Weekly Round Up 3/20/16

We have 2 more weeks until we get a well-deserved break.  Hang in there — we can do this!  Our students take their cues from us, so our energy level and optimism will go a long way with our kids.

Also, last spring I started highlighting a different component of the KY Framework for Teaching each week to help us break down this complex document to better understand the expectations for effective classroom teaching.  This week I have summarized the last one below, but I want to single this one out for additional discussion.  Component 4D, Showing Professionalism, is a very important component for us to study, because if we are all accomplished or exemplary in Showing Professionalism, most of the other components will fall into place.

The description from the KFT states:

Teaching at the highest levels of performance in this component is student-focused, putting students first, regardless of how this sense of priority might challenge long-held assumptions, past practices, or simply what is easier or more convenient for teachers.

 

Some of the expectations of this component require us to challenge our assumptions about the responsibility of the adults for student learning and success.  If every one of our students is not successful, then are we successful?  I started this school year with a challenge: WHAT IF…?  What if this were the year that not one of your students failed, not because you lowered your expectations but because you did everything in your power to ensure that each student was successful?  This is exactly what Component 4D demands!


 

EXCELLENT CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

  • This is an incredibly important article about Diagnostic Teaching.  There is a lot of information here and a lot to think about, but if you try these strategies piece by piece, you could find your students improving their learning and mastery of standards in surprising ways.
  • Next year we will hopefully be implementing a new writing plan with a school-wide focus on increasing and improving student writing in all areas.  Here is a nice list of reasons to help students – and teachers – understand the importance of good, effective writing.
  • Close Reading tip: One way to improve students’ reading skills is to build their prior, background knowledge about a variety of topics.  This is especially important for lower performing students who may not be exposed to or have opportunities to discuss events in the world.  This article explains how a teacher incorporated the strategy of Article of the Week to improve students’ reading skills and background knowledge.

PGES & KY FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING

Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component F – Showing Professionalism

  • Integrity and Ethical Conduct
  •  Service to Students
  •  Advocacy
  •  Decision Making
  •  Compliance with School and District Regulations

Expert teachers demonstrate professionalism in service both to students and to the profession. Teaching at the highest levels of performance in this component is student focused, putting students first, regardless of how this sense of priority might challenge long-held assumptions, past practices, or simply what is easier or more convenient for teachers. Accomplished teachers have a strong moral compass and are guided by what is the best interest of students. Such educators display professionalism in a number of ways. For example, they conduct their interactions with colleagues with honesty and integrity. They know their students’ needs and seek out resources in order to step in and provide help that may extend beyond the classroom. Teachers advocate for their students in ways that might challenge traditional views and the educational establishment, seeking greater flexibility in the ways school rules and policies are applied. These dedicated educators also display their professionalism in the ways they approach problem solving and decision making, with student needs in mind. Finally, teachers consistently adhere to school and district policies and procedures but are willing to work to improve those that may be outdated or ineffective.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher displays high standards of honesty, integrity, and confidentiality in interactions with colleagues, students and the public.
  • Teacher is active in serving students, working to ensure that all students receive a fair opportunity to succeed.
  • Teacher maintains an open mind in team or departmental decision-making.
  • Teacher complies fully with school and district regulation.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  • Teacher is honest and known for having high standards of integrity.
  • Teacher actively addresses student needs.
  • Teacher actively works to provide opportunities for student success.
  • Teacher willingly participates in team and departmental decision-making.
  • Teacher complies completely with school district regulations.

Question for Reflection: In your summative evaluation, how will you demonstrate that your performance is Accomplished in Domain 4, Component F?


 

SOCIAL CURRICULUM

PBIS Tip: “Cooperation and Focus”

To ensure cooperation and focus, structure your class period in a way that students know what to do as soon as they walk in the door. By having a consistent structure in place, students will feel comfortable in the routine of the classroom.


BRAVO!

starBrava to Eva Rouse and to her orchestras for receiving straight Distinguished ratings at KMEA!

star Good luck to our Academic Team as they compete in the state Governor’s Cup competitions this weekend!

starCongratulations to our winners in this week’s perfect attendance drawing — Scott McDonald and Donna Evans!  I will deliver your prize to you Monday.


NEWS & UPDATES

√ All JCPS employees — certified and classified — are required to watch a training video about Harassment and Discrimination and complete a very short quiz.  This must be completed by April 1.  We are required to have 100% compliance for this activity.

Please follow this link to watch the video: https://youtu.be/o8RB57qXBrU.  Then, use this link to complete the quiz.  You will need your employee ID when you take the quiz (it’s on your paychecks, if you can’t find it elsewhere).  You will earn 2 hours of professional development credit for completion of these 2 items.  Once we have 100% completion, we will have the PD sign-in sheet for you to sign.  

We will also need to show a video to the students about this topic.  I will provide details about that at a later time.

**I requested an updated list Friday after school.  I will send it out when I get it.

√ This week our certified teaching staff are asked to complete the VAL-ED survey.  This is the first year for this survey, and it will be given the alternate years that we don’t do the TELL survey.  The VAL-ED survey is only about me and is part of my summative evaluation, like the Student Voice Survey is a piece of teacher evaluations.  I will put a paper in your mailboxes that will have a code on it.  The survey is anonymous, and you can switch papers if you want — no one tracks who gets what code.  

√ Also, it’s time for the JCPS Comprehensive Schools Survey.  We have been getting e-mails from the district with links to the survey.  Please take a few minutes and complete this:

School Based Certified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbCertified2016

School Based Classified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbClassified2016


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Happy Birthday in March to: Shaneice Bridwell (5th), Jana Cummings (7th), Jesse Whitt (7th), Belinda Hafell (10th), Tami Slaughter (10th), Mike Jackson (11th), Tyrome Neal (11th), Adam Hartigan (15th), Ray Yaksic (19th), Laura Younkin (19th), Eva Rouse (24th), Yvonne Riggs (25th), Sandy Ramsey (29th), Scott McDonald (30th)!

 

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Weekly Round Up 3/13/2016

When getting the information about the JCPS testing windows, did anyone else feel the calendar closing in around them?  The rest of this year will fly by.  It was especially alarming to see the word “April” associated with testing!  When we looked at how many tests our sophomores and juniors have to take, with EOCs, K-PREP writing, and AP, there was no possible way to schedule those kids into everything they have to take if we delayed it by one week (which was the only other option).  The good news is that we have had more instructional days this year by April 25 than we had last year.  We have also had more “flow” and fewer disruptions with fewer snow days and no delays or early dismissals.  We have 5 weeks of instruction, so let’s maximize this time!

Also, next Tuesday, we should learn our graduation ceremony date and time.  I will pass that along after it has been approved by the Board.  After we finish our 3 weeks of testing, there will only be 2 four-day weeks left in the school year.  It’s hard to believe.  There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, but as we think like an innovator and are in “permanent beta mode,” we realize that this is a work in progress.  We capitalize on our successes and learn from our mistakes in order to grow and improve.  When you try something new in your classroom, it may not go perfectly the first time.  After reflecting and revising, you get better.  That’s what happens at the building level too.  We celebrate and make plans to build on the things that are working, and we keep striving to improve what’s not.  That is what we should expect from each other — not perfection but evolution.


 

EXCELLENT CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

  • This article has suggestions for helping students become more confident as writers.  Some of the criteria described could be modified for non-English classrooms to focus on specific content or criteria for a writing assignment in another content.
  • Here is an interesting way to evaluate homework assignments in order to seek more student buy-in and engagement.
  • Close Reading tipThis article has some great ideas for close reading activities in your classroom!

PGES & KY FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING

Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component E – Growing and Developing Professionally

  • Enhancement of Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Skill
  • Receptivity to Feedback from Colleagues
  • Service to the Profession

As in other professions, the complexity of teaching requires continued growth and development in order to remain current. Conscientiousness about continuing to stay informed and increasing their skills allows teachers to become ever more effective and to exercise leadership among their colleagues. The academic disciplines themselves evolve, and educators constantly refine their understanding of how to engage students in learning; thus growth in content, pedagogy, and information technology are essential to good teaching. Networking with colleagues through such activities such as joint planning, study groups, and lesson study provides opportunities for teachers to learn from one another. These activities allow for job-embedded professional development. In addition, professional educators increase their effectiveness in the classroom by belonging to professional organizations, reading professional journals, attending educational conferences, and taking university classes. As they gain experience and expertise, educators find ways to contribute to their colleagues and to the profession.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher seeks out opportunities for professional development to enhance content knowledge and pedagogical skill.
  • Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues—either when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.
  • Teacher participates actively in assisting other educators.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  •  The teacher seeks regular opportunities for continued professional development.
  • The teacher welcomes colleagues and supervisors into the classroom for the purpose of gaining insight from their feedback.
  • The teacher actively participates in professional organizations designed to contribute to the profession.

Question for Reflection: How do you grow and learn professionally?  What opportunities and experiences do you seek?  What are you reading to keep current or to get new ideas about your field?  How do you share your learning with your colleagues?


SOCIAL CURRICULUM

PBIS Tip: “Mantra” for Classroom Management

For the best results, remember Marvin Marshall’s classroom management “mantra”: Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?


BRAVO!

starCongratulations to Jesse Davis!  He has been offered and accepted the Plant Operator position at Rutherford Elementary School.  He will start his new leadership position on March 28.

star Let’s give a warm welcome to Gladys Akrong, who will join our cafeteria staff March 28!

starCongratulations to our new Head Field Hockey Coach, Shelby Daeschner!

starLast night on the 11:00 broadcast of Wave 3 news there was a story about our own Jake Ramsey and his full-court shot: http://www.wave3.com/story/31463058/buzzer-beaters-prove-these-were-no-miracles.

starOur Ballard Baseball Team traveled to Georgia last week to compete in a national high school baseball showdown.  They beat a team ranked #2 in the nation in some polls, and Junior Jordan Adell threw the 2nd fastest fastball (96 mph!) all week!


NEWS & UPDATES

√ All JCPS employees — certified and classified — are required to watch a training video about Harassment and Discrimination and complete a very short quiz.  This must be completed by April 1.  We are required to have 100% compliance for this activity.

Please follow this link to watch the video: https://youtu.be/o8RB57qXBrU.  Then, use this link to complete the quiz.  You will need your employee ID when you take the quiz (it’s on your paychecks, if you can’t find it elsewhere).  You will earn 2 hours of professional development credit for completion of these 2 items.  Once I get a list from the district of who has completed, we will have the PD sign-in sheet for you to sign.  

We will also need to show a video to the students about this topic.  I will provide details about that at a later time.

**As of Friday afternoon, not many people had completed this.  It is confusing when you finish the quiz, so you don’t really know if you passed or if it registered.  Let me know if you are unsure if you had completed as of last Friday afternoon, and I’ll check the list I got from the district.

 

 March is our month of many surveys!  We will be doing the Student Voice Survey early the week of March 28 (details for that will come out separately since it is new for us).  Next week I will send out the information about the VAL-ED survey for certified teaching staff.  This is the first year for this survey, and it will be given the alternate years that we don’t do the TELL survey.  The VAL-ED survey is only about me and is part of my summative evaluation, like the Student Voice Survey is a piece of teacher evaluations.

Also, it’s time for the JCPS Comprehensive Schools Survey.  We have been getting e-mails from the district with links to the survey.  Please take a few minutes and complete this:

School Based Certified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbCertified2016

School Based Classified: http://tinyurl.com/jcpsSbClassified2016


 imagescake

Happy Birthday in March to: Shaneice Bridwell (5th), Jana Cummings (7th), Jesse Whitt (7th), Belinda Hafell (10th), Tami Slaughter (10th), Mike Jackson (11th), Tyrome Neal (11th), Adam Hartigan (15th), Ray Yaksic (19th), Laura Younkin (19th), Eva Rouse (24th), Yvonne Riggs (25th), Sandy Ramsey (29th), Scott McDonald (30th)!


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Weekly Round Up 3/6/2016

On Friday, I had the good fortune to accompany 14 of our student leaders to the JCPS IdeaFestival, an event created and produced by JCPS students that mirrors that original IdeaFestival.  Our kids heard presentations by students who are creating non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, and original apps and inventions.  

Our students were compelled to discuss — and I to reflect — on this question: How are we fostering, nurturing, and championing creativity and innovation in our classrooms and in our school?  This is a big question that we need to discuss and be ready to answer.  These students specifically cited fine arts classes, technology classes, and the science fair as places where they are actively learning and creating.  They also discussed desires to be more actively inspired and engaged in other settings.  I am going to reconvene this group and include other student leaders to engage in conversations about how we can promote this kind of excitement about learning and creating in our school.

EXCELLENT CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

  • Here is information about a new app, Perspecs, that helps you find articles with different perspectives on the same news item.  What a great way to teach a variety of concepts and skills!
  • In every class we are teaching and students are learning vocabulary.  Here are some ideas about “dos” and “don’ts” of teaching vocabulary.
  • I this this post is worth a read.  In order to help our students become critical thinkers — critical thinking being a necessary skill for 21st century learners — here are 15 questions to teach students to ask when learning about a new idea or concept.
  • Close Reading tipHow to Do a Close Reading — This link takes you to the Harvard Writing Center for a concise explanation of how to conduct close reading in your classroom for students.

PGES & KY FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING

Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component D – Participating in a Professional Community

  •  Relationships with Colleagues
  •  Involvement in a Culture of Professional Inquiry
  •  Service to the School
  •  Participation in School and District Projects

Schools are, first of all, environments to promote the learning of students. But in promoting student learning, teachers must work with colleagues to share strategies, plan joint efforts, and plan for the success of individual students. Schools are, in other words, professional organizations for teachers—organizations whose full potential is realized only when teachers regard themselves as members of a professional community. This community is characterized by mutual support and respect and by recognition of the responsibility of all teachers to be constantly seeking ways to improve their practice and to contribute to the life of the school. Inevitably, teachers’ duties extend beyond the doors of their classrooms and include activities related to the entire school and/or larger district. These activities include such things as school and district curriculum committees or engagement with the parent-teacher organization. With experience, teachers assume leadership roles in these activities.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher’s relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation; teacher actively participates in a culture of professional inquiry.
  •  Teacher volunteers to participate in school events and in school and district projects, making a substantial contribution.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  •  The teacher has supportive and collaborative relationships with colleagues.
  •  The teacher regularly participates in activities related to professional inquiry.
  •  The teacher frequently volunteers to participate in school activities, as well as  school, district and community projects.

Question for Reflection: One important attribute in Participating in a Professional Community is service to the school.  In what ways are you providing service to Ballard, either through working with students outside of the school day or leading and supporting colleagues?  If you are not currently providing such service to Ballard, in what ways could you begin to do so?


 

SOCIAL CURRICULUM

PBIS Tip: “Eliminate Humiliation and Sarcasm”

Never use sarcasm, attack a student’s character, humiliate, embarrass, belittle, or verbally abuse a student.

Some people believe these are good steps to change a child’s behavior. While these strategies may seem to be effective in the short term, they build resentment and anger in children and teach them that these are techniques that they should use when trying to get someone to do something. In the long run, these techniques are PROVEN to make problem behavior worse.


BRAVO!

starCongratulations to Ronda Fields, our Science Department, and all of our students competing in the Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair this past Saturday.  At the fair, Ballard was selected as Best High School!  And, we had 2 students advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair — Sydney Kessler and William Schuhmann!

starAlthough the season ended Friday, let’s congratulate Coach Renner, Coach Willis, and the rest of the staff on a successful and fun season this year.  And, if you still haven’t seen it, YOU’VE GOT TO CHECK THIS OUT: https://youtu.be/quzZjk6r2G8.


NEWS & UPDATES

√ All JCPS employees — certified and classified — are required to watch a training video about Harassment and Discrimination and complete a very short quiz.  This must be completed by April 1.  We are required to have 100% compliance for this activity.

Please follow this link to watch the video: https://youtu.be/o8RB57qXBrU.  Then, use this link to complete the quiz.  You will need your employee ID when you take the quiz (it’s on your paychecks, if you can’t find it elsewhere).  You will earn 2 hours of professional development credit for completion of these 2 items.  Once I get a list from the district of who has completed, we will have the PD sign-in sheet for you to sign.  

We will also need to show a video to the students about this topic.  I will provide details about that at a later time.

√ We have 4 weeks until Spring Break, and we need to make sure we maximizing this instructional time prior to the break.  Also, we need to encourage our students to be present and stay focused.  To recognize staff attendance, we will have a drawing each Friday for a small prize for all staff who have perfect attendance for that week.  Then, we will have a special treat for every staff member with perfect attendance for the month of March!

√ The second evening of parent conferences is this Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm.  Thank you for being available for parents in order to support our students.

√ We have 2 good classroom technology PDs coming up on March 14 and 17 after school.  If you are interested in one or both, please shoot me an e-mail to sign up.  Bring your laptop with you to these sessions.


 

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Happy Birthday in March to: Shaneice Bridwell (5th), Jana Cummings (7th), Jesse Whitt (7th), Belinda Hafell (10th), Tami Slaughter (10th), Mike Jackson (11th), Tyrome Neal (11th), Adam Hartigan (15th), Ray Yaksic (19th), Laura Younkin (19th), Eva Rouse (24th), Yvonne Riggs (25th), Sandy Ramsey (29th), Scott McDonald (30th)!


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