Week at a Glance

Feb. 1-5

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Please welcome, Baby Kale, our newest member to our Small family!

Born January 27, 2016 in Jo Montminy's backyard shed and daughter of Vea, purchased September 5th, 2015 while she was already pregnant at the tender age of 7 months, please welcome Baby Kale into the world. Nova and Vea (7 months), and Fern who was only 5 months at the time, were in a pen with male goat babies prior to purchase. When Jo took the goats home for winter break, her neighbor, who happens to be a vet, told Jo that Vea was definitely pregnant. Nova and Fern returned to school on January 5th, while Vea stayed behind at Jo's house. Both Jo and Presley Guyat were there for the birth of the kid. This is sure to be one of Small's most memorable 8th gr. Capstone Projects! This is education that is reinventing the urban public school experience for our children. And, I'm glad she's a girl. We will be able to start the entrepreneurship of goat milk soap and lotion sooner than we thought.

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) .

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This is Bruce in a Commons Area at Anne Frank Inspire Academy

Reinventing Urban Education

We wondered - Should we go back to academic teaming?

The Cougar Faculty on the trip discussed the days when we were in teams of about 150 students. Here are some of the discussion points that came up:

  • 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.
We want to continue this discussion with you. Please be sure to discuss your views with your grade level/ department SLT reps, because our Thursday meeting will be all about our BTO, staffing and basic organizational structures needed to help us reinvent the urban education experience.
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Meet One of Our First Applicants to the new Fine Arts Performance Technologies Strand

And check out Barton Hills Choir Director, Gavin Tabone, who does really amazing things with his choir. His youtube channel is very entertaining.

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?

The Barton Hills Choir - David Bowie's 'Space Oddity'

Principals Identify Cohorts for Technology PD

We were recently asked to place teachers on a rubric for identification of Cohorts for the Technology Integration PD Plan. If you would like to know more about this, visit with Becky White, our Campus Innovation Coach, who recently attended PD on Saturday about the TI PD Plan. The rubric is linked above. The PD Plan implementation is discussed in the linked material.

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

2/1 Monday - PLC's -bring an example of student work related to implementation of the 7-Steps, or come ready to discuss implementation. Celebrate African American Heritage Month and Career and Tech Ed Month AND this is Counselor Appreciation Week. We have two amazing Counselors, Art Mendez and Cynthia Diaz. Please give them some Cougar Love this week! There is also a C-Team B-Ball Game in the Gym Monday night against Gorzycki!

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.