December 10, 2021

Thinking about our work…

What’s the big deal? Stephen shared with me this quick video that clearly explains the concerns about zeros on the 100 point grading scale.

To Do:

Parent notification about YouthTruth needs to push out prior to winter break. Our YouthTruth survey window runs Jan 3-28 and we are required to notify parents of the survey prior to implementation. Here is some language Dave pulled from YouthTruth’s passive consent form: schools can use to notify/communicate with parents about YouthTruth student surveys. I chose not to modify this at all because it is translated into Spanish (and Russian). Schools have access to the forms this came from.   English and Spanish are below.

Dear Parent or Guardian,

We are writing to let you know that we are asking your child to participate in the YouthTruth Student Survey in the coming weeks. The YouthTruth Student Survey is a nationally recognized survey used in hundreds of schools and districts across the country, surveying hundreds of thousands of students. The survey asks students about their experiences in the school and with their teachers, including how engaged they are at school, the rigor of their coursework, and their preparedness for the future. Our school, other schools, and researchers may use such information for developing plans to help schools and teachers improve. For information about this survey, please visit, or speak to a school administrator.

Although we want to hear from all students, participation in this survey is voluntary.

Your child’s ratings will not be identified in any reports because results are shared at the group level. Personally identifiable information will not be released to any third party.

Please be aware that under federal law, you have the right to review a copy of the questions asked of your child. If you would like to do so, you can view a copy of the survey at school.


Estimado padre o tutor,

Le escribimos para hacerle saber que le estamos pidiendo a su hijo/ que participe en la Encuesta de Estudiantes YouthTruth en las próximas semanas. La Encuesta de Estudiantes YouthTruth es una encuesta nacionalmente reconocida utilizada en cientos de escuelas y distritos de todo el país, examinando cientos de miles de estudiantes. La encuesta le pregunta a los estudiantes acerca de sus experiencias en la escuela y con sus maestros, incluyendo la forma en que están comprometidos en la escuela, el rigor de sus cursos, y su preparación para el futuro. Nuestra escuela, otras escuelas, y los investigadores podrán utilizar dicha información para el desarrollo de planes para ayudar a las escuelas y a los maestros a mejorar. Para obtener información acerca de esta encuesta, por favor visite, o contacte a la escuela. Aunque queremos saber de todos los estudiantes, la participación en esta encuesta es voluntaria.

Las calificaciones de su hijo/a no serán identificados en los informes porque los resultados son compartidos a nivel de grupo. Información de identificación personal no será revelada a otros grupos terceros.  Tenga en cuenta que bajo la ley federal, usted tiene el derecho de revisar una copia de las preguntas de su hijo/a. Si desea hacerlo, puede ver una copia de la encuesta en la escuela.


Mandatory Canvas/Synergy Clean up: Here is the link to the slides from our Tuesday work session. Let us know if you need support as you work with your teachers on this priority project. You goal is to check off that every teacher has completed these tasks by January 20. It is imperative that Synergy and Canvas are in synch.


SIW Equitable Grading 30 min training for MS/HS: Please set aside 30 minutes in January or February for your equitable grading team member(s) to update your staff on the team’s work.  They will have a presentation to cover and provide avenues for staff to provide feedback.  If your building does not have a rep, please reach out to Stephen DuVal to discuss a method for communicating with staff.

Equitable Grading Reps: BSHS – Erin Hoffman – Amy Sabbadini; BTA @ MHS – Alex Greenwood; CHS – Jess Calbreath – Kolina Watt-Garcia – Alex Baltodano – Rayne Cedergreen; LPHS – Pam Price; MVHS – Brandi Ross – Jason Gibbs – Sharon Sieveking – Michael Hicks; Realms HS – NO REP; SHS – Erin Carroll


From Dean: your role in supporting your teachers to meet the Syllabus due date (Feb 4): On the next Educator Network Day, January 12, most of the PLCs will have some time to discuss the syllabus requirement for second semester.  The following was sent to District ICCLs and others leading the conversation on the 12th

Principals will receive a documents to share with teachers in next week’s blog to communicate location and major agenda items to share with teachers.

After conversations with Lora, and collaboration with the TOSA team, we’ve come up with a list of syllabus expectations that we can use to help teachers prepare to complete this task.  

There will, of course be plenty of follow-up questions, but as a guideline, here are six items that should exist on the syllabus documents, across all content areas:

  1. contact information
  2. course overview, including overview of units studied
  3. a list of curriculum resources most often used (including a suggested disclaimer about current events, importance of responsiveness, and opening the door to some resource use not listed – here is what Lora recommends and which can be used all or in part: In response to students’ learning needs, current events, or newly available sources, for example, I will periodically supplement our major texts with other materials. If you do not want your student to read/view any supplemental materials, please let me know. Your student can wait to read/view the material until after they have shared it with you. )
  4. Grading policy/information about how students will be assessed
  5. a link to grade level/subject area standards or an embedded list of the specific standards you rely on
  6. a link to this document from the Canvas homepage, so it is easily found by both parents and students

Our current plan is for me to loop secondary administrators in so that we can identify any areas where their staff messages might be out of sync with the above and smooth those edges, and then for subject area TOSA’s and ICCL’s can act as resources for their content area teams around this expectation.

I expect to finish the administrative communication cycle this week, so teachers can have the above list next week.  Also, I recognize that there may need to be subject-area specific additions (such as safety information on science syllabi…) Stay tuned.

One way you can provide support in the meantime is:  if you have a syllabus that contains the five content pieces, would you share it with me?  Being able to provide some exemplars to teachers will be helpful, so others can see examples of how the five content items might be organized.


Your HSS and SIF Budgets should be completed before you leave for winter break.  THANK YOU to those who have completed them!


Student Success/BRYT Fidelity Indicators:  We know you are all working hard to get you Student Success Program up and running in each of your buildings, but do you often wonder where you are at in your implementation or how you are doing? Here is an important one-page implementation document with 7 different fidelity markers of what you need to have in place during this school year.  Please know that to have a Student Success program in full implementation and running smoothly, will take several years, like 3-5 (yes, we said years, not weeks or months). This one page document has broken down what year one implementation will look like.  This would be a good document to review with your Student Intervention Team and to do a quick check in of where you are at.  Are you on track? Do you need to make plans to address any of the items?  Do you need help?  Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Student Success Coach, Jennifer Hauth, or me.  


From Dean: This week’s blog post was crafted by Julie Montoya, our World Languages TOSA.  After last year, she has found herself doing a lot of thinking about student autonomy and wondering how to guide students towards rediscovering themselves as engaged students, empowering them to be drivers rather than passengers.  She has settled on a couple of strategies that are working well, and that she was willing to share with us.

To read more about her strategies and her reflections on them: Key to Engagement and Ownership in Learning: Developing Student Autonomy


From Lora – ​​Substitute Teachers for Professional Learning – (please note, there are some changes to “dedicated subs”, that conflict with what we have shared in the past)

Let me start with the good news: in the last six days of school, we have had zero unfilled certified sub jobs on three of those days. It appears that some combination of the HDESD hiring/training additional subs and the bonus for subs who accept multiple jobs in a month is helping to reduce the number of unfilled jobs in the district.

But while we’re monitoring the data on a weekly basis, we’re not yet at the point where we can allow school/district staff to hire subs for staff professional development. At this point, the district is NOT authorizing the use of certified subs for any professional learning/team work time/staff leadership retreats, etc. Even if your school has “dedicated subs,” (subs that will work only at your site), you may not use these subs for the above purposes. The rationale is two-fold: 1) not every site has this option available to them, and 2) at the last minute, those “dedicated subs” may be needed to cover for a teacher in your building who is taking authorized leave (sick leave, personal, bereavement).

We have had a few teachers/schools with exceptional needs, and they have been authorized to use subs for professional learning. Please contact your level leader directly to discuss the issue if you believe you might have such a need. You will need their approval before requesting subs.


From Stephanie Bent – Due to COVID-19 we will again be offering a blended model for the First Aid/CPR class.  The class will be done online with a hands-on skills assessment to follow.  The online portion of the class should take about three (3) hours with the skills assessment to follow with a first aid/CPR trainer that will take about 20 minutes.  The online course can be done to fit your schedule.  Your First Aid/CPR card will not be issued until all portions of class are completed.

The process will be as follows: 

  1. Sign up for the class in Performance Matters. Stephanie Bent will send you a link from HSI/Medic to get started ([email protected]).   
  2. Please check your Junk Mail if it does not appear in your regular inbox.  
  3. After each section of the online session, there will be a one or two question quiz. 
  4. When scheduled, the hands-on skills assessment schedule will be emailed to you to register if you have completed the online portion.  You can only do the in-person skills assessment after you have completed the online portion of the class.   
  5. The in-person skills assessment will be done in 30-minute increments with 1 to 6 person ratio (20 minutes for the class and 10 minutes to clean and sanitize equipment). 
  6. First Aid cards will not be sent out until both portions of the class are completed.  

The class currently in Performance Matters opens 12/3/2021 with a completion date by 1/28/2022.  If interested, please sign up now.  


From Steve Herron: Here are our 2021-22 Inclement Weather Guidelines; we have reverted to the Guidelines as they existed in 2019-20, given that we are exclusively back to in-person learning:


HERE is the calendar for meetings for the year

Here is a sample Learning Walk schedule you can use as a guide to plan that visit.

SIW schedule

December 14 – Work Session: Curriculum Guide Equity Audit @ SHS in the Library 8:00-9:30 (Feel free to invite one counselor and your curriculum secretary). Students will join us for this work session. Please bring you equity stance with you and be prepared to share.

February 5 – SLGG’s and your Self Reflection due (I moved both of these back to account for the Canvas/Synergy clean up).

Reminder: complete your work calendars.  If you need assistance please contact April Jorgenson.

Mark your calendars for June 20 and 21, 2022 for our Leadership Training Academy.

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