9/24/21 Weekly Update

SEL Concerns Ticket Please use this if you have concerns with a student’s lagging SEL skills and you would like to do some collaboration with us (Heidi T.  and/or Brian) to problem solve. Thanks!

FYI Ticket Please use this if you have an incident or recurring incidents with a student. This helps us with follow through, communication and data. Thank you!!!!!

How’s it going? – please take a few minutes to try this experiment and complete this survey.  I plan to run this on a week by week basis.  This can help me support your individual needs as well as identify big picture patterns for future posts or meetings.  

From HR:

Priority – We need 100% of your staff to complete the Frontline vaccination form they received via email.  If they cannot find the email from Frontline, have them check the “clutter” and “junk” folders, as it has gone to all three places. This survey asks staff to upload their vax card or their waiver form.  We will be reviewing staff lists next Friday and notifying you of those staff who have not completed this request.  Please provide time or assistance as needed.  This is very important.  Again 100% participation from every staff member at your school.  Please reach out if you have any questions or if you need help with the process.

Week Preview:

  • Monday 9/27
    • Another Rad Monday!
  • Tuesday 9/28
    • 2:30-3:15 Culture of Care – Library
  • Wednesday 9/29
    • Staff Meeting 1:15-1:45
      • Civil Rights Training
    • SIW – 1:45-3:15
      • Storyline Time
  • Thursday 9/30
  • Friday 10/1
    • Happy October!

Lunch – Each year we have a number of students finishing really early and a number of students who struggle to finish on time.  I assure you we are lining them all up and moving them into their lunch spaces as quickly as we can without it becoming chaotic (and we are trying to limit any time for the different classes to be mixed indoors).  For each grade span it takes approximately 3 minutes from the start of the first class to the last class.

  • The K-1 students go to recess immediately after eating and they don’t seem too interested in having more time, however we can accommodate a few here and there without any trouble, even with the 4-5 students arriving for their lunch time. 
  • The 4-5 students don’t have students transitioning to the mats at the end of their lunch period and instead they are going inside to class, so you have some options;
    • Solution1 : Teachers can take over the supervision at the end of the lunch time (11:25) and you allow as much time as you see fit, since the 2/3s don’t come for 20 minutes.
    • Solution 2: Teachers can allow those students who need more time to finish to sit in halls (like snack time) while the rest of your class gets ready.
  • The 2-3 students seem to finish within their time with a few stragglers, but so far it’s been manageable.

Kids, Inc – Just a heads up, Kids, Inc is looking to hire more staff and increase their spaces.  This is a huge need for our parents as we have a very long waiting list.  As soon as they get their staff in place, they will be occupying the cafeteria in addition to the gym.

School Site Visits – Just a heads up, Skip and Tammy scheduled regular school site visits for all their schools.  Part of each visit will be a focused classroom visit.

EA’s will not be pushing in for literacy blocks on Wednesday’s beginning in October! 

We plan on using Wednesdays for PD, planning and progress monitoring.  We know this is a tough ask, but it is very much needed to best prepare our EAs and help them be most effective. Thanks for taking this into account for future planning. 

Reading Instruction and EAs – There’s quite a bit of discourse about reading instruction and especially the role of our EAs during those assigned times. I am hoping the following guidance can help;  

As grade level teams you should be designing your literacy block according to the district Literacy Standards of Practice.  Two key component of these standards that might help guide your instructions for EAs are the following;

  • Lexia (each student will meet units gained goals each week) You will want to have time in your master schedule for this each day.  Teachers are expected to pull small groups or confer with students giving feedback that moves learning forward during this time.  
  • students with the most needs are in the smallest groups and are with the teacher frequently

Using our EAs to teach the lessons indicated by Lexia (since Lexia is telling us that student has more needs) would not align with the standards above.   It’s an unfair expectation to ask EAs to plan for every grade-level they support, and struggling students need expert support from their teacher.

Here are some examples of EA work that would align with the standards (there are more, but this is starter set).

  • Monitor other independent reading groups while you provide the direct instruction to a group of students needing more instruction.  
  • Monitor students working on Lexia as they can help ensure the students are maximizing their time on the program.  
  • Monitor students during partner reading or simply their own read alouds.
  • Facilitate students accessing Newsela, Epic, or Sora while you confer with student(s).

If you have other ideas for how to utilize EAs during their available time run it by me or Kaelynn or Heidi E.  Jennifer Fetrow already met with Kaelynn and she is off and running with her plan.

Please remember our EAs have little time for transition between their activities, so it’s imperative you provide some communication up front for them to grab and follow; maybe something like a reading bin with a simple “lesson plan” for them to follow as well as all the supplies they will need or lists of students they will work with.  The more this can be provided ahead of time the more time they can spend working with students.  I’ve seen some really good examples of this planning in your classrooms in the past when we had parent-volunteers in our rooms.

Lindsley’s Slides from Monday – A really key statement Lindsley made, “Lexia provides for us, what we tried to develop from Dibels”.

Newsela Info – 

  • awesome video clarifying information around student levels and making assignments from the viewpoint of a teacher
  • You can access Newsela text set links on the grade-level scope & sequences, here

TLC Update 

From Lora re: Educator Network (EN) SIW’s –  The district has designated four SIW’s over the course of the school year “Educator Network” SIW’s:

  • October 13
  • January 12
  • February 9
  • April 20

The purpose of these days is to provide time for four-part district-wide trainings, district PLC meetings, etc. A few examples include content-area meetings for high school language arts and science teachers, training in incorporating strategies to support multilingual students, early literacy best practices, training with Bruce Perry for our student success staff, and an overview of our instructional framework. Three things we want all building leaders to know now:

  1. All certified and building administrative staff (and some classified EA’s) will be required to participate in a strand during the EN SIW’s: this is not individual prep time for any staff. For some staff, a particular strand will be required; for others, choices will be provided.
  2. Most training will be conducted on Webex; a few will be live.
  3. The Teaching and Learning and Student Services departments will be sharing more complete information and training descriptions very soon!

If you have questions, reach out to your level leader, Julie Walker (elementary), or Dean Richards (secondary).

TAG Update 2021-2022 List

Please check the list for any students in your class (this list contains students already identified and watch-listed).  If I mislabeled a student, please let me know.  If you have a student with a test score of 97th percentile or above as one piece of evidence, we should be actively collecting the second piece (usually in the form of a teacher referral) of evidence to identify.


The PEP is a collaborative document that should be completed with parent-input.  It is ideal to use the first parent-teacher conference to complete this document, however it can also be completed in a separate meeting if requested.

If you ever have a parent request testing for TAG, please be sure to let me know immediately.  Just as a reminder, our district primarily uses the following assessments for TAG identification;

  • SBAC ELA & Math (All 3rd through 5th graders) – these test for academic talent
  • Naglieri (All 2nd graders & new students to BLP schools) – these test for intellectual ability – This test will be administered in the spring.
  • SAT-10 (This is an additional test available upon request, for example if a student was really close on SBAC, we can give another shot at the 97th with this test.  Format is similar to the SBAC test and requires a fair amount of time to administer.)

Basic message to parents (What we do for TAG identified students.)

“We differentiate to meet the rate and level of all students in the classroom using available curriculum resources, in addition to the open-ended environment of Storyline.”    You can, of course, expand on this statement with the specifics of your classroom in regards to how you meet the needs of TAG-identified students.  Please see me with any questions.

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