we all follow through on this expectation.  In order for your students to thrive in your class, you must give them regular, accurate feedback on their performance.  This can be with grading conferences and/or with updates to the gradebooks each week. 


Progress Report Updates.  This is a new feature we're introducing this marking period.  We continue to try to work through a reliable & regular system of communicating student progress with families.  For Marking Period 2, we are going to rework Tuesday outreach time to strengthen this communication with homes.  For 3 Tuesdays in MP2, we will convene in our Circle Groups rooms to transfer Google Classroom Grades to THIS FORM.  Then we'll merge that data into progress reports that students can take home and advisors can email home.  The goal is that with more regular communication with students and families, there will be fewer surprises when MP2 ends.

The Tripod Survey & Benchmark Exams.  The Student Tripod Survey will be giving in January along with our Midyear benchmarks.  To prepare...
  • Student Tripod Survey.  This survey is a student survey about their teachers & classroom instruction.  This survey provides feedback from students for teachers in various categories.  You can see the questions HERE.   Please review the questions for yourself and personal reflection now.  We will do a sample survey in December to provide teachers with initial feedback prior to the January, formal administration.
  • HS Benchmark Exams.  During the week of January 17th, we will be giving benchmark exams for courses terminating in regents exams or AP exams for all students in grades 8-12.  Regents-based classes will be provided with the assessment (so we can do school wide analysis).  All non-regents based courses should develop their own final assessment for MP2.  Non-regents/AP exam courses should plan to have their final assessments for MP2 on the assigned days below:

    • Tuesday, 17JAN22.  ELA Assessment Day
      • All students in Course A-D will take ELA Regent Benchmark (provided by UAI)
      • AP Students should take an AP Benchmark, teacher created
      • LINCT Students should take LINCT assessment, LINCT created
    • Wednesday, 18JAN22.  Math Assessment Day
      • All students in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra 2 will take Regent (provided by UAI)
      • All students in Pre-Calc or Calc will take teacher created assessment
      • All students in LINCT will take LINCT assessment, LINCT created.
    • Thursday, 19JAN22.  Science Assessment Day
    • Friday, 20JAN22.  Social Studies Assessment Day
    • Monday, 23JAN22.  Theater, ENL, Spanish, Computer Science, PE Assessment Day, MP2 Ends, Grades due 3PM on THursday
    • Tuesday, 24JAN22.  Regents week begins - no classes for students in grades 9-12. 8th graders will be in attendance, but with special schedule for that week.

  • MS Benchmark Exams.  During the week of 23JAN, we will be giving benchmark exams in math & English for grades 6 & 7.  
    • Monday, 23JAN22.  Social Studies Assessment Day - teacher created
    • Tuesday, 24JAN22. ELA Assessment Day  - NYS ELA benchmark (UAI Provided)
    • Wednesday, 25JAN22.  Math Assessment Day - NYS ELA benchmark (UAI Provided)
    • Thursday, 26JAN22.  Science Assessment Day - teacher created
    • Friday, 27JAN22. PE Assessment Day & Computer Science Assessment Day



Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities (view all 2022-23 postings here),
please complete Per Session Application For

Organization Committee.  We always need folks to help keep things in order in the school.  We have tiny spaces, and many things.  We need many Marie Condos to help us!  If you are interested in working on a committee that is aimed at organizing UAI closets and storages spaces, please fill out the form and email Kiri apply!  Posting closes 28NOV22.




Sunday, November 13, 2022

Week of 14NOV22

 UAI Staff News

Volume X
Issue 12
November 14th, 2022




Planning For a Successful MP2.  Now that MP1 is complete, tomorrow marks the first day of Marking Period 2.  We've certainly had a lot of ups and downs, and with each up and down, there are lessons and learnings about things we want to keep and change.  As you plan and think about your lessons, units, and assessments for MP2, please keep the following school wide learnings in mind:
  • Small Steps Reach Goals & Build Core Values.  You keep the core values alive in the daily work you do.  Rigor, Joy, Equity, and Power are coursing through each instructional decision and move you make.  Think about the goals you reset in last Tuesday's PD, and adjust them to be manageable and achievable by the end of MP2.  Make a plan.   What do you want to be doing to uplift one or more of the core values by the end of January (end of MP2)?  If that is the end goal, where do you want to be by Winter Break (December break)....where do you want to be two weeks from today? Write down those benchmarks and share them with a colleague to help hold yourself accountable to the goals you want to achieve! 

  • Feedback, Communication, and Grades.   Kids and families MUST have constant communication from you about how they are progressing in your class. Different folks are at different stages of competency based grading, and ultimately we all want to get to the same spot.  But that does take time and professional development.  So, we need to acknowledge that we are in the process and not quite there yet.  That said, we still have the responsibility to communicate with homes & our students.  You have a few options (you can do any combination)- all of which need to be in Google Classrooms where students and families can access and find it.

    • Regular Conferences.  1-on-1 or small group conferences are an excellent way of communicating with students about their progress towards mastering skills & content in your class.  These conferences can be scheduled regularly (e.g. you can schedule 2-3 per day while the rest of the class is doing the Do Now, Exit Ticket or is in work time).  That way in the course of 2 weeks, you can meet with all students (less if you have a co-teacher).   Conferences are also an excellent way to cultivate relationships and strengthen the learning community in your classrooms.  You can share conference notes with students and families in Google Classrooms or via email.
    • Criteria-Based Feedback.  With regular, frequent, and useful feedback that leads to learning and success, students are able to grow.  If you have a rubric OR clearly state/model/show what high quality performance/work is, then students will be able to use your feedback to (1) gauge where they are in their performance levels, and (2) be able to adjust their work to improve their performance.  Rubrics/Success criteria should be uploaded into Google Classroom and your feedback can also go there for student/family reference.  If you do handwritten feedback, please make sure students have a system (e.g. notebook) to track and find the feedback when they need it.  Families should also know where they can find feedback.
    • Weekly Graded Work.  This is the most traditional and straightforward method.  Grades should be uploaded at least weekly in Google Classrooms.  If there is a huge disconnect between progress and performance grades - that is indicative of a scaffolding problem.  Students should be aware of their likely performance outcomes prior to sitting for the summative assessment.
  • Scaffolds and Building Literacy & Thinking.  Think about the scaffolds you're using to address student learning gaps.  In particular, think about how you present texts.  Many folks use various forms of chunking or word supports to help students access texts.  Alternatively, folks may use simpler, more accessible texts to meet students at their current reading level.  However, research indicates that one of the best things we can do to close learning gaps is to provide students with grade level texts and then teach them how to do their own chunking, word support, and persistence to get through the texts.  The first few attempts will be hard - so less is more in the beginning.  But as you think ahead to your entirety of MP2, less is only less if that's all we do.  At some point, we have to push them to develop their own stamina and internalize reading strategies to successfully tackle complex grade-level texts. 
    • Try Reporter Questions - Who, What, Where, When, How or Why?  These are simple comprehension questions that any student can use to take a first stab at understanding anything they are reading.  You can adjust as necessary (related to content), but these easy questions allow easy access points for students to try to develop their reading comprehension.
    • Try the QFT.  The question format technique that Liza and Judy presented last Tuesday is another strategy you can use to get students to engage their thinking and to generate questions about what they are reading (be it as short as a math problem to as long as a novel).  Making questions and then chasing down those answers are the two necessary sides of the learning coin!
    • Try Cornell NotesCornell notes - a few lines in a notebook (doesn't have to be a handout - can just be a lesson on how to take notes) can help kids track these questions & ideas to build comprehension and understanding as they are reading.
In the end, the goal we all want is for students to thrive independently.  We use our summative assessments to evaluate how well they can do that.  This MP, before giving the final test - make time to test your instruction and their learning with unscaffolded practice assessments that happen prior to the actual summative assessment. This will give them and you a better idea of how things are going this MP! 

When it works - you'll feel that amazing confluence of Joy, Rigor, Equity, and Power in your classrooms!  And eventually, with consistent effort and attuning, we will all get there!

Important dates. 

  • Monday, 14NOV22.  Monday PD in the Farm
  • Tuesday, 15NOV22.  Science Instructional Rounds
  • Wednesday, 16NOV22.  MP1 Grades Due at 3PM
  • Thursday, 17NOV22.  Evening Parent Conferences - 5PM-8PM
  • Friday, 18NOV22.  Afternoon Parent Conference - 11:50PM-2:50PM
  • Saturday, 19NOV22.  In-Person UA Fair
  • Wednesday, 23NOV22.  Rapid Dismissal at 2:30 
  • Thursday, 24NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • Friday, 25NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL


Announcements & To Dos

Monday PD.  Learning Lab tidying up and reset (20min).  The rest of the time will be work time for teachers to schedule conferences and finish grading. Conferences need to be fully booked and grades need to be in by 3pm on Wednesday.  Staff will have time on both Monday & Tuesday to do outreach and finish grading.  


Extended Day & Parent Conferences.  As a reminder, Monday & Tuesday extended days are for all staff until 4:10 on Monday and 4:05 on Tuesdays.  This is in-person time, please do not leave early without getting clearance from Kiri and clocking out.  

Parent conferences, on the other hand, are remote.  Staff will conduct conferences at home on Thursday evening from 5-8PM.  You can use Zoom, Google Meets or phone calls to conduct conference.  Please complete this form so that we can support families in connecting with you in case you're unable to reach them.  


Scheduling Family Conferences.   Teachers will be responsible for scheduling their own conferences for Thursday& Friday.  
Please enter your appointments IN THIS DOCUMENT HERE by End of Day Wednesday.  

Priority should be
  • Schedule conferences with families with whom you must speakThat is any student who has a grade of 69 or less and/or any student who misses your class 1 or more times per week.  The goal of these conferences is to plan with the families how to best support students both at home and in school so that Marking Period 2 is a success for the student.  Please prepare concrete ideas and suggestions for the families to support their child at home.  Counselors, Deans, Annie, Jen, and I will be available to support with any conversations you think will be challenging.  Please reach out with the appointment time, and one of us will be on hand to join you for support!
  • Schedule the conferences with families who want to speak with you.  Please review this document.  This is from parents who completed the form to sign up for conferences.  We're still trying to get the word out.  Please let your advisees know that their parents should use THIS FORM to sign up.  You should keep checking this form up through Wednesday PM to make sure you catch all the folks who would like to meet with you!
  • Schedule a few conferences of celebrationLots of kiddos are struggling, AND lots of kiddos are doing very well despite the hurdles. Make it a point to strategically schedule 1-2 celebratory calls to celebrate and experience the joy of success with families.  Also, prepare your ideas for next steps on how they can continue to thrive and grow for MP2.  Personally - I like to pepper these throughout the night and afternoon, making sure to have my last conference ALWAYS being a celebratory one - particularly the ones where you get to brag to a family about how much an individual student has grown.  So, be intentional about celebrating the good stuff as well as making the necessary stuff priorities.



Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities (view all 2022-23 postings here),
please complete Per Session Application For

Organization Committee.  We always need folks to help keep things in order in the school.  We have tiny spaces, and many things.  We need many Marie Condos to help us!  If you are interested in working on a committee that is aimed at organizing UAI closets and storages spaces, please fill out the form and email Kiri apply!  Posting closes 28NOV22.




Sunday, November 6, 2022

Week of 07NOV22

UAI Staff News

Volume X
Issue 11
November 7th, 2022




It's a Marathon - not a Sprint.  Today Kaitlyn, Tom, and Mike (right?) take on the amazing task of running in the NYC Marathon.  Good luck to you all!  I made it back from CT early to cheer you all on!  If you see a surly teenager and a bearded man (my husband) with me - do not be alarmed.  That's just my family ;-)

The marathon metaphor is such a perfect analogy for where we are in the school year and what we have learned from our Instructional Rounds thus far.  

This blog I found about the metaphor was extremely helpful in framing my thinking (Thank you Sam, whoever you are)

Except for Kaitlyn, Tom, and Mike, most of us are just like the kids when it comes to marathons - we're very (some like me are very, very, very) far from completing a marathon.  Moving any one of us from what we can run today to running the full 26+ miles would take some serious training, work and support.  It would be crazy hard work.

So is teaching.  This is a crazy hard job, but I suspect that just like running a marathon, there is an incredible payoff when we do get it right. So...how do we get it right?

We've known some things, and we've learned some things this first marking period.

Planning.  We know that planning is essential - having a clear plan going into a marathon or a classroom is critical.  However, we also know that no matter how much we think we plan, sometimes the plan goes awry or was not sufficient.  One of the key learnings we picked up these last couple of weeks with Instructional Rounds was that we need to adjust our plans. We need to thinks more clearly about Scaffolding and Assessment Scaffolding.  
  • Scaffolds.  All UAI teachers use scaffolds to help students gain access to learning tasks.  What we also learned is that pretty much all of us never make or communicate to our students a clear plan to make those scaffolds temporary.  So the scaffolds we use in 6th grade classes are still in place in 12th grade.  The focus on the entry points may be leading us to forget to plot the exit strategy.

    For brand new runners, all the google blogs and articles suggest a scaffold.  Typically, this starts with walking briskly for five minutes, then running for a minute, and repeating that cycle...  Now, imagine if the new runner never changed this scaffold...they would never get to the point where they would be able to run for 26 miles.  The scaffold needs to change and ultimately diminish and go away in order for the runner to complete the final task successfully - running the full marathon.

    TO THINK ABOUT & DO For MP2:  When do your scaffolds go away?  How do you plan to teach into & prepare students for the gradual and ultimate complete release of the scaffold for greater independence?  
     How are you explaining to students what the scaffold is, what it is used for, and why they need to ultimately be able to do the work without the scaffold?  How will you teach them to internalize the scaffolding skills and become intellectually self-reliant?
  • AssessmentOne thing we saw across all classrooms and grades is that every teacher took the time to really think through their lesson activities and made strong efforts to clearly articulate the student look-fors in their lesson plans.  This is an essential step to being able to be crystal clear about what students needs to be able to say, do, or write to provide evidence of learning and skill/content competency.  

    We also saw students continually asking teachers to review their work, asking "Is this right?" or "I don't know what to do" or sitting patiently waiting for the teacher to stop by their desk.  There is a demonstrated teacher-dependence across grades and classrooms in almost all of our classes.

    I imagine that if today's marathon runners were running without GPS or external mile markers and no way to tell how long they've been running...this marathon could be that much more of a challenge.  Without checkpoints or monitoring tools, there would be no way to assess their own progress, and no way to then adjust their own goals and decisions making (e.g. let me push a little harder or hey, I'm doing great - let me keep this pace...or I'm going to fast..better conserve some energy and slow down).  Now imagine if that checkpoint info existed inside the head of one person.  All the marathoners would likely be peppering that one person with questions like - how long has it been, where are we, how far have we run, how much more is left, etc.  Sounds familiar, right?


    TO THINK ABOUT & DO For MP2: 
      How do your students know how they are progressing in class?   How do they know if what they are doing is good or if they need to make adjustments?  What can you do to make your look-fors (or assessment criteria) public and accessible to students?  How are you teaching into these rubrics, model responses or what are you saying to kids to let them know what you expect and are looking for?
     
Hurdles and Failures.  Anytime we try something new or we try to make a change to improve something, we might be immediately successful or more often than not, we encounter some obstacles & failures.  Until we actually master a task, the amount of times we doing something wrong will outweigh the successes.  We have to mentally prepare ourselves for the reality and inevitability.   We need to also remember that with each iteration and attempt, we will learn something new, get better, and upon repeat and reattempt - our successes will soon begin to outnumber the failures.  

Runners and athletes face injury, encounter walls and plateaus.  I'm positive that if Kaitlyn, Tom, and Mike didn't find ways to push through the challenges and the hard times, they wouldn't be running today.  The physical pain and limitations will always surface, but inevitably it is our mind that pushes us through the hurdles and the failures to get to a place to try again.  The goal should always be to try again.  Without attempt, you will never get to where you want to be.  

Dig deep today Kaitlyn, Tom, and Mike!  We believe in you and you may even glimpse some of us on the sidelines cheering you on!! 

Dig deep for MP2 all of you at UAI!  We all believe in each other and ourselves, and you will always glimpse each of us on the sidelines cheering you on if you take the time to look ;-)!

Important dates. 

  • Monday, 07NOV22.  Subject Team Meetings and Home Contact
  • Tuesday, 15NOV22.  Science Instructional Rounds
  • Thursday, 10NOV22.  Last Day of MP1
  • Monday, 14NOV22.  First Day of MP2
  • Wednesday, 16NOV22.  MP1 Grades Due at 3PM
  • Thursday, 17NOV22.  Evening Parent Conferences - 5PM-8PM
  • Friday, 18NOV22.  Afternoon Parent Conference - 11:50PM-2:50PM
  • Saturday, 19NOV22.  In-Person UA Fair
  • Wednesday, 23NOV22.  Rapid Dismissal at 2:30 
  • Thursday, 24NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • Friday, 25NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL


Announcements & To Dos

Grading for Learning PD.   Many Thanks to Amanda for her PD on grading for learning.  Moving kids from an expectation that they will only do something in order to get a grade to the mindset of completing the task so that they can learn how to do it well can be hard for several reasons - some of it is the students' experience and some of it is our own mindsets.  Amanda has only been in our school for 8 weeks, but already I see her students behaving in ways that I have had yet to see in UAI.  For example, I saw a student walk in before the PD asking for work so she could "practice".  She wasn't looking for extra credit.  She wasn't looking for a redo or corrections grade.  She was looking to practice on topics she was not yet clear about.  That was pretty amazing.

We have a ways to go before we get where we need to be for competency based grading.  We are also tackling several hills with scaffolds and assessment first.  So this post is a seed-planting one and an open invitation to those who are ready to push themselves more.  Stop by 407 and say hi to Amanda.  If she's not busy, ask to have a chat to pick her amazing brain and research on how to move your own class away from compliance based grading to true competency based learning.  One day - it would be a dream to reach the place where students are only graded on 1 or 2 major assessments per marking period, but they have had tons and tone of ungraded feedback and practice that would make them ready to ace those assessments.  Thank you Amanda for sharing and being a thought partner in this work!!


Speaking of Grades.   It has come to my attention that not all folks are using Google Classroom Gradebooks consistently.  We'll be correcting that during PD time on Monday & Tuesday Subject Team time.  However, we now find ourselves in a pickle.

Without access to grades, and without consistent contact home, kids & families do not have a clear picture of how they are doing in your classes.  So, for this week TWO things need to happen

  • Hold Grade Conferences in Class This week.  All Teachers Need to hold short conferences in class this week to let students know what they can expect on their report cards and how their performance resulted in that grade and what they can do to improve.  Students 7hould be assigned independent work (e.g. finish the DRP or MAP test or complete a MP1 reflection or make up work) so that you have time to conference with all students.  You should aim to complete at least 10 conferences per day.  Allot more time for students who will need longer explanations, and group folks together who you know will be easy conferences.  If need be, you can pull students from Learning Labs to complete the conferences.

Monday PD.   Teachers who are working with section G will be meeting with Kiri & Annie in room 403 to review strategies for resetting class norms and setting student learning up for success for MP2.  All other teachers will meet with their ILT lead for PD.  No circle on Monday (we'll have one on Tuesday). Go straight to assigned rooms at 3PM on Monday:
  • Group G - Room 403 
    • Kiri, Annie, Sarah M, Frances, Elena, Lia, Shan, Camryn, Kaitlyn, Joanna & Christina, Nicole, Marni
  • Middle School - Room B49: 
    • Phillan, Fatima, Mike, Alison, Lillie, Sarah R, Matthew, Adelle, Brenda, Jennifer
  • ELA/Language - Room 309:  
    • Marsha, Freida, Joey, Rebecca, Laura, Leonela, Elena, Noelle
  • Social Studies - Room 507
    • Kelly, Martine, JRob, Jake, Junior, Juelle, Danielle I
  • Science - Room 415
    • Liza, Mary, Tom, Thomas, Ms. Z, Denyea, Jelissa
  • Math - Room 405
    • Judy, Danielle, Kareena, Amanda


Tuesday, Election Day PD.   This is an in-person day PD. By contract, all Professional Meeting days are 6 hours and 50 minutes.  So, Tuesday's work time will be 8:30-3:20Pm. Here's the agenda
  • 8:30-9AM Welcome and Principal Overview of the day (no breakfast today - because LUNCH)
  • 9AM-9:30AM Staff Circles
    • Phillan's Group - 205C
    • Marsha's Group - 309
    • Kelly's Group - 303
    • Liza's Group - 205L
    • Judy' Group - 305
  • 9:30-10:45AM Workshops
    • Room 309 DRP Analysis with Marsha & Literacy Collaborative
      • Mike, Fatima, Sarah R, Frances, Pauline, Freida, Joey, Rebecca, Kelly, Lia, Shan, Martine, JRob, Jake, Thomas, Kaitlyn, Camryn, Mary, Tom, Leonela, Elena, Noelle, Annie
    • Room 305 MAP Analysis with Judy & Amanda
      • Alison, Lillie, Matthew, Joanna, Christina, Kareena, Danielle H, Liza, Kiri
    • Room 205C  Paraprofessional Classroom Goals and Expectation with Phillan & Juelle
      • Adelle, Brenda, Denyea, Ms. Z, Junior, Jen
    • Offices All other staff attend Virtual PD
      • Patti, Roger, JJR, Marni, Danielle I, Jelissa, Nicole, Alaisha, Aisha, Damaris, Dai
  • 10:45AM-11AM - Break
  • 11AM-12PM Question Format Technique - Another key learning in Instructional Rounds was that our students are not asking enough of their own questions. Our scaffolds and us, ourselves, provide the overwhelming majority of questions in classes.  The best way to learn is to ask questions!  Liza & Judy will be sharing the QFT to show how they help students learn how to make their own questions.

  • 12PM-1PM - Lunch provided by UAI - from Panera!!  (Sandwich and Salad Options)
  • 1PM-3:20PM - Afternoon Subject Team Meeting & Work Time
    • Room 309 - Marsha & ELA Team
    • Room 405 - Judy & Math Team
    • Room 415 - Liza & Science Team
    • Room B49 - Phillan & Middle School Team
    • Room 409 - Elena & Leonela - Spanish Team
    • Room 503 - Patti & Roger - PE Team
    • Room 303 - Juelle & Paraprofessional Team - Finalizing Work from AM Workshop
    • Offices - Counselors & Deans Continued PD and Work Time

<<Repost>> UAI Teacher's Choice.   All staff will be reimbursed up to $250 for teacher selected school materials.  If you have already spent the funds, start gathering up your receipts.  You will be reimbursed for everything (except tax - if you didn't use the tax exempt form).   If you have yet to spend, please reach out to Dai for the Tax Exempt form/number.    Stay tuned for directions on how to submit your receipts for reimbursement.  These will all be due the Friday before Thanksgiving (with reimbursement checks expected to come just before the winter holidays!)

<<Repost>> First Round of Evaluative Observations Begin.   First round of informal observations continue this week.  Please review Danielson and the UAI Look For Document.  Our goal is to complete the round of informal observations by November 8th.  As a reminder, the observation requirements are:
  • Tenured Teachers - minimum of 1 fall informal and 1 spring term informal observations (unscheduled min 15min observation)
  • Untenured teachers - minimum of 4 observations (2 in fall and 2 in spring) - 3 informal observations and 1 formal observation (scheduled, full period observation)
All teachers are welcome to ask for more observations - these are just the minimum.


<<Repost>> Thanksgiving Charity.  As the festive season is quickly approaching, Aisha, Jen, and Jelissa are again seeking your assistance in putting smiles on the faces of some of our students as we did last year with our food hampers and turkey giveaways.

If you were not part of Team UAI last year, through the contributions of staff and through ground work from Miss Jay and her significant other,  we literally turned our main office into a farmers market. Many of our students were able to walk away with bags of fruits and vegetables and turkeys for Thanksgiving. 

We know that this year things have changed significantly and prices have increased exponentially, nonetheless, we still want to try to gift our students with turkeys again this season.

So again, we seek your assistance in donating whatever you are able to in an effort to assist us in being a blessing to some families this year.

We will accept cash, or you can cash app your donation to $AHuggins4. Of course, we will keep a record of all monies sent and the final figure will be presented to all who donated. A HUGE THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE.

Yours in unity:
Miss Aisha
Miss Jen
Miss Jelissa





Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities (view all 2022-23 postings here),
please complete Per Session Application For

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Week of 31OCT22

UAI Staff News

Volume X
Issue 10
October 31st, 2022




Happy Halloween & Wrapping Up MP1. It is a UAI tradition to dress up for Halloween.  For sure, you are not required to do so!  Many do not, and that's ok!  

As we finish out the last day of October, it is hard to believe that we are through two of the 10 months of school already.  Some days, it feels like it's been 2 years, but before you know it, we'll blink and it will be Christmas.   It is so true.

At this point in the fall, the shiny promise of September has faded away, and we are all feeling the weight of how much challenge our students face and how much work we need to do to meet them where they are and push them to where they need to be.  It is a huge job - and with any challenge, there will be times that we fall short of our goals AND then, there will be times when we knock it out of the park!

We need to make it a priority to value both the journey and the destination - in both the work of our students and ourselves.   The process (journey) is our learning experience.  We practice, we fail.  We experiment, we learn, we may fail or get lucky - but either way we refine and try again.  We keep trying until we are satisfied that we've met our goals well.

Remember to honor both the learning growth AND the achievements - in both yourself and your students.  That is the intersection of Joy and Power - to be able to honor & celebrate both.


Important dates. 

  • Monday, 31OCT22.  Halloween - Costume Parade
  • Wednesday, 02NOV22.  Social Studies Instructional Rounds
  • Thursday, 03NOV22.  Thursday PD:  Grading For Learning in Google Classroom (Amanda)
  • Saturday, 19NOV22.  In-Person UA Fair
  • Thursday, 10NOV22.  Last Day of MP1
  • Monday, 14NOV22.  First Day of MP2
  • Wednesday, 16NOV22.  MP1 Grades Due at 3PM
  • Thursday, 17NOV22.  Evening Parent Conferences - 5PM
  • Wednesday, 23NOV22.  Rapid Dismissal at 2:30 
  • Thursday, 24NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL
  • Friday, 25NOV22.  Thanksgiving Recess - NO SCHOOL


Announcements & To Dos

UAI Teacher's Choice.   All staff will be reimbursed up to $250 for teacher selected school materials.  If you have already spent the funds, start gathering up your receipts.  You will be reimbursed for everything (except tax - if you didn't use the tax exempt form).   If you have yet to spend, please reach out to Dai for the Tax Exempt form/number.    Stay tuned for directions on how to submit your receipts for reimbursement.  These will all be due the Friday before Thanksgiving (with reimbursement checks expected to come just before the winter holidays!)

<<Repost>> First Round of Evaluative Observations Begin.   First round of informal observations continue this week.  Please review Danielson and the UAI Look For Document.  Our goal is to complete the round of informal observations by November 8th.  As a reminder, the observation requirements are:
  • Tenured Teachers - minimum of 1 fall informal and 1 spring term informal observations (unscheduled min 15min observation)
  • Untenured teachers - minimum of 4 observations (2 in fall and 2 in spring) - 3 informal observations and 1 formal observation (scheduled, full period observation)
All teachers are welcome to ask for more observations - these are just the minimum.


Thanksgiving Charity.  As the festive season is quickly approaching, Aisha, Jen, and Jelissa are again seeking your assistance in putting smiles on the faces of some of our students as we did last year with our food hampers and turkey giveaways.

If you were not part of Team UAI last year, through the contributions of staff and through ground work from Miss Jay and her significant other,  we literally turned our main office into a farmers market. Many of our students were able to walk away with bags of fruits and vegetables and turkeys for Thanksgiving. 

We know that this year things have changed significantly and prices have increased exponentially, nonetheless, we still want to try to gift our students with turkeys again this season.

So again, we seek your assistance in donating whatever you are able to in an effort to assist us in being a blessing to some families this year.

We will accept cash, or you can cash app your donation to $AHuggins4. Of course, we will keep a record of all monies sent and the final figure will be presented to all who donated. A HUGE THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE.

Yours in unity:
Miss Aisha
Miss Jen
Miss Jelissa

UAI Instructional Rounds Begin.  This week the Social Studies team will conduct their instructional rounds (IR).  Good Luck IR teams!  We're all looking forward to what you learn and we look forward to you sharing your work so that we may all benefit and collectively leverage up the quality of classroom instruction across UAI!



E-Waste Pick Up.  Before the end of the month, we are removing e-waste from the building.  Do you have e-waste (100% useless tech) in your classroom / office? Do you have something that might be e-waste but you're not sure?  Please set it aside, label it, and then contact Jason (jasonpr@uainstitute.org) in a separate email.  He will retrieve your e-waste and move it to a central location for DIIT.   Please contact me in a separate email and I'll inspect the tech.  If everyone quickly scans their classrooms and offices, we can complete this task before the end of the day on October 25th. Let's work together to reclaim space in the building!


Interim Assessments Continue.  This week we will be starting our MAP Math assessments for students in grades 6-11.   Students who have not yet completed the DRP can continue their work this week, but both MAP Math and DRP must be completed by Friday.
  • Week of Oct 24.  The MAP Math test will be launching for grades 6-11.  As with the DRP, students will take this exam during Learning Lab.  Amanda is our testing coordinator for the MAP Math exam and will be reviewing how we will administer the test in Monday 24OCT22's PD.
  • Monday Oct 31.  The DESSA is a social-emotional skills inventory that teachers complete about students.  We will use PD time on 31OCT to complete this inventory.  Jen is our testing coordinator for the DESSA and will lead staff through what it is and how to complete it during PD.




<<Repost>> Student Password Reset.  Any UAI staff member can reset a student's email and look up their DOE email account.  With your DOE credentials, you should have access to reset a student's DOE password (you don't need the email - just a student's OSIS - which you can find on their schedule)

  1. Go to https://idmapps.nycenet.edu/passwordreset/(Open external link) and sign in with your DOE credentials. If you don’t have access, scroll down to the bottom of the page for instructions.
  2. Enter the student’s OSIS ID number.
  3. Enter a password for the student.
  4. Provide the password to the student. 
  5. When you give the password to the student, tell them to sign into the Student Password and Account Management tool(Open external link) and reset their password to something unique (if you gave them a generic password).
  6. Once they reset their own password and set up their account, they are all set and can begin accessing DOE digital learning platforms.



Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities (view all 2022-23 postings here),
please complete Per Session Application For

11OCT22 Posting
UAI After School Supervisor.  This position would be the person supervising UAI after school courses on Wednesday & Thursdays from 3-5PM.  The role would be to manage any communications with home around pick up making sure parents kids who need pick up are picked up, and managing any issues that may arise during after school (mediating any conflicts, assisting teachers with needed resources, monitoring student movement throughout the after school spaces).  This position would operate out of the deans office and would be in charge of managing all UAI after school activities on these two days.  Two positions available for the year.




Monday, October 24, 2022

Week of 24OCT22

UAI Staff News

Volume X
Issue 9
October 24th, 2022


Today's Post comes from our very own Amanda Etheridge, HS Math Teacher and Action Researcher Extraordinaire!  I've had to edit chunks out to make sure it fits on the blog, but you should definitely read her full article HERE

Who has Power in the Classroom?  At the start of the year, my school changed part of their mission from “empower all students“ to “help all students maximize their power and potential.” ...Power is not something you give to students – it is something they have had all along.

What does this look like in a classroom and how do we even start? .. What are the students doing? How are they interacting with each other and with you? What are you doing? Who is doing the talking, the thinking, and the work?  How does what you [envision actually match ... your classroom today]? How does your classroom reflect your beliefs about power, student learning, and your role as an educator? 

Consider the ... ideas below... some you may already be doing, some may be long-term goals to work towards, and some may seem (or be) insurmountable in your current environment. Let [these ideas] inspire you to think about a manageable next step. Because, just like students, we are always learning and growing one day at a time.

Consider the Space

Is your desk the focal point of the room? Do you find yourself sitting at it often, creating a physical and psychological barrier between you and the students? There’s a growing number of teachers (myself included) who have given up their desks for this reason and in doing so, find themselves having more interactions with students as you sit and move among them more. Are students able to move freely through the space or are there “no go” zones? What does this say about the inherent trust (or lack thereof) we have in our students? Are students able to retrieve materials (extra paper, pencils, necessary manipulatives, their work) on their own or do they have to ask for it? As we increase access to things students need when they need them, we decrease their reliance on us and break down one of the most common power structures in a classroom-that this space is mine and you are merely a student in it...

Consider Student Interactions

Who do students interact with in the classroom?  Do they rely on their peers when they are stuck or immediately turn to you? The more we can encourage students to talk with and depend on one another, the more we break the notion that teachers are the only source of information in the classroom and level the power dynamic between teachers and students...

Liljedahl found that a teacher will answer between 200 and 400 questions in a typical day with almost 90% of them being questions along the lines of “is this right?” This stops student learning and reinforces the belief that only the teacher knows the process and has the right answer. As you’re circulating, take note of who is understanding the concepts and redirect students with those types of questions to them. Strategies and routines... where students are explaining a topic to another and are encouraged to ask clarifying questions, all support the goal of elevating students as holders of knowledge.

Consider Grading Practices

Is student work recognized in a way that celebrates their achievements and highlights the benefits of perseverance? Do our grading practices and our grade books reflect what we say about the importance of mistakes and how they are a learning opportunity or do they unintentionally penalize students and impact them more than a performance task? 

Two popular phrases adorn many classroom walls: “Mistakes are proof that you are learning” and “Mistakes are expected, respected, inspected, and corrected.” However, the way we traditionally grade students runs counter to this idea.  Joe Feldman writes in Grading For Equity “[s]tudents’ mistakes are penalized during the very stage of learning when students should be making mistakes. If mistakes on any work-homework assignments, a test, quizzes, in-class worksheets, discussions-are always penalized with a score that is incorporated into a grade no matter whether those mistakes occur at the beginning, middle, or end of learning, then the message is that mistakes aren’t ever acceptable, much less desired, and they certainly aren’t ever valuable. Students will be discouraged, not encouraged, to take risks and be vulnerable.”

We recognize that mistakes are part of learning, “But this mechanism only works if students trust the teacher enough to reveal mistakes.” This trust, or lack of trust, is built each time a teacher responds to a student’s mistakes, whether positively with care and understanding, or negatively with indifference or judgment....

How and how often are you giving feedback to students? .. Feedback can take many forms-written and spoken, verbal and nonverbal, informal and formal-and building this culture of ongoing feedback builds communication and trust between students and with you. Descriptive feedback helps students identify next steps for learning and continues the learning process. It enables students to make their own choices about what to focus on and puts the onus of improvement back on to them. 


These ideas are only a small piece of the many different ways we can support students in recognizing and maximizing their power. They are not a one-size-fits-all remedy and certainly not the only thing you can do to meet this goal. Some of these practices will take time to implement in a meaningful and impactful way and you will find yourself tweaking them until you find something that works for you and your students-rarely is someone proficient at something the first time they try it. Just like you tell your students that learning is a process and takes time, remember to tell that to yourself.  Letting go of the power we traditionally hold can be incredibly difficult-as we attempt to do so, it can seem like we are losing control over our classroom. Remember that what you are really doing is helping students recognize and use their own power.



Many THANKS to Amanda for sharing her research and insights with all of us!!
Amanda will also be hosting a Thursday PD session on these ideas and helping students learn to value learning over grades.  (It will either be this Thursday or next - still need to confirm with her!)


Important dates. 

  • Monday, 31OCT22.  Halloween - Costume Parade


Announcements & To Dos

First Round of Evaluative Observations Begin.  Annie and I will begin our first round of informal observations this week.  Please review Danielson and the UAI Look For Document.  Our goal is to complete the round of informal observations by November 8th.  As a reminder, the observation requirements are:
  • Tenured Teachers - minimum of 1 fall informal and 1 spring term informal observations (unscheduled min 15min observation)
  • Untenured teachers - minimum of 4 observations (2 in fall and 2 in spring) - 3 informal observations and 1 formal observation (scheduled, full period observation)
All teachers are welcome to ask for more observations - these are just the minimum.


Thanksgiving Charity.  As the festive season is quickly approaching, Aisha, Jen, and Jelissa are again seeking your assistance in putting smiles on the faces of some of our students as we did last year with our food hampers and turkey giveaways.

If you were not part of Team UAI last year, through the contributions of staff and through ground work from Miss Jay and her significant other,  we literally turned our main office into a farmers market. Many of our students were able to walk away with bags of fruits and vegetables and turkeys for Thanksgiving. 

We know that this year things have changed significantly and prices have increased exponentially, nonetheless, we still want to try to gift our students with turkeys again this season.

So again, we seek your assistance in donating whatever you are able to in an effort to assist us in being a blessing to some families this year.

We will accept cash, or you can cash app your donation to $AHuggins4. Of course, we will keep a record of all monies sent and the final figure will be presented to all who donated. A HUGE THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE.

Yours in unity:
Miss Aisha
Miss Jen
Miss Jelissa

UAI Instructional Rounds Begin.  This week and next the English and Social Studies teams will embark upon our first rounds of instructional rounds (IR).  IR is a pedagogical practice that school and districts use to elevate the quality of teaching and learning.  Focusing on a problem of practice & theory of action to address that problem, teams of educators make rounds of visits to a variety of classrooms.  Using low-inference observations, the team collaboratively develops an informed understanding of the current state of affairs in the classroom vis a vis the problem of practice, and the team works collaboratively to problem solve and propose next steps to leverage up the quality of teaching & learning.

For this first round, the humanities teams are going into classrooms to investigate how we can better structure lessons, tasks, questioning and assessments to increasingly promote student thinking vs. students doing.  In many classrooms, lesson activities are asking students to complete tasks, and many students are actively completing those tasks. However, the level of intellectual rigor is inconsistent across classrooms.  This was also something that Fred saw in his visit last week.  Working together, we plan to make observations and uncover barriers in planning or teaching that unintentionally inhibit student thinking.  With this new understanding, we will also collaboratively developing strategies to maximize student thinking.

Good Luck IR teams!  We're all looking forward to what you learn and we look forward to you sharing your work so that we may all benefit and collectively leverage up the quality of classroom instruction across UAI!



E-Waste Pick Up.  Before the end of the month, we are removing e-waste from the building.  Do you have e-waste (100% useless tech) in your classroom / office? Do you have something that might be e-waste but you're not sure?  Please set it aside, label it, and then contact Jason (jasonpr@uainstitute.org) in a separate email.  He will retrieve your e-waste and move it to a central location for DIIT.   Please contact me in a separate email and I'll inspect the tech.  If everyone quickly scans their classrooms and offices, we can complete this task before the end of the day on October 25th. Let's work together to reclaim space in the building!


Interim Assessments Continue.  This week we will be starting our MAP Math assessments for students in grades 6-11.   Students who have not yet completed the DRP can continue their work this week, but both MAP Math and DRP must be completed by Friday.
  • Week of Oct 24.  The MAP Math test will be launching for grades 6-11.  As with the DRP, students will take this exam during Learning Lab.  Amanda is our testing coordinator for the MAP Math exam and will be reviewing how we will administer the test in Monday 24OCT22's PD.
  • Monday Oct 31.  The DESSA is a social-emotional skills inventory that teachers complete about students.  We will use PD time on 31OCT to complete this inventory.  Jen is our testing coordinator for the DESSA and will lead staff through what it is and how to complete it during PD.




<<Repost>> Student Password Reset.  Any UAI staff member can reset a student's email and look up their DOE email account.  With your DOE credentials, you should have access to reset a student's DOE password (you don't need the email - just a student's OSIS - which you can find on their schedule)

  1. Go to https://idmapps.nycenet.edu/passwordreset/(Open external link) and sign in with your DOE credentials. If you don’t have access, scroll down to the bottom of the page for instructions.
  2. Enter the student’s OSIS ID number.
  3. Enter a password for the student.
  4. Provide the password to the student. 
  5. When you give the password to the student, tell them to sign into the Student Password and Account Management tool(Open external link) and reset their password to something unique (if you gave them a generic password).
  6. Once they reset their own password and set up their account, they are all set and can begin accessing DOE digital learning platforms.



Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities (view all 2022-23 postings here),
please complete Per Session Application For

11OCT22 Posting
UAI After School Supervisor.  This position would be the person supervising UAI after school courses on Wednesday & Thursdays from 3-5PM.  The role would be to manage any communications with home around pick up making sure parents kids who need pick up are picked up, and managing any issues that may arise during after school (mediating any conflicts, assisting teachers with needed resources, monitoring student movement throughout the after school spaces).  This position would operate out of the deans office and would be in charge of managing all UAI after school activities on these two days.  Two positions available for the year.