Sunday, September 23, 2018

Week of Sept 24th

UAI Staff News

Volume VI
Issue 6
September 18th, 2018
[164 School Days Remaining]


Fall Recruitment Kicks Off! Thanks to the hard work of Lauren, Jen, and the recruitment committee, we are off and running for our annual student recruitment season.   For the next several months, we will be reaching out to schools, families, and students to share all the wonderful opportunities UAI has to offer.  Please help us get the word out to anyone in your communities who also may be in the midst of hunting for a middle or high school.  In particular, we are looking to increase our 8th-grade matriculation into high school from 67% to 90%.  So, if you are working with our 8th graders, please take a moment to help them understand all the wonderful things UAI has.  As our own students, UAI 8th graders have first dibs on 9th-grade seats!  At UAI, our students are:

  • College Bound! 91% of our entering HS students graduate in 4 yrs and 100% of those graduated are matched with a college with a generous financial aid package.  
  • Computer Savvy!  Computer Science is a new HS program available to students this year.  Ms. Nadine & Mr. Matthew can share more!
  • College Ready! We offer many AP and College Level courses (AP English Language, Bio, Env. Science, Spanish, and @ NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Intro to Engineering) with more on the way (AP World History, and AP Eng Lit)
  • Well Known! We are a small and nurturing community aimed at making sure all of our students excel in college and beyond.  All students engage in a sequence of Social-Emotional Learning Instruction. In addition, our team of advisors, counselors, and teachers actively connect with families and students to make sure each of our students receives individualized attention and support.
  • Stong, Smart, and Bold!  Our Partners like Girls Inc provide daily enrichment opportunities (both in-day and after school) that provide our young women with a range of experiences that build their access to careers, understanding of female health & nutrition and foster their creative and athletic interests.  By participating in a wide variety of Girls Inc Activities, our young women are empowered to become Strong, Smart, and Bold!

To Dos

First Fire Drill at 9:35AM.  On Thursday, 27SEP18, we will be having our first real fire drill at 9:35AM.  We will review specific procedures during Monday PD, but make sure that your rooms have updated rosters and status cards (red/green/health) in your evacuation folders.

Curriculum Night is Wednesday, Sept. 26th from 5:00 to 8:00 PM

Monday PD will be dedicated to preparing for Curriculum Night, so you'll have more time to ask questions then.  For now, here's some info on the evening:

This year, we will begin the night by connecting as a larger community in our cafeteria.  Grades 6-11 families will begin the night with a dinner and PTA meeting in the cafeteria.  Senior families will eat in the basement with Ms. Doris, Ms. Danielle I and Ms. Danielle R to receive important college information and senior activities.   

Parents will visit three classrooms:  (1) Tech Set Up:  Access to PupilPath and Google Classrooms, (2) Humanities Room:  Language, English, and Social Studies Teachers, (3) Math Science Room Math and Science Teachers

Here the full agenda for the evening:

  • 5:00PM - UAI Staff Prepares for Curriculum Night
  • 5:30PM - UAI Community Dinner in Cafeteria (All Staff Report except Danielle, Danielle, and Doris)
    • 6:00PM - Elana & Tracy Present to Community 
    • 6:15PM - Girls Inc Presents to Community
    • 6:15PM -  All Other Staff Return to Classrooms to Prepare to Receive Families
  • 6:30-8:00 - Classroom Rotations (30 minutes each)
    • Rotation Rooms
      • 6th Grade:  309 Math/Science, 311 Humanities, 305 Tech Set Up
      • 7th Grade:  303 Math/Science, 307 Humanities, 315 Tech Set Up
      • 8th Grade:  205L - High School Applications & 8th Grade Activities
      • 9th Grade:  405 Math/Science; 409 Humanities, 407 Tech Set Up
      • 10th Grade: 511 Math/Science; 509 Humanities, 515 Tech Set Up
      • 11th Grade:  B45 Math/Science; B43 Humanities, B49 Tech Set Up
      • 12th Grade : B53 - College Applications & 12th Grade Activities

Teachers will move to their assigned rooms at 6:30 and will be with parents from 6:30 to 8:00. The objective of Curriculum Night is to share with parents what their child will be learning about for the year, answer any questions that parents may have and encourage family participation throughout the school year. Parents will also be tasked to sign-up for PupilPath during this time.

8th Grade parents will be meeting with Ms. Lauren and Ms. Jen around the high school application process and making smart, informed choices around the high school selection.

Please remember to make those final calls home to invite families and remind students about Curriculum Night. In addition, a Newsletter went home to the middle school, reminders have been sent via email and posted on social media and robocalls have been going out for the past two weeks. We are expecting a great turnout and want our first event of the 2018-19 school year to be a huge success!

SEL Update

Last week in SEL, 9th grade worked on building connections with our peers and strengthening our collaboration/communication skills. We used fun and engaging learning stations to practice and reflect on two collaboration techniques: Equal Opportunities to Speak and Assuming Your Group Members Mean Well.

How We Did It:
• We participated in daily turn and talks to share our ideas and listen to different perspectives.

• We led group discussions on how to incorporate two SEL skills, social awareness and relationship building, in our everyday lives   and in our core classes.

• We read and discussed personal stories from teens in NYC to gain a better perspective on how to effectively communicate with our teachers, peers and the world around us.

Per Session Opportunities

None This Week

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Week of September 17th

UAI Staff News

Volume VI
Issue 5
September 17th, 2018
[168 School Days Remaining]


Congrats To NYU Poly Cohort 13!   Our 13th Cohort with NYU Poly began their Intro to Engineering Course last week at the Tandon School of Engineering.  Our latest cohort of students are the most recent participants in this fantastic partnership with NYU aimed at cultivating and nurturing our young women's interest in Engineering and STEM in general.  Over the years, the partnership has flourished and over 200 students have had the opportunity to sit in college classrooms, learn from NYU professors and teaching assistants, and have a real-world college experience prior to graduation.  Many thanks to Ms. Danielle I and Ms. Doris who are guiding and supporting our young women through the course.  Many more congrats to these young women who are taking on this rigorous challenge to really challenge and extend themselves!

First Round of Observations.  Annie and I will finish our final batch of IPCs (Initial Planning Conferences) on Monday.  We'll begin our first round of observations this week.  This first round will be unannounced informal observations where we will be in your room for about 15-20 minutes.  You can expect our feedback and evaluation in writing within 24hrs of that visit (if not sooner).  Our 2nd round of observations will be announced and only if you request, we will make time to meet with you before and/or after to discuss your observation (planning - before and debrief after).  What to expect in your first round of observations

  • Lesson and Unit Plans.  Annie and I will be looking in your pacing calendars for your lessons prior to our visits.  If you do not have your lessons stored there, please have a copy of your lesson and unit ready to hand to us when we walk in.  We will be evaluating Domain 1 for everyone on each and every visit this year.
  • Student Thinking.  We will be watching and talking to students. When we talk to students, we are looking to see how well students understand what they are supposed to be doing and why they are doing it.  In addition, we are looking to see the rigor of tasks and level of student intellectual engagement.  Are students focused on completing work, or does the task require them to use reason through the work?  This is evident in student discourse, question-making, and their writing.
  • Teacher Moves and In-Lesson Choices.  We are observing the moves you make to (1) ensure a safe and quality learning environment (Domain 2) and (2) engage and evaluate student thinking (Domain 3).  In particular, we are looking to see how you observe & assess students throughout the lesson and how you use what you learned from your observations and assessments to either correct or extend student behaviors and thinking.

To Dos This Week

Monday PDs 17SEP18 and 24SEP18.  We will be going over the Advisory Filed Trip logistics and giving time for teams to plan the trips on Monday the 17th.  Typically, each first Monday PD of the month will be for grade teams to do work like this and to work to write the Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs) for our students who have upcoming IEP meetings for the month.  Tomorrow, we will split time between planning for Advisory Trips (first priority) and writing any PLOPs needed for September.  In addition, Grade Teams, in particular grades 6 and 9 who may want to recommend students for initial evaluation should discuss those students tomorrow and share their concerns with Joanna.  From there, Joanna will work with teams to decide if initial evaluations are necessary.  Next Monday, teams will have time to prepare for Curriculum Night and complete any PLOPs that the team didn't get to finish.  

Skedula Attendance and Grades.  By the end of this week, you should upload your first batch of grades into Skedula.  In addition, please make sure attendance is accurately reflected in Skedula.  Next week, during Curriculum Night, we will be onboarding parents to Skedula.  Attendance should be taken accurately in each period, and grades should be uploaded at least once a week.  As a reminder, please review the staff handbook on the UAI grading policy.  Please make sure to sign off  that you've reviewed the staff handbook.  It is expected that all UAI staff fulfill this professional responsibility by reading and and signing off on staff expectations each year.

Per Session Posting

Assembly Coordinator.  We will be having several assemblies throughout the year that highlight student achievement and talents.  In particular, we love to shine a light on student performance in the arts with dance, visual art, poetry and music.  We also give students the chance to be celebrated for academic and social emotional growth and achievement.  We are looking for 1-3 teachers to plan each assembly, coordinate with Girls Inc. partner staff and organize students, effectively communicate expectations and logistics to staff and students, and create and post announcements that effectively advertise each assembly.  10hrs of per session per assembly are available for each teacher in this position.  Please email Kiri and Jen if you are interested by Friday, September 21st. This year, we plan to have Assemblies on 

  • Oct 26th (Welcome back to School), 
  • Dec 21st (Winter Celebrations) 
  • Feb 15th (Black History Month)
  • Mar 22nd (Women's History Month)  
  • May 24th (Annual College Walk Celebration)

Cheerleading Coach.  We are looking to have someone co-lead the Adams Street Campus Cheer team with SLJ's Cheer Coach.  Without a UAI staff person, our girls will not be able to participate.  Our students love to cheer.  Experience with cheerleading is not necessary.  We just need a UAI staff member!  Please touch base with Ms. Jamie if you'd like to know more specifics about the role, and email Ms. Kiri ASAP to let me know if you're interested.  Yes the squad can be open to both HS and MS (varsity vs. JV) students.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Week of Sept. 12th

UAI Staff News

Volume VI
Issue 4
September 12th, 2018
[172 School Days Remaining]


First Week of School!   As I circulated through classes and halls last week, I had an opportunity to connect with many of you, our students, and even some of our families.  By all accounts, we had one of the smoothest and most successful school launches in the history of UAI!  Despite having had only one full day of NYCDOE PD to prepare, our staff, classrooms, and offices were ready and welcoming for our young women and their families.  When our superintendent Fred Walsh visited classes with me on the second day, he was particularly impressed with how in every classroom we passed, he saw our students fully attentive, raising their hands to engage in class discussions, and thoughtfully asking (and answering) interesting questions.  Strong planning and practice is key to keeping this excellent first start going!  Make sure to connect with your co-planning partners this week to start the work and habits of healthy planning for the year.

Advisory Field Trips.  Originally, next Tuesday was going to be set aside for Advisory Field Trips as an effort to build stronger relationships early in the year and give more time for advisors to get to know their advisories.  With only the one day for PD this year, we did not have enough time to cover expectations during our opening day PDs and with Rosh Hashanah falling on this Monday and Tuesday, the next time we'll have to discuss this is the Monday before the trip.  Therefore, we will be rescheduling this day for a later date.  Please tell us which day you prefer by entering your preference here.  Once we hear from staff, we'll send out the new date along with expectations for the trip.

To Dos This Week

Skedula and Attendance.  Now that we are in our second week of school, we need to focus in on establishing good habits around taking attendance and entering grades.  Taking accurate and timely attendance and uploading grades and communicating about student performance with families is part of the professional responsibility of teachers.  It can be hard to juggle, but you must find a method that works so that this gets done.  It's important and it's required.

  • Daily attendance should be taken in Skedula for each and every class you teach.  This needs to be done within the first 10 minutes of class.  Make a plan to do this why students are working on their Do Now.   In addition, each morning, all 2nd-period teachers must collect their official attendance sheets (the blue sheets found above the water cooler in the main office), and complete those sheets.  By 10AM, those sheets must be ready for collection in the folders located outside your classroom doors.  
  • Share your Skedula with your Co-Teachers.  For now, until we can adjust the systems in STARS, Skedula only sees one teacher for each course.  If you cannot see your student rosters, please ask your co-teachers to share their Skedula with you.  

New Staff Orientation (also open to Returning Staff in Need of Refreshers).  After school at 3pm on Thursday 13SEP in rm 403, we will be holding an orientation for new staff to field any outstanding questions or concerns you may have as you onboard to UAI.   All questions are welcome!  In particular, we will be discussing protocols around school discipline, grading, and school logistics (ordering, staff attendance, professional duties, etc.).  All New Staff and any returning staff who want a refresher or have questions are welcome!  This is a volunteer opportunity, please RSVP to let us know you're coming.

Staff Bios and Missions.  This is the first draft of the UAI directory for the year.  Please review and edit what you submitted.  It's also a good chance to read what others have submitted.  If you don't see your entry, please go ahead and add it right into the document!  I had to put this together from a variety of sources and I could have missed something. This will be published in next week's blog, and we will be giving this out to families during curriculum night.  As a public school, this directory also gets shared with a number of public organizations such as our partners like Girls Inc and Urban Assembly and also throughout various DOE organizations like our for All Partners and our Affinity Superintendency.  

Per Session Opportunities

Recruitment Committee.  Bolstering enrollment and finding students and families to vest in our school and our mission is pivotal to the success of UAI.  We are looking for staff who are deeply committed to joining this committee and working closely with Lauren and Jen to build out a system and model that will be UAI's long-standing method of student recruitment.  Jen and Lauren are leading this committee.  Please submit your interest to them.   Available hours and positions will depend on committee outcomes (e.g. how many people submit interest) and needs (i.e. depending on what the committee develops as a strategy/model).  The first committee meeting will be on Thursday after school in Jen's office, room 301.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Staff Handbook 2018-2019

High School Staff Handbook


ALL STAFF, please CLICK HERE to sign off and attest to your review and understanding of school rules & procedures

Table of Contents
  • School Table of Organization and Contact Numbers
  • General Code of Conduct & Responsibility
                 - Community Values
                 - Accountability
                 - Individual Choices
                 - Communal Interdependence and Positive Social Interactions
                 - Clear Expectations through Routines and Norms

  • School Rules
                 - Dress Code
                 - Technology
                 - Food
                 - Student Responsibilities

  • School Policies & Expectations
                 - Hallway Presence
                 - Locker Policy
                 - Students Leaving the Classroom
                 - Cutting Class
                 - Discipline and Student Behavior
                 - Principal Referrals and The Citywide Standards of Intervention & Discipline
                 - Outside Lunch Privileges 
                 - Grading Policy

  • Attendance & Lateness
                 - Staff Attendance
                 - Student Attendance
                         * Lateness to School
                         * Lateness to Class
                         * Absence & Eligibility for Participation in School Events
                         * Chronic Absenteeism
                         * Resources to Support Student Attendance 
                  - Attendance Procedures and Expectations
  • Social Emotional Supports & Procedures
                 - Social Emotional Support Staff
                 - Mandated Reporting
                 - Procedures for Reporting Child Abuse or Maltreatment
                 - Suspected suicidal/self-harming actions

Week of September 4th

UAI Staff News

Volume VI
Issue 3
September 4th, 2018
[175 School Days Remaining]


Welcome Back To School!   This week marks the official start of the 2018-2019 school year for NYC public schools.  The mission and goals to bring equity to all NYCDOE students and families run directly from our Chancellor, through our Supertindent and Urban Assembly partner, and straight into our school.  One of the biggest themes for us this year is our ongoing work to collectively find ways to connect our individual classroom efforts to that of the larger mission of our school, the Urban Assembly and NYCDOE at large.  As a school of math and science designed for young women, our school is rooted in creating parity and empowerment for our students.   At times the day-to-day challenges and details of the work obscure the root reasons of why we are here - of what drives us to do the work we do.  From developing high-quality lessons that push students to think deeply about our curriculum to providing the social-emotional instructional support our students critically need, it is easy to lose sight of the end-goal.   In the end, at UAI, we believe that by completing college and achieving post-secondary success, our students will be empowered to improve their social mobility and thus have a greater impact on social equity.  

2018-2019 School Year Goals.  With college completion and post-secondary success as the over-arching mission for all of our students at UAI, our work centers on the quality and rigor of learning that we engineer for our students every day - both in and outside of the classroom.

  • Rigorous Instruction:  Lesson Planning and Execution.  The amount of time and quality of thought that teachers put into planning for student thinking determines the quality and rigor of classroom instruction.  By providing professional development support paired with the time required to engage in this level of planning, the quality of teacher planning (Danielson Domain 1e) will improve from 60% to 75% of teachers being Effective or Highly Effective by June 2019.  
  • Collaborative Teacher:  Lesson Rehearsals and Collaborative Look Fors.  When teachers work collaboratively to critique and improve planning, we improve student outcomes.  Through using circular 6R periods and Monday PD time to collaboratively plan lesson activity look-fors and/or rehearse lessons, we aim to achieve the following outcomes by June 2019
    • The capacity of teachers to successfully execute lessons and thus maximize the quality of student intellectual engagement (Danielson 3c) will improve from 49% to 60% of teachers being Effective or Highly Effective.
    • The capacity of teachers to effectively plan for and react to student thinking (Danielson 3d) as a result of lesson activities will improve from 49% to 60% of teachers being Effective or Highly Effective
    • As a result of improved lesson execution and evaluation of student thinking, student performance will improve across classroom as evidenced by at least a 15% increase in all NY state middle school and Regent exam scores.
  • Supportive Environment:  Lesson Planning through our Students Perspectives.  Through our work in rigorous instruction and collaborative teachers, we will also focus on making sure see themselves in our curriculum and are equipped with the social-emotional understanding and skills to be successful at UAI and ready to navigate college upon graduation.  Curriculum selection and teacher-student interactions will reflect cultural understanding and responsiveness.  Strategic social-emotional support and explicit instruction will develop SEL skills across all grades.  By June 2019, we will see the following 
    • Students with 90% or more attendance will increase from 85% of students to 90% of students. 
    • Classroom removals and suspensions will decrease by at least 15% over last years' numbers.
    • Supportive Environment Survey results will show an increase in select survey indicators (TBD by staff and students)
  • Strong Family Ties:  Family-Teacher Partnerships.  Through leveraging existing PD time, family outreach time, and support from our partners like Girls Inc., MSQI, and College Access for All, we will increase contact and effective communication between home and school and provide parent training and support to continuing learning objectives at home.  By June 2019, we will see achievement in the following areas
    • 80% of parents/guardians will attend SLCs in Fall and Spring
    • At least 70% of parents will successfully complete School Survey
    • Growth in parent-selected indicators of Survey (specific indicators of parent satisfaction will be selected at first SLT meeting in September)
  • Effective Leadership:  Staff vestiture into the Mission and Vision of UAI through Cultivating Effective Peer Leaders and work with the PD Committee.   Through the work of teacher planning teams led by school administrators and teacher leads (Kiri, Annie, Jen, Brodie, Marsha, Rebecca, Alison, Jamie, and Danielle R), schoolwide culture will effectively connect to and further the mission and vision of the school.  By June 2019, teachers will understand the impact of their individual work as it attends to the larger scope of the school, Urban Assembly, and the NYCDOE as evidenced by
    • From 66% to 81% of staff affirming that program coherence is strong at UAI.
School Partners.  These are ambitious goals for the year.  Our work is harder because our students need that much more from us in order to reach parity with their peers outside their current socio-economic class and race.  This year, we have a lot of help.  
  • Instructional Planning Support.  The core of our school is instruction.  As a result, we have a variety of instructional support folks that provide on-going professional development and resources to our staff throughout the course of the year.  Not everyone accesses everything, but everyone has access to something for support!  Here's our network of friends and supporters:
    • Artisan Teaching - Through working with consultant Ken Baum, our science and social studies teachers receive in-depth instructional support in planning, lesson execution, and assessment.
    • Literacy Design Collaborative - Our partnership with LDC provides our ELA teachers with a bevy of tools and resources that support planning.  In addition, regular coaching with a Generation Ready coach supports the team with regular feedback on planning and even provides support in giving feedback on their feedback to students.   This year, LDC is aiming to expand support to MS Science and Social Studies. 
    • Middle School Quality Initiative - This is our first year in MSQI.  The aim of MSQI is to make sure that all students are reading at grade level by the time they leave us in 8th grade.  Literacy isn't something that happens for 55minutes in English once a day.  Literacy is everywhere.  Our MS teams will be engaging in a variety of work this year to help support the development of literacy in our MS and better prepare our students for success in HS and beyond.
    • New Visions Science & Social Studies PD. Many or our Math, Social Studies, and Science teachers are using the New Visions Curriculum.  They provide on-going PD support throughout the year to help teachers understand lessons, units, and assessments.  In addition, New Visions PD enable solo teachers to connect with other teachers teaching the same course, creating a community among small, progressive schools like ours.
    • The For Alls. The DOE has a variety of programs aimed at building equity and access for all NYCDOE students.  Through coaching support, resource supplements, and access to professional development, teachers, counselors, and other staff receive support from the following initiatives:
      • College Access for All (High School and Middle School)
      • Algebra For All
      • AP For All
      • Computer Science For All
    • Affinity and Urban Assembly.  Finally, through the support of our Affinity (Superintendency) Group and the Urban Assembly, we receive a variety of specialized instructional supports in SPED and ENL as well as supports for our school culture through Resilient Scholars, administrative support, dean/social worker/parent coordinator training.

To Do This Week

Tuesday Professional Development.   The first PD day is a Tuesday, so we will be running on our usual Extended Day schedule 8:30-4:05PM.  Please review the  Agenda.   Breakfast will be provided from 8:00-8:30 (from Panera).  We will begin promptly at 8:30AM.  To prepare for our first PD together please make sure you come with the following

  • <<Reminder>> Personal Mission - What drives you?  Think about your own narrative.  Why did you choose to go into teaching?  Why did you choose to work with our population of students?  Why did you choose to come to or remain at UAI?  Be ready to share this narrative with your peers!
  • <<Reminder>> First Weeks' Lessons - During our planning time, if you are the newest member of your team (see the agenda - your name is in bold), you will be rehearsing your lesson with the subject team.  Please be prepared to either share in print or digitally your lesson.  All teachers should have lessons to share with their planning partners during partner planning time.
  • <<NEW>> Personal Goals - After reviewing the school goals and the schools' mission, what are your personal goals for the school year.  Enter them here.  In addition, what will success look like for you and what concrete measures are you planning to use to evaluate your progress throughout the year.