Sunday, January 21, 2024

Week of January 22nd

UAI Staff News

Volume XI
Issue 22
January 22nd, 2024

Pushing Perspectives.   This is the last week of the Fall term.  Tomorrow is the last day for grades 9-12 and 6-8 finish out the fall on Friday.  

As I read through the root causes listed in the MP2 Interventions doc, I picked up on several trends.  Alongside challenges with low literacy levels or English language fluency, student attendance and social emotional skills (like time management, self & social awareness (e.g. using a phone in the middle of class) are some of the most commonly listed root causes.  

Sometimes, we fall into thinking that our students should or shouldn't do x, y, or z because when we were their age we did (or didn't) do x, y, or z.  But we have to be vigilant about that thinking and disrupt it.  None of us know there experiences for so many reasons...but unilaterally none of US ever had to learn at home during a global pandemic.

We are still experiencing the outcomes on learning & development the pandemic inflicted on our students.  It is still super unclear about what happened and why...BUT we do know that the pandemic had impact, and today, as their educators, we need to figure out how to address that impact to make sure our students can still meet course standards and thrive.

Teaching has always been much more about social interactions than content transmission.  When sole tool of weight is a standardized test (aka Regents or MS State exam), it's just that easy to quantify & measure social capacities vs. discrete facts and content skills.  So, too often, social emotional development gets pushed to the side in favor of content & skills.  

Post pandemic, we need to collectively push hard against this instinct to push the SEL to the side because we have so much content to cover.  SEL is the engine that drives academic achievement. If we only focus on content and skills, we are only putting our thumbs in a dam full of COVID holes.  We need to concurrently build SEL skills alongside content & skills. 

Classrooms are social landscapes.  Students, teachers & paras are part of that construct.  Schools are the larger social construct that contain classrooms.  Support staff, deans, counselors, and admin are part of that construct.

Before we jump into developing our students SEL, it's important to take stock of our own.  Beginning with social awareness - and our capacity to interact effectively with others, including our students.  

Perspective taking is a key skill to being able to better understand our students needs and thus better construct learning experiences that more effectively help them close SEL and academic gaps and reach high standards of learning.

This spring, we'll be working with the Urban Assembly to hone adult SEL skills and capacities in Self and Social Awareness so that we can better connect to our students and more capably address their learning needs. 

For now, here are two articles (well an article and a podcast) that will provide another possible perspective to the trends I saw in the MP2 Interventions...and a first step to thinking about how we build our capacity to resist the urge to operate from our own experiences in school and build our capacity to understand and empathize with today's realities of learning. Please make the time to read & listen - on the subway, in place of doom scrolling before bed, or during prep time at school!  

Important Upcoming dates

  • Monday, 22JAN24
    • January Benchmark Schedule
      • For Grades 8-12:  2nd AND 3rd period Benchmarks
        • Mon 22JAN23 Math Benchmarks
      • For Grades 6 & 7th graders:
        • Phillan will share final program on Monday
  • Tuesday, 23JAN24 - Regents Week Begins
  • Monday, 22JAN24 - 
    • Last Day of MP2 for grades 8-12
    • Grades are due Thursday 25JAN24 at 3PM
  • Friday, 26JAN24
    • Last Day of MP2 for grades 6 & 7
    • Grades are due Monday 29JAN24 at 3PM
      • NOTE:  We need to get report cards out by Tuesday, 30JAN24 (last period).  We can extend the MP for MS, but we need grades done by Monday at 3PM.  If that turn around time is too short, then follow the schedule for 8-12 and end MP tomorrow to turn grades in on Thursday.  All grades after Monday can go into MP3.
  • Monday, 29JAN24 - REMOTE PD Day
  • Tuesday, 30JAN24 - First day of Fall Term, MP3 Begins, Report cards distributed last period.

Announcements & To Dos

Grades are DUE!.  Monday 22JAN24 is the last day of the MP for grades 8-12 and Friday 26JAN for grades 6-7.  By the EOD on Monday, ALL teachers should

  • Turn all missing work into a 50
  • Complete all non-benchmark related grading and upload (and for kids who missed the benchmark, enter a 50)
  • Please begin entering all grades into THIS SHEET

  • During intervention time this week grades CAN be changed! As students work with you to make up missing work and closing skill and content knowledge gaps, please do update grades to reflect their achievements.
    • Please make sure you are communicating with students AND families about outreach week.  Students NEED to come in to make up benchmarks during this time if they missed the exam AND students with <75 in your class need to come in to make up work and get extra help to meet the schoolwide goal.

  • NOTE:  We need to get report cards to kids and families on the first day of the spring term.  So, please make sure to turn grades in on time so that we have time on the admin side to generate the report cards. 
Grades will be due Thursday at 3PM for grades 8-12 and Monday, 29JAN24 at 3PM for grades 6-7.

Regents Week and Benchmark Week.  There are some schedule changes in the coming weeks as we get ready for a variety of assessments

  • THIS WEEK:   The last benchmark is on Monday  You can find that schedule on the second green tab of the schedule.  Many THANKS to everyone who made last week's benchmarks go so smoothly - particularly to Marsha, Kelly, Liza & Judy for doing such amazing work to organize and stay on top of everything!!

  • REGENTS WEEK:  The Regent exam schedule is also now finalized. 
    That said, there could still be mistakes!  
    • We will be grading in subject teams, following the regent rules where teachers of students cannot grade their own students.  Team leaders will coordinate grading to make sure folks will not be grading their own students.  We will also be grading the math & science exams of two other schools (AIL and Design Works).  However, the total numbers of student tests is still small.

    • Folks do have planning and grading time built into schedules.  

    • Please review your schedule carefully.  Make sure you do not see any mistakes or conflicts, and if you have questions, please just ASK!  There is ZERO shame in asking ;-)

<<RePost>> Preparing for the End of the Semester.  

Benchmarks.  As you prepare students for the final summative Benchmarks, you need to make sure you are giving them a chance to see how they would do on the big test PRIOR to the big test (a trial run).  For example, students should do a practice test that they can then grade themselves (or exchange to grade) to see which topics for which they are ready to demonstrate competency and to understand which topics need more review, study and preparation prior to the benchmark.  Please make sure you are backwards planning from the benchmark to provide students with this type of learning opportunity.

Intervention & support.  Please continue to provide and monitor impact of your MP2 Interventions.  By the EOD on Friday 12JAN24, please update the document with the current grade of your students.  NOTE:  Students who have grades <75 will be scheduled to come in to meet with you during regents week to get extra help and complete necessary work to develop their competencies in your course and merit a grade of >75.   We all will be using the information in the MP2 Interventions to discuss regents week programming with students.


<<RePost>>  RPET Work.  The RPET is planning three major experiences for our community this spring.  They will be (1) A schoolwide teach in, (2) A series of PDs for staff around SEL, and (3) A series of staff equity circles.  The RPET is planning a more detailed workshop for our January 29th PD to review each of these in detail and to get staff feedback on each.  Here's the draft PD calendar for the rest of the year.

  • January 
    • 8th:  Grading Work Time
    • 15th:  MLK Jr. Day
    • 22nd:  Benchmark Grading Time
    • 29th:  Remote Full Day PD (and RPET Presentation)

  • February
    • 5th:  SEL PD for All Staff (#1 of 4) - with UA!
    • 12th:  TBD by ILT 
    • 19th:  Vacation WOOHOO
    • 26th:  SEL PD for All Staff (#2 of 4) - with UA!

  • March
    • 4th:  SEL PD for All Staff (#3 of 4) - with UA!
    • 11th:  Staff Equity Circles - Building Trust
    • 18th:  TBD by ILT
    • 25th:  SEL PD for All staff (#4 of 4) - with UA!

  • April
    • 1st:  Easter Monday - NO SCHOOL
    • 8th:  All Staff Prep for School Wide Teach In
    • 15th:  All Staff Prep for School Wide Teach In. (TEACH IN on April 16th)
    • 22nd:  Spring Break - WOOHOO
    • 29th:  STILL Spring Break - DOUBLE WOOHOO

  • May
    • 5th:  Staff Equity Circles
    • 13th:  Staff Equity Circles
    • 20th:  TBD by ILT
    • 27th:  Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL

  • June
    • 3rd:  Staff Equity Circles
    • 10th:  Staff Equity Circles
    • 17th:  Regents Week Proctor Prep


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.

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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