All Things Instruction

April 2021

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back from what I hope was an amazing spring break for you! Summer will be here before we know it! There's still a lot of work and learning to be done between now and the end of the school year. I hope that you were able to refresh, relax, reflect, and rejuvenate over Spring Break and that you're ready to hit the ground running for a great finish to the school year! Make every minute count!

This newsletter is FULL of information to help prepare us for instruction and assessment activities between now and the end of the school year. Please make sure to read it thoroughly and reach out to me if you have questions or need clarification on any of the information provided.

Status of Spring Testing

On Tuesday, April 6th we received notification that the US Department of Education denied the Michigan Department of Education's request to waive spring 2021 summative assessments (M-STEP, PSAT/SAT, WIDA, MI-ACCESS). Here's a breakdown of what this means:

  • At this point in time, schools are still required to administer state assessments.
  • The Read by Grade Three Law is still in effect.
  • The requirement to use state assessment data in educator evaluation is still in effect.
  • MDE will not be required to calculate and report Index Scores for schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • MDE will not be required to identify schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement, Targeted Support and Improvement, or Additional Targeted Support based on 2020-2021 school year data.
  • MDE will still publish the Annual Education Report (AER) which includes aggregated assessment results.
  • MDE is still required to calculate and report Michigan School Grades as required by state law.

There is still some discussion occurring on the items listed above. If anything changes regarding state assessment, I'll communicate the information through Building Principals.

I know this update about spring testing is not what many had hoped for.

As in any year, let's not stress (our stress and stress for our students) about end-of-the-year testing. If we encourage our kids to do their best and show what they know, they will do great!

We have been doing great work. We have continued to teach and our students have continued to learn during the pandemic. This is a chance for our students to showcase all that they know and are able to do! If they try their best, that is all we can ask for!

Here is a breakdown of spring assessments for each grade level:

Kindergarten-2nd Grade:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • NWEA Reading Fluency (Dorr 2nd Grade Pilot and students on new IRIPs ONLY)
  • F & P Benchmark Assessment (Running Records) for students who are reading below grade level. See Running Records guidance for additional information. (May)

3rd Grade:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • F & P Benchmark Assessment (Running Records) for students who are reading below grade level. See Running Records guidance for additional information. (May)
  • M-STEP ELA and Math (April 26th-June 4th)

4th Grade:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • M-STEP ELA and Math (April 26th-June 4th)

5th Grade:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • M-STEP ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies (April 12th-May 21st)

6th and 7th Grades:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • M-STEP ELA and Math (April 26th-June 4th)

8th Grade:

  • NWEA Reading and Math (May 10th-27th)
  • PSAT 8/9 (April 13th)
  • M-STEP Science and Social Studies (April 12th-May 21st)

9th Grade:

  • PSAT 8/9 (April 13th)

10th Grade:

  • PSAT 10 (April 13th)

11th Grade:

  • SAT with Essay (April 13th)
  • ACT WorkKeys (April 14th)
  • M-STEP Science and Social Studies (April 12th-May 21st)

** WIDA testing has been completed for the 2020-2021 school year.

** Some students with IEPs will participate in the MI-ACCESS assessment instead of the M-STEP assessment.

** K-8 students enrolled in VAAC will participate in Exact Path assessments.

Big picture

Test Preparation Resources from MDE

Since none of our students participated in spring assessments last year, they will likely need a refresher on how the M-STEP/MI-ACCESS platforms work as they are different from our other testing platforms. The Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability (OEAA) has developed online resources for students taking state assessments at all grade levels. The resources support the idea that children can learn about online technology when teachers and other educators demonstrate the use of technology—classroom viewing of the student video tutorial, classroom viewing of the Online Tools Training (OTTs), followed by interacting with children while each student practices with technology (OTTs).

Student Tutorials

The OEAA has created Student Tutorials. These are student-narrated videos that introduce teachers and students to the online tests and tools contained in the M-STEP and MI-Access Assessments. The Student Tutorials are designed to be administered in a group setting, using a projector.

The tutorials can be accessed in three different ways:

  • INSIGHT iPad App – Open INSIGHT and at the bottom of the page select the DRC INSIGHT Online Assessments Tutorials link.
  • Chrome ( portals/mi) – You must use the Chrome browser to access the tutorials. Select the yellow link at the bottom of the page: DRC INSIGHT Online Assessments Tutorials. This is the same link used for the online sample item sets.
  • DRC INSIGHT Portal ( – Select the Documents and Training Materials link, then the Test Tutorials tab to access the tutorials.

An important component of the Student Tutorials is that they provide explicit training on the pause/exit/end test functionality of the online testing engine. In addition, the tutorials explain how to access and use specific tools.

Online Sample Item Sets and OTTs

Another important set of resources teachers can access are online Sample Item Sets for students in grades K-8, and 11. The Sample Item Sets are a select group of test items in ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies that encompass various kinds of technology-enhanced items (including drag and drop and hot spots) and are embedded within the OTTs. The sets provide teachers and students practice in solving grade-level and content-specific test items aligned to Michigan’s content standards and provide practice in navigating the online test delivery system. The OTTs are not scored.

OTTs give students opportunities to see what different test items look like and practice using the online testing tools. Providing students with ample practice opportunities will ensure they are familiar with item types, navigation strategies, and system tools on test day.

The OTTs can be accessed two ways:

  • INSIGHT iPad App – Open INSIGHT, select the Online Tools Training link under each assessment.
  • Chrome ( – You must use the Chrome browser to access the OTTs. Choose the Online Tools Training link located under each assessment. Students can access the practice sets from home with the Chrome browser.

Feedback collected from previous administrations indicates that students and teachers who utilized the OTTs and Sample Item Sets felt more prepared for online testing, students reported feeling confident about taking assessments online, and school administrators and teachers stated they experienced fewer issues related to online testing than students and teachers who did not take advantage of this resource.

Answer Keys for the Online Sample Items can be found at this link.

Recommended Sequence

The OEAA recommends that classroom teachers introduce online testing to their students by playing the Student Tutorial Video in class to show students how the online testing system and tools work. Once the Student Tutorial Video is shown and discussed in the classroom, teachers then show the Online Tools Training (OTTs) to the entire class (doesn’t have to be on the same day). After students have watched the Student Tutorial Video projected by the teacher, followed by watching the teacher navigate through the OTTs via a projector or other classroom viewing resource, each student should be provided hands-on practice with the online Sample Item Sets contained within the OTTs, ideally using the device they will use during testing.

Monthly SIOP Strategy from Dalee Nwimo, ELL Teacher

Time to Talk!

It is important that during instruction, we allow our students time to talk and share their thoughts and understanding of the content. One of the biggest topics that we know our students dread is being randomly called upon to answer a question, or share a thought with the class.

For English Language Learners, this is even more of a challenge. ELLs need more time to process what they have read or heard in English, translate it in their native language to understand the content and translate it back in English in order to provide an appropriate, relatable answer.

A way to remedy this is by providing talking chips. This can come in a variety of ways: cards with shapes (that can be disposed of), circle, colored chips (that can be sanitized after), or personal characteristics (hair color, birthday closest to the date, wearing the color white etc.). Provide, or identify these with students ahead of time and discuss with them how they will be used. When you have set questions, or want students to share their thoughts, tell them, “Those that have the card with a heart on them, please be prepared to share your thought on this _____ / answer this question_____.” Provide for them then 3-5 minutes to process, think and produce an answer. Let them write down their answer or thought and read what they wrote. Giving students time to prepare what they want to say will help them feel more confident in their response and comfortable with the language. This can also help any student who struggles with reproducing content in order to provide an answer, or thought.

Overall, any student will feel more confident talking in front of the class if they are given notice and time to prepare.

Big picture

Student Learning Supports

Wayland Union Schools anticipates receiving State of Michigan ESSER funds to fund intervention and enrichment programming for students to be held between now and the end of the school year and over the summer. Wayland Union Schools plans to offer three different programs to support students.

Summer Programming for Grades K-8

NEW! Wayland Union Schools has expanded its traditional Summer Learning Program!

Our previously planned programming has been expanded to June 21st-August 13th.

Programming will be held Mondays-Friday (no programming will be held on July 2nd or 5th) from 8 am -Noon at Steeby Elementary School.

Students will be provided with transportation and meals. Students who were already enrolled in summer programming have been automatically enrolled in this new programming. There are still spots available, on a first-come, first-serve basis for K-5 families to sign up. Communication will be sent to families later this week. Sign-ups for Middle School students will happen through a separate process.

In addition to traditional classroom instruction on Language Arts and Math, students will attend assemblies and programming on science and social studies and potentially participate in field trips. Details are still in the works.

I am still looking for a few teachers and aides to fully staff our summer learning program. Please watch for official postings from Human Resources with directions for applying

Big picture

Credit/GPA Recovery for Grades 9-12

Wayland Union Schools is applying for grant funds from the State of Michigan in order to offer high school students the opportunity to recover credits lost or to improve poor grades that may have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specific criteria for eligibility are still being developed but initially, it looks like programming may be offered to students who earned an E, I, or ECR during the 3rd trimester of the 2019-2020 school year or during the 1st and 2nd trimesters of the 2020-2021 school year.

Additional details on this programming are forthcoming. Programming may begin as before/after school programming between now and the end of the school year and transition into summer programming after June 4th.

Before and After School Programming

Wayland Union Schools is applying for grant funds from the State of Michigan in order to provide Before and After School Programming in our K-8 buildings.

Details for this programming will be coordinated and communicated at the building level. Additional details will be available from your Building Principal in the coming days/weeks.

Big picture

Kids Read Now

Kids Read Now programming will be provided to ALL students in grades Y5-3rd grade! Kids Read Now programming mails books to students' homes throughout the summer. Students report reading the books that are sent and KRN sends new books. It's a great program to get books into the homes and hands of kids! Additional information is available from your Building Principal.

Virtual Field Trips

With field trips cancelled for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19, I wanted to share some virtual field trip options with you, some for locations right in our own backyard!

Ebersole Environmental Education and Conference Center - Located right within district boundaries, the Ebersole Center has put together virtual tours, classroom extension activities, escape rooms, and curated video collections.

Belle Isle Aquarium - Perfect for anyone who is interested in the wildlife of the Great Lakes! The aquarium’s education team highlights some of the unique species of fish that they have, and walks you through the fish food chain.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village - The Henry Ford has created an Innovation Learning Virtual Series. This link will highlight summer programming AND if you scroll to the bottom, it will take you to recordings of past webinar offerings. You can also go on virtual visits at this link.

Mackinac State Historic Parks - This site offers links to virtual tours, demonstrations, and related resources to use in the classroom.

San Diego Zoo - The San Diego Zoo offers pre-recorded instructional resources and live webcams on animal habitats.

Pure Michigan - Trip in a Minute - Take a one minute trip to Copper Harbor, Frederick Meijer Gardens, The Henry Ford Museum, or Underwater at Thunder Bay!

Michigan Museums Association - Many museums in Michigan have teamed up to create virtual tours and content to share in classrooms. Visit this site to see resources from museums like the Air Zoo, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Cranbook Art Museum, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Zoo, Dow Gardens, Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Holocaust Memorial Center, Michigan History Center, Michigan Science Center, Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, Sloan*Longway Museum

Help Wanted!

Can you spare a few minutes to help keep our kids reading this summer? Looking ahead to the summer, I'd like to host weekly book talks. This is a great opportunity for students and staff to get involved and share books that we've enjoyed reading with each other and our community.

Please let me know if you are willing to help out. I've added a few book talk videos below to give you an idea of what I'd be looking for.

SCECH Information

Wayland Union Schools offers certified staff several opportunities to earn SCECH credit toward certificate renewal. **This information has been added to a SCECH folder in the Professional Learning Library for easy access in the future.**

  • In-Service Days: These are required PD days for all teachers/staff members covered under the WUEA bargaining agreement. Everyone in attendance will automatically have SCECHs submitted on their behalf upon completion of an evaluation, these hours will also be logged for you in the SF2K portal.

  • PLC Hours: These are required hours (6 hours) that must be completed with your PLC, focusing on PLC topics (the 4 essential questions). These hours must be documented by you in the SF2K portal to earn credit. These hours will be eligible for SCECH credit as long as backup documentation is available for review in our district PLC folders.

  • PD offerings for SCECH credit: Certified staff can use SCECHs toward certificate renewal. Several opportunities for earning SCECH credit are available throughout the school year. An annual Professional Learning Menu is published on the Staff section of the Wayland Union Schools webpage, anything on the Professional Learning Menu is pre-approved. These hours must be documented by you in the SF2K portal to earn credit.

    • Many organizations that provide PD for certified staff have their own mechanism for awarding SCECH credit. If you are participating in PD through such an organization, there is no need to do anything further, they will apply for SCECH on your behalf.

    • If you would like an offering to be considered for SCECH credit (when SCECH credit isn’t offered from the provider directly), please submit an agenda and objectives to Teresa Fulk 45 days prior to participating in the offering. Teresa Fulk will review the offering to be sure it will qualify for SCECHs. Click here to view a list of PD opportunities that have been submitted and approved for SCECH credit.

*It is important to note that the district will be submitting SCECH information to MDE (Michigan Department of Education) for participants of our various PD options. PD participants will need to complete the district level PD evaluation AND login to MOECS to complete the PD evaluation in MOECS in order for SCECHs to appear on the MOECS site. For additional information on SCECHs from MDE, please visit this link.

Non-Traditional Activities Eligible for SCECHs

Non-Traditional professional development activities, such as those listed below, also are eligible for SCECH credit, if prior approval is received. To receive SCECH credit for these Non-Traditional programs, you MUST contact your local SCECH Sponsor (Teresa Fulk) before starting the activity to receive qualification instructions and required validation forms. SCECHs can only be earned by filing the appropriate paperwork within 30 days after the activity.

Note: SCECHs for these activities may be earned up to a maximum of three times toward certificate renewal in a certificate renewal period.

  • Supervision of Student Teacher/Teacher Intern, School Counselor Internship, School Psychologist Required Practicum/Internship, or Pre-Teaching/Mid-tier Student/Pre-Service Student (These SCECHs are typically granted by the placement school/agency)

  • Mentoring a new Teacher, new School Counselor, new School Psychologist, or a new Principal/Administrator (please complete this form and submit it, along with a meeting log with the total number of hours, to Teresa Fulk to be considered for SCECHs.

  • Serving on an approved accreditation review and/or site visit team, K-12 School Improvement Team, School Committee, or MDE Committee.

Additional information about SCECHs can be accessed on MDE's SCECH and DPPD webpage.

Big picture