The "Oskaloosa Syllabus"

February, 2016 ` "News YOU Can Use"

High School Moves Forward on MTSS Plan

The High School has a new schedule as of the first of the year as part of their Multi-Tiered System of Supports.

Students who are failing a course are required to stay at school an additional 30 minutes to get help from a teacher for the following week. Whether it is skill development or just help to work through a task they did not understand, this is time for students to get the necessary help they need. The High School staff is working together to make sure all students are learning at high levels.

Those students who are not struggling, are allowed to 1) go home or 2) stay and choose an enrichment activity. Students can choose ACT prep, art, garage band, exercise, or a variety of other things being made available to students.

The idea is built around the premise that - the consequence of not doing your work - is DOING your work. If you have any further questions, Mr. Bandy (HS Principal) is happy to answer them for you.

Tool for Improvement Time

Key to Student Learning = Formative Assessment

Hattie Research Reminder: Formative Assessment Practices will provide a .90 Effect Size in terms of student learning. This is almost 2 grade level increases in student achievement if 90% of teachers do this [with fidelity] 90% of the time.

Formative Assessment is a VERB - use these questions to reflect and self-assess your current practice of using Formative Assessment in your classroom and during PLC time to inform your instruction.

1.What am I teaching and to whom?

2.Why am I teaching it?

3.How am I teaching it?

4.Why am I teaching it that way?

5.What evidence will I collect to show my kids are getting it?

6.How will my students know they are getting it?

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Learning Target Idea

The 6th Grade Math and Science have been involving students in their Learning Targets.

Students have been looking at the GLB's with the teacher and then creating their own Daily Learning Target for the day. They share their Learning Targets then as a whole group; discussing what they will be learning that day.

What a GREAT idea - they are involving students in the ownership of their own learning!

How are you involving students in the discussions around your daily Learning Targets? Share them with me and we can learn from one another!!!


Osky PLC Flowchart - Using Formative Assessment to Improve Learning - during PLC

This graphic was provided to PLC Facilitators in January. Following this flowchart can assist PLC's in their conversations around student learning.
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PLC to Watch in February - 3rd Grade

SMART Goal for 2015-2016: 100% of 3rd graders will read at 77 wpm in the fall, 105 wpm in the winter, and 119 wpm in the spring on Aimsweb or increase the words per minute by 7 words each month.

Action Steps to get there: We will use the fluency resources provided in Wonders. We will have fluency intervention groups in our classrooms and during reading support time with the reading strategists.

One thing 3rd grade is doing is utilizing their Instructional Coach to help them monitor their instruction around comprehension strategies and fluency. They are videotaping lessons and watching them during PLC time. Together they try to be consistent in their implementation of instructional techniques. See pictures below.

Survey to Watch For

Part of good school improvement is monitoring what matters. Instructional Coaches, PLC's, and the "Tool for Improvement" use are the 3 BIG ROCKS we want to monitor. Teachers will be completing this survey in early February.

The survey will be brief, but it will allow us to gather, analyze, and evaluate our current knowledge, skills and dispositions. Then we can make decisions on how to improve in the future. When you get the link, please take the time to complete these very important survey.

Thank you in advance!


District Leadership Team

The DLT met on January 5th. The main decisions or discussions are listed below.

  1. 6th Grade will be Standards-Based next school year. No letter grades will be given. Support for 6th grade will take place this spring, summer and into the next year.
  2. The "Tool for Improvement" updates were approved and the refined document was sent to all teaching staff - and placed on the staff resource page.
  3. DLT took part in an activity to help determine learning opportunities for next year to ensure quality instruction focused on the categories in the Tool for Improvement were understood, used and implemented.

English Language Learner (ELL) Standards

There are new ELL Standards everyone needs to be aware of and understand. 6 Modules have been designed for teachers to watch by the end of the 2017 school year. Because of this mandate, I am incorporating time for all PLC's to watch the modules during the 2016-2017 school year.

Details will be in the Professional Development Plan this spring. If you have any questions, Mrs. Cochran can answer them - or give me a call or send me an e-mail.

Are you wearing your Vision/Mission Lanyards?

Remember the importance of our Vision and Mission - along with the categories of the "Tool for Improvement" by wearing this with your picture i.d. and key cards!

If you need a new card or lanyard, just contact me at your convenience.

One Word!

Have you been living your "ONE WORD"?

It is the time of year for resolutions - but reflecting on who you want to be, what you want to be like, and goals/commitments for life can be more powerful.

If you have any reflection based on your one word, I would love to hear about it!

Instructional Coaches

Instructionl Coach Survey

I am grateful to those who completed the survey. Here is some data gathered from the survey as of Friday.

High School
  1. 97% have utilized an Instructional Coach
  2. Coaches have been most utilized - Observed a classroom
  3. 80% feel the Coaches have impacted their instruction at a 4 or 5
  4. How they can help in future - Provide Resources or Ideas

Middle School

  1. 84% have utilized an Instructional Coach
  2. Coaches have been most utilized - Conferring and Reflecting
  3. 42.8% feel the Coaches have impacted instruction at a 4 or 5
  4. How they can help in the future - Provide resources


  1. 76.1% have utilized an Instructional Coach
  2. Coaches have been most utilized - Collaboration with a PLC
  3. 65.7% feel the Coaches have impacted their instruction at a 4 or 5
  4. How they can help in the future - Provide resources

Comments about the Coaches!

  • Honestly I think they would be willing to help me with any need I would have.
  • I was skeptical at first but they have helped me in many ways.
  • I love having our instructional coaches! They work so hard and I really appreciated all they have done for me this year. Thank you!!!!!!!
  • They have provided support to make my social skills class better for me and the students.
  • I have had both come into my room for varying reasons and assignments this year and both have been a great help. They have provided feedback and answered questions as well as provide suggestions regarding lessons and activities. I feel they have made me consider things from a different point of view and often brought up questions the students may have that I have not thought of. This has helped me better structure my classroom for student understanding and engagement.
  • The instructional coaches have done wonders for me. I love to have conversations with them, and they have done a wonderful job at providing feedback.
  • All the instructional coaches are awesome and really help us with reading and math!

    She has been a great asset for our 1st grade team in literacy.

  • She has given us great guidance in small group math instruction. She is also leading us on our book study on Number Talks.

  • Our coaches seem very qualified and are very willing to help.

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Follow the Instructional Coaches on Twitter

The Instructional Coaches have a hashtag. #oskyicplc

Please follow them, leave comments, add resources - join us in our learning!!

Iowa Core Connection

Next Generation Science Standards

Science teachers will have a meeting with an AEA Consultant in March to learn more about the Standards. Below are a couple videos to help you see some changes in action.

Need a great video to use in PLC time?

Check out the Teaching Channel!!!

Iowa Core Connection to Literacy

Reading Comprehension Wisdom

The Iowa Core specifies students must be able to read and comprehend independently at grade level.

Building those skills means they must be exposed to grade level text and read independently at their instructional level. Reading comprehension should not be confused with Listening comprehension. Make sure you are having them 1) Read to self 2) Read to a partner or 3) Choral read to build those READING comprehension skills.

Parents can help at home by partner reading. You model by reading a page and then your child reads a page... talk about what you read along the way. Your modeling is a great way to help them be grade level ready! If they are at grade level, expose them to appropriate books above their reading level.

But, more than anything - HAVE FUN reading together!!!
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Standards Based Grading

Alignment is key to consistent and accurate evidence of student learning. Are your assessments aligned to your instruction? Are your rubrics measuring what you are teaching? Do you have your criteria and expectations thought through before you begin your instruction?

What feedback do you need to provide so students get better the NEXT TIME?
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District Advisory Committee (DAC) Outlines Collaborative Commitments

Collaborative Commitments are things we believe strongly in and will commit to monitor and support. Members of DAC took part in an exercise where they developed a list of things they felt the Committee should support in order to make our district great.

  1. Look at data and ask questions
  2. Seek knowledge of programs within the district
  3. Actively promote and communicate the district vision, mission and goals
  4. Provide input to continuously improve student achievement
  5. Have high standards and expectations for all stakeholders

At the February meeting we will design an action plan for communicating these to other parents across the district. In addition, the Administrative Team is going to develop their own Collective Commitment statements to help focus our beliefs and values.

February Challenge

You are getting harder and harder to challenge, but I am going to try.

  • What are the three genre types of writing required by the Iowa Core (for your grade band)?

Infinite Campus Grade Book Updates

Be sure you are updating your grade book on the dates specified.

  • February 5th
  • February 19th
  • February 26th - 2nd Trimester Final Grades!
  • March 11th
  • March 25th
  • April 5th - 3rd Trimester Midterm!
  • April 8th
  • April 22nd
  • May 6th
  • May 20th - Last Day of School (Tentative)

If parents do not see evidence of student learning in the grade book, please contact your child's teacher!

February PLC Shirt and Jean Day

Wednesday, February 10th!!!