Sunday, November 19, 2023

Week of November 20th

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 14
November 20th, 2023

Gratitude.  This week leads us into the Thanksgiving break.  It's a natural time to make time to pause, take stock, and be gracious for what we have.  The hustle and bustle of every day, the pressures of needing to do X or Y, and the anxiety of what is yet to come lead us to places where we let gratitude slide off the plate.

Let's upend that this week and take stock from the outside in
  • Lasting Impact of understanding Global Politics & combatting Antisemitism - These last few weeks, UAI has been thrust into the spotlight of a complex geo-political landscape intertwined with the weight and injustices of bias & hate.   Our inboxes have been inundated, our school plastered across social media - none of the attention focusing on our achievements - only this failure.

    Yet - I am grateful.  I realize that sounds insane.. but take a minute to think about it.  This is another challenge, another trial that our community is working to find a path through.  Though this path was thrust upon us, I can see how the impact of the work we do towards the goals of this path will have untold benefits and amazing outcomes. 

  • Our Staff, Students, and Families & Our UA & Affinity Friends.  When things go south, you really know who your friends and family are - or so that saying goes.  I am incredibly thankful to all of the staff who weathered their own stress from these last few weeks and showed up for our students, families and each other.  I am particularly thankful to
    • Our UA and Affinity Friends - Many, many thanks to David Adams & the UA team for having our backs and supporting us in thinking about how to plan and structure the healing for our community.  Thank you to La'Chelle & David from the Affinity Restorative Justice team for taking us under their wings and being at our side for the longterm work.
    • Jen & Annie - Many thanks to Annie & Jen for their leadership through these last few weeks.  They are invaluable thought partners and ceaselessly dedicated to the well-being of each of our students - even when the mistakes loom large - and their families, and our staff!
    • ILT - Each of our teacher leaders were there for our staff and students as we processed the various outcomes and emotions of the last few weeks.  They showed empathy & understanding and made sure to elevate concerns to leadership so that our plan could be more informed and inclusive.
    • RPET- The newly transformed Equity Team bravely expanded their work and mission to take on the weight of carrying our school forward - improving UAI's ability to move to 
      • confronting our implicit and unconscious biases, 
      • improving our own education about key issues & histories 
      • developing our self & social awareness and respective roles & responsibilities
      • building systems and structures that enable our community to productively manage discourse and perspective taking - key strategies to building tolerance and understanding and dismantling the impact of bias and hate.
    • Student Leaders- Still our students shine.  I make a point to remember this everyday, and find ways to see their brilliance each day.  Here again in their own words...

      • The events of last week left many of us hurt, angry, and scared. As leaders of the UAI student body, we want to acknowledge the harm that was caused to our own community and to the Jewish community around the world.

        We express our unwavering commitment to upholding basic human rights and promoting an environment of inclusivity and tolerance.  In standing for basic human rights, we also stand against hate and discrimination, unequivocally denouncing antisemitism and all forms of oppression. Together, as student body leaders, we are committed towards building a future of mutual respect, empathy, and justice.

        Moving forward, we will work with school administration and outside organizations to: increase understanding about global issues, create an environment of dialogue and open-mindedness, and uplift our diverse sisterhood. We will support students who raise their collective voices to urge governments and international organizations to halt the cycle of violence across all borders and against people of all races, religions, and ethnicities. We believe that leading with love, compassion, and empathy is our path forward. Together, as UAI student leaders, we stand for humanity.

    • Our Amazing Staff - Finally, I'm incredibly and everlastingly appreciative of each one of our staff.  Throughout all of the challenges and emotion, each of you has found your way to make time for students to let them know they have someone in their corner, and that they are safe and loved at UAI.  On top of your own stress and anxiety, you found your way to continue to create lessons and experiences to push their learning and growth.  You also made the time to connect with families around common goals- particularly around the success of our children.  It hasn't been easy - far from it.  But yet, each of you persisted!

      And that is the true secret sauce of UAI's power, rigor, equity, and joy!  Joy may have been on a ebb lately, but you were each digging deep to find the power to keep up the challenge and push for what is right.  Thank you - I am soooo thankful for each of you.
And because of all of this and all of you... I for one, am happily opening the door for Joy as we move from Thanksgiving to the Winter Holidays . 

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 20NOV23 - UAI Staff Holiday Snack Luck 
    • For our PD on Monday, we'll be gathering in the farm at 3PM for a celebration of thanks and just being together in community.  We'll be doing some fun activities and just enjoying time together.  
    • Each person should bring their favorite snack to share.  If you're a baker, and you feel up to it, please bake!  If you're a chef - cook up something tasty.  If you're neither, bring someone else's confections (purchased or family made!) - The idea is to bring whatever you can and most importantly - bring you and your fun self!

  • 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

Restorative Practices Equity Team (RPET).  Our RPET met last week to review responses to the survey. 1/3 of staff members responded (you can still reply here!).  While the team has collected resources from a variety of mediums, we ultimately decided it’s best to share the DOE vetted resource list as we are still being cautious in what we distribute given the polarization of the Israel-Hamas conflict. We also recognize the inherent opinion that’s being suggested if member of the RPET curate and distribute our own list and while we can do that (as there is a lot of misinformation out there), the DOE list is a starting place.  This is a first step to sharing resources to help us all become more informed on Anti-Semitism and the war between Israel and Hamas.  Here are those DOE Resources:

As mentioned in last week's blog, Kiri and Annie will be meeting with La'Chelle and David from OSYD to begin planning our first table top. This planning meeting is scheduled for 21 NOV and the table top to first occur will be with RPET on 27 NOV. The first pilot student table top will also be on 27NOV and students from the YLC, Student Government, and the leadership of the protest have been selected to join . 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. 

Lastly, we will soon be creating an action plan which will include the RPET's current work on educating our community and build up our restorative practices for the long term. 

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 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.  We'll be meeting in the farm at 3PM

Conferences and Outreach Log.  I'm working on reviewing outreach for MP1.  As a reminder, one of our main goals is to work to make sure all of our students have >75 in their classes.  One of the core pieces of the action plan is leverage Outreach and Office hours to intervene on students who are not yet reaching the goal of having >75. 

To that end, outreach and office hours for MP2 will center on following up on students who are not yet achieving the goal of >75.  Clear communication with homes (outreach) and direct instructional support (office hours) are two critical levers for helping our students thrive.

MP2 Grades and Google Classroom Conundrum.  Also in line with the CEP, we are separating the Marking Periods to support student capacity to strive for course competency and grades that are >75.  So, grades should start fresh for MP2.

HOWEVER - There's a conundrum.....

SyncGrades will automatically populate MP2 with any graded work that happens after MP1 closed (so after November 10th).  So, you can continue entering grades in Google Classrooms BUT.... Google will make MP1 and MP2 cumulative - whereas SyncGrades will separate them.  So, kids will see one grade in Google and another in SyncGrades.

Keep communications clear - the best practice is to ONLY enter MP2 grades in SYNCGRADES.

NOTE - if you are insistent on keeping grades in Google classrooms, you can.  BUT then it is your job to tell the students that the real grade is in SyncGrades, and it will be your job to continually remind kids about that throughout the entire marking period and for all remaining marking period.

OR - if there's another solution - please let me know!

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.

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

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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