News You Can Use

CIPL Update October 2016

Why you should read this newsletter

This newsletter provides updates on the work of the CIPL Team. This is our new approach to communicating with building administrators to support you and the work you do in your buildings with teachers. Topics highlighted and important to notice include:

  1. Curriculum Updates
  2. Professional Learning
  3. Assessments

Keep reading the updates by content in alphabetical order - happy scrolling!

What's New from the Assistant Superintendent for CIPL?


We have been working through the GPS Personalized Professional Learning Approach now since August 30th and the early feedback indicates that we are on to something great!

We continue to develop resources to support "better conversations" with teachers and how to be reflective enough to identify authentic learning opportunities. Once resource includes the Creating professional learning opportunities through the Self Design Process. Please, please, please encourage teachers and teacher teams to reach out to the CIPL team for collaborators in developing their learning opportunity. We are here to help. To locate the companion resource please access the Educator Evaluation Group.

The breadcrumbs include: Schoology>Educator Evaluation> Resources> GPS System of Professional Learning>Creating Professional Learning Opportunities.


The Assessment Standard Operating Procedure with an updated Assessment Calendar has been uploaded to the district website.

Stay tuned! We will have a new update regarding the fifth grade placement assessment very soon. The update will include how we are trying to minimize testing time and increase instructional time.

What's New from the ALP Program?


October 10 - 28, Results to go home November 4. Copies of all letters and prep materials can be found in the CogAT and Iowa Administration Schoology Group (Access Code: RN6PX-4D8F2)


A FAQ document is being distributed to all grade 2 teachers to hand out at open house about Grade 2 ALP.

Placement assessments and Building Advisory Meetings will be held in November.

What's New from the Arts Program?


The Arts Department had the opportunity to finally meet K-12 at our last Program/IDT meeting! The time was used to facilitate discussions that centered on common Student Learning Objectives across disciplines in the elementary grade levels and foster discussions among the secondary buildings on program recruiting and retention.

The self design process was a focus of our discussions as teachers collaboratively created proposals that focused on the data team process (across buildings), personalized learning and designing common assessment means to determine student performance proficiency. These discussions will continue through the additional IDT time and the PPLP days structured throughout the school year. Self designs include using technology in the music classroom, exploring best practices in the music and visual arts classrooms, and design visual arts units for schoology.

In addition to discussing student learning objectives, the Arts staff completed a curriculum inventory that will help us get a clear picture of the curricular needs in our documents. As we shift over to the use of the National Core Arts Standards, it will be important to focus our work on these standards and make the necessary modifications to ensure that our students are focused on the new anchor standards. The inventory will be used to clearly articulate our needs for curriculum writing so we can create a clear vision to move forward. For more information on our National Core Arts Standards, feel free to visit- to access various resources and information regarding the standards.

Department Celebration: Western Middle School’s “Playing for Change” day was a tremendous success! The event featured various workshops that support student music learning among our youngest learners. Workshops include storytelling with the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Drum Circles for students and their parents and a session dedicated to structuring practice time.Kudos to the Western Music staff that organized and collaborated for this well attended, community-focused event!

Upcoming Events:

10/19/16: GHS Fall Orchestra Concert, 7:30PM

10/21/16-10/29/16: GHS Shakespeare Play- Romeo and Juliet

10/26/16: Fall Choral Concert, 7:30PM

Hope to see some of you there!

What's New from the ESOL Program

Released in 2015, the Connecticut English Language Proficiency (CELP) standards were developed to more closely align to the Common Core, are currently housed in the resources folder within the District Curriculum & Assessments Schoology group, and can be accessed via the link below. They involve the language necessary for ELLs to engage in specific content-area and sheltered English instruction.

Updating the ELL newcomer curriculum and aligning our ELL elementary instructional activities to the CELP standards will be part of ESOL’s program focus this year.

In addition, the elementary ESOL staff was introduced to an updated GPS ELL schoology group where several program documents associated with the administration of ELL services and instructional resources are now centralized for access and file sharing.


Another professional learning opportunity has been added to the PLPP course of studies on the ERD scheduled for 5.17.17 (1:45 - 4:45) at Riverside, entitled Promoting Cultural Relevancy in the Classroom to Refine Instructional Practices and Personal Learning for Diverse Student Populations. This presentation is designed for educators across the district who instruct diverse student populations, and who will not have had the opportunity to participate in a cultural competencies training scheduled on Nov. 8th for WMS, NL, Ham. Ave and JC. Author and university professor Jason Irizarry will address the importance of and strategies for integrating culturally relevant content, designed for K - 8 classroom teachers and specialists.

What's New from the Humanities Program?


K-8 building administrators should see evidence that all students are matched up with “just-right” independent reading (and that teachers know students’ instructional levels) based on beginning-of-the-year formative assessments. Time should be provided for daily practice of reading and writing in class. The document linked here provides guidance for building administrators on what to look for in reading instruction in grades 3-8.

Please reach out for support from Antoinette and/or your literacy team or coaches if your teachers need a refresher with running records (we’ve run some successful “F&P/TC Running Record Bootcamps” in the past!). ASPEN fields have been updated so that teachers can upload baseline data now with an additional field for any repeat assessments in November on an as needed basis.

The K-2 and 3-5 ERD September workshops delivered by TC staff developers, Liz Dunford-Franco and Simone Frasier will be repeated (for those who didn’t attend in September) during the October 19 Early Release PD day. Both workshops are listed in Protraxx. Heather Burns will be leading the 6-8 session on October 19 and this work will be a continuation of our kick-off day on September 21 and at subsequent program meetings.

New reading and writing unit planning materials are being delivered as they arrive!! Be on the lookout. Boxes will be sent to the attention of the Literacy Specialists.

Also, we have secured LightSail for all students in grades 3-8. Please note that our elementary students also have access to StarWalk Kids (now called Fable Learning) and Big Universe. All three resources increase student access to leveled libraries. You should receive weekly or monthly usage updates directly from each vendor. North Street School was recently featured in an article by Big Universe highlighting their record number of books read last year. See the article by clicking here.

Reading and Writing Workshop for Parents:

Here is a helpful prezi presentation that can be used as a model for your curriculum night presentations (if you follow me on twitter, you know that I recently tweeted this! Follow me on Twitter @afornshell).


With the new curriculum, our main focus K-8 is incorporating inquiry into our instruction. This will be the focus for all program meetings. An additional shift in focus required by the new standards is an increased commitment to partnering with community resources. Teachers are encouraged to reach out to recommended organizations (Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Preservation Trust, Bruce Museum, etc) while they are planning units of study. Possible community connections are included in unit planning materials. Any group trips or visits from community organizations can be scheduled at the building level. For example, Journeys is not longer funded at the district level for grade 3. However, your team may decide that they want to have Journeys into American Indian Territories come to a different grade level based on connections with the new curriculum-you can contract them individually now. New resources have been ordered as well and will be delivered once they arrive.

The Middle School Capstone Committee is working to identify some assured experiences across the schools. The capstone interdisciplinary project allows students to exhibit skills they have learned during their educational experience in Middle School. Students will research a real-life issue or problem in the context how it impacts our community. The Capstone Project proposes a plan for the future based on the evidence researched. The students will:

  • Research a real world problem that affects their community

  • Write an argumentative piece

  • Take action to help promote solutions to this problem

  • Present their research and experience

On November 8th the GHS English and Social Studies Departments will travel to NYC for a workshop entitled "Collaborative Meaning-Making" at the Met. The workshop will focus on the use of art and artifacts as evidence. The workshop should provide teachers with more insight on ways to achieve our two-fold goal: personalizing the learning and helping students support arguments with evidence.


Assessment Expectations: The Literacy Team at JC (Caren Iannazo, Kathy Schnefke, Cherisse Barrett & Grace Blomberg) prepared this presentation to help elementary teachers understand assessment expectations. They shared it with all LS through our minutes doc, so you may have seen it presented at your faculty meeting. While some details are specific to JC, it’s worth a review as a reminder of universal screening and formative assessment practices.


The Program Meetings for K-5 LS will be held each month at a different building. Following the one hour meeting, Antoinette will visit classrooms with the host Literacy Specialist(s).

Upcoming Elementary Team meeting locations:

  • October 5 at JC
  • November 2 at HA
  • December 7 at NS
  • January 4 at RV

(Reminder: Elementary Program meetings on Wednesday afternoons are focused on SS or Science for classroom teachers. LS should plan to use this time to work on their PPLPs.)

Please click here for an update on the K-12 Literacy Specialist Professional Learning Plan UPDATE

Also of note, 10 Literacy Specialists will be attending a Dyslexia Conference in October.

We’ve been fielding many questions regarding RtI. Please be reminded of the GPS SAT Handbook for RtI guidelines.

What's New from the Physical Education and Wellness Program?

Elementary Physical Education:

The Physical Education teachers are excited and nervous about implementing the new curriculum. They have decided to work to align the K-5 assessments to ensure a clear articulation of mastery oft he identified competencies. All work will be posted in the Aspen Curriculum Mapper for viewing. All assessments will then be vetted and aligned with the 6-8 assessments and rubric.

Alignment to the report card will be part of next steps. Stay tuned!

Elementary Health:

The K-5 Health curriculum has been mapped in Aspen with instructions for the classroom teacher and the physical education teacher. This process is new and we will continue to transition resources to the mapper for everyone to access.

What's New from the Science (STEM) Program?


  • K-2 Elementary Teachers attended the September 14 Program Meeting which was focused on an introduction to the NGSS Science and Engineering Modeling Practice. Teachers completed a modeling activity and planned one modeling activity to be implemented in the current science curriculum. Data from these activities will be analyzed at the December Program Meeting.

  • On September 21, Middle School Science Teachers participated in an overview of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) facilitated by David Moss. This was session I of a yearlong series.

    New NGSS units will be field tested in grades 2, 4, and 6 this year in three elementary schools.

    On Sept 14th.GHS Science participated in effective professional learning on student modeling and generating arguments from evidence.

Technology Education:

  • High school and middle school Technology Education Teachers participated in professional learning to learn how to new saw stops in the manufacturing/woodshop labs safely.

Upcoming Events:

  • Coming Soon! We are transitioning to the upgraded NGSS Discovery Education Techbook to support the Middle School Science curriculum. Professional Learning for teachers is being planned for November 8. Stay tuned for details!

  • October 19: NGSS Overview for Middle School Science Teachers; overview and exploration of NGSS and key Science and Engineering Practices relative to the NGSS Conceptual Framework.


  • On September 21, District Instructional Coaches attended a morning workshop facilitated by Greg Tang focused on instructional strategies in Mathematics.

  • In the afternoon, Greg Tang facilitated a workshop for Middle School Teachers focused on using visual models in the middle school classroom.

Upcoming Events:

  • October 19: Strategies to Enhance Math Content Instruction in the Middle School Classroom facilitated by Dr. Mary Truxaw, Associate Professor of Math Education, Neag School of Education, UCONN.

What's New from the World Language Program?


This year we have replaced the spring SOPA Assessment with the Aappl Assessment. This new spring assessment will not require a two week window. However, it will need to be scheduled in a computer lab. FLES teachers will be reaching out to Assistant Principals to coordinate when this spring testing will take place.

Grade 5 will be a focus grade for all schools. During the summer curriculum institute the grade 5 curriculum was revised in order to better prepare students for middle school. FLES teachers will focus on the new indicator of communication and collaboration as a program goal while implementing the new curriculum.

Need Assistance? Have Questions?

Contact the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, Professional Learning and Assessments if you have questions, feedback or need assistance locating the resources mentioned in this newsletter.