Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week of September 29th

UAI High School Staff News

Volume II
Issue 8
Week of September 29th, 2014


Benchmark Data and Unit Arcs are Due on Monday, 06OCT14.  You know you have an incredible staff when you give a heads up email deadline and so many of them get the jump to turn in things early!  Impressive!!  Maybe I've stumbled onto something with early staff dismissals ;-).   If you haven't finished the benchmark data or unit arc, no worries.  You have another week before those need to be submitted.  I need to create the benchmark data sheet from a DOE computer tomorrow (so stay tuned for that).  If you have your unit arcs ready, please CLICK HERE to access the folder where you can upload your document.  Please use the following nomenclature:    YOUR COURSE NAME_Your Name_Unit (e.g. GEOMETRY_Kiri_Transformations).  Taking a moment to rename your document, will save me hours in organization.  I cannot thank you enough!  I will only be collecting Unit Arcs en masse periodically throughout the year.  Most of the time, I'll just pick them up as I come through in observations.

Observation Catch Up.  Observation Write Ups and Learning Culture Rubric Notes are coming out this week.  If I missed yours, we'll reschedule for this week and next.  Check your gmail. to see when.

Fire Drill this Week.  Our first fire drill of the year is this Thursday, 02OCT14 at 9:30AM.  Please make sure that students understand where to go PRIOR to the drill.  Please also briefly review expected behaviors (moving quickly and silently out of the building).

With Unit 0 over, bring on Unit 1!  Now that Unit 0 is complete, and the formats have formally been introduced, all classrooms should be formally into the routines and formats of Learning Cultures.  Many of you have already launched into the formats smoothly (nicely done!),  and starting tomorrow, we should all have launched successfully.  From what I've seen already, your classes are off to strong starts!  So, I'm really looking forward to the weeks to come!  If you feel like you need a refresher - particularly around Responsibility Teams - please CLICK HERE to view Cynthia's videos on the formats.  You can use my login - and password - uailc283.

Attendance Calls Home.  After only one reminder, the rate of advisor calls home was perfect on Tuesday!  All students who were absent from school received a phone call home, and the message was logged into Skedula.  Nice work team!  Keep it up and be sure to get Carol into the loop if you're unable to reach homes and/or you have a long-term absent student (e.g. she's at a wedding in Yemen for 3 more weeks...).  Carol will be able to support you in finding working phone numbers and/or access our DOE attendance teacher to get in-person visits to the home.

Per Session Sheets are Due this Week. They are due to Del by the end of the day on Thursday, 02OCT14.  You can click on the picture to the left if you need a copy of the per session sheet.  DO NOT BE LATE turning this sheet in to Del.  If you are late, you risk being disqualified from all per session positions for the remainder of the year.  DO NOT BE LATE. (Yes, those are screaming CAPS).

Important Dates

  • Monday, 29SEP14. 1st Class after Benchmark I.  All formats should be up and running in full form!
  • Thursday, 02OCT14. First Fire Drill at 9:30AM
  • Tuesday, 07OCT14. Assessment Leads Day with Cynthia at UAI
  • Wednesday, 08OCT14. Kiri out of the building at UA Principal's meeting.
  • Thursday, 09OCT14. First Lock Down drill - time TBD.
  • Monday, 13OCT14. Columbus Day - NO SCHOOL
  • Wednesday, 15OCT14.  Code Blue Leads Day with Cynthia at UAI 
  • Wednesday, 15OCT14.  PSAT in AM or Grades 10 and 11 only.
  • Friday, 17OCT14. End of First Marking Period
  • Wednesday, 22OCT14. 1st MP Grades Due by 2:40PM 
  • Wednesday, 22OCT14. Professional Development Leads Day with Cynthia at UAI
  • Friday, 24OCT14. Report Cards backpacked home
  • Friday, 24OCT14. First High School Dance and Haunted House
  • Wednesday 29OCT14. UAI High School Open House
  • Tuesday 04NOV14. Election Day PD at Green Careers
  • Wednesday 05NOV14. Student Led Conferences 5-8PM
  • Friday 07NOV14. Student Led Conferences 12:00-2:40PM

Per Session Postings

No new postings at this time...

-----------Filled positions------------------
Before and After School Disciplinary Support.  This position is for a high school dean to supervise breakfast and hold after school detentions.  1 hour per day for all school days. Ms. Pamela is filling this position.

After School Clubs.  Clubs submitted and approved: Doris - Cultural Diaspora; Ilyana - Book Club; Sarah - ASL, Damon also is added!.  It's very possible that your proposal got lost in my inbox.  If I missed you, I'm still approving! So please submit.  The hard deadline is the After school fair tomorrow at 1:30.

Before and After School Director of Student Social-Emotional Learning.  This position has been filled by Jen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week of September 22nd

UAI High School Staff News

Volume II
Issue 7
Week of September 22nd, 2014


A Wonderful Curriculum Night.  Last Wednesday night was a big success from all reports.  Every grade team reported in positive reviews and the parents felt excited and well-informed about the year to come.  Our Skedula sign up was probably the nadir of the evening, so please do reach out to your advisees to make sure that they have a means of logging on to track student progress and attendance.  If they do not have internet access at home, please make sure that you work with Carol and the student to regularly communicate with the home (e.g. a phone call every few weeks to review grades and attendance) to make sure those folks can also stay informed.

Attendance Calls Home.  As a reminder, all advisors need to call home on the same day when their advisees fail to make it to advisory.  Since Skedula is new, I set this expectation with the plan of giving everyone a few weeks to acclimate to the new systems. We are now in our 3rd week of school and thus, our 3rd week with Skedula.  From a cursory look through the database, it looks like most people have figured out how to take attendance.  However, we it doesn't look very consistent on the calls home.  Even if you have a wrong number or no contact, please indicate these types of efforts in the Skedula Anecdotal logs so that we can track UAI's effort to reach out to homes.  I will be checking this week and next.  Carol will also be looking to see who has been called for absent students.

Per Session Policy.  As your UFT chair, Ms. Pamela met with me on behalf of teachers who did not submit their per session time sheets on time. Despite multiple reminders from both Pamela and myself, people still managed to miss the deadline.  Pamela requested that I make an exception.  I explained that this is the second exception I will have made for this year (having already accepted late sheets from the August PD hours).  So, we agreed on the following plan.  I will agree to accept late per session sheets for the September 1-15th pay period.  These are due to Del no later than 8:20AM on Tuesday 23SEP14.  Moving forward, if teachers are late 2 or more times with their per session sheets, I will disqualify them from all per session activities for the remainder of the school year.  

I get that people are busy.  Things happen.  I totally understand from both a professional and personal experience.  There are a million different things that clamor for our attention, always.  However, this thing takes 5 minutes.  Much like completing the attendance bubble sheets, if you choose to make it a priority, it will be finished quickly and have large positive outcomes.  If you choose not to prioritize it, the negatives are quite significant.  Just do your paperwork on time.   Here's an easy fix.  Click on the picture above.  You can PRE-populate the sheet.  Fill out the biographicals at the top.  Make 20 copies.  You can even enter the hours and dates for all the pay periods (check the Google Calendar).  Then, the only thing you'll have to do every two weeks is turn it in.  Provided your time cards match (and you punch in and out each time), you'll be paid!  

1st Benchmark Exams.  The first benchmark exams start this week.  They are Tuesday and Wednesday.  You've had access to the schedule since the start of the year (click on the 2nd tab to see the benchmark program).  All academic teachers must give the associated Regents benchmark in their class.  Copies of Regents exams will be left in your mailboxes on Monday morning.  You'll get 34 copies to hold onto for the course of the year.  Teachers will have to make their own answer sheets.

Important Dates

  • Monday 22SEP14, Grade Teams and PD Pods.  All Pods meet in room 409 from 2:50-3:30PM and meet in Grade teams in own rooms from 3:30-4:10PM
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14 and Wednesday 24SEP14.  High School Benchmark Exams.  Students Dismiss at 1:30.  Mandatory Staff meeting from 2PM -2:30 PM in room 409 to learn how to evacuate and lock down the building in preparation for upcoming safety drills.
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14 at 1:30PM. Girls Inc After School Fair in the Gym.  Please promote with your students and advisees!  They need more productive things to do after school in place of hanging out near Shake Shack or Tillary Park.  Help them make the right choices!
  • Thursday, 25SEP14 and Friday 26SEP14.  Rosh Hashanah. NO SCHOOL

Per Session Postings

Before and After School Disiplinary Support.  This position is for a high school dean to supervise breakfast and hold after school detentions.  1 hour per day for all school days.

-----------Filled positions------------------

After School Clubs.  Clubs submitted and approved: Doris - Cultural Diaspora; Ilyana - Book Club; Sarah - ASL.  It's very possible that your proposal got lost in my inbox.  If I missed you, I'm still approving! So please submit.  The hard deadline is the After school fair tomorrow at 1:30.

Before and After School Director of Student Social-Emotional Learning.  This position has been filled by Jen.


Dashiel & Harvey wish all of UAI a Happy First Day of Fall

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week of September 15th

UAI High School Staff News

Volume II
Issue 6
Week of September 15th, 2014


Successful First Week.  From cabinet reports, everyone is getting off to a strong start. Classroom Environments are strong; all classrooms launched into explicit instruction around the formats, and all Grade Teams delivered phenomenal Social Contract Talks this week.  Partner programs launched seamlessly in Carrera and are gearing up for a strong start with Girls Inc's fair next Tuesday. Additionally, we had a very smooth and successful administration of the DRP (many thanks to Colleen!).  It's unbelievable how much we've already done in just 7 days!  With a start like this, just imagine how our year is going to be!

UAI Hosts Learning Cultures Network of Leaders.  Just as our Learning Cultures leaders have been visiting other LC schools to develop their practice and bring back to our school (e.g. Sarah as School Culture lead modeled the social contract talk for our grade team leaders, Martine and Brodie, and lots of others!), we are hosting our own Leaders day.  Martine, as our Code Blue lead will join teachers from HSLI, Green Careers, UAI Middle School, and Unison to help refine our practices and understanding of how best to be proactive around student failure and how to develop interventions that work when our proactive plans don't pan out.

Monday PD Starts at 2:50 in Room 409.  This Monday will mark our first real Grade Team meeting and PD Pod feedback session.  There's so much to do and so little time! 

2:50-3:20PD Pods: The first teacher should get his/her feedback on Monday.  You guys should choose who will be seen next.  I created an updated program to facilitate this process for you.  CLICK HERE to see the updated school program.  On the 3rd tab lists all the teachers who have non-teaching periods and when they have them.  

3:20-4:10 Grade teams:  In addition to whatever grade team agenda items that your team must address, you also need to plan for Wednesday's curriculum night.  In particular, grade teams need to share responsibility for floor beautification (i.e. your rooms look great, but we need you guys to take charge of the hallway bulletin boards to make them look equally as awesome).  Additionally, you need to finalize an hour long agenda that the grade team will facilitate to;  review why we do learning cultures, how kids benefit, and how parents can support their daughters. Finally, grade specific information (e.g. PSAT, SAT information, College infor, etc.) needs to put on the grade team's agendas.

Curriculum Night.  Curriculum Night is on Wednesday from 5:30-7:30.  You'll have 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after as a buffer to prepare and closeup for the night.  So that will suffice for your 3-hour responsibility for this new Parent Outreach night.   Here's the Agenda
- 5:30-5:45  - General PTA Welcome in the Cafeteria
- 5:45-6:30  - High School Overview & Partner Programs 
                    - High School Parent Intro to Skedula (w/ Kiri in B53)
- 6:30-7:30  - Grade Team Presentations to Parents

High School Dance has been POSTPONED.  The seniors have decided to postpone their kick off dance to October.  If you responded that you wanted to chaperone, you're still at the top of the list.  Just let me know if you are no longer available on October 24th.   Also, the junior class is planning to do a companion haunted house to go along with the dance.  So, the evening promises to be something spooky special!

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, 16SEP14.  UAI Hosts LC Leads Professional Development Day for Code Blue Leads
  • Wednesday, 17SEP14.  MOSL Selections Due
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14. Girls Inc After School Fair in the Cafeteria
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14 and Wednesday, 24SEP14. High School Benchmark testing.
  • Thursday, 25SEP14 and Friday 26SEP14.  Rosh Hashanah. NO SCHOOL

Per Session Postings

After School Clubs.  Three days per week for a max of 3 hours per week.  Teachers are invited to submit proposals for after school clubs to me by Friday 19SEP14.  Budget for after school work is still being determined and is dependent on how many proposals I get.  At least 3 positions will be available, but I will try to fund as many as I get.  Students who accumulate 27 hours will receive 0.5 elective credits.  Students accrue 54 hours will receive 1.0 elective credit.  No late proposals can be accepted.  Nicole Souvenir of Girls Inc. will coordinate all after school programs, including teacher run after school clubs.  After School Clubs teachers must be present for the after school fair at Tuesday 23SEP14 from 3:00-4:30.  High School after school runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  On Mondays, clubs will run from 4:30-5:30.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays, clubs will be programmed by Nicole.  Teachers choose day(s) of work.

Before and After School Director of Student Social-Emotional Learning.  This position is for a DOE employed, licensed social worker to supervise before and after school programs, and provide social-emotional learning support to students before and after school.  Two hours per day for all school days.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week of September 8th

UAI High School Staff News

Volume II
Issue 5
Week of September 8th, 2014


Successful First Days.  The first two days of school went of without a hitch thanks to all the hard work and planning of everyone in our school.  In each and every classroom, I saw richly resourced rooms with kids who were eager to learn.  All of the assemblies kicked off the year and set the tone for expectations and aspirations.   When I touched base with each of you, there was definitely apprehension, but the normal first day stuff, which was ultimately eclipsed by the excitement of having the girls back.  Congrats to Ms. Pamela in her first day as High School Dean and Ms. Colleen on her first day as Director of School Operations.  These are two roles with big demands, particularly on the first days of school, and they both were amazing!

Initial Planning Conferences.  During our initial planning conferences, we'll be talking about many things.  These first observations will be baseline data for you, and you can choose whether or not to include them in your formal evaluations.  As an AP in training, I've asked Colleen to join me on these meetings and observations.  If you would rather your meetings just be me, that's perfectly fine!  Just email me to let me know and I will make it so!  Here's our agenda
- Review Goals & Objectives from End of Year Conferences 
- Set Goals for This Year
- Review Teacher Final Ratings & Go Over Teacher Qs
- Review MOSL options and Questions

- Review LC Rubrics & Danielson Indicators
- Review MOTP Options and Make Observation Selection
- Teacher selected topics

First Grade Team and PD Meetings.  Our first full staff monthly PD is on Monday.  Please meet in room 409 promptly at 2:45PM to begin.  We'll start by introducing the PD Pod structure and social norms.  Then we'll break into grade team meetings to further discuss.  In preparation for Monday's PD, please watch Cynthia's lecture on Social Connections:  Revisiting Classroom Management and Discipline (login using with password uailc283).  Also read The Social Norms and Classroom Environment rubrics.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, 09SEP14. MOSL Committee meeting after school in room 301.
  • Thursday, 11SEP14. First Cabinet Meeting in room 403
  • Friday, 12SEP14.  DRP Administration during 3rd & 4th Period.
  • Tuesday, 16SEP14.  UAI Hosts LC Leads Professional Development Day for Code Blue Leads
  • Wednesday, 17SEP14.  MOSL Selections Due
  • Friday, 19SEP14. First High School Dance
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14. Girls Inc After School Fair in the Cafeteria
  • Tuesday, 23SEP14 and Wednesday, 24SEP14. High School Benchmark testing.
  • Thursday, 25SEP14 and Friday 26SEP14.  Rosh Hashanah. NO SCHOOL

No new per session postings this week

MOSL Committee Information

Measures of Student Learning

Pretty much the ONLY thing that makes sense to me about the ratings from last year is the data from the observations...the MOSLs are somewhat of a mystery...Here's our data from last year.  Take a look and please do share your comments and questions in this blog!
UAI High School MOSL Selections and Outcomes

Here are some questions and wonderings that came up for me
  • Question:  If two teachers are being measured using the same MOSL on the same kids, shouldn't their MOSL scores be the same?  Look at the Math and Science people.  All the math and science people were measured using the Scantron Math Computer based test on their Individual populations (e.g. the kids they taught).  Somehow, all the math people came back "Effective" and all the science people came back "Ineffective".  This also happens on the Scantron ELA where the English teachers got "Highly Effective" and the Science teachers only got "Effective."  It seems to me that if they're gonna make such a big public deal about teacher evaluations, they should at least get it right.
  • Comment:  Outside of the Social Studies Regents (which have always been challenging for us and the rest of the city), all teachers being measured using Regents exams were "Effective" or "Highly Effective".
  • Comment:  In the case of Social Studies, I noticed that when measured as a School rather than on their own kids, teachers were classified as "Effective".
To quote the kids, this data is mad sus...[pect]

I'm working with the network to get answers to my questions and talking to other principals about their data outcomes to see if this is specific to us and we did or if it's a trend across the city (or at least our network).  Those answers may take some time.  So, in the interim, here's what I plan to choose for the State measures and what I recommend for local selections.

Here are all the options:

MOSL Bottom Lines

As principal, I'm charged with selected all state measures.  Here's my thinking
  • We need to focus on our jobs with better clarity and not allow ourselves to get distracted with the noise of all this "data".  Our job is to educate kids to meet NYS graduation requirements and prepare them to flourish in college.  To graduate, NYS requires students to earn 44 credits in specified areas and pass 5 regents exams.  These requirements are not sufficient to guarantee success in college, so at UAI, we also teach self-regulation and student agency through the formats to build student capacity to persist and thrive independently in college.  Of all these things that we are charged to teach kids, MOSLs measure only one minute area - the tests. Bottom line:  Rather than add more unneeded testing,  I'm going to stick to the Regents Exams for All Subjects and All teachers. 
  • Additionally, as a community sharing a common goal (our kids' success in college and beyond), we should also bear the weight of accountability together.  Remember that scene from Gladiator where Russell Crowe gets the other gladiators together to survive incredible odds.  He says, "Whatever coms out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we work together."  I don't think even the MOSL people know what is coming out of their gates.  So rather than standing alone in our measures, our data shows that we are stronger and more protected when we are measured as a school.  Look at the data for the Social Studies team.  The two measured as a school were "Effective" and the one measured on individual students was "Developing".  It's yet another one of my rocket-science realizations - huh....working as a team!     Bottom line:  Rather than measuring individual students, I'm going to select School populations.

State Measures of Student Learning

  • English - All English teachers -  NYS English Regents: School; Growth.  
  • Social Studies - All Social Studies teachers - NYS ALL Soc. Studies Regents: School Growth.
  • Math - All Math Teachers - NYS ALL Math Regents: School: Growth.  
  • Science - All Science Teachers - NYS ALL Science Regents; School; Growth
  • Special Ed - 25%each:  ELA, Soc Stud, Math, Sci Measures: School; Growth
  • Language - NYS Spanish LOTE Exam
  • Physical Education - NYS All Regents Exams; School; Growth

Kiri's Recommendations to the MOSL Committee

  • The 3 choices:  Regents, NYC Performance Test, and Scantron:  When you look at the list of available assessment options, only the Regents, the Performance Scantron Series, and the NYC Performance Tests apply to UAI.  None of the other assessments really apply to our school.  We don't have enough students taking the APs,  NYSESLAT, or Alternate Assessements to use them as a measure, and we're not a CTE school.  
  • We need to minimize testing.  We spent too much time testing kids last year.  I strongly recommend that all Local Measures of Student Learning are the same as the State Measures.  Again, in looking at the data, for the most part, teachers' ratings were "Effective" or better when measured using State Regents exams.  Having streamlined assessments will also save instructional time and help us achieve our overarching goal of graduating kids and preparing them for college.
  • The Performance Scantron Tests are out for UAI! If the committee does recommend other measures, I will not accept using the Performance Series Scantron ELA or Math test.  The computer-based test resulted in inconsistent ratings for our staff and in the case of the math department, very damaging ratings for our teachers.  Plus, the logistics of implementing was outrageously complicated and the kids got frustrated during the test and gave up.  So, don't choose Scantron.
  • Some caveats about selecting NYC Performance tests measures.  If the committee selects the NYC Performance Tests,  I strongly recommend against doing so for the seniors or juniors. It's a challenge to get them to take tests that they don't see as "required" - as we are already doing with the DRP.  In addition, the Performance Tests in social studies were particularly confusing for the girls (e.g. They spent a long time completing document analysis, running out of time to write the actual essay.  Then, they got almost no points for their analysis and zero points for the non-existent essay.  So, this data wasn't exactly useful.)  We were better off with the actual Regents exam as a tool to measure progress.