Monday Morning Message
Excellence and High Expectations With A Commitment to All
September 7, 2015
Happy Week 3 of School and LABOR DAY!!!!
Good morning. I hope you are all taking time to enjoy today with your family, friends and loved ones. Every day you get up and give your best, AND today is about you taking time to enjoy some personal time. This past weekend, I took time to visit Chicago and spend time with my parents, brothers, and new born niece, Olivia. WOW - She is practically 6 months old now! In addition, I have a new responsibility...I am a Godfather. It was a beautiful ceremony. Thank you all in advance for your well wishes.
Thank you all for submitting your Early Release agendas and most of all allowing me to be a thought partner with you. It is great to see each of you linking your school work to one or more of the district levers (Supervision / Feedback, Curriculum / Instruction, Data Informed Instruction, Professional Learning and Culture. Taking time to explicitly link our work [ school and district] ensures that everything we do is intentional. I took time on our first district Early Release to join East Central High School for their professional development. Staff reviewed culture, school data and the connection to EOIs and graduation.
This week will be busy. Two big things happening are 1) the Rebalancing process and 2) Principal LDD (September 10 and 11). As a result, per-scheduled site visits will become informal check-ins as I prepare and participate in the Rebalancing. During these past couple weeks we have discussed membership and staffing impacts; however, I will reach out to each of you to continue gathering up-to-date information. In regards to the LDD and AP participation, we will also discuss this during our check-in.
REMINDER: The 2OCG deadline for Principals and Assistant Principals to complete and submit is Friday, September 25. We spent time this past week reviewing goals for Principals and Assistant Principals. Please continue working through the sections and reach out if you have questions.
1) Leader specific (focused on you)
2) Practice specific (what practice/skill will you focus on that will improve your leadership and impact)
3) Have an impact on student achievement (the RELAY Super Lever documents passed out in our Principal Binder will help align the practice to an impact on student achievement)
Can't wait to touch base this week! Have a wonderful week.
-Your ILD, Julio César Contreras
RESOURCE: If you are in need of interpreters for school events be sure to complete the Site Interpreter Request Form.
Attendance and Enrollment: Substitute Teachers and the Welcome Folder
This week marks the 3rd full week of school. As you continue to work with your staff on data entry, be sure to take time to develop a structure for substitute teachers. A strategy I used a Principal is providing every Substitute Teacher with a "Welcome Folder". The folder contained the following information:
School: Left side
1) Letter of appreciation for supporting the school
2) Quick Card (reference card): laminated half sheet of how to call for support or
3) Buddy teacher: A staff member that will check in during the day to answer any questions the substitute may have (typically a teacher that is close)
4) How to take attendance
5) Map the school
Teacher: Right Side
1) Summary of expectations for the class (Do's and Don'ts)
2) Students to be aware of as: 1) leaders for support and 2) students that disrupt learning AND how to work with them (consistency of practices is critical for students)
3) Where to find needed materials in the room
4) Quick breakdown of how class is taught: Do now, teacher leads, group work, independent work, exit ticket)
5) A note sheet in order for the substitute to write a summary of the day to the teacher
This past week, I would like to take time to shine the spot light on three schools:
- East Central Jr had student attendance for the past week above 93% KUDOS!
- East Central High School showed student attendance above 90%!
- McLain 7 had attendance over 94% for two days!
GREAT JOB! Keep it going. Our Goal as a Portfolio is 95%. With this strong start I am confident we can share best practices and assist each other with getting our students to school for learning.
Legend: 95+ Green; 93-94.99 Yellow; 92.99- Red
RESOURCE: Kris Serna and Dave Casper are available to provide onsite support to your attendance clerk and Attendance Improvement Team. While we have not formally established an Attendance Improvement Team (AIT), the reality is that improving attendance requires more people than just the attendance clerk. Be sure to reach out Kris Serna to schedule an on-site training training for your AIT to:
- Review reports to monitor for the year (i.e. Truancy List, Daily Attendance Report)
- Establish a cycle of check-ins (i.e. Every 3 weeks)
- Identify the bite-size look-fors that will make a difference (side by side with check-in cycle)
Attendance Awareness Month: September
Building a Culture of Learning - The follow up
As you know, Friday, September 18 is the deadline for completing that school-wide culture review utilizing the TPS Culture rubic. September 18 will be the end of 4 full weeks of school. In the past weeks, we have reviewed your school expectations for Physical Space: Classrooms. During these next two weeks, I recommend you continue to work with our leadership teams to gather data on the other four areas (Physical Space: Common Areas, Student Joy & Engagement, Student Discipline System, and Adult Tone.
Questions to consider as you move through the rubric?
- What does the data tell us about our value for student learning?
- What agreements are evident throughout the school?
- Where are the exemplars that can be celebrated and leveraged as a support?
RESOURCE: I have re-attached the excel spreadsheet from last week which can help you track your data and identify the actionable bite-size feedback you will support your teachers with. Click here for the form. In addition you may also use the District Culture Walkthrough Data Collection Tool (see below).
- School Culture Walkthrough Timeline and Guidelines
- School Culture Rubric 2015-2016
- Culture Walkthrough Data Collection Tool
- School Culture Resource Document
The TPS Culture rubric is the anchor tool we will use during the month of September to ensure we are providing students with a high-quality learning environment.
SRI and SMI: last day Friday, September 11
1) Exempt list: ensure to submit via email to ILD
2) Re-testers: Check in with your teachers and review your current student scores to identify anyone that needs to retest (for example: insufficient time on the assessment, teacher observation, dramatic drop in Lexile score).
3) Initial review:
4) Testing Plan Due Friday, September 11.
(Click here for the Lexile Band image)
With your teachers:
- work collaboratively to ensure a proper testing environment is provided
- continue to check in for input on concerns with the testing
With your students:
- Take time to communicate the importance of taking their time on the assessment
- Remind them of the best practices for an assessment
----- Eat breakfast
----- Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep
----- Read the questions carefully to identify the focus and the best problem-solving strategy to apply
IRON SHARPENS IRON
Supervision and Feedback: Observation / Feedback Tracker
It's no secret that there are three things which can define me:
1) I care deeply about everything I do
2) In order to understand, I ask questions
3) I process and offer feedback / thoughts (as needed)
In short...I love growing and getting better at what we do - Preparing our students to be the best leaders of tomorrow. I have regularly heard: Practice Makes Perfect. BUT DOES IT? Consider the example of a potential Olympic sprinter. This is someone who has done all of the high school and college trainings/competitions and won. Someone who has a strict schedule of nutrient, sleep and training. HOWEVER, this person is now up against the best of the best. Others who also have had similar achievements and preparation. How should this sprinter seek to get the best out of him/herself? The answer...yes a coach. Someone who takes time to observe, analyze and provide feedback the details that will move him/her from Good to Great. On one side, surely sprinting is about one foot in front of the other but on the other hand doesn't form, posture, breathing, and materials matter? IT ABSOLUTELY DOES!
TWO big questions:
1) How are you keeping track of the feedback you are giving teachers for growth?
2) How are you keeping track of the check-in to ensure they are growing and ready for the next piece of feedback?
So how does apply to Education? As you can already imagine: Administrators are the coach for teachers. You are the key to making teacher "The Best" they can be.
Last year I introduced an electronic workbook. During this week, take time as team to review with each other the aforementioned questions. I am making updates to the tracker from last year and will make it available before the end of the month. In addition, if you and your team would like some thing customized -> let me know and I will be sure to develop it for you.
Low Inference Notes: The Framework
But just want exactly does that mean? What type of notes lead to strong feedback? The Julio answer: Low Inference notes should always include a balance of:
- Dialogue: What does the teacher say, what do the students say?
- Quantitative (Numerical): How many questions were asked? What do the time-stamps tell us?
- Unbiased statements: write what you see, not what you think.
- Environmental: How does the learning environment support learning (student desks set up, where the teacher teaches from).
Have You Heard???
The Link between Culture, Language and Literacy...It's Real
As I reflect on my childhood, I am reminded of the challenges of walking into a place where my home (and only at the time) language was not acknowledged. Going through the day with out the confidence to pronounce a syllable or the ability to connect a word to my native language -- made every day harder and harder. And then came my Third grade teacher, the teacher that took time to learn the pronunciation of my name versus (Jewel-leo or July). The teacher that took time to post labels with images on my desk to translate words. In short, the teacher that understood the link between culture, language and literacy.
Below is a link to an article I recently came across regarding this topic. I hope you take time to review it and reflect on the questions.
click here to download the article
My Learning Plan Calendar: Online: September
District Professional Learning - September
How to access:
1) Access the My Learning Plan link (click here)
2) On the left panel click on Calender (under Activity Catalogs)
3) To print -> at the top click on Print Screen
FYI: EDIVATE: Online Professional Learning
1) Log into Edivate
2) Search the following courses:
----> OCR: OCR Language Assistance Training FY 2015-2016
----> Child Abuse: Coming soon
----> Blood Borne Pathogen:Coming soon
I will be sure to update you as I learn of dates and additional online trainings.
Hispanic Youth Government Council: Supporting Student Leaders
Click here to download the application here
Important Dates - add dates for rebalancing
8/20-9/11 SRI assessment
8/20-9/11 SMI assessment
9/9-9/10 Read 180 / System 44 Training
9/10-9/11 LDD @ WIlson
9/10 Portfolio Meeting [Principals] (Wilson)
8/31-9/18 Culture Walk (BOY) Rubric due (submit results via email to ILD)
9/25 2nd Order Change Goal Due for Principals and Assistant Principals
Meet..one of our star students...
A. Math. I am good at it.
Q. Why were you selected as the Student of the Month?
A. Because I complete my work in class and then ask if I can help other. I like to help others.
Q. What advise do you have for your fellow students?
A. I have these things: 1) Always do your best, 2) Never give up
Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. A teacher. I want to be a teacher.