This Week

Fahari's Weekly Staff Memo: 1/11/2016 - 1/15/2016

A Message from Fahari's Principal: Stephanie Clagnaz, Ed.D.

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What are some ways of making sure that our children feel like they belong to “us”?

Consider whether or not your classroom resembles a democratic society. If so, you are likely helping our children to feel like they belong to “us”. If not, you are contributing to a lack of student engagement within our community. Read this scenario written by Cohen, Cardillo, and Pickeral in their article in Educational Leadership (September, 2011):

Recently we observed a classroom teacher who struggled for more than 10 minutes to

get students' attention. She repeatedly reminded the children, "You're not following the

rule of listening while others speak. You're not following the rule of being seated to be

called on." A student calmly replied, "We didn't make those rules. They're your rules."

Even at a young age, students sense when teachers honor their voices. Creating

procedures to appropriately and sincerely include students in shaping the tenor of their

class time is a fundamental component of engendering respectful and democratically

informed classrooms (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollack, 2001). For example, a teacher

used a backward design model to invite student voice in establishing class guidelines.

He asked his students to brainstorm ideas on what their ideal classroom would look

and sound like. He then invited the students to work together to create guidelines that

would make everyone accountable for achieving this new vision.

It’s interesting to note how important the simple concept of honoring students’ voices is when we prioritize belongingness. The teacher in the scenario above asked the children to express and include their own vision as they formed community. It makes sense to then hold students accountable to the vision since they contributed to creating their ideal classroom community. How are we honoring student voices? One example of including student voice in our community is in our PRIDE Council. Students on the Council are in the process of electing one of their own to sit on the School Leadership Committee. One of our children will lend student voice to practice and policy created by the Leadership Committee.


  • How are you, your team and/or your co-teacher honoring student voice to increase belongingness?
  • What next steps can you take to ensure that our children know that they belong to “us”?
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On Culture with Jared Roebuck - Assistant Principal

As 2015 came to a close I began with to think about how I connect to my parents. My parents recently moved out of Harlem and now live in Florida. Although technology makes it easier than ever to communicate with the people in our lives, that communication doesn't always translate to connectedness. As I thought about my holiday shopping for the year, what guided my thinking was: *How can this gift lead to connection between me and the other person?*

I purchased and mailed my parents copies of the two books that had the biggest impact on my life this year (Between the World and Me and Living Beautifully In Times of Uncertainly and Change). Included in the package were cards that talked what the books meant to me, and a standing invitation for lunch or a Sunday morning phone call to talk about the book. These books had changed my life as I read them, and I hoped that they would do the same when I shared them with others.

What does this have to do with powerful literacy? Everything really. We've been talking about the nature of authentic assessments. Authenticity--doing what real people do-- is at the heart of instruction that moves children forward. I've been thinking about the opportunities for authentic learning we create for children in our classrooms. In particular, how are we engaging students in the work that readers do in the real world? Real readers do what I did this holiday season. We read books, newspapers, magazines, blogs. Often we find something that is meaningful to us, and we share what we've read with others. We have these conversations on the walls of Facebook, Twitter timelines, emails, and sometimes even in person. Either way, the text creates an opportunity for us to connect with and possibly learn from others.

One way we create this kind of authentic experience for students is through book clubs and literature/inquiry circles in our classrooms. These structures consist of small groups of students who read and later discuss a shared text. Writing about the power of these structures, Smokey Daniels says:

"In small groups, we are smarter. In well structured groups, we leverage each other's thinking. We learn more not just because we all bring different pieces to the puzzle, but because, through talk, we can actually make new and better meaning together." (Harvey Daniels 2015).

The meaning making that happens in these small groups-- around a book, a snippet of text, or an inquiry question-- mirrors what we all do as readers in the real world, making the task truly authentic. Most importantly, it is not only the basis of deeper understanding of text, but this kind of engagement can also spark connectedness.


  • What opportunities do students in your class have for authentic engagement around literacy?
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Culture Time with Edwin Santiago Jr. – Director of School Culture

Greetings Fahari Family,

Happy New Year! As we welcome our wonderful students back, let us keep in mind that just like when we were kids after a long break, they will need some reminders to bring them back to reality. In keeping in line with our Transition Reset, here are a few things we can do to help ease our students’ transition back to school:

Greeting the students in the doorway. This is a great way to get a pulse on how students are feeling before class begins and allows us the make adjustments as needed.

Sign P.R.I.D.E. Cards. Let’s catch our students doing something good. Signing P.R.I.D.E. Cards is a good way to help motivate our students to getting back on track.

POSITIVE ENERGY. Not to be confused with the J-Factor. POSITIVE ENERGY is the attitude we bring and share with our students either in the hallway, the cafeteria or in the classroom. Remember our energy is infectious so why not make it positive?

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Family Engagement Updates


Happy Monday! Hope you all had a restful weekend!

Our 2nd approach towards implementing Student-Led Conferences at Fahari is upon us! We look forward to welcoming more than 360 family members this Thursday evening and Friday afternoon to support our students as they demonstrate ownership and investment in their learning by presenting at their Quarter 2 conferences.

Each family member will be given the conference protocol upon arrival. We will be asking families to adhere to this protocol as best as they can in order to ensure effective and timely conferences.

Below are some teacher reminders to help us provide the most effective conferencing experience for all participants:

Student-Led Conference DO’S and DON’TS


  • Ensure family member(s) are familiar with the protocol before beginning conference

  • Check that student has materials needed for presentation (script, student work)

  • Allow student to take the lead during presentation of work, assisting when necessary

  • Encourage family member(s) to ask question(s) of student

  • Acknowledge student effort after presenting his/her work

  • Begin with the positive when discussing overall progress

  • Focus on academic growth and progress

  • Pace yourself / Exercise time management (use phone timer)

  • Set up follow-up meeting, if necessary


  • Dominate the entire conference

  • Focus on behavior

  • Use vague phrases such as “Get his/her act together” or “He/She is doing well”

  • Allow students/families to leave without suggested next steps

Please see below the feedback from Fahari’s 1st approach towards implementing student-led conferences this past October………

Feedback from students and families has been overwhelmingly positive!

Parents and family members reported feeling a sense of inclusion in the conference protocol.

Students reported feeling a sense of nervousness, responsibility and pride while reporting on their goals.

Teachers reported feeling a sense of ease and structure while facilitating the conference.

As with any new endeavor, we EXPECT the BEST and prepare for any challenges along the way. Don’t forget to remain patient, flexible and calm. Our community deserves our full support as we make this transformative shift towards EXCELLENCE!


~Ms. Clarke, Director of Family Engagement

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Ops Updates

Dismissal Procedure Reminder

Teachers please do not send students to after school or R.O.A.R until an Ops member comes to your classroom for dismissal. You must walk your class downstairs for dismissal. In addition, you should be leading the class and not walking in the middle or behind your class.

Vision Screening

We are mandated by NYC DOHMM to conduct vision screening for all 5th grade students, new entrants, and teacher referrals. Ops will be conducting vision screening for the 5th grade on 1/13 and 1/14 during their 8th period specials. Specials teachers please be on the look out for the schedule.

Teachers if you have not done so already please send either myself or a member of the counseling team the names of any students who may benefit from the vision screening. We will screen referrals and new entrants during the following week.

MP 2 Report Cards

Teachers by now you all should have received an email from me with some information regarding grade weighting for report cards and the number of graded assignments required. If you missed that email please read this carefully

Q2 ends on January 29, 2016 and Report Card grades are due on February 1, 2016. Below you will find the grade weighting and number of graded assignments each student should have for the quarter.

MP2 is already set in Skedula for you and the course categories have been set. If you have not started entering grades in Skedula I highly suggest you start to do so soon.

Please keep in mind that a passing grade for all Fahari students is a 65.

Reading Class ( also labeled as ELA in Skedula)

Homework - 10% (3 -5 items)

Entrance Slips / Exit Slips / Classwork - 25% (3 - 5 items)

Performance Tasks - 35% (1 - 2 items); performance tasks can be graded for different standards)

Exams / Quizzes - 30 % (2 - 3 items)

Writing Class

Entrance Slips / Exit Slips / Classwork - 20% (3-5 items)

Oral Presentations - 10% (1 - 2 items)

Performance Tasks - 30 % (1 - 2 items)

Published Pieces - 40% (1 - 2 items)

Math Class

Homework - 15% (3-5 items)

Classwork - 20% Classwork (2-5 items); Exit Tickets (2 items)

Assessment - 30% ( no set #)

Projects - 35% (no set #)

Social Studies

Homework - 10% (3 -5 items)

Entrance Slips / Exit Slips / Classwork - 25% (3 - 5 items)

Performance Tasks - 35% (1 - 2 items); performance tasks can be graded for different standards)

Exams / Quizzes - 30 % (2 - 3 items)


Homework - 10% (3 -5 items)

Entrance Slips / Exit Slips / Classwork - 25% (3 - 5 items)

Performance Tasks - 35% (1 - 2 items); performance tasks can be graded for different standards)

Labs - 30 % (2 - 3 items)

~Beverly Parsons, Director of Operations

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This week's schedule updates

Will it be an A or B week?

We will be following a B schedule this week.

Who will be out this week?

Please check the daily schedule for coverage updates*

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Juan Ascona

Anika Yasin

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Ashley Pereira

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Stephanie Clagnaz (AM OUT)

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Stephanie Clagnaz (AM OUT)

Opal McPherson

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Rachel Ignacio

Titilayo Soetan

Upcoming Events

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Family Conferences

@Fahari Academy from 3:30 - 7:00 PM

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

PGC Outreach 4

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Parent Teacher Conferences

@ Fahari Academy from 12:00 - 3:00 PM

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Holiday - Martin Luther King Jr Day

No School for Students or Staff - School Building Closed

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

January Board Meeting

@ Fahari Academy from 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Monday, January 4th, 2016


Tuesday, January 12th, 2016


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