Sunday, November 5, 2023

Week of November 6th

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 12
November 6th, 2023

Moving Forward.  We are in our planning phases of addressing the events of the student walkout from last week.  I will speak more about this in detail when we meet for PD (please read details below) on Tuesday's zoom.  Because we are pairing internal efforts with external supports, coordination and planning will take time.  Some actions move faster than others, but all pieces must work together in tandem.

I know there is a strong desire in our community (kids, staff, families, and outside of our of UAI) to address issues quickly. I also know there is an equally strong desire in this community to do the best job we can.  To that end we are working hard to meet both!

We also need to think of this work in different, interacting layers of the people in our community - from the individuals to our larger student body to our staff to our families, to our community outside of UAI.  Different work will be required with each of these layers - some of it overlapping, much of it separate & distinct to address specific audiences.

Regardless of the form of the work we need to do, it all collectively needs to accomplish these goals
  • Restore & Heal the harm done to our UAI community & beyond
  • Reaffirm and Develop our Commitment & Work to Being & Anti-Racist & Fully Inclusive School
  • Educate & deepen understanding around antisemitism and islamaphobia in particular as well as other forms of oppression & experiences of oppressed peoples (e.g. Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, AAPI, ) in our country and the world - a key requirement to achieving our goal to being an anti-racist & fully inclusive school.
  • Cultivate & Develop staff, student, family & community capacity to employ key SEL skills like perspective taking, and social & self awareness to engage in productive discourse & thinking around charged discussion like the conflict in the Middle East or similar conflicts involving frequently oppressed groups. 
  • Communicate Clear Expectations & Dispel misconceptions.

Urban Assembly Support - Immediate Action
  • Since last week, I've been working closely with UA folks to plan circles & PD for Tuesday in response to some of the priority issues raised up in circles.  We've had to navigate some scheduling conflicts, but David Adams came through, and we have settled on circles and PD for Tuesday AM that will

    • Provide time and support for staff to process their own individual responses to last week's events

    • Develop staff capacity to responsibly and effectively respond to and support student questions and concerns about the student walkout and the conflict in the Middle East in general - respond productively to support student critical thinking and perspective taking. 

  • UA has offered to provide ongoing support as needed.  We'll see where we land at the end of Tuesday and how feedback from staff turns out to move forward in next steps.

Here are some of the steps that are currently ready to launch (or have launched into the planning phase):

UAI & The UAI Community - Near Term
The Equity team leadership met to discuss what our work will look like moving forward as we continue the work begun by Equity teams in previous school years and also specifically work to address the most recent instances of bias in our community. We will be working together to gather resources from an array of outside organizations that can support our school community in learning about anti-semitism and the historical context of the War in Israel and Gaza.

Several of our elected officials like Jumaane Williams and Lincoln Restler have reached out to us directly to offer resources and support, as have members of our surrounding community in Brooklyn, and NYC in general.  

Equity team leadership is currently reaching out to multiple New York based Jewish education organizations for support and potential resources or trainings for educating both staff and students on anti-semitism. We are also creating a resource list to help staff learn about anti-semitism in America as well as the historical and cultural context in which the current war in Israel and Gaza is taking place.

Affinity Support - Long Term
Superintendent Fred Walsh and NYCDOE Legal council have made the decision that we will not hold our Town Hall meeting with families.  I am still awaiting feedback from them as to how we should communicate with families.  I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

We are still working with the district team and NYCDOE central support to plan next steps for families and students.  We are currently waiting for their team to provide us with next steps and coordinated support.

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 06NOV23 - Benchmark Grading
  • Tuesday, 07NOV23 - Remote PD - Election Day PD
  • Friday, 10NOV23 - MP1 Ends
  • Thursday, 16NOV23 - Evening Parent Conferences 5PM-8PM - REMOTE
  • Friday, 17NOV23 - Afternoon Parent Conferences 12PM-2:50PM - REMOTE
                                           (early Dismissal at 11:10AM)
  • Thu&Fri 23/24NOV - Thanksgiving Recess (Rapid Dismissal 22NOV)

  • 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

End of MP 1 & Power Up Days.  Benchmarks must be entered into MP1 Grades as a performance grade.  In an ideal competency grading school where we are all fluent in the strategies to support learning towards fluency with skills & content, students would have had multiple opportunities to practice & we would have had multiple opportunities to guide, correct, and tutor so that they would be ready to perform on this benchmark - AND their teachers would have a pretty good idea of how they would do prior to taking the exams.

We're not all the way there.  That's why these power up days exist.  They exist as a bandaid bridge for kids as their teachers develop their capacity to effectively manage feedback & assessment in a competency based school.  

Throughout MP1, students and families should have been made constantly aware of their progress - using your weekly outreach.  That was our first step - communication.  As we move forward, our next step towards cultivating our own capacity with competency based learning will focus on tools to support assessment & quality of feedback (e.g. conferencing and other in-class feedback loops).

Use the Power Up Days (after Election Day) to review student performance on the benchmarks and provide students the opportunity to study errors, explain what went wrong, and correct the mistakes- all in the pursuit of growing their skills & learning.

Teachers should make the call on how to integrate these reviews & corrections.  To be clear - this is NOT how competency grading works (using test corrections to boost test scores).  This is a bandaid to the fact that we as a faculty are still learning how to capably implement a competency based grading system.

End of MP1.  The 1st Marking Period ends on Friday, 10NOV23.  All grades will be due IN SyncGrades.  We will be pulling them from there.  Stay tuned for explicit directions.  This will be our first time pulling it, so we're learning too!  Please make sure your gradebooks are up to date in SyncGrades by Wedensday, 15NOV23.

Benchmark Grading in PD on Monday.  We will be cancelling Monday Office Hours and meeting in the following rooms with ILT leads to grade Course Benchmarks - Regents Style.  The reason we want to grade regent style is to create a place where other eyes can look at the work our students generate.  The goal is to give feedback on student work and collectively help all of us reach the goals we share as a single school community.

Please meet in these rooms promptly at 3PM to grade collectively from 3-4:30PM.  ILT leads will coordinate grading rooms.
  • Judy with HS Math Team in Room 405
    • Grade Algebra I:  Danielle, Sue, Amanda, Alexis, Crystal, Judy
  • Kelly with 2 Social Studies Teams in Room 507
    • Grade USH:  Jake, Shan, Martine, Annie
    • Grade GLO:  JRob, Yasmeen, Kelly, Fatima
  • Liza with 2 Science Teams in Room 415
    • Grade Living:  Camryn, Sarah R, Tom, Marianna, Mateo
    • Grade Earth:  Thomas, Mary, Quinn, Steven, Liza
  • Marsha with  HS ELA Teamsin Room 309
    • Grade ELA Regents: Marsha, Sarah M, Lia, Patricia, Freida, Pauline
  • Phillan with MS ELA Teams in Room B49
    • Grade MS ELA:  Mike, Phillan, Laura, Juelle, Adelle, Junior
    • Grade MS Math:  Matthew, Dru, Alison, Kaitlyn, Joanna
  • Independent Grading
    • Tom, Elena, Noelle, Roger, Patti
For all other exams, teachers will have time to grade independently during work time provided during remote PD on Tuesday.  

Tuesday 07NOV23 Election Day PD.  Tuesday is our first Chancellor PD Day of the year.  This PD will be remote (at home).  Please make sure that you have reliable internet so that you are able to remain connected and have your cameras on.  Cameras will be required to be on throughout the entire PD that we are on zoom.  Please be prepared.  If you are unable to have your cameras on for whatever reason, please plan to be at school for the day to zoom.  Here's the zoom information
Meeting ID: 817 6593 1467
Passcode: UAIZOOM

I've had to make a few adjustment to the agenda on Tuesday based on UA folk availability.  Here's the agenda now:
  • 8:30 AM- Welcome and Principal Address from Kiri
  • 9:00 AM- UA Facilitated Circles & PD
  • 11:00AM- Lunch
  • 12:00PM- Full Staff Meeting and Overview of the PM
  • 12:30PM- Planning Meetings & Independent Work Time
    • Submit Yearlong Pacing Guides
    • Grade Benchmarks
    • Update SyncGrades
  • 3:20 PM- End of the PD Day

PD Calendar Update. Here are the updates to the PD schedule for the rest of MP1
  • 06NOV23 - Benchmark Grading
  • 07NOV23 - Election Day PD (Circles, Benchmark Analysis, Progress Monitoring on Goals)
  • 13NOV23 - Looking at Student Work - we've moved our LASW to this PD
  • 20NOV23 - Equity Team
  • 27NOV23 - TBD- Holding Space for UA or Affinity Full Staff Work with Full Staff.

<Repost>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.

<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!
  • 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
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

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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