Sipley School Weekly Howl

Week of Monday, January 11, 2016

Common formative assessments can give much more targeted information than interim/benchmark assessments, because they are - or at lease are supposed to be - directly tied to curriculum as taught in a particular grade.

Susan Brookhart

Welcome Back!

I hope that everyone had a great week back! I personally can't believe how fast the week went! I want to thank everyone on their flexibility as we adjust to some minor schedule changes. The changes were made to provide math support, an area that our teachers have identified as an area where improvement can occur.


We are in the process of shifting our D.E.B. where we expanded the percentage of students who receive more remedial support within a 45-minute period and where we are continuing to focus on the ELA domains within informational and literary texts (key ideas and details, craft and structure, and the integration of knowledge and ideas).


In addition, our Learning Behavior Specialists have shared or will share soon, IEP goals with teaching assistants and teacher. We also have designated times when our teaching assistants collaborate with teachers they work with and the LBS they are working with.

Staff Updates

I would like to officially welcome a few staff to our building and share some staff updates with you.


Lisa Quigley will complete her student teaching with us. Ryan Barba is her cooperating teacher.


Madison Murphy will complete her student teaching with us. Rhonda Jackson is her cooperating teacher.


Robin Rapp is replacing Sarah Lester as Sarah is on leave. Robin is working with a student in Rhonda Jackson's class.


Liz Jensen is married, as you know. She is now Liz Prekwas!


We have a few staff who are expecting and we are very excited for them!


In our lunchroom, we have Ana Rosa who will be on leave for a couple weeks and then Isabella Andrade will go on maternity leave in a couple weeks. Regina Mugnolo will return to help us out on a limited basis. We will seek other substitutes in our lunchroom, though this is a hard position to fill. Our lunchroom staff will not be outside supervising students until further notice as we need our staff inside.

Formative Assessment - YOU HAVE A TASK

We had a great workshop on formative assessment where we had many aha moments and new understandings of formative assessment that were established. We learned the importance of thinking with the end in mind where we use our common formative assessments, which are based on the Common Core State Standards, to plan our lessons. We learned ways that we can embed questions during a lesson that inform us of our student's understanding, allowing us to alter current (in the moment) and future lessons (the next lesson.


I want to keep our momentum going, to maintain this focus, and to provide you with feedback on this building initiative. I am placing a document in the mailboxes of certified staff that asks them to share an example of a formative assessment question or task used in class. Please return that to be my Wednesday, January 13. I would like to highlight some in the next Howl and also provide individual feedback on the question or task posed to students. Angela will assist me with the feedback to staff. This should be viewed as non-threating and helpful to our growth.

Be Consistent

I am in the process of visiting classrooms to welcome everyone back and to reconnect with everyone. I am also sharing a few areas of focus for the second half of the school year (math facts, reading, and behavior). Please be consistent in your follow-through of sending incidents that warrant an office visit to my office. Use your three-step process in all other situations. I want everyone to be very consistent with our students and follow-through with them.


We can't have room for inconsistency. IF you have good rationale for assigning homework and you ask students to do homework, such as read for a designated time each night as a part of homework, and you are finding a lack of evidence of this occurring, what is your follow-through action? Are parents notified? How are students held accountable for their failure to do what is asked of them? What message is sent if nothing is done? What do our words mean if we require or expect students to do something and they don't and we do not act? Will that message carry over to classroom and school-wide expectations where they do not do as asked of them? Let's pitch in as a staff to be more consistent in our follow-through with students while maintaining control of our words and actions. We can assign consequences in a respectful manner while maintaining the dignity of the student.


Everyone has an open period of time on Thursday when D.E.B. doesn't occur. This may be a time for project-based learning or a passion period. Is this a time when students who do not complete required work get the work done? This shifts the choice to our students as to whether they will get work done in a timely manner.

From the Desks of Cyndi Bradford and Angela Makowski

As a district, we are committed to ensure that students show mastery of all math fact fluency assessed at each grade level.

One of the shifts in the Common Core State Standards is related to procedural skills and fluency. The standards call for speed and accuracy in calculation. Student must practice core functions, such as single-digit multiplication, in order to have access to more complex concepts and procedures. Fluency must be addressed in the classroom or through supporting materials, as some students might require more practice than others.

Each grade has fluency goals based on the Common Core State Standards:


Grade Required Fluency


Kindergarten - Add/subtract within 5


First - Add/subtract within 10


Second - Add/subtract within 20 and Add/subtract within 100 (pencil and paper) (Sipley note - more practice subtracting over zero's is needed)


Third - Multiply/divide within 100 and Add/subtract within 1,000 (Sipley note - more practice subtracting over zero's is needed).


Fourth - Add/subtract within 1,000,000


Fifth - Multi‐digit multiplication


Sixth - Multi‐digit division and Multi‐digit decimal operations


Our theory of action is that IF we identify students’ mathematical fluency deficiencies based on their fluency assessments then students will receive differentiated support for their deficiencies and we will see this result in increased fluency on their math fluency assessment.


We will work together to learn new ways to teach math fact fluency through strategy, number sense, number talks, mental math, etc. This will add to our tool box to help build mastery of math facts. Math facts will be focused on for minimum of ten minutes a day along with time focused on specific areas of need, which is differentiated for our students.

Here is a video we watched in our PLC that discusses strategies that can be used when working with students as students build mastery of math facts.

Notes and Reminders

  • Teachers it is important that you pick students up from the lunchroom and recess at 12:20. This is a very unstructured time and our timing is important.
  • Remember that D.E.B. will begin on January 18th. Per the district, gifted students meet on a regular basis and do not follow our D.E.B. schedule.
  • Math Methods will begin on January 25th.
  • Use ODR Forms when sending students to the office.
  • Evaluated staff, please be prompt in completing components of the evaluation process found in Talent Ed. For those who have pre-observation meetings coming up, complete the pre-observation form prior to our meeting. All meetings/dates for evaluated staff have been scheduled.
  • ACCESS Testing begins January 11. EL staff sent out times that your students will be tested.
  • STAR Testing may begin on Tuesday, January 12. The Winter Benchmark is important and the testing environment must be appropriately arranged. You have some students who need special testing placement and I will send you information about this. Please do not retest a student without the approval of myself or Cyndi. All retests are visible in the student record (even those tested on the same day - be true to this request). Danielle sent testing directions to you in an e-mail I will forward. Do not test students on January 11 or 19th. All STAR testing will be completed by classroom teachers. I am in the process to see if Nicole DeLambo can take care of make-ups. Information will be sent soon on make-up testing.
  • You should have information from Maureen or Ryan about STAR Accommodations. Classroom teachers, please be sure to know if/when IEP students are being tested outside of your room so we do not give them multiple tests in the same testing window.

  • AIMSweb SWAT is scheduled for January 14 and 15th. See Danielle's schedule that she sent you on 1/5 at 10:47 for your specific testing time and other directions.
  • Gifted nominations are due January 29th. Please refer to the e-mail Nicole DeLambo sent you.

Inspiring Education and Innovation - Our District Mission

In partnership with family and community, Woodridge School District 68 provides a comprehensive educational foundation for all children in a safe, caring environment, preparing them to be productive, responsible, and successful members of society.

We Will Acheive our Mission by:

Ensuring that our students are ready for tomorrow's workforce, by focusing on individual student growth and preparing students to be college and career ready.

Through our district focus, our teachers and staff will:

  • Form strong caring relationships with and between students
  • Operate with high expectations and clear targets in place
  • Create engagement through meaningful experiences
  • Utilize data to inform instructional planning
  • Supply specific and timely feedback to ensure each child achieves his/her personal best
Big image