Sunday, July 29, 2012

Student Led Conferences, Advisory, and Next Year's Schedule

What's Happening with Advisory and Student Led Conferences next year? 

    • Building Engagement & Agency.  Both rounds of the Student Led Conferences were very successful this year.  Teacher and parent feedback was overall very positive from the three grade teams.  Students found the process to be challenging and uncomfortable, but with a a couple of exceptions, the large majority of students approached the situation with seriousness and a high level of reflection.  For our first implementation, Student Led Conferences marked a first step to actively engage students and their families in their progress and learning. This engagement is critical for our young women.  By putting the kids at the center and in the driver seat of these conferences, we're developing their agency and independence while at the same time empowering their families to be supportive and inquisitive about what each of our students takes away from your classes.
    • So...what are the logistics? This year, we have scheduled three rounds of conferences. We're shifting from the high school parent conference schedule to the middle school conference schedule to allow for students to draw from a broader span of work, and thus more capably demonstrate progress.  The first set of conferences will be in November, the second in the spring and the last one in June (June conferences focused on reflecting about their growth over the year).  We'll use the same structure as last year with times during midterm week and conference days.
    • And what's up with Advisory? Advisory will meet 4 times per week (which includes a regular assembly).  At the beginning of the year, the assembly will be weekly as we adjust to the new school year.  After September, grade teams can adjust the frequency of their meetings (no less than monthly).  Advisory will be 25 minutes, and the expectation is that all students work independently and silently (reading, homework, etc.) while advisors individually conference with students.  Advisories will be 10 or fewer students so that teachers can conference at least 2-3 students per advisory session.  These weekly check-ins are targeted at supporting students in reflecting on their progress and work habits as they are reflected in their student work and in JumpRope.  When everyone returns in the fall, we'll be giving a detailed PD of advisory expectations for the upcoming year, but as a heads up Advisors will be regularly checking in and helping students set and track goals around
        • Attendance and Lateness
        • Organization and Work Completion
        • Quality of Work submitted (grades on assignments)
        • Behavior Choices and Actions

First Peek at Next Year's Schedule

    Click HERE for to See the Draft of 2012-2013 Schedule
  • This is still in draft form, but take a look to see how the schedule is shaping up. The 11th and 12th grade schedules are still not under development.  
    We're waiting to here final scheduling details from Poly to integrate those courses into the schedule.


  • Learning Cultures Summer Institute Starts this week!
    • The leadership institute for LCSI starts 30JUL.  Next week, 06AUG through 08AUG marks the beginning of the teacher week.  If you still haven't registered, please click HERE to do so, now!
    • Also please visit to learn more about the rubrics and formats.
  • Continue Building your Resources for structuring Independent Work Time
    • To make space for your in-class academic conferences, you need to have well-structured independent work time.  We will continue the PD we started in June around conferencing, setting up the classroom environment, and structuring independent work time (particularly the flipped classroom).
  • Upcoming Blog Topics
    • I ran out of time on discussing why the focus on Independent Work and Conferencing, so I'll lead with that one next week.
    • What rubrics are we using for teacher evaluation?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Welcome to the UAI High School News Blog

23 July 12     Welcome UAI High School!

Hello UAI High School and Happy Summer!

I'm starting a weekly blog to primarily to keep you up to date on important happenings in the UAI High School.  However, I welcome you all to interact and post freely to this blog.  Ultimately, I want it to become a community blog!  As a caveat, I'm super new to blogging so bear with me on my learning curve ;-)!

I hope you're all having a restful summer!  We've been crazy worker bees at the building.  Here are some of the goings on at UAI this summer so far:

  • Summer School
    • There are 4 high schools and 4 middle schools sharing our building this summer.  In addition, we've become a Teach for America training site which means there's a lot of new faces populating the halls.  In combination with our Carrerra summer programs, there's over 400 students and 50 staff coming to school every work day this month! It's not wonder that the schools feels like we're full of busy worker bees!
  • Preparing for our First Annual Learning Cultures Summer Institute
    • The Urban Assembly is hosting a summer professional development institute to support teachers and administrators across our network who are new to learning cultures.  Our own Darby Masland is the host teacher this summer and she has been working like mad with our student interns to transform Room B53 into a model Learning Cultures classroom (Colleen - I can't wait until you see it!)
      FYI -  
       Administrator Week is July 30-Aug1st & the Teacher Week is Aug 6th-9th.      If you still need to register, please do so ASAP, by clicking here.
  • Redesigning our Library and Computer Lab
    • At the close of the year, Kelly & I negotiated with the other building principals to have the library for the sole use of UAI.  Some of you participated in the reallocation of resources amongst the three schools.  This summer, I've been working closely with our team of interns to redesign the library and computer lab.  The library will also play host to our new teacher resource center and lounge.  The girls have done amazing work and I've resurrected my tech coordinator skills from way back.  Stay tuned for pictures! I can't wait for you all to see it!!
  • UAI's First Graduating Class
    • Our College Readiness Team is working hard in preparation for UAI's first graduating class.  Mara, Krystal, and Ruben are working together to provide our young women with the support, opportunities, and experiences needed to gain entry and succeed in college.  The first senior year will be jam packed with college applications, senior activities, and all types of important rites of passage.  It's an exciting time for the girls and it's a wonderful moment in our school's development.
  • Next Week's Post Topics
    • Take a First Look at Final Fall Schedule and Classroom Assignments
    • What's Happening with Advisory and Student Led Conferences next year?
    • Why are we focusing on Independent Work Time, Individual Conferencing and Learning Cultures next year?

My Summer Reading

Finally, at the end of each of these blogs, I'm going to share some of my own readings.  My higher brain function readings this month include a new one to me and an old favorite.  
In case your interested in my low-brain function, pure guilty pleasure reading, here they are
  • Fifty Shades of Grey - yes I read the whole trilogy - more because I was curious about all the hype, and I wonder how the French are receiving it (most likely without all the hoopla).
  • World War Z - my husband Harvey tells me they're making a movie with Brad which I wonder how Brad Pitt will look as a zombie (yes, my zombie obsession continues on into the summer)

“Unless the schools provide our children with a vision of human possibility that enlightens and empowers them with knowledge and taste, 
they will simply play their role in someone else's marketing schemes. Unless they understand deeply the sources of our democracy, 
they will take it for granted and fail to exercise their rights and responsibilities.”