Sunday, August 27, 2023

Week of Aug 28th

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 01
August 28th, 2023

Welcome Back!!!  
  AAAAAANDDD... We're Back!

Welcome and welcome back to all of our new and returning staff!  I do hope your summers have been full of fun, relaxing, expansive experiences, and all-around good times.

This year marks UAI's 18th year, and it's hard to believe that we've launched a new cycle of that many times, but here we are - once more into the breach!

One of the best things about working in schools is its cyclical nature.  Every year provides us with fresh starts and opportunities to apply new learnings in novel ways.  It is a hard field in so many ways, but in this way, it is unique and inspiring.  

So, this week, embrace that aspect of the job.  It is full of fun,  hope, and creativity.  This week, you are all invited to come in, reconnect, and revel in the fun of getting ready for the upcoming school year!

There's a lot to do, so let me jump right in to it!

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 28AUG23 - ILT (Instructional Leadership Team) Planning Day
  • Tuesday, 29AUG23 - New Staff Orientation
  • Monday-Friday 28AUG23-01SEP23 - Classroom Set Up and Planning
  • Tuesday, 05SEP23 - First Official Day for All Staff
  • Wednesday, 06SEP23 - Second PD Day for All Staff
  • Thursday 07SEP23 - First Day for All Students
  • Wednesday, 13SEP23 - First Day of Elevate Study Skills in 6/7 and 8/9 Learning Labs
  • Friday, 15SEP23 - First Day of Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Monday, 25SEP23 - Yom Kippur, NO SCHOOL

  • Monday, 09OCT23 - Indigenous People & Italian Heritage Day - NO SCHOOL

Announcements & To Dos

Classrooms Setup & First Days Prep.  All folks are invited to come in a set up their classrooms for the first days of school.  All classroom staff will have up to 10 hours of per session (training or PD rate) to prepare physical and google classrooms and lesson plans for the first weeks of school. 

Folks are welcome to come in ANY time between 9AM and 2PM, Monday - Friday 28AUG-01SEP.  
Please do NOT stay past 2PM as we do not have permits in place for extended time for this week.
Please make sure that you clock in and out each day to document the time. When you submit your timesheets, please do not submit more than the approved 10 hours.  Thank you!

Here are some guidelines & expectations:
  • Physical Classroom Set Up The physical learning environment is an active partner in how well your lessons land.  The physical learning environment should demonstrate our schools' core values so that our students can more readily experience and understand how those values permeate throughout our school and throughout their day.  You will be reimbursed up to $250 for anything you need for your classroom practice.  So, find ways, relative to your discipline, to highlight our core values

    • EquityRepresentation matters - Students should see and hear themselves and folks who look like them and share their experiences.  Make sure your classroom highlights these folks within your curriculum.  

    • Power - Voice & Choice - Students' voice matter.  We are a school aimed at helping young women cultivate their voice and power.  How you arrange desks says A LOT.  Our mission is to amplify student power.  Desks should be structured for collaboration & discourse - our primary tools for growing student power to think, create, and analyze.

    • Rigor - Challenge Minds - Students should be able to see examples of what they will learn this year.  Eventually, your walls will will with student work - either on active problem solving or final work products.  Until then, what can you put up to illustrate the high academic expectations you have for their learning this year.  
    • Joy - Learning is Fun - Last but definitely MOST important.  We are all here to have fun doing what we do.  Let your creativity fly as you find ways to make your classroom feel warm, welcoming, and joyful!  
  • Google Classroom Set Up This year, the DOE is really wanting us to migrate to their domain.  Well... for some of us - that's asking to move like 18 years worth of work...and they say that we are only allowed to move things over 1 file at a time.   So... we will begin the migration, and it will probably take the year to complete.  So, here's the plan.
    • Create a 2023-2024 Folder and an Everything Else (archive folder).  All staff should create a 2023-2024 Folder in their UAI Google drive.  Everything you do this year should be created in and/or moved in to this folder.  This will allow you to cull your documents from the things that you actively use (and will thus have to migrate). For the things that are not so frequently used, create an archive folder.  This will essentially separate your drive into two folders - what you're using (2023-2024 Folder), and what you're archiving (Archive Folder)

      Your 2023-2024 Google Classrooms should be created in (or copied to) the 2023-2024 Folder.  This year we will be using SyncGrades which communicates with your Google Classroom Gradebook (more on that later).  Please coordinate with your co-teachers to see who is going to what for the Google Classroom set up.  

      There are a million different ways to organize your google classroom.  Simply google "How should I organize my google classroom" to see more!!  The most important thing is that you are strategic in your organization.  Think about the whole year and how you would want your classroom to look when the year completes.  Things that are helpful for you and your students
      • Get inspired. Take a tour through other folks' Google Classrooms.  Get inspired by what other folks have done (or what you've done in the past!).  Make a copy of the classrooms that you want to emulate, and begin your build from there.
      • Give your Assignments and Numbering Nomenclature.  For example, the 3rd progress assignment from unit 5 might start with "5.3P"(Unit 5, Assignment 3, P for Progress) and be called "5.P3_ Right Triangles Practice 2".  The 2nd performance assessment task from unit 5 might be called "5.A2_Right Triangles Quiz".  This will help you and your students more readily find and reference Assignments and Assessments.

      • Create a Resources Topic & Keep it at the Top of Classwork Page.  For things that you use all the time throughout the year (e.g. Earth Science Reference Tables, ELA or SOC Essay Rubrics, Links to background skill builds (e.g. iReady) or curriculum (e.g. HMH online curriculum), create a Resource Topic and pin that to the top of your Classwork page.

      • Be intentional about your notifications.  Your class is one of 7-8 classes that each student has.  That can be a lot of messages which overwhelm students.  As you set up assignments and use your stream, think about how you are notifying students.  Be strategic.

First Days of School and New School Structures.  We will be going over in detail what to expect for the first days of school and several new/updated structures (e.g. advisory and school culture team) when we convene as a full staff on Tuesday, 05SEP23.  So look for more details to come on these topics in next Sunday's blog.  For first days planning purposes, here's what to expect for the first days schedule.
  • First period on Thursday & Friday may be somewhat disrupted as we distribute programs and get kids to where they are going.  6th grade and 8/9th grade classes should be particularly flexible as these are kids who are going to need more time orienting to the space.  By 2nd period, expect classes to proceed as normal, with some late comers.
  • Your first two days should definitely focus on building relationships AND launching into course content.  Joy doesn't come at the expense of Rigor or Power or Equity.  So please make sure to plan intellectually engaging AND fun activities that spark the joy of learning with peers.  

  • As you look ahead to planning out the year, please check out the UAI Calendar (at the bottom of this blog post) to see important dates.  As a reminder, all teachers of the same course are expected to use the same final banchmark assessments which will be given and analyzed at the end of each marking period.  Please see the calendar for those dates.

Staff Handbook and School Schedule.  Please make the time to read through the staff handbook and review your schedule.  All staff are expected to read through and sign off on the staff handbook by the Tuesday, 05SEP23.  Also, please review the 2023-2024 UAI School Schedule.  We are still balancing sections and finalizing the schedule this week, so you can expect class lists next week. But you should certainly review the program carefully, looking at your own and student programs (and room programs) to make sure there aren't any mistakes.  We've certainly combed through it a lot, but it never hurts to have more eyes!

SyncGrades is Coming Soon.  They are going to help us load our program with their program and then give us full access this week.  As soon as that is done, we will give you more information and training on how to use our new Grading Platform.  In the meantime:  Checkout initial Video of my training with them last week.

New Staff Orientation.  We will be holding an orientation for all staff New to UAI on Tuesday, 29AUG from 9AM-2PM (training rate per session).  Please be sure to clock in and out.
  • 9AM Welcome and Opening Staff Circle
  • 10AM UAI Nuts and Bolts Logistics
  • 11:30AM - Lunch
  • 12:30PM - Overview of Teacher Evaluation and Professional Development
  • 1:00PM - Instructional Planning with ILT Lead

Per Session Postings

For ALL per session activities, please complete Per Session Application Form"

Classroom SetUp.  All classroom staff are invited to come in to set up and plan for up to 10 hours all together any day this week Monday-Friday 9AM-2PM.  Staff must clock in AND out each day, and cannot be in the building after 2PM.  Please adhere to guidelines set out in the blog post above.  All Staff MUST also apply to this position by completing the "Per Session Application From" - see link above.  [Posted 27AUG23].