Region 6 Newsletter

May 2016

Thankful for You

The 2015-2016 school year is rapidly coming to a close. And after a year together, as your Outreach Coordinators, as a supporter of all you do...all we can say is THANK YOU! We appreciate that in a world full of negativity, you are inspiring and shaping the lives of children. And as the video below states, for us, a world without educators would be a world in chaos.


So from the bottom of our hearts--thank you. Thank you for inviting us into your buildings. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your work. Thank you for being the bright spot that you are in the world.


The three of us are more thankful than you know that we get to serve, learn from, and work with you. This year has been an honor, and we look forward to continuing that in the school year to come.


Always at your service-


Christine

Jennifer

Linda

World Without Teachers

FREE Summer Professional Development

NEW Science Standards

The State Board of Education adopted the Indiana Academic Standards for Science 2016 at the April Board meeting. The new standards now include computer science to better prepare students for 21st Century careers. The science standards were developed by committees comprised of educators, colleges, and content experts from business and industry across the state of Indiana. These standards are a product of their hard work, public feedback, and revisions. For further information and the standards documents, please visit http://www.doe.in.gov/standards/science-computer-science . Professional development opportunities will be forthcoming.

Grant Opportunities

  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Grant, Public and charter schools, please be advised that McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Grant cycle will be open starting April 15, 2016. Please see attached memo for further details. Please contact Julie Smart, McKinney-Vento State Coordinator, with questions: jsmart@doe.in.gov

  • The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 School Safe Haven Program. This program provides matching funds for public school corporations, and this grant must be submitted on or before May 20, 2016. More information is available online here (ICJI suggests using Internet Explorer to access this announcement): https://egrants.cji.in.gov/Base/Public/OpenAnnouncements.aspx. Questions regarding this grant should be directed to ICJI at CJIHelpDesk@cji.in.gov or 317-232-1233.

  • 2016 Estela and Raul Mora Award Open. Did you have a school or school district-led Día celebration in April 2016 to bring Children's Day/Book Day, El día de los niños/El día de los libros to life in your community? If so, you're eligible to apply for the 2016 Estela and Raúl Mora Award!

21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program is a federally-funded program that provides at-risk students a safe environment during non-school hours.


The IDOE is preparing to accept 2016 applicants this August.


This program may have one or multiple centers/sites which may be located in schools, community facilities, or faith-based facilities.


Various Request for Proposal workshops will be held across the state this June. These workshops will inform participants in detail about grant qualifications, award priorities, and program requirements.


To register for the June 21st Information Session in Chesterton use the following link: https://form.jotform.com/60955752008963

Effective Leadership- Staffing and Family and Community Engagement

The focus of this article for this month is Turnaround Principle 1 –Effective Leadership. The depth of this turnaround principle will required a series of articles over the past several months. Turnaround Principles are not only used as a strategic system to support schools that may be struggling, but more importantly the eight principles are indicators for high performing schools. When discussing Turnaround Principle 1 leadership for turnaround efforts focuses on many aspects of the school, but requires a balance between instructional leadership and operational leadership. Instructional leadership not only requires principals to deeply know and understand teaching and learning, but also requires the capacity to ensure effective and intentional strategic planning as a result of data analysis. It also requires the principal to ensure the use of standards aligned curriculum, higher level assessments (both formative and summative), and a critical look at teacher performance and development through rigorous evaluation methods. The operational leadership side is equally as rigorous. Principals should have operational flexibility available from their district office because they need to be able to make decisions to align with their strategic plan. This includes decision-making flexibility with staffing, scheduling, and professional development. Operational flexibility also includes engaging stakeholders in the process. This means that not only are parents engaged in the process, but community supports, businesses, and neighborhood members are included as partners to support the growth of students.


For Part 3 of the topic this article will address Staffing, and Family and Community Engagement.


Staffing


An important task for a principal is to have the right people in the right positions. As stressed previously, observations and walk-throughs are important to determine the strengths of the staff. These cannot be taken lightly and not only does the evaluation system need to be rigorous, but walk-throughs need to be very intentional. Walkthroughs need to be focused and not wide ranging. If teachers are implementing a new practice it needs to be observed for consistent incorporation and effective utilization. If there is a teacher who struggles with classroom management, those strategies must too be monitored and supported. Doing so will help you identify opportunities for professional development as well as staffing changes or placement. It may be beneficial to move a weak teacher to a strong team or a strong teacher to a weak team. This monitoring process will also assist the principal in making recruiting decisions. By using collected walkthrough data, he/she will be able to look for those needed skills/talents in interviews and demo lessons. In addition, as principals, it is always important to schedule collaborative time for teachers. But even more important is to ensure that the collaboration time is used effectively. It is not just for scheduling, creating calendars, and managerial discussions. Collaboration time should be for instructional conversations that include planning for student proficiency through the use of data, instruction, curriculum, and assessment. This process must include planning for what to do if students do not master the material, and what will be done for those who already know the material. This collaboration time is very focused on instructional priorities that are aligned to your mission/vision and goals of the school.


Family and Community Engagement


As mentioned before, family engagement should be a two-way street involving families in the decision-making process. Often, principals communicate well with parents by sending information home, calling, and putting information on the school website. In addition, effective leaders bring families and community members to the table to discuss student needs and involve them in the goal-setting. These stakeholders may have different perspectives or cultural backgrounds that could provide insight on the needs of some of your students and families. They also may know of different community resources available. The principal may decide to do a quarterly coffee talk or monthly family nights. Whatever the method or forum, it is important to be thinking about how the principal is eliciting stakeholder ideas and input as a result of sharing the school’s data. It also important to consider how the school and principal are building partnerships and the capacities of parents to help at home. Lastly it is also important to consider how the principal can build partnerships with community members.


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