Middle School Principals'Newsletter

December 2015

Have a Wonderful Holiday!

We want to wish you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. We hope you find time to make memories, relax and have fun!

Every Student Succeeds Act Replaces NCLB

Obama Signs ESSA, Calling Its Passage A “Christmas Miracle.”

USA Today (12/11, Korte) reports President Obama “reversed course on federal education policy” on Thursday when he signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will “curtail the federal government’s role” in K-12 education and “allow states to set their own standards.” USA Today calls the new law “a turnaround from 14 years of federally directed education policy that began with” the No Child Left Behind Act. Addressing the controversy that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has stirred in implementing Federal education policies, President Obama said, “Sometimes, in the nicest possible way, he’s gotten on people’s nerves because he’s pushed them and prodded them. Had he not been, I believe, as tenacious as he was, we wouldn’t have had such a good product here today.”

NPR (12/10) reports in its “The Two-Way” blog that the new law “keeps in place the basic testing requirements of No Child Left Behind,” but “strips away many of the high stakes that had been attached to student scores.” The New York Times (12/11, Davis, Subscription Publication) says the new law “was the product of lengthy negotiations between Democrats and Republicans and a shared opposition to the strictures” of NCLB and to “the Obama administration’s efforts to institute its own performance incentives tied to teachers’ pay.”

The Washington Post (12/11, Layton) reports that the bill “received strong bipartisan support from both houses of Congress.” The President said at the signing ceremony, “I want this not just because it’s good for the students themselves, the communities involved and it’s good for our economy but because it really goes to the essence of what we are about as Americans. There is nothing more essential to living up to the ideals of this nation than to make sure every child is able to live up to their God given potential.” The Post reports that the part of the law that “reduces the legal authority of the education secretary” is seen as a rebuke of “Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s assertive use of executive power, behavior that made him one of the most influential education secretaries in U.S. history but earned him criticism” from Republicans. President Obama praised Duncan at the signing ceremony, saying, “Arne has dedicated his life to the cause of education.”

The Washington Times (12/11, Boyer) reports Obama called the bill “a bipartisan ‘Christmas miracle.’” The Wall Street Journal (12/11, Belkin, Peterson, Subscription Publication) reports Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, the driving force behind the measure, said of it during Senate debate on Wednesday, “We have an opportunity to make clear that in the future the path to higher standards, better teaching and real accountability will be through states, communities and classrooms, and not through Washington, D.C.”

Alyson Klein writes at the Education Week (12/11) “Politics K-12” blog that President Obama “reversed course” on decades of “standards-based education redesign, a greater reliance on standardized tests, and bigger role for Washington when it comes to holding schools accountable for student results.”

The Los Angeles Times (12/11, Resmovits) writes that “with the stroke of a pen, the No Child Left Behind Act became history on Thursday.” ABC World News (12/10, story 12, 0:20, Muir) briefly reported on the signing.

Take-Aways from Teacher Evaluation Workshop!

Below is a summary of some of the key points from the presentation on December 10th with Gary Collins and Bill Blaha.

2015-2016: 25% student growth/Evaluation Tool/BeeBee Factors

2016-2017: 25% student growth/Evaluation Tool (one of 4 + training)/BeeBee Factors

Write your administrative guidelines and have default provisions and review yearly

BeeBee Factors: Must Be Included this Year (2015-2016)

-demonstrated pedagogical skills

-knowledge of the subject area

-classroom management

-manner and efficacy of disciplining students

-rapport with parents and students

-ability to withstand the strain of teaching

-attendance and disciplinary record

-significant, relevant accomplishments

-relevant special training

Don't forget your New Teacher!

March 16th 4:30-6:30

Reflections, Feedback, and Getting Better!

These two hours will focus on taking feedback and using it to continue improve effectiveness. Your new teachers will leave with a reflection sheet, tips for listening, taking the next steps toward improvement and ways to use mentors to support.

Information on CyberSafety

How Internet Predators Lure Teens

Spring 2016-Testing Schedule Update

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Key Dates to Remember:


School System Review (SSR) OR Interim Self-Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE March 18

School Improvement Plan (SIP)

DUE September 1


District System Review (DSR) OR District Interim Self Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE April 22

Assessment Links and Updates


MDE Link to all Things M-STEP


Update from Office of Assessment & Accountability

Science Resources

Administrator Professional Learning Pathway

A-1. Supporting a Vision of Instruction Consistent with A Framework for K-12 Science Education

Based on information found in the Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (download the free pdf and print)

Genesee ISD Dates: 10/27/16 or 1/6/2016 (registration link)

Science Education Professional Learning Resources- Teacher and Administrator Pathways

Next Generation Science Exemplar

Professional Learning at GISD

December 2015

Formative Classroom Walkthroughs: Why Not?

This book is a valuable resource that emphasizes instructional "look-fors" during walkthroughs so that administrators and coaches can provide formative feedback to teachers prior to evaluation.

"Formative walkthroughs, grounded in a learning target theory of action, help all educators...use evidence-based practice, collaborative inquiry, and feed-forward information to increase their effect on student learning and achievement during each lesson."

Genesee Intermediate School District, in collaboration with the Michigan Assessment Consortium and Edupaths, is pleased to host this online book study as one of the sites for MAC Reads 2016. Participants will have access to chapter resources and activities designed to enhance their professional learning, as well as real-time interactive sessions within the online course. Click here to register.

LOCATION: Online (you will receive details soon!)

AUDIENCE: Educators across Michigan

COST: FREE Course; $25 per site to participate in Live Video Conference below)

DATES: Course opens December 1 for asynchronous learning; real-time sessions (see dates below):

*Participants may purchase their books at http://shop.ascd.org.

January 2016

Tuning Up Classroom Assessments

January 12 and January 19

  • How confident are you that your current assessments are tightly aligned with the new Common Core State Standards?
  • How confident are you that your current assessments are rigorous enough to assess students at the appropriate depth of knowledge?
  • How confident are you that your current assessments are of high quality and produce valid results?

This 2-day workshop will provide background knowledge to ensure assessments are aligned to the Common Core and guide participants through a process of analyzing and modifying current assessments being used in their grade, course, building and/or district.

This K-12 workshop is great for teams of teachers using common or interim assessments within a PLC. Participants will need to bring a current assessment with them, printed out on single-sided sheets of paper.

Tuning up Classroom Assessments with Dr. Ellen Vorenkamp. Click here to register!

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Learning Opportunities for Administrators & Teachers