Staff Update – Week 18

It is hard to believe there are only two weeks left to go in the semester.  I trust that you all had a restful week off for Christmas and New Years and are feeling energized to tackled the weeks ahead.  The work we are doing each and every day is critical.  Together we are shaping the future.  Together we are making a difference in the lives of each student.  As we continue to face the challenges of shifting demographics and the rise in poverty, we will continue the excellent work we are engaged in here at Athena.  We will continue to work hard, together, to ensure that each of our student learn at high levels and are equipped for success in college and career when they leave us. 

Although it can be challenging work, I am convinced that the work we are doing is the right work and that we are making a difference. Thank you for everything you do.
Response Please: Please email me by Wednesday morning regarding any students you are concerned may be at risk of not passing this quarter. Please include the following for each at risk student:
  • Student name
  • Reason student is at risk: Skill (doesn’t understand essential skills or content) or Will (refuses to comply) 
  • Interventions already tried: so admin doesn’t repeat things tried that didn’t work (ie… re-teaching, differentiation, after school help, advisement assistance, referral to Twilight or support, etc…)
The administrative team is trying to figure out what we can do to support you in the mission to ensure that every student learns at high levels.  If the issue is a Will Problem, we would like to help “force” students to get the work done they are not completing.  If it is a Skill Problem, we want to help ensure that the interventions necessary can be put in place.  Each of you are fantastic, hard working professionals.  We want to support you in the mission of ensuring that the consequence of failing to learn or comply, is learning.  
As Mike Mattos says, “no single teacher can meet the needs of every single student… we need a team.  We have the perfect teacher, it is not one of us, it is all of us.
Need to Know
  • Tuesday Staff Meeting: This week is a KRA Meeting, we will begin as a full staff in the Cafeteria.
  • AIT Meeting: The January meeting of AIT will be on Monday from 2-3:30.  Minutes will be posted on the AIT blog following the meeting. Click here to visit the AIT blog.
  • Exam Week: As you know Regents exams are given from the 22nd to the 25th.  Click here to view the schedule. Proctoring information will come from Jackie.  Please remember not to teach anything of significance new during that week as many struggling learners will be taking exams.
  • Reinforcing the CSA Framework: As we head towards Exam week, remember our entire school is evaluated on the English Comprehensive Exam. It happens to be given to ELA 11 students, but it is an assessment of our entire school and is used as one of the measures to determine if we continue to be on a list of Schools in Need of Improvement.  Please take time in every class to continue to reinforce and use the CSA framework.  Click here for a refresher.  Consider doing at least one paragraph using this format each of the next two weeks in class.
Nice to Know
  • 21st Century Learning Skills: This shows up frequently in the NYSUT rubric at the higher levels.  If you are interested in learning more about what this is, check out this blog posting.
  • Legally Blonde: The show opens on February 1st.  Please promote this in your classes and consider joining us on the 1st to start the students off with a great opening night.
  • Tips for Engaging Under Performing StudentsCheckout this article summary and the two videos included if you have any students who don’t like to get engaged in the learning.
  • Using Khan Academy to Differentiate Instruction: An interesting online resource and a great video from Edutopia to show how one public school is using it in a fascinating way.
  • Bright SpotJen Lagana’s Students Summarize Math Concepts in Paragraph Form.  Jen’s studnets concluded a recent lesson in a neat way.  She asked them to explain the equation y=mx+b in a paragraph for people who have know knowledge of math.  The students couldn’t use any math terms.  This was a great example os 21st Century learning strategies.
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