UAI Staff News
The Give and Take of Teaching & Learning. This is the final school week of 2023, and as we wrap up the final weeks of the fall term, now is the time to take a beat a reflect on the work we have been doing thus far!
One-third of teaching is planning engaging lessons, practicing for delivery, and prepping materials for the classroom. Another third of teaching is seeing how that teaching lands with students - student learning, and the final third of our jobs if figuring out what to do if our teaching doesn't land with students (or they are not responsive to our moves). It is a perpetual cycle of give and take - giving lessons and taking the temp of how those lessons land.
Teaching is a constant carousel of problem identification, analysis, and solving. It's part of what makes the job constantly challenging and constantly engaging. There's never a dull moment in teaching and learning.
Because it's persistent, the job can also get tiring. So, we all sometimes point to causes that do not require our decision making and analysis because it's easier to do so. That's a totally human response and completely expected - particularly when we're all extremely tired (and literally sick ... see what I did there ... sick and tired..lol)...and <<drum roll...wait for it....>>>>
We have to level up our own self-awareness and catch ourselves when we slip into that habit. Two key SEL strategies can help us maintain focus on the problems that we can solve - Perspective taking and Self Awareness. Students can be held to high standards with empathy and understanding - but it requires that their teachers make the time to see their struggles from the student perspective and exercise sufficient self-awareness to see how teacher tone can sometimes be the root to student disengagement.
In looking at the interventions and root causes listed in the MP2 Interventions overwhelming point at student behaviors, but few point to the underlying root causes of those behaviors. If a student hasn't submitted an assignment, do you know why? If a student is absent of late, why did that happen?
Sit in their shoes for a minute. Assuming positive intent (another SEL core strategy), what could possibly be some of the reasons why students are not turning in work? Assuming that no student intentionally chooses to fail, what could be the other reasons students are not showing up to class on time?
For example, do your students believe coming to class everyday on time positively impacts their performance in class? How could you find out from them? What if they believed "NO"? Why would they believe that and what could you change to move their answer from No to YES? Stay on the positive side and avoid punitive causes.
For kids who aren't performing well on assignments or who are not turning work in, why would they choose to do that? What are they afraid of? What do they not want to see? Why? What could you change to help them overcome their fears and the stereotype threat that exists inside their heads?
Finally, we need to be architects of a new american dream. The idea of pulling oneself up by their bootstraps - on their own- is a system in our culture that has been used to oppress and blame marginalized peoples (mostly black, brown, and poor) for centuries. We need to be on high alert in our own heads (self-awareness) to guard against this ideological bias. It is so pervasive in American culture that each of us have it operating within us as an unconscious bias at some level.
In place of "Just Do It!" (Nike's take on bootstrapism), we need to help our young people remember that we want them to achieve and push themselves to achieve on their own AND that we are there alongside them to cheer, guide, and support where needed - but only when needed. This is a shift from America's dogged myth of independence to a community-based, loving, and joyous approach to rigor.
So, tomorrow, we will be completing the MP2 Intervention Log during PD (in school this time). As you complete the log for the rest of your classes, push yourself to exercise perspective taking, assuming positive intent, and your own self-awareness. Find root causes that imply student positive intent and causes that you can control in your work.
For example, if students don't come because it's not clear how being in class impacts their learning and achievement, then you could schedule 1:1 or small group conferences with those students to help them connect their attendance issues to their performance on class assignments. Show them that when they come to class, they thrive and understand and that when they miss class, the depth and quality of their learning suffers.
In the end, our goal is shared. We want our students to thrive and achieve on their own. In pursuing this, we need to make sure that we are not unintentionally pushing kids out of the realm of success by exercising internalized biases around student choices and bootstrap thinking. Find and lean into strengths. Analyze and provide interventions for learning gaps (SEL and Academic). Through those actions, we'll all be able to balance accountability with support and we'll collaboratively help all of our students thrive and achieve independently!
Important Upcoming dates
- Tuesday, 19DEC23 - 8-12 Iceskating Trip
- Friday, 22DEC23 - Rapid Dismissal at 2:15
- 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
Hanging Signs. Everyone needs to help out on this one. Please DO NOT TAPE anything to the newly wrapped doors - or any doors for that matter. You can tape onto glass or tiles ONLY in the school. Please only hang signs and tell any students you see hanging signs that they can only tape things to the wall tiles, the glass on doors, or the big silver poles in the middle of the hallways on 3, 4, and 5). Tape will ruin these doors - so please do not let anyone tape anything on they at any time. THANK YOU!
RPET Work. RPET is beginning to put together plans for a school wide teach-in around antisemitism and racial bias. We are in the early stages of these plans, but look for details when we return from the holiday break!
Monday PD. We have about 5 weeks remaining in MP2, and so now is the time to take stock of how students are doing and to step in now for folks who may be missing the mark. For PD this week and next Monday, you'll have time to meet with your co-teachers and with student paras to
- First - find the root causes of why students are struggling
- Assume positive intent
- Then - develop an intervention plan to address student needs and support them towards reaching the goal of having a 75 or better by the end of MP2
- Focus on what you can do to improve student connection to class and close student academic learning gaps
- Prep Time, Professional Periods, and Other Professional Work Time is time programmed into the work week for professional activities. This includes small group work (tutoring or intervention), grading and feedback, planning, lesson run-throughs, and lesson prep (copying, etc.).
- Family outreach during your prep or Advisory Prep time is part of your in-day schedule and not part of your 55 minute outreach time. The 55 minute family outreach time should occur after the school day ends.
- Tuesday, 19DEC -
- Grades 8-12 School Culture Ice-Skating Trip - Jen is Organizing
- 7th Grade Trip to Pfizer (SSNM7 - all sections)
Per Session Postings
For ALL per session activities, please complete Per Session Application Form"
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
- 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