Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall Full Observations

To date, I've been doing short visits to each of your classes.  Now, it's time to get a whole picture.

Starting next week, I'm going to do a round of full-class formal observations.  This post will outline the expectations of the observation:

What is Kiri looking for?
For Everyone:  I'll be evaluating your proficiency levels in the following areas:

For Learning Cultures Teachers:  I'll also be evaluating your proficiency levels in the following areas:

What is Kiri looking at?
Also For Everyone:  To prep for our PD needs, I'll be collecting benchmark data in the following areas:
Also For Learning Cultures Teachers:  I'll be collecting benchmark data in the following areas:

What do I need to do to prepare?
  • For almost everyone, I'll be mapping your pre-observation meetings onto your pre-existing scheduled conferences with me. There are a few exceptions and I'll email those people directly to schedule the pre-observation meeting.
  • PRIOR to NEXT THURSDAY (29NOV12)  If you have not already done so, please make sure you self-evaluate on the following rubrics by clicking on the link and completing the form.  Please make sure you're signed into your UAI gmail prior to doing so.

    Unison Reading - LC teachers only

    The Lesson - All teachers
    The Learning Conference - All teachers
    The Classroom Environment - All teachers
    Independent Work Time - All teachers
When will my observation be?
The observation
  • I will be highlighting times on my calendar.  In the description, I'll let you know who's on the docket.  Please check my calendar frequently to see who I'm seeing and when.
  • My goal is to complete ALL full class formal observations by DECEMBER 10th.  Call me crazy, but that's what I'm aiming for.

What's the process of the post-observation conference?
After the observation

  • Immediately following the observation, I'll send you a Google Calendar Invite for our follow up meeting.  Attached to that invite will be a copy of my low-inference observations and my initial evaluation on the rubrics.
  • During the meeting, we will discuss the rubrics and collaboratively develop your final evaluation and next steps.  This final letter will be your formal evaluation. This conversation will be evidenced-based, so please bring your binders, student work, and other rubric relevant artifacts from your classroom to this meeting.

Please if you have any questions, see me, email me, reach out.  This process is designed to be a means to get you feedback on your practice and to help you establish goals for growth!  So, please do not hesitate to work with me to make it as productive as possible!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Theoretical Exploration of Learning Cultures

Cynthia's Coming to Visit!
Cynthia McCallister, creator of Learning Cultures is coming to visit on Friday.  She'll be sitting in to model various formats, observing various classes, and hosting an informal discussion to field your questions and thinkings around Learning Cultures.

This blog post is dedicated to some of the underlying theories around Learning Cultures.  In addition, I hope it starts to address some of the wonderful questions that began to arise from our last Tuesday's PD.

What are Speech Acts?

Unison Reading

From Unison Reading
by CynthiaMcCallister

Also read this article to gain another perspective on Reading Aloud.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

After Hurricane Sandy...

Recovering from Sandy

Hopefully everyone is able to enjoy this bright, beautiful fall day.  It was good to reconnect with everyone, yesterday, and hopefully you and your families are returning to normal as power and transit continue to come back online for many areas of the city.

I want to officially recognize the dedication of our high school staff in having 100% of the teaching staff report to work.  In particular, Martine (from house sitting in Long Island) and Mike (from his powerless New Jersey home) get the biggest shout outs for traveling the furthest and most complicated transits into school yesterday.  Everyday, your actions speak volumes of your commitment, and Friday was just the latest testament to the caliber of your work!

Preparing for Monday

  • First and foremost, Nancy, Jen, Mara, and our Carrerra partners worked furiously on Friday to reach out to families.  Luckily, many of our families weathered the storm well and are in good shape.  Inevitably, however, some of our young women will have been negatively impacted in some way by Sandy's reach.  Jen will be emailing everyone soon regarding protocols for getting whatever support our girls may need.  Please look out for that email and connect our students to the grade level social workers should they be showing signs of trauma.
  • As transit service improves, hopefully your commutes will be much more manageable on Monday.  However, it will inevitably have some hiccups, so please stay in contact with me via my cell (917-776-0460) or email ( to let me know if you're having issues coming into school.
  • There is a chance that we will be hosting some of the girls and staff from the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women.  If their school has power by Sunday night, they'll return to their own site.  If the power is not yet up, they will join us on Monday.  Please check the blog to learn more as I will be posting info here as the situation develops.
  • On a minor note...don't forget to set your clocks back this weekend! It's daylight savings time.

Finally, the DOE has compiled a list of resources to reference in supporting our young women move through this process.  Additionally, Carol, Jen, our Carrerra and Girls Inc Partners have many other resources at their fingertips.  So please, if a student is expressing needs or concerns with respect to the Sandy aftermath, please connect them to your grade's social worker


Key Links From the DOE

Crisis Response Resources - Hurricane Sandy 

Below please find crisis response resources that schools can use to help students and their families recover from Hurricane Sandy 

  • Office of Emergency Management Disaster Mental Health Support Call Center 347 396 7952  
  • 1-800-LIFENET: Toll-free and confidential Mental Health Information and Referral Line with access to Mobile Crisis Team.  Staffed by trained Social Workers 24 hours, 7 days per week, 365 days per year
  • HITE is a free online resource directory for mental health services and other community resources. Click Social Services, then enter address for services in your neighborhood
  • Sesame Street Hurricane Toolkit Hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters can be difficult for young children who may not fully understand what's going on around them. These tips, activities, and videos can help them feel safe, cope with emotions, and understand that there is hope for the future.
  • Hurricane Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network  

Resources to Help Schools Support Students and their Families
  • provides the support resources below which are designed specifically for children, from those promoting mental health to ensuring children stay enrolled in school even if they have evacuated to a new school.
  • Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Teachers - provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, this brochure discusses talking to preschool, early childhood, and adolescent children about the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster.
  • Helping Children Cope with Disaster - produced by FEMA and the Red Cross and provided by Federal Citizen Information Center, this fact sheet discusses a child's reaction to disaster by age.
  • After the Storm: Information for Parents on How Schools Can Help After Disasters -Children do not lose their right to attend school when a disaster strikes. The National Center for Homeless Education has prepared a brochure about how to enroll in school even if you don't have any paperwork and have been displaced due to a disaster.
  • Child Trauma Toolkit
  • Prepare Today, Cope Better Tomorrow
  • Tips for Teachers in Talking to Kids about Hurricane Sandy
  • Guidance for Administrators, Counselors and Teachers
  •  The American School Counselor Association has gathered a number of resources to help you work with students during this time.  Perhaps most important to keep in mind, are these tips for helping children in terms of crisis and stress:
    • Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
    • Limit exposure to television and the news. Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
    • Listen to kids' fears and concerns.
    • Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but sometimes bad things happen.
    • Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
    • Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.

    Bereavement and Grief Counseling
  • Bereavement Support: Guidance from Calvary Hospital
  • Grief Counseling Resource Guide: A Field Manual. This manual has been developed as a guide for those who encounter individuals reaching to trauma related grief reactions in the course of their outreach work.
  • New York Life Foundation: (FREE) Resources for Grieving Children & Families; Bereavement Camps for Grieving Children (Camp Erin services ages 6-17, Comfort Zone Camp Services ages 7-17).

    Reimbursment Forms
  • Reimbursement for medical expenses from NYC