Week at a Glance
Please welcome, Baby Kale, our newest member to our Small family!
Reinventing Urban Education- What does that mean to you?
"A transformed classroom requires a shift in mindset, calibrated classroom management, proficiency with core practical applications, coaching, and job-embedded professional learning. " Kevin Schwartz, AISD Technology
As we look forward towards reinventing urban education at the middle school level to excite and inspire students to imagine a bright future, I know we are on the right track. Our field trip to the Anne Frank Inspire Academy in San Antonio was an eye-and heart -opening experience. Parent Leaders, Faculty and Administrators met with Superintendent, Bruce Rockstroh, who gave an animated pitch for his school, a public charter with 150 students grades 6-8, complete with a brief history of public education. One of his stories was about why his school had only 150 students (all selected by random lottery - which yielded 27 special education students). He cited the work of Francis Crick (of Watson & Crick - DNA Molecule) who studied human behavior and determined through research what the optimum number of humans in a group was- and the magic number is 150 (defined as the number where we can know everyone's name, make connections and reasonably know what's going on with everyone) .
This is Bruce in a Commons Area at Anne Frank Inspire Academy
A screened-in porch
All of us loved this space and so do the kids- it gets cold out there in the winter and kids still want to be there at the picnic tables and sofas.
In a Learning Lab
L to R: John Beam, Ronnie Scott, PTA Treasurer, Melanie Gannt, and CAC Parent, Denise Nance Pierce - organizer of the field trip.
Yes, they have a tree house made by
Pete Nelson of Treehouse Masters - before he was "famous". Who wouldn't want to go to school here?
A screened-in porch
In a Learning Lab
Reinventing Urban Education
We wondered - Should we go back to academic teaming?
- When we had teams, we were not on block scheduling and averaged about 125-130 students per team and taught 50 minute, 5 out of 7 classes every day.
- Block-scheduling with 6 out of 8 is an average of 180 students per academic team - will teaming be effective with 180?
- The common conference period with the idea that the whole grade level owns all the students- DuFour's PLC model- is what we currently are practicing - is this effective?
- Would having teams conferencing/in PLC's at different periods help with the master schedule, as well as with connectivity to our students?
- Could we align who is off for a vertical teaming effect (i.e Team 6-1, 7-1 and 8-1 are all off at the same period)?
- How will our staffing for '16-'17 look in order to reduce class size in the core, and would teaming help with this?
- How would we form teams with the existing and new staff? (Our BTO indicates 3 new teacher positions) if the idea is reducing class size in the core?
- Could we have a STEM core team? We would need an ELA teacher.
Meet One of Our First Applicants to the new Fine Arts Performance Technologies Strand
This is Sofia- she is a 5th grader and wants to come to Small Green Tech because of our unique programming. She has also applied to Ann Richards. I hope she picks us!
We are doing the right work, and we are on the right track - Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Principals Identify Cohorts for Technology PD
In my opinion, and Becky's, it would be best if you rated yourselves on the rubric, so I hope you will take a look. I had to do a preliminary rating for the upcoming Expanded Cabinet Meeting on 2/3, but we plan to design a self-scoring rubric and see how close my rating is to yours. We can adjust as needed. The rubric, again, is for creating Cohorts of Learners and differentiating PD for teachers towards the integration of technology into the learning environment.
Ways to Show Your Pride This Week
2/2 Tuesday - Elective Showcase is from 6:00-7:30 p.m. We expect a big crowd! Hug a Counselor today!
2/3 Wednesday - Culture Day- wear something to represent a world culture. Beginner Band Recital in the Cafe at 6:00 - this is very entertaining and I highly recommend it! Amazing the transformation the kiddos go through in just a few months.
2/4 Thursday - Spirit Day - wear your Cougar Pride and attend a Boy's Cougar Basketball game in the Gym vs. O.Henry Mustangs at 5:30.
2/5 Friday - Carnival Committee Planning Meeting at Doc's Backyard at 5:30 bring the kids and help us plan our best carnival ever! We need you for the Carni Crew! The Carnival is scheduled for Friday May 20 directly after school to 7:30 p.m. Our goal is to raise $25,000.