Secondary English Weekly #11

VOLUME THREE, ISSUE ELEVEN /December 7-11, 2020

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Monday, December 7th

  • StudySync Webinar: 4-4:30 PM How To Lead Blasts in a Hybrid or Remote Setting Register

Tuesday, December 8th

  • StudySync Webinar: 4-4:30 PM How to Create and Modify Assignments Register
Wednesday, December 9th
  • English Chair Meeting 3:30-5:30pm
  • StudySync Webinar: 4-5 PM Basic Training for New Accounts Register
Thursday, December 10th
  • StudySync Webinar: 4-4:30 PM Covering All Standards with Spotlight Skills Register
  • ASCD Webinar: Solving Academic and Behavior Problems in a Remote Environment 03-4PM REGISTER HERE
  • Teaching Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi Session 3 More Information Here I Registration Here

All Week:

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Congratulations to Kevin Houston, a 10th grader from Columbus Alternative High School. He won the CCS MLK Breakfast Speaker Contest and will represent the district at the 2021 Martin Luther King Breakfast, held virtually on January 18, 2021. Houston will record his speech this week for the event. Elena Earley, a 7th grader at Dominion Middle School was chosen as the Runner Up.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this contest. The speeches were inspirational and polished. The students were confident and their voices were strong. They should be very proud of their entries!

  • Ziham Ali-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Malakhi Armistead-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Adonia Balqis-Dominion Middle School
  • Brandon Bosley-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Asha Brill-Columbus Gifted Academy
  • Cassidy Brown-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Malaysha Brunner-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Deja Dean-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Elena Earley-Dominion Middle School (Runner-Up)
  • Myiesha Fitch-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Tahvon Ford-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Kevin Houston-Columbus Alternative High School (Winner)
  • Marylyen Jimenez-Ayala-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Maya Jolley-Columbus Alternative High School
  • Graciela Leahy-Columbus Gifted Academy
  • D'Shawn McGlown-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Ja-Myyah Miller-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Tula Moore-Columbus Gifted Academy
  • Herbert Robertson-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Elijah Shackelford-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Corey Smith-Mifflin Middle School
  • Londale Towns-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Annmarie Trabold-Columbus Gifted Academy
  • Jayy (Juanita) Triplett-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy
  • Natalie Wilson-Linden-McKinley Stem Academy

Content Priorities-What Matters Most in English Under the Constraints of Remote/Pandemic Teaching and Learning

We all know that remote teaching during a global pandemic inherently leads to a slower teaching and learning pace. The director of Secondary Curriculum asked me to put together some slides for how to adapt to the slower pace by showing what the three main priorities would be for teaching English in our new normal. The priorities are not much different than what they would be in a face-to-face situation, but they are narrowed and more focused.

Priority I: Essential Practice

  • significant instructional time with ELA disciplines: reading, writing, discussion

  • strategies/scaffolds for comprehension and composition that transfer across texts/contexts

Priority 2: Standard Alignment

  • questioning/activities/lessons/assessments that apply standard knowledge and skills to ELA disciplines: reading, writing, discussion

  • heavier focus on targeted standards from OST
  • awareness of PreAP/AP standards (Honors & AP)

Priority 3: Adopted Resource

  • use of StudySync (English 6-12) for integrated, on-grade-level, scaffolded lessons that inherently include Priorities 1 and 2

  • use of Bedford texts/Launchpad (Honors & AP) for foundational, skill, and theme/topic lessons that that inherently include Priorities 1 and 2

-In general, the first priority focuses on the essential practices for your classroom time. The second priority lists the standards that you should focus on the most for questions, activities, lessons, and assessments using the grade-level, complex texts from your essential practice in priority one. It may be that those priority standards become your narrowed focus for the rest of the year. The third priority shows you how the adopted resources inherently meet priorities one and two. It should be noted that in StudySync, you teach all of the standards listed in priority two in the first four CORE ELA units for your grade level. It may be that you try to do just those four units instead of six this school year due to our slower pace caused by remote learning.

-Below are the slides with the priorities detailed including which standards are the most important for preparing a student to be college and career ready and to do well on the OST. You will find resource links from the CCS ELA 6-12 Webpage and our adopted resources for meeting the priorities. You will find research behind each of the priorities and why they are the most important for a narrowed focus. You will want to read through each carefully as they each contain several items of information.


Content Priorities ELA 6-8

Content Priorities English 9-12

Content Priorities Honors 9-10/AP 11-12

-You can also find the Content Priority Slides on the ELA 6-12 Webpage in the "CCS ELA GUIDING DOCUMENTS" section of the Curriculum/Instructional Resources 6-8 and the Curriculum/Instructional Resources 9-12 Quick Link pages.


As you know the district began semesterization this school year. This has brought up the question as to whether Semester Exams will be required. The answer is no. Teachers do have the choice to offer a semester exam if they want. For English 6-12, the exam could be one of the tests in the StudySync Assessment Suite. Some good choices from that suite would be a Benchmark Assessment (Grades 6-8), a State Test Preparation Assessment, or an End of Unit Test. Since the Benchmarks are used for the BOY, MOY, and EOY in Grades 9-12, they should not be used as the semester exam at those grade levels.

Here is the official word about semester exams from the district.

-Based on BOE Policy #5421 approved on April 15, 2015, semesterization is permitted with teachers having the OPTION to give final exams.

-Below is a guide for teachers to use to calculate final grade WITH or WITHOUT semester exams. For those teachers, especially Science and Social Studies, who are interested in creating semester exams, Mastery Connect could be a good tool to use. Math and ELA teachers have the option of using the assessment tools in their McGraw Hill resources.

Classes Granting Fewer Than One (1) Credit

-For a class granting less than one (1) credit for which a final exam is not given, the final grade shall be calculated by adding the quality points for each quarter's grade. The total shall then be divided by four (4). The final grade shall be determined by applying the resulting quality points to the Final Grade Calculation Scale.

-For a class granting less than one (1) credit for which a final exam is given at the discretion of the teacher, the final grade shall be calculated by first doubling and adding the quality points for each quarter's grade, and then adding those quality points and the quality points for the exam grade. The total shall then be divided by five (5). The final grade shall be determined by applying the resulting quality points to the Final Grade Calculation Scale. This Grade Calculator has two formulas for semester grades (one with an exam and one without an exam).

studysync usage

StudySync should be used in the same manner as any adopted "textbook." It is the place where the CORE ELA Units for Grades 6-12 are housed (print-student consumable; digital-StudySync online). It is where students access grade-level, complex texts that they will read, write about, and have discussions around. It is the resource that offers scaffolding at point of use for students to access complex texts. It is the place where standards are mastered using reading, writing, and skill lessons. It is the place where you have a up-to-date information on how your students are mastering standards because the StudySync grade book has a Standards view that allows you to see every assignment a student has done aligned to a standard and offers ideas for remediation (StudySync Gradebook & Data Analysis). It is NOT a literacy intervention tool like Achieve3000 that has programmatic goals for students. It is important to make this distinction because teachers need to take ownership of using StudySync as their Tier 1 Instructional resource. The bulk of your curriculum should come from StudySync. Teachers are still free to add and take away from the units, just as you might have a textbook in the past. However, it is not ok to just use StudySync for testing and blasts. If you have been doing that, please make the change to using StudySync's CORE ELA Units. The first read, skill, close read routine found there is exactly what our students need to master standards using complex text. It is also important to note that StudySync is not a supplemental product, like TeachingBooks or DBQ Online. Those are available for your use but should not be the place you go to for the bulk of your curriculum.

StudySync added Social Emotional Learning (SEL) units to its library

StudySync has added two SEL Mini Units to its library. There is one for high school and one for middle school. You can check them out by going to the Library tab, selecting Units, and putting "social emotional learning" in the Search bar.


NEW Book & Author Chrome Extension

Now every Google search can instantly connect you and your students to books and authors. With the new TeachingBooks Book Connections extension on your Chrome browser, search for any subject, topic, book title, favorite series, author, or award. Find search results in the upper right corner that include:

  • Direct access to book and author resources
  • Read-along audiobook performances
  • Video book trailers and more

Deploy this free Chrome Extension so that everyone in your community gets search results that are enhanced with recommended book titles and immediate access to resources.

Download the TeachingBooks Book Connections Chrome Extension.

columbus metropolitan library winter reading challenge

CML Online Winter Reading Challenge FAQ

This year’s program is online only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out this Winter Reading Challenge video to learn more.

Dates: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 – Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021

Participants: Students in Kindergarten through 12th grade

How can I join Winter Reading Challenge? Go to Select “register,” then “I’m registering for Winter Reading Challenge.” Sixth grade teachers are able to sign up their entire class by selecting "I'm a teacher signing up my class" after hitting the register button.

How do I complete Winter Reading Challenge? Earn 6 Super Winter Reader badges by completing 6 reading activities of your choice. The required 6 hours of reading are built into the activities.

What prizes will I earn if I complete Winter Reading Challenge? You will earn a book, bookmark, mechanical pencil, a Raising Cane’s coupon and a Donatos coupon booklet. They will be mailed to the mailing address you provide when you sign up.

OSU Teacher Leader Endorsement

Columbus City Schools’ Division of Professional Learning & Licensure is once again partnering with The Ohio State University to offer the opportunity to apply for consideration for the OSU Teacher Leader Endorsement cohort beginning summer semester. This opportunity is for certificated staff employed by Columbus City Schools with the exception of substitute teachers and substitute administrators.

Finances: Teachers who are selected by OSU for the cohort will have all Instructional and General Fees (i.e., tuition) paid. Individuals will be responsible for any additional fees for materials (including on-line learning fees), applying to the OSU Graduate School (if not a prior student), and for the cost of OSU’s Tk20 online program (required for all endorsements).

About the Program: Recognized by the Ohio Department of Education, the Teacher Leader Endorsement from The Ohio State University fulfills one of the requirements to obtain the Lead Professional Educator License, the highest licensing credential a teacher can achieve in the state. This endorsement is tailored to meet the needs of classroom teachers and other educators who aspires to lead, under the direction of school and district leaders.​ The endorsement is a three-course program that is completed in three consecutive terms. It begins in June 2021 and ends in May 2022.

​When you earn a Teacher Leader Endorsement you are well positioned to support the development​ of new teachers, lead school improvement initiatives, assist school and district administrators with professional development activities and attend to other leadership needs within the school and/or district. The Teacher Leader Endorsement also assists qualify educators for the Lead Professional Educators License, the highest qualification on Ohio's highest four-tiered licensure structure.​

Application Information: If you are interested in applying for consideration to be part of this cohort, please complete THIS FORM by December 22, 2020. You will then be notified with the steps to officially apply to the program via your provided email.

Requirements: Ohio teaching license/certificate, Master's Degree, at least four years of successful teaching.

If you have any questions, contact Karmen McCaslin at

FREE WEBINAR FROM ASCD: Solving Academic and Behavior Problems in a Remote Environment

Sign up for a close look at proven ways to relieve the five biggest stressors of teaching in a remote or hybrid setting. Using the strengths-based approach of Appreciative Inquiry, Margaret Searle and Marilyn Swartz will walk you through a problem-solving process that helps you apply your past successes to resolve new and unfamiliar challenges.

In this webinar, you will learn about

  • Processes to reduce the overwhelming workload by working efficiently as a team.
  • Tools that make it easy to identify student strengths as well as opportunities for academic and social-emotional growth.
  • Strategies for partnering with parents and gaining their support.
  • Ways to build solid relationships with students and keep them engaged.
  • How to use the five whys technique to uncover the hidden barriers hindering achievement.

Date: Thursday, December 10, 2020; Time: 03:00-4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time



The 15th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world. There are 4 rounds of competition. In the 1st Round kicking off on January 22nd, writers are placed in groups and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment. Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. The judges choose a top 5 in each group to advance to the 2nd Round where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have 3 days to write a 2,000-word short story. The judges again choose a top 5 in each group to advance to the 3rd Round where writers receive new assignments and have 2 days to write a 1,500-word short story. Judges select finalists and the remaining writers are challenged to write a 1,250-word story in just 24 hours in the fourth and final round of the competition. Feedback from the judges is provided for every submission and there are thousands in cash and prizes for the winners. In addition, they will be donating two dollars from each entry to global charities dealing with some of the most critical issues affecting our world, and writers choose where that donation goes. Learn more about the competition, register, and read winning stories from previous competitions at the link below. Good luck and stay safe writers!

Learn More and Register

NCTE Call for Proposals for 2021 Conference

Submit a Proposal for the 2021 Annual Convention

Program Chair Valerie Kinloch chose "Equity, Justice, and Antiracist Teaching" as the theme for the 2021 NCTE Annual Convention, and she invites you to submit a program proposal today! Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. ET, Wednesday, January 13.


Grants for New Teachers

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Each year, Gamma Chapter, one of the local chapters in the central Ohio area, provides grants to new teachers to buy materials and supplies for their classrooms. These grants are given in the form of gift certificates. Interested teachers should go to to download the application form. Grant applications can be emailed to Judy Valentine, Grant-in-Aid Chairperson at or sent via USPS to 69 Iron Ore Ct., Columbus, OH 43213. Completed grant applications must be received by Dec. 14, 2020. Grant recipients will be notified by Jan. 15, 2021.
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What are the secondary english curriculum resources?

CCS Adopted, Supplemental, and Intervention Resources List

  • Tier I Instructional Resources are StudySync (English 6-12) and the Bedford Texts/Launchpad (Honors and AP English)
  • Tier II Intervention Resource is Achieve3000
  • Supplemental Resources (in general) are TeachingBooks and DBQ

ELA 6-12 Webpage (One Site for Secondary English Curriculum/Resources)

NOTE: To access many curricular and district, you must be logged into Google using your CCS credentials and not a personal account.

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StudySync: Tier One Instructional Resource for English


-You AND your students access StudySync via the Clever icon or Click on the McGraw Hill icon. Then, launch the StudySync App.

-Your classes are marked with X and Y. The X classes are for first semester and the Y classes are for second semester. If you want to change the names of your classes in StudySync, follow this guide: StudySync-How to Change Course Names

-Here is information about liking StudySync to Google Classroom.

-Here is the demo code for StudySync in case you have a co-teacher, building coach, or admin that wants to see the platform and they do not have a class aligned in Clever/IC.


UN: StudySync2021

PW: study2021


Help Center

Finding the Help Center in StudySync (video)

-Remember, if you have a question that deals with CCS infrastructure as it relates to StudySync (Clever, rostering, IC, etc.), those questions would be for Tim Wangler.

Tutorials, Trainings, and Webinars

Ask-an-Expert Sessions

Remote Teaching Documents

Resources/ Links from StudySync Training Presenters

Teacher Resources from StudySync:

Administration Resources from StudySync:

Here are the finalized/updated support emails/numbers for McGraw Hill.

Teacher Support McGraw Hill

Administrator Support McGraw Hill

Student/Parent Support McGraw Hill
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Bedford/Launchpad: Tier One Instructional Resource for Honors and AP English

BEDFORD access and support


To get to Launchpad through Clever, click the Launchpad icon and click on the name of class/textbook. Student texts were sent to the buildings. All students have a hardback text, Honors students should also have a workbook.



Trainings and Tutorials
Bedford Overviews, Slideshows, Trainings, and Tutorials

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TeachingBooks: Supplemental Resource



You AND your students access TeachingBooks via the Clever icon or Click on the TeachingBooks icon.



-TeachingBooks is the tool that houses the lists of books we have in the warehouse and in the Secondary English Curriculum Office. Use this TeachingBooks Tutorial to learn how to access the CCS book lists.

- TeachingBooks also is a place to get additional novel and author resources. These Overview videos/trainings from TeachingBooks can help you understand the resources: Introduction video I Slide Presentation and Training Script.

-October 16th PD Session: Virtual and Blending Learning Recording


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Poetry Out Loud (POL) encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Teachers, librarians, or administrators register their high schools each year with the Ohio Arts Council and organize contests with one class, several classes, or a whole school. Contests, workshops, and multi-media program materials, including curricula, are free. Poetry Out Loud is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.

REGISTER YOUR SCHOOL HERE. I Get more information here.

POL Teacher's Guide I POL Virtual Competition Specifics


Humanities Moments

Through the National Humanities Center’s Humanities Moments project, users submit short videos and essays recalling how an encounter with the humanities, whether through a book, film, document, performance, or something else, profoundly affected their lives.

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This summer librarians from four of our high schools (Africentric, Eastmoor, Fort Hayes, and Whetstone) received a Teacher's Dream Grant for the book Stamped by Jason Reynolds. Their work around this book in coordination with OSU and Otterbein faculty has culminated in a series of four educator sessions through NExT Hub at Otterbein on October 22nd, November 12, November 19, and December 10th. This network is for teachers who are going to teach/are teaching Stamped this year and have read the book. The sessions and conversation will focus on addressing teacher posionality in the classroom and address student needs in regards to the text. Through four sessions, educators will connect with each other, hear from Otterbein faculty, and work together to create materials for their classrooms.

More Information Here I Registration Here


Novel Conversations, a fan-favorite podcast about classic literature, is returning for its seventh season! And they are kicking it off with a dystopian theme. Get ready for Big Brother, battles with Morlocks, and some apprehensive book burning. Join them every other Tuesday for eight brand new episodes, featuring titles like Fahrenheit 541 and 1984. See below for all eight books and release dates, or follow us for updates on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Enjoy! Listen Now

Older Episodes: LISTEN NOW

Ep 8: 1984 by George Orwell (1949) Dec 15


The LifeChanger of the Year Award, sponsored by the National Life Group and the National Life Group Foundation, seeks to honor K-12 educators, teachers, administrators or school staff members who make a positive difference in the lives of students. LifeChanger awardees and their schools or districts receive prizes valued between $50 and $10,000. To be considered for a LifeChanger of the Year award, nominees must:

  • Make a positive impact in the lives of students;
  • Enhance the school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride;
  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level;
  • Possess a proven record of professional excellence;
  • Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning;
  • Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards.

Learn more about this award and submit nominations here.


Recognizing the extraordinary challenges teachers face in the upcoming academic year 2020-21, a one-time $5,000.00 grant will be awarded to purchase books for K-6 students in an Ohio public school building. This Bonnie Chambers Grant is designed to help teachers who strongly promote the use of quality literature in their classrooms. Teachers will use the grant money to select and purchase their own book choices (fiction or non-fiction) dealing with understanding and coping with COVID, racism and equality issues, and/or mental health issues for children and their families.

Application Criteria

  • This grant is open to any* Ohio public school teacher(s) in grades K-6 who demonstrates a need for money in the purchasing of classroom books for their elementary building.
  • If a group of teachers apply, one teacher will apply on behalf of the building and serve as the contact teacher.
  • Need can be demonstrated through free-lunch ratios, recent school-levy results, extraordinary events, etc.

Applications are available and due by December 31, 2020.

Online Application I Print Application

Visit the Bonnie Chambers Grant page for more information:


Due to the current pandemic, OCTELA 2021: Equity will be held virtually on February 20-27th. They hope that this format will satisfy your need for top-notch professional development while also being able to accommodate the various schedules that teachers have this year. This year’s OCTELA virtual conference will include four keynote sessions (Laurie Halse Anderson, David Bowles, Dr. Jocelyn A. Chadwick, and Dr. Peggy O'Brien) that will be live streamed on Saturdays. There will be a mixture of live breakout and pre-recorded sessions available to attendees throughout the week. Virtual seats in live breakout sessions are limited; however, recordings of live sessions will be available for a minimum of thirty (30) days after the conference. All pre-recorded sessions will be available for on-demand viewing for up to one (1) year after the conference. As always, CEUs and graduate credit will be available.

Go to for more information.

2021 Registration Prices: Standard Registration: $73; Undergraduate registration $33


HERE is the contest to win $500 in Books.


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways for November 2020.


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways.



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Holiday Countdown Video

Train - Shake Up Christmas (Official Video)

did you miss earlier issues of the secondary english weekly newsletter?

Each week, this Secondary English Weekly Newsletter will be linked in an email sent to ELA and ELA-related teachers in Grades 6-12 and posted on the CCS English Language Arts 6-12 Page ( It will contain all of the latest information that could prove useful to you and your students. If you know of anyone who needs to be added to the mailing list, please send their name(s) to cphillips3865@columbus.k12.oh. Happy Educating!

Carla Mae Phillips

Lead Secondary English Curriculum Coordinator

Southland Center, Suite 125