carnold's blog

General Information - Upcoming PD Day - November 4, 2014

I am sending along some general information about the 11/4/14 PD day.
 
·      All TA’s will meet in NSMS lecture room 221
·      Special Education teachers are invited to attend Autism PD at 12:30 – 2:15. Contact Mrs. Rathbun if interested in attending (seating is limited)
·      A menu of technology sessions will be sent to teachers for sign-up. The sessions were developed based on Tech survey feedback.
·      Based on teacher feedback, we will have a questioning techniques follow-up session with different presenters from Teachers21. Questioning Techniques professional development was a recommendation from the District Evaluation Committee (DEC.)
·      MS and HS (7-12) Science teachers will meet in room 310 of middle school for NGSS presentation (8:00-11:45.)
·      MS and HS (6-12) Math teachers will meet in Mr. Yeaw’s  at High School.
·      Guidance Counselors will meet with Mr. Pepin for a PARCC rediness meeting
·      Pre School teachers will meet with at NSES for standards based report card/teaching strategies gold session
 
Times
NSES/Halliwell (Gr 3 and 4)
NSMS and Grade 5 teachers
NSHS/SLP/Social/LBC/PSY/Guidance
MS & HS Math Teachers
MS & HS Science Teachers
Session One:
8:00-9:45
Grade Level/Dept Meetings
Questioning Techniques –Session held in High School library
 
Technology
A menu of sessions will be sent to teachers. Teachers will sign up via a google form. The sessions topics are based on Tech Survey results.
Technology
A menu of sessions will be sent to teachers. Teachers will sign up via a google form.
NGSS PD
NSMS room 310
Session Two: 10:00-11:45
Technology-
A menu of sessions will be sent to teachers. Teachers will sign up via a google form. The sessions topics are based on Tech Survey results.
Grade Level /Dept
 
Questioning Techniques
located in High School library
PD- Mr. Yeaw’s Room, 6-12 teachers.
Session Three: 12:30 – 2:15
Questioning Techniques – located in High School library
Technology
A menu of sessions will be sent to teachers. Teachers will sign up via a google form. The sessions topics are based on Tech Survey results.
Grade Level /Dept Meetings
.
Grade Level/Dept Meetings
Technology
A menu of sessions will be sent to teachers. Teachers will sign up via a google form.
 
 

-Clare 

Community of Practice - Shared Classroom Initiative

I am excited to invite all K-12 ELA and Math teachers to participate in our Community of Practice – Shared Classroom Initiative. The purpose is to generate meaningful conversations about pedagogy by organizing opportunities for teachers to ‘share’ our classrooms as way of exchanging ideas.

The premise of the initiative is simple; by visiting other classrooms within our district we can gain exposure to varied teaching practices, reflect on our own practices and encourage conversation about the art and craft of teaching. In addition, this initiative will serve as another vehicle to ensure that our curriculum is articulated and aligned K-12.

The development of this initiative stemmed from last year’s “K-12 Math Tours.” Groups of teachers “toured” each other’s classrooms, this project received positive feedback from all teachers involved: host teachers and invited guests.

Who: All K-12 ELA and Math Teachers
What: Community of Practice – Shared Classroom Initiative
Where: Groups of teachers will visit a classroom (not within your own building) during each of the three “Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Days”
When: Dates for the ELA/Math “Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Days” are posted on Curriculum website. Each grade level/department will meet for three full days throughout the 14-15 school year.
Why: To generate meaningful conversations about pedagogy by organizing opportunities for teachers to ‘share’ our classrooms as way of exchanging ideas.
How: To sign up to be a ‘host’ teacher, simply add your name to the shared Google Doc. A representative from each grade level/dept. will email a host teacher to set up a visit. Once a visit is scheduled, please note it in the shared Google Doc.


 

Upcoming Initiatives

As you know we have quite a few curriculum and professional development days coming up. I will be sending out more information about specific initiatives via email. Just to keep you in the loop, some of the upcoming initiatives include:


• Foreign Language Curriculum Development
• K-12 Music Curriculum Development
• NGSS Study of the Standards
• Google Apps
• District Data Use Team
• Formative Assessment Resident Experts (K-12 Reading Specialists)
• Argument Writing Resident Experts (one teacher per bldg)
• Mathematics/ELA Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Project (this is a big one... each grade level/dept will have up to 3 full days to refine instruction)
• Math K-12 Common Core Task Force (after school)
• Foreign Language Curriculum Task Force (after school)
• ELA K-12 Common Core Task Force (after school)
• K-12 Music Curriculum Task Force (after school)

Important Dates:
September 9th- Professional Development Day

September 17th – Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)
September 17th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

September 24th- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

September 25th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- HS English 9/10 (3)

September 26th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- HS English 11/12 (3)

October 1st- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

October 2nd- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- HS Math/ALg (4)

October 3rd- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade 3

October 3rd- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- HS Math/Geo (2)

October 8th- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

October 9th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade 1

October 10th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade 4

October 15th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

October 15th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

October 16th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade K

October 17th- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade 5

October 6th- K-12 Literacy Meeting/Formative assessment

October 6th- Professional Development Advisory Committee Meeting 3:00 @ KD

October 22nd- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

October 23rd- Curriculum and Instruction Refinement- Grade 2

October 27th- K-12 Math Task Force meeting 3:00 @ KD

October 29th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

November 3rd- Title I meeting/planning session 12:00-3:30

November 4th- Professional Development Day

November 5th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

November 12th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

November 19th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

November 19th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

November 26th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

Curriculum and Instruction

The are many guiding documents, programs and committees that work in tandem for the purpose of improving instruction, professional development and student achievement. Programs and initiatives that we support are informed by many moving pieces. A couple examples of this is:

• Our math curriculum teams and task force built an assessment system aligned to ccss standards. Teachers implemented curriculum/assessments and scored unit assessments by standard. The results were uploaded into shared Google docs. The District Data Team analyzed data and made recommendations to the Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC.) The PDAC then built time into each PD day for grade levels/depts. to meet to review recommendations and inform instruction.
• Another example includes work from our District Evaluation Committee (DEC.) The DEC recommended that questioning techniques be an area of focus for the coming year based on evaluation data. On the September 9th PD day, all classroom teachers will participate in a Questioning Techniques session. This PD also supports the work we have done with McRel “Classroom Instruction that Works” and our Formative Assessment initiative.


Guiding Structures-
• RI Basic Education Program (BEP)
• District Strategic Plan
• Curriculum Cycle
• Survey Results
• Professional Development Advisory Committee
• Curriculum Task Force Teams by Content Area

Sub-committees:
• Formative Assessment Resident Expert Team
• Argument Writing Resident Expert team
• District Data Use Team

The Curriculum/PD Components:
• Study of the Standards, Curriculum and Units
• Professional Development (teaching practices/implementation)
• Assessments (formative and summative)
• Materials for Implementation
 

 

14-15 Professional Development Days

The Professional Development Advisory Committee worked last year to refine the structure of PD days. This year, each of the four PD days (there will be a few exceptions) will be broken into three sessions. One session will focus on technology, one session will focus on instruction and one session will be reserved for grade level/department meetings. The first PD day scheduled for September 9th will follow this format. The technology session will dive deeper into Google Apps. The instruction session will focus on questioning techniques. This session was planned based on the recommendation from the District Evaluation Committee. During the third session teachers will work in department/grade level meetings. 

ELA/Math Curriculum and Instruction Refinement Days

This grant funded initiative is a multifaceted project supporting the launch of ELA and Mathematics Curriculum implementation aligned to the Common Core Standards. The North Smithfield School Department has completed the development of ELA and Mathematics curricula. The curriculum includes a curriculum guide, which ‘unpacks’ each standard, a curriculum map displaying the standards in order of instruction, units of study based on the Understanding by Design (UbD) format. To propel and support the implementation, all K-12 Mathematics/ELA teachers (by grade/department) will work in professional learning communities to refine and support instruction. Each grade level/department will meet for three full days. Teachers will share experiences with the new curriculum, identify successful strategies as well as barriers to implementation. In addition, we will develop a system and structure for teachers to visit classrooms throughout the district. By visiting other classrooms, it will give us a chance to share practices and ensure our instruction is aligned. I look forward to meeting with these awesome teacher teams! All dates are posted on the NS Curriculum website. 

Foreign Language Curricula

This year North Smithfield Schools will develop Foreign Language curricula. We are excited to do this work in collaboration with Burrillville Foreign Language teachers. We will create curriculum guides that 'unpack' each standard, a curriculum map that shows which standards we are teaching by quarter and units of study based on the Understanding by Design (Ubd) format. After the curriculum is written we will be making live binders of the work and embedding into curriculum website. During the curriculum development we will establish a "Task Force" which will meet after school to review research, and ensure the curriculum is articulated and aligned across and between grade levels.

Foreign Curriculum Development Dates:
September 17th – Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

September 17th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

September 24th- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

October 1st- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

October 8th- Foreign Language I (French and Spanish)

October 15th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

October 15th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

October 22nd- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

October 29th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

November 5th- Foreign Language II (French and Spanish)

November 12th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

November 19th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

November 19th- Foreign Language Task Force meeting @ 2:45 NSMS room 348

November 26th- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

December 3rd- Foreign Language III (French and Spanish)

Welcome to the 14-15 School Year

Dear North Smithfield Faculty and Staff,

We are so fortunate as educators to have a work year that ends. We get to close out one year, have some time to relax, refresh and reflect and then can start anew with new energy and enthusiasm.

After the close of last year, I went to Florida with my best friend, which was fabulous! During that time I had a chance to reflect, really reflect and I came up with two things…

The first is how much we all have been able to accomplish in the last few years. We have transitioned to new standards, studied the standards, developed curriculum, rubrics, assessments, data systems, instructional initiatives. What I realized is- through blood, sweat, and tears we have build a strong foundation for our district. Although we will continue to develop curriculum and embrace new initiatives… we are at a point that we will no longer have to give blood. We will definitely continue to give our sweat and even an occasional tear… but the foundation is set and strong. And for that, I thank you all.

The second thing I realized is that Plan B is sometimes better than plan A. The reason I say this is because start of last year I had a set of initiatives and goals. There was one particular initiative that was going down hill fast… I thought it was going to be a crash and burn/epic fail. But teachers reached out to me, we met after school hours reworked the plan and changed direction. I was receiving phone calls, emails, and text messages and I could feel the energy, excitement and momentum of the new plan taking shape. Plan B far surpassed plan A. I tell you all this because I know for sure that this doesn't happen in all districts. The feeling of ‘we can do this and lets make it great… and have fun while doing it’ attitude is unique and priceless. North Smithfield teachers make it a pleasure for me come to work.

Looking ahead to the new year… When it comes to any academic initiatives - I believe and have believed for quite a long time that there are three main ingredients. They are standards, practices and relationships. Standards- we have to know what we should be teaching and what product we ultimately want the kids to produce. Practices- this is the art and craft of teaching, how we engage our learners. Relationships- relationships with students, parents, colleagues and administrators. And each is equally important. Although we regularly work on and discuss standards and practices, developing relationships is sometimes overlooked. I am going ask you to reflect at some point this year about how you build strong relationships. No protocol, no forced care and share, no rubrics…. just reflect. And if you have the chance please, when the time is right, share your reflections with a colleague in a genuine way, simply because strengthening relationships is worthy of conversation.

This year we will develop foreign Language curriculum, develop k-12 music curriculum, implement ELA and math curriculum refinement days, and begin to develop a project based learning initiative. We have re-worked the structure of PD days with the help of the PD advisory committee. I will be sending an email out with all the specifics on upcoming initiatives. The curriculum website is updated with dates and information. But for now, I just want to say welcome. I am looking forward to a wonderful year of learning and laughter.


-Clare

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