The Learning Curve
From the Office of Teaching & Learning
Office of Teaching and Learning-Dr. Nakia Hardy, Executive Director
The Learning Curve
Teaching and Learning
Classroom teachers are integral to the success of the school year. Teachers have the ability to make the most challenging concept easy to understand for all students. In this evocative Boston Globe Magazine article, novelist Steve Almond remembers the precise moment when he felt literature come alive: his ninth-grade English teacher picked up a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and read the first chapter to the class. “Nearly every person I know has some version of this story,” says Almond: “The moment when a teacher changes the course of your life.
Thank you to all City Schools Teachers! Thank you for challenging and caring about all of your students and for making the end of the school year a success for all kids.
“Connections: The Gift of a Great Teacher” by Steve Almond in The Boston Globe Magazine, March 23, 2014 (p. 57), http://b.globe.com/1nX19a7
For School Leaders.....
In this thoughtful article in Principal, Arkansas principal Regina Stewman draws a distinction between situational poverty – usually a temporary condition in a family caused by the loss of a job, a divorce, or a death – and generational poverty – the family has been mired in substandard conditions for decades. “Students living in generational poverty often exist in survival mode,” says Stewman. “They endure stressors such as abuse, hunger, and early imposed responsibilities for younger siblings. They lack goal-setting skills that will help them plan ahead.” These conditions have a direct impact on school achievement.
Stewman has developed the following principles for her staff:
• It’s not personal
• Seek first to understand
• Celebrate successes
• Have a common purpose
• Work collaboratively
• Provide tailored professional development
These beliefs and a lot of hard work have produced solid results: the school is in its third year since Stewman opened it in 2011, and students are scoring in the 80th percentile in reading and math and making steady progress.
Gifted and Talented
A team from City College, led by Principal Cindy Harcum, was selected to present a session entitled “Closing the Achievement Gap through IB: A School’s Journey” at the IB Conference of the Americas this July.
We had 1600 students complete projects for in school competitions from twelve different schools. This was the largest number of participants that Baltimore City has ever had and it yielded amazing results.
On Saturday, March 22, 2014 we had 257 students from Baltimore City Public Schools go to CCBC in Dundalk for the Regional History Day Competition, where they competed against Baltimore County and local private and parochial schools.
In the Junior Division, which includes grades sixth to eighth, Baltimore City took home 12 awards out of a possible 17. In the Senior Division, which includes ninth through twelfth grade, Baltimore City took home 6 awards out of a possible 17.
This was an amazing showing by Baltimore City Public Schools. The advancing students will compete at the state competition on May 3, 2014 at UMBC.
School of the Month with the most amount of stickers per student: Medfield Heights Elementary School
Team of the Month: 7th grade Waverly Elementary Middle School - Mrs. Kiarie's classroom
Top 5 Teams in our district:
1. Roland Park Elementary Middle School
2. Baltimore International Academy
3. Waverly Elementary Middle School
4. Northwood Elementary School
5. Moravia Park Elementary School
For us to continue to fund First in Math schools, we need high participation in our schools. Remember, First in Math's Just the Fact's can really help our students gain mastery on the fluency expectations that are defined by the Common Core Standards. Students can access the program anywhere.
The following 9 schools have progress monitored 100% of their K-4 "red" students with Amplify since MOY:
Hampden Elementary; John Eager Howard Elementary; Thomas Johnson Elementary; Lakewood Elementary; Mary Anne Winterling Elementary; Maree Garnett Farring Elementary; Hazelwood Elementary; Thomas Jefferson Elementary; Graceland-O'Donnell Heights.
Content Area Updates and Information
Math-Ryan Reid Salta, Director
Baltimore City Schools and the College of Notre Dame are launching its first cohort for the Mathematics Instructional Leader Master’s Degree and Certification for Baltimore City PreK – 6 and Grades 4 - 9 Teachers. Notre Dame’s program prepares elementary mathematics teachers to be mathematics instructional leaders. The curriculum is based on NCATE and Common Core Standards, and classes will be offered Fall, Winterim, Spring, and Summer. Students will receive 3 graduate credits per course. Tuition $1,200 per course with no registration fee. Use Baltimore City Public Schools’ tuition reimbursement application form for each class. An information session will be held at North Avenue in Room 301 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Please come out and learn more about this opportunity. Registration will be posted on TSS under a Non-AU credit bearing course.
The last Math Works meeting for the school year is May 22nd from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Poly.
Best of luck to our students taking the High School Algebra/Data Analysis Exam on May 21st, 2014.
Literacy (ELA)-Janise Lane, Director
American Reading Company and Success for All will support Professional Development for all Title I Approaching Target Schools during April and May.
Upcoming Literacy Representative Meetings: May 15th. Contact your network literacy ACL for specific locations and times.
Module 4 literacy curriculum began before Spring Break. Notice students "Reading and Researching Like a Scientist" around the following themes in literacy classrooms as you continue to progress through Cycle 3: Writing from Sources to Support an Opinion or Argument:
- 1st grade: Animals
- 2nd grade: Ecosystems
- 3rd grade: Exploring the Earth: Rocks, Weather, and Climate
- 4th grade: Lessons from Trial, Error, and Innovation
- 5th grade: Animal Adaptations
There have been some changes/updates to weekly planning sequence and also updates around curriculum guides. Please remind teachers to check TSS regularly for these updates.
Module 4 Assessments will take place the week of May 26th. All Lit Reps receive the tests and an explanatory email a week prior to the test. The test is also posted on TSS for the teachers with directions on how to enter into Datalink. Please remind teachers and Lit Reps to check their email for updates and corrections.
EOY DIBELS / TRC / STEP / RISE
Window: May 5, 2014 – May 23, 2013
Quarter 4 LDC (Grades 6-12)
Window: May 5, 2014 – June 16, 2013
Quarter 4 Module Assessments (Grade 1-8)
Window: May 28, 2014 – May 30, 2014
Science-Nick Greer, Director
1. MSDE will not support the NGSS until at least 2017-2018, meaning that we will phase in new curriculum between now and then.
2. The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) rubric was released in April by Achieve, authors of NGSS. This is the only sanctioned tool that will evaluate the alignment of curricular and supplemental resources to NGSS. The science team will use this when selecting and designing resources for future curricula. More information can be found at www.tinyurl.com/NGSSEquip.
3. Curriculum writing will commence this summer in grades 1, 2, 6, and HS Physics. After a year of writing, the curricula will be piloted in schools.
4. While not all grades and content areas will receive curricular updates at once, the science team plans to design and share materials with all grades and content areas so that teachers and students can conduct common investigations and design challenges at key points throughout the 2014-2015 school year. These will be aligned to NGSS.
Curriculum writing for the Next Generation Science Standards will commence this summer on July 7th. If you are a teacher interested in writing science curriculum in grades 1, 2, 6, or HS Physics please contact Nick Greer, Director of Science (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Early Learning Programs-Charlene Iannone-Campbell, Director
Early Learning Update
Work is progressing for staffing for Infants and Toddlers service providers, IEP teams, evaluation centers, assessment teams, and PIES classroom instruction for summer 2014.
Professional development for both ESY special education teachers and paras and Infants and Toddlers service providers and special education teachers will take place the week of June 23rd. Early Learning Programs will be developing and presenting professional development.
The new Kindergarten assessment from MSDE has been renamed R4K (Ready for Kindergarten). Our Kindergarten teachers who will be trainers and the Early Learning Staff will participate in a "train the trainers" model given by MSDE in early May.
Early Admission for Kindergarten and first grade closes for schools on May 15th
Humanities-Amy Rosenkrans, Director
This year, the Office of Humanities has been working with Discovery Education to train City Schools first cohort of Discovery Education Network (DEN) Stars. More than 40 teachers from across all grade levels and contents have been learning about the electronic resources available from Discovery and how to use them in innovative ways. To learn more about the program, visit www.discoveryeducation.com/community.
World Languages-John Neubauer, Coordinator
Curriculum and assessments are in the planning stage for ESOL Grade Band 1 and 2 as well as AP and Level III Spanish and French.
The writing committee will spend the last two weeks in June creating the units for these curricula.
History Field Day
Saturday, May 3rd, 8:30am-3pm
Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD, United States
Social Studies-RaeLynne Snyder, Educational Specialist
National History Day State Competition
Saturday, May 3rd, 8:30am-3pm
1000 Hilltop Cir
Gifted Learning-Dennis Jutras, Coordinator
On Saturday, March 15th 336 students from 20 high schools took part in 3-hour Mock AP exams in preparation for the real thing in May. This number is an increase of about 200 students over the last two years. Students were tested within nine separate areas of study: Biology, Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Spanish Language, Statistics, U.S. Government, U.S. History, and World History. In addition, 35 teachers were trained by experienced AP Readers associated with the aforementioned tests and all tests were scored and returned to schools/students that Monday in order to shape the direction of future study prior to the May exams. Special thanks should be given to the Directors of Humanities and Science, the Coordinator of Mathematics and the Humanities team who assisted with proctoring and scoring duties.
AP Summer Academy
The third offering of City School’s AP Summer Academy is slated to run for six weeks from June 23rd to August 1st. More than 300 students across the district, rising freshmen through rising seniors, applied prior to the registration deadline of January 30th. Many of those selected for the academy will be eligible to receive payment through our partnership with YouthWorks for their participation in the academy. Ten separate courses of study will be featured this summer ranging from AP Computer Science to AP World History. In addition, all students will visit six colleges/universities (UMD, UMBC, Towson, Morgan, Goucher, and JHU) during the academy in an effort to provide them with the much needed exposure to the options that exist.
ESOL-Jill Basye-Featherston, Educational Specialist
Library Media-Beth Napier, Educational Specialist
The 21st Century Library Workgroup has met to develop an action plan for Baltimore City school libraries. The workgroup will continue to meet throughout the spring months.
Visual and Performing Arts-Brian Schneckebu
Our District-Wide Art Exhibit will be held from May 6-11 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A reception will be held on May 10 from 1:00-4:00pm.
Learning to Work-Michael Thomas, Director
Visual and Performing Arts-Brian Schneckeberger, Educational Specialist
Awards & Celebrations
Daquan Knight, 2013 Patterson High School graduate was recently invited to speak at the 2014 Annapolis Summit on Capitol Hill about his mentoring experiences. At the Summit, he spoke before the Senate President and Governor Martin O’Malley about the benefits of mentoring programs in City Schools. While at Patterson, Daquan was a member of the Legg Mason Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentoring Program. Daquan should also be commended for his work while a student at Patterson. Daquan was a student in the Academy of Health Professions at Patterson and participated in two programs: the Coppin Academy of Prenursing Success program and the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (BACH) internship program. Daquan graduated from Patterson with certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and is currently working as a private duty CNA while attending school full time at Baltimore City Community College. Daquan is a walking example of how we help students meet the goals of certification, career, and scholarship. In Daquan’s own words- “I came a long way from making excuses to making changes.”