Sunday, November 12, 2023

Week of November 13th

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 13
November 13th, 2023

Kintsugi.  Our shared goal at UAI is to work to create a community and space where all members feel seen and included and where we collectively work to mitigate our individual implicit biases to become an anti-racist and fully inclusive school.  In so doing, we will reach our goals and genuinely feel a shared sense of belonging.

Our work towards this goal has not been perfect, and we have much to do to move the needle towards our ultimate objectives, but we do have a pathway there.

Ultimately, we will only be able to rectify the harm and the spread of hate and antisemitism if we are able to effectively listen & communicate, educate ourselves and our students around the issues and perspectives, and leverage restorative justice and SEL practices to help structure community expectations and share common goals.  To that end, here are the goals of our work:
  • Deepen Communication Skills.  We all need to develop the skills to productively  (not politically) communicate.  Our work moving forward will leverage our existing work with SEL and Restorative Justice to build community and develop shared practices that provide UAI community members with tools to engage in perspective taking complex discourse.  We need to become more skilled at listening, communicating to others that we are actively listening, and seeking to understand perspectives that are different than our own.

  • Educate Ourselves and Our Community.  We also need to educate ourselves and our community about antisemitism and about the history and current situation between Palestine and Israel.  We all need to learn more about what antisemitism is, how it shows up, and how our own implicit biases can unintentionally harm.  Along with that learning, we need to better understand all the perspectives around the conflict between Hamas and Israel, and the history of the region leading up to today.  We need to equip ourselves with accurate information in order to be ready to be ready to fully understand student and adult perspectives around the conflict.

  • Expand Restorative Justice Training & Practice.  It is time to deepen our work with RJ.  We have kept it small, sending select folks to trainings and engaging them in supporting our deans and counselors who engage in this work daily.  Our next step is to broaden RJ to the whole school.  RJ practices along our SEL skills will become the infrastructure our school needs to realize our overarching goal of becoming actively anti-racist and fully inclusive.

  • Integrate Social Emotional Skills in Teaching & Learning.  Core adult and student SEL skills will be critical to supporting the many difficult conversations and learning experiences there are to come.  Perspective taking, self and social awareness are key skills that we will be working to cultivate across our community, and we'll be leaning into the CLASS rubrics (which I had been introducing prior to this event) as a tool for helping us elevate our classroom practices while using these skills.

Here's the plan...

Focus Group Table Tops.  La'Chelle (Gaillard) & David (Barone) have suggested that we use structured table top conversations to help folks learn to understand how to manage the necessary conversations around antisemitism and centering our understanding of the conflict in the middle east through the lens of anti-racism and humanity.  Because this topic is so complex, we are starting with small groups (6 folks) - 1 group of students (a mix of YLC and Student Governement) and 1 group of staff.  We're planning these with La'Chelle & David on 21NOV and they will run on 27NOV.  As we learn from these Table Tops and if it works, we aim to expand this practice so that the whole community can experience this type of discourse and develop their individual capacity to productively engage in conversations with staff and students.

Launching our RPET - Restorative Practices and Equity Team.  We are trying to be intentional about our human resources and structures.  Too often, new committees, new teams are formed to address a need, but without proper support and guidance, that team will flail.   So, we wanted to make sure that we chose a team that made sense for this work, and also had administrative support to help facilitate and guide the team. 

So, our Current Equity Team will expand to include a few more members to become our Restorative Practices and Equity Team (RPET).  The first meeting of the team will be on Tuesday, and the first piece of work will be to create an action plan which will include the Equity Team's current work on educating our community and build up our restorative practices for the long term.  This team will be working to develop the long term components of our action plan.

CLASS Rubric Return. 
 Students and teachers primary interactions are in the classroom, and hence, our work around healing and learning will happen - in our classrooms.  This work is in conjunction with the action steps the RPET will develop & implement. 

The Quality of Emotional Support we are able to cultivate in our classrooms will be the social investment we need to rebuild our community.  A classroom with strong emotional support requires us to attend to: creating a positive climate, heightening teacher sensitivity and develop teacher regard for adolescent perspectives. 

Already UA taught us some key strategies to do this by using  Accountable Talk and Active Listening (EARS).  We will continue to strengthen staff capacity to develop a strong emotional support domain in each of our classrooms through Instructional Rounds (where we will be looking at Quality of Feedback and Regard for Adolescent Perspectives - 1st round is on Thursday 16NOV).

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 13NOV23 - Looking at Student Work PD
  • Thursday, 16NOV23 - Evening Parent Conferences 5PM-8PM - REMOTE
  • Friday, 17NOV23 - Afternoon Parent Conferences 12PM-2:50PM - REMOTE
                                           (early Dismissal at 11:10AM)
  • Monday, 20NOV23 - UAI Staff Holiday Snack Luck 
  • Monday, 27NOV23 - UAI Pacing Calendars Due
  • Thu&Fri 23/24NOV - Thanksgiving Recess (Rapid Dismissal 22NOV)

  • For Future Calendar NOTES
    • January Benchmark Schedule
      • For Grades 8-12:  2nd AND 3rd period Regents Mock
        • Wed 17JAN23 ELA Regents
        • Thu 18JAN23 USH or GLO Regents
        • Fri 19JAN23 LIV or EARTH Regents
        • Mon 22JAN23 ALG 1 Regent
        • All other classes should give their end of MP2 benchmark at some point during the week of Tue 16JAN- Mon 22JAN - any period EXCEPT 2nd and 3rd.
      • For Grades 6 & 7th graders:
        • 2nd & 3rd will be benchmark periods - lunch will be moved to 4th
        • Tuesday 23JAN will be the ELA benchmark
        • Wednesday 24JAN will be the Math benchmark
      • All staff will have grading time build into their Regents Week Schedules.

    • Please Prepare your students for these benchmarks
      • They should be seeing spiral review of MP1 and MP2 topics throughout all of MP2
      • They should have practice with Benchmark questions for BOTH content and literacy
      • You should schedule some type of practice benchmark prior to the actual benchmark so students have an idea of what to study.  This could be in any form you choose - but you need to provide it for them.  Please see your ILT lead or Kiri or Annie if you need more support on this

Announcements & To Dos

Equity Team. The Equity Team sent an email on Friday with a link to a Google Form that will help collect information about what our community needs in order to address Antisemitism and learn more about the conflict in the Middle East. It is anonymous. Please take a few moments to complete this as it will help support their work and ultimately the work we need to do as a community. You can complete the form here

Monday PD.  For Monday's PD, we'll be taking a look at student work on the Regents benchmarks.  As a community, we are collectively judged by how all of our students do on the regents, so we need our UAI hive minds to look at students work and provide insight and feedback to colleagues on how best to support our students' performance.

We're asking paras to join to develop concrete understandings of how to academically support students throughout the day.  Sub paras will be paid overtime.  

Please report to these rooms at 3:30 on Monday 13NOV23 where we be using THIS PROTOCOL to learn from student work and improve our instructional support for all students. 

  • Rm507:  Soc. Studies:  Kelly, Shan, JRob, Jake, Martine, Yasmeen, Elena, Tom M, Zenita
  • Rm309:  English Regents:  Marsha, Sarah M, Lia, Patricia, Freida, Patti, Roger, Noelle, Denyea
  • Rm415:  Science Regents:  Liza, Tom, Mary, Cam, Thomas, Quinn, Steven, Marianna, Junior
  • Rm405:  Math Regents:  Judy, Alexi, Amanda, Danielle, Sue, Crystal, Kaitlyn, Adelle, Ms. M

Grades are Due.  Please take the time to watch this video to upload your grades.  Folks do have until 3PM on Wednesday to get grades in, but please work to get them done early.  This is the first time putting grades into SyncGrades.  So, we are on a learning curve and do not have as much of a cushion for folks who are late with their grades.  If you complete your grades after 3PM on Wednesday, they will not be included in report cards, and you will have to individually communicate grades to all your students' families.  That would be a big pain.  SO... don't be late!

Snack Luck.   Next Monday it's time to make space for an important UAI core value - JOY.   We have weathered much in the last few weeks, and as we near Thanksgiving, it's time for us to come together as a community to find the joy that persists in our school.  We do have joy, still, and for that I am most grateful!  For next Monday (20NOV23), please bring a snack that brings you joy.  It could be something that you used to have as a child or something that is your go-to munchie whenever you're feelings stressed or blue.  Be ready to share your snack and snack story in PD on the 20th.

Conferences and Outreach Log.  Please make sure you are inviting all students who have <75 in your class to meet with you during family conferences. Please make sure to update this DOCUMENT with your conference appointments.

Also please check your outreach for the last two weeks. I am going to do an audit next Saturday 18NOV23).  Please make sure you have fully documents your 55 minutes 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.

<Repost>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.

<Repost>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! - I will be collecting final rosters on 30NOV - you have additional time to recruit!!
  • 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
  • Students Against Racism & Bias Club - Jelissa (Rm 305) Tuesdays & Thursday 3-4PM
  • Muslim Student Association - Laura (Rm 404) TBD
  • GSA Club - Amanda - Rm 407

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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