Sunday, October 29, 2023

week of 30OCT23

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 11
October 30th, 2023

Education & Healing.  Central to our mission at UAI is cultivating the power and voice that innately exists within each of our amazing students.  The other half of our mission is to grow that power & voice with rigor and equity.  We plan lessons to challenge their thinking, to stretch their perspectives on folks with different backgrounds and experiences than them, and expect them to leverage their intelligence and compassion in making strong choices and decisions.

Last week our students staged a student-organized walkout and led a smaller group of students to join the protests at NYU.  We asked for a volunteer to monitor their walkout to make sure no physical harm came to them.  The students walked out and the staff person went with them to make sure no physical harm came to them.

During that walkout, two members of our community held a horrific demonstration of hate in the form of a clearly antisemitic sign.  Instead of leveraging her voice and power to call for justice and condemning decisions to use violence, this student spread hate.   Whether knowingly or unknowingly - she spread hate, and the choice to spread hate is not one we will ever stand behind.   At UAI, we firmly stand against any action that promotes hate or violence toward any community, including jewish communities.

For any action that any member of our community takes that results in such harm, there are consequences and after that, there is restoration.  Consequences have been issued, and now it is time to move forward in restoration.  To that end, here's what's happening (and already happened)
  • Already Happened:  
    • Public Messages to Social Media and Families to Stand Against the Message of Hate
    • Consequences administered to students fomenting hate speech
    • Counselors, Deans, and Admin holding open door counseling for those in need
    • Mobilization of UAI Youth Leadership Council to gather student perspectives and needs for next steps
    • Currently Coordinating Support with UA and NYCDOE OSYD to bring in support for restorative justice circles and other actions to repair.

  • What's Coming Soon

    • Healing Harm and Educating Our Community

      • Naming the Harms Done.  First and foremost, we want to make sure that the steps we take are actually addressing the harm done.  From meeting with the YLC last week, it is clear that we don't fully understand the full spectrum of that harm.  To begin our work, we will be conducting staff circles to uncover and name the harm done so that we can move forward in addressing it.  The YLC is working with students to collect student concerns, questions, and expressions of how they feel harm (or have seen harm done).  We will also be holding a family Town hall to similarly collect input. If you see something missing, please lift it up and we'll include it in our gathering & understanding the harm step of our healing process.

        Once we have a better understanding of what we need, we'll be working with UA and NYCDOE OSYD to leverage key restorative tools like circles to address the harms done.  

      • Educating our Community.  We need to do much work to educate our community about antisemetism, and lean into our experiences of working to become an anti-racist school.  This act flew in the face of our schools' values and the fact that it happened at all by any member of our community illustrates how much work we each have to do.   I am tapping our Equity team and inviting anyone who would like to join into the work to develop a sequence of learning experiences (in conjunction with organizations like the NYPD Hate Crimes unit (they come into schools to offer workshops on Hate Speech), the Jewish Heritage Museum, and Facing History) to educate our staff and students.

      • Student Response.  Our student leaders have crafted their own response to the issues.  We are working with them to figure out the best platform for their voices and supporting them in pursuing their own action plan for repair and growth.

      • Town Hall.  Our SLT met on Thursday night to discuss the issue, and we will be holding a Town Hall this week to update our families on our work and to invite them in to join our work and provide us with their invaluable perspectives on our next steps.

  • What's In the Long Term 
    • As we move through our immediate and short term work, our long term goals will become more articulated.  We know that there are long-term implications of this work.  We will come together, as we have always done, to find out what needs to be changed and to make those changes to improve the quality and education of our entire school community.  

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 30OCT23 - Staff Circles (see below)
  • Tuesday, 31OCT23 - Halloween - Wear your best costume - themed outfits are the best!
  • Wednesday, 01NOV23 - Monday, 06NOV23 - MP1 Benchmarks

  • First Marking Period Benchmarks are coming the first week of NOVEMBER
    • Wed, NOV 1st - ELA & Theater Benchmarks
    • Thu, NOV 2nd - Science & Spanish Benchmarks
    • Fri, NOV 3rd - Social Studies & Computer Science Benchmarks
    • Mon, NOV 6th - Math & PE Benchmarks

Announcements & To Dos

Restorative Circles.  As I mentioned above, we are launching a series of restorative circles to begin to repair the harm resulting from the antisemetic signs our students held during the student-led walkout last week.  We are coordinating support with UA and OSYD, and this does take time to get folks out. here to plan and support us.  However, we want to make sure we are doing things right, not just fast.  To that end, here's what we going to be doing

  • Staff Circles.  These will be UAI staff run circles to help us identify the harms done from the perspectives of our staff.  The goal is to be able to accurately name the harms so that we have a clear picture of the scope of work we need to tackle.

    For this first circle, we will be in affinity groups with teams facilitated by our school leadership, deans and counselors.  Staff will choose their circles for this round.  Please complete THIS FORM

  • Student Circles.  With the support of UA and OSYD folks, we will be running restorative circles for students in advisory and/or learning labs.  Because we are coordinating with UA and OSYD, please know this will take some time.  As we get more information, I will share specifics.  We're aiming to get these up and running no later than next week.

  • Ongoing Circles.  We will need follow up staff circles (supported by our friends at UA and OSYD) to repair the harm at the staff levels.  We're hoping to schedule the first of those on Tuesday, during our Staff PD.

Equity Team Pivot.  The Equity Team will be charged to focus their work on educating students and staff around multiple anti-racist/anti-biased issues including antisemetism.   We are reopening the team to folks who may be interested.

Benchmarks are Here.  Despite everything that is happening, the end of the marking period is still upon us!  Benchmarks are scheduled, and this year, to best support our ability to identify student academic needs early, we are grading in teams.  The goal is to have as many different eyes on student work as possible to build a more objective and critical understanding of where we need to improve instruction.

PD Calendar Update. Here are the updates to the PD schedule for the rest of MP1
  • 30OCT23 - Restorative Circles
  • 06NOV23 - Benchmark Grading
  • 07NOV23 - Election Day PD (Circles, Benchmark Analysis, Progress Monitoring on Goals)

Quality of Feedback.  Next week we will circle back to launching our first round of Instructional Rounds.  This round will focus on feedback loops and the quality of feedback students are receiving and using to improve their performance.  Feedback can take multiple forms, but for this visit, we will be looking at the feedback that happens within class periods.  This can be things like
  • Conferences with students
  • Individual or small group feedback teachers give while circulating during work time
  • Global Feedback to the class, based on information gathered while circulating.
In order to give feedback, you need to have a way to assess how students are learning the new content and skills.  There needs to be discourse and student writing so you can see/hear student thinking and assess what they need to improve.

Outreach Log.  Please make sure you are inviting all students who have <75 in your class to attend your Monday Office Hours.  Please document that you have informed families that the Office Hours are support for students and document that in the  outreach log by midnight on Sunday nights. 

NOTE:  At the end of MP1, I will be checking that any student who received <75 in your class ALSO had record of successful outreach.  If you are not able to successfully connect with families by the end of this week, you MUST reach out to Tracey to get help in connecting with families.

Academic Conferences and Office Hours.  Please continue to make sure that you have entered Grades into SyncGrades this week.  Students should have at least 1 progress grade in SyncGrades, and more importantly, please make sure you are conferencing with students and communicating home about student progress this week.  If you have students who have less than a 75 in your class, please make sure you are asking them to attend your Office Hours on Mondays from 2:50-3:30.  Please use your outreach time to let families know that you have time to work with students after school on Mondays.

Finalize After School Rosters.  Please continue to help promote your after school clubs.  Please make sure you are getting a reliable group of at least 10 students.  Help our after school classes get off the ground!
  • Black Student Union - Joanna & Pauline (Rm 411) - Tuesdays & Thursdays 3-4:30
  • Arts & Crafts Club - Tiffany & Jennifer (Rm 311) - Mon/Tue/Weds - 3-4:15PM
  • Theater Production Club - Noelle (Rm 315) - Tues/Thurs/Fri - 3-5:30PM
  • Student Government - Sue, Marsha, Phillan, and Girls' Inc's Kassi (Rm 309) - Tuesdays - 3-4PM
  • Youth Leadership Council - Kelly  (Rm 307) - Tuesdays 3-4PM
  • Photo Club - Tom(Rm 205F) - Wednesdays 3-4:30
  • Cheer - Mary & Lia - Various days depending on Game Days
  • Anime & Art Club - Adelle & Francis (Rm 409) - Tuesdays & Thursdays 3-5PM
  • Running Club with Camryn (starts after the marathon is over)
  • Dance Club - Girls Inc - Room 503
We're still looking for folks to advise the following clubs.  Please email Kiri ASAP so we can get these clubs up and running, too!
  • GSA Club
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Students Against Racism & Bias Club

Per Session Postings

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

After School Clubs.   If you are interested in running an after school club, please complete THIS form by EOD TUESDAY 26SEP23  AND submit the Per Session Application Form.  Clubs are slated to start next week.  Clubs must have a steady roster of at least 8-10 students per week in order to NOT be cancelled.  Rosters & Attendance lists MUST be submitted with per session time cards.  If your club goes three consecutive weeks with less than 8 students, your club will need to be cancelled (so that we can optimize funds for other uses - so sorry...wish we could fund everything all the time, but unfortunately, we don't have endless sums of funds).  After school sessions can be 3-4PM or 3-4:30PM or 3-5:30PM (teacher's choice)up to three days per week.  So per session hours can range from 1-7.5hrs per week).  Posting Expires 10OCT23.

PSAL Supervision.   Posting Expires 10OCT23. PSAL Games are starting up soon. Please submit the Per Session Application Form if you are interested in supervising student spectators.  Hours vary depending on games.  Each game (basketball or volleyball) is usually 4-6pm (is) so each supervision session is about 2hours.  Staff are welcome to sign up for as many games as they'd like.  Please see UAI calendar or PSAL website for game dates. Duties include making sure
  • students remain safe and orderly during games
  • only eligible students are admitted to games
  • all students fully dismiss from the building at the conclusion of the games

CSI Planning & Supervision.   Posting Expires 10OCT23. This posting if for supervision per session to plan, supervise, monitor and coordinate extra improvement efforts to address UAI achievement gaps and improve student performance in target metrics.  Activities include analyzing and reviewing data, planning and executing professional development experiences to improve staff performance, analyzing and editing video footage to improve teacher lesson execution and lesson implementation, and supervising out of school activities - including recruitment, staff planning, and after school activities.  Hours vary per week depending on task and work completed.  Hours range 1-7.5 hours per week.

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] - Posting CLOSED and JOB is over.

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