Learning Together

Office of Instruction Newsletter - June 2022

Reflecting back and looking forward

Message from Troy D. Olin, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

Gratitude and Recognition

The month of June is filled with culminating events and celebrations that will pass in the blink of an eye. Before we know it, our Class of 2022 Seniors will be walking the halls of our schools in their graduation gowns, high-fiving students, hugging staff members and taking group pictures celebrating their accomplishments and the staff members at each building who contributed to their growth each year. Everyone in the district plays an important role in teaching our students the essential knowledge and skills to successfully meet the standards necessary to walk the stage at graduation and prepare them for the next chapter in their lives.

Take time over the next few weeks to recognize not only our students for their hard work, but also your colleagues for their dedication throughout the year. Their unwavering contributions throughout each day and late into the evenings were significant. Whether it was spending countless hours learning innovative and rigorous teaching techniques, providing students with extra help ensuring that every student has access to the curriculum, or responding to parent/student messages, you went above and beyond all year long. Thank you for the countless times you have shown up for each other and our students.

We hope you enjoy the summer months and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for the 2022-23 school year.

Innovation Coach TOSA Update

Beginning this summer, we welcome Wendy Taylor as the next Innovation Coach TOSA. Wendy has been a social studies teacher at Gates Chili Middle School for more than 25 years and has served as department leader for many years, where she worked collaboratively with the administration and members of the social studies department K-12. Her experience teaching multiple grade levels has allowed her the opportunity to develop curriculum that is both challenging and motivating for all learners.

Throughout her years at Gates Chili, Wendy has worked to support curriculum development using the New York State Standards and Framework and has participated in many summer curriculum projects to align social studies content and skills across all grade levels. She is skilled in lesson-plan design, instructional models and differentiated instruction as well as monitoring student progress and providing feedback. Students in Wendy's classroom can be found thinking critically as well as working collaboratively and creatively. As a Spartan, Wendy has worked with students in Student Government as well as created and ran the Middle School Peer Ambassador program. In addition, Wendy has most recently been trained in CRSE as part of our Cohort 2 and has worked with her department to strengthen the Anti-Racist curriculum at the middle school level.

Wendy is excited to take on this new role as an Innovation Coach and looks forward to working collaboratively with colleagues across the district. She is eager to learn more about our strengths throughout the district and to reflect on how we can, as a district, build on those strengths so that all students can experience them. Please join us in welcoming Wendy.

Big picture

Rigor Recap

Throughout this school year, we’ve spent time in your faculty meetings looking at our Rigor Framework and the five components that help to define our expectations for curriculum, assessment and instruction. We hope that this has helped you to deepen your understanding of rigor in Gates Chili and you have been able to make connections to the work that you do with students every day.

For our students, rigor is a culturally-responsive approach to their personal learning. When students are challenged to develop higher-order thinking skills and apply a depth of understanding stemming from the integration of academic and social-emotional skills, engagement will increase. Through inquiry-based and authentic learning experiences, these skills are routinely practiced, reflected upon and refined.

As we move into the summer and begin thinking about next year, we know that many of you will be involved with curriculum work, professional learning or working with students in some capacity. We hope you will anchor into the rigor framework as you think about ways that you can give students opportunities to take ownership of their learning to achieve high levels of personal and academic success.

When we return in September, our rigor framework will continue to define and guide our instructional focus. We look forward to joining faculty meetings again in 2022-23 to take your knowledge and understanding of rigor in Gates Chili to higher levels so that you can apply these components to your students’ learning experiences.

Secondary Teacher Leadership

As we have been sharing with you in past months, some of our teacher leaders at the secondary level will be celebrating their retirements at the end of this school year. This month, we'd like to congratulate Donna Smith for her years of dedication to the science department and leadership at the high school. Donna has served as the 9-12 Department Leader for the Science department for the past several years. We appreciate everything she has done and wish her all the best in her retirement.

Over the past 26 years, Rick Salton has enjoyed teaching at a variety of levels of science in the middle school and high school. He has worked with a wide variety of student needs ranging from regents, honors, ELL and students with disabilities. Rick's teaching style consists mainly of hands-on activities, labs, integrated projects, and formal writing assignments. He regularly uses real-life scientific models to assist student learning. Projects have included debates and a Microbiology/Genomics project incorporating technology. Rick has formed great relationships in the district over the years and looks forward to taking on a larger leadership role within the science department as the next 9-12 department leader.

Push Your Growing Edge this Summer!

As a reminder, the professional development catalog for the summer and fall is currently open. Staff interested in participating in summer learning opportunities will be compensated at the GCTA summer rate up to 20 hours.

Staff may also seek learning experiences offered through Monroe I or Monroe II BOCES and if interested, should complete a registration request through the BOCES Frontline system. Finally, for staff interested in learning experiences that will also help them accrue hours towards the language acquisition requirement for CTLE, the Mid-West Regional Bilingual Resource Network (RBERN), provides a variety of trainings to assist educators in developing their skills in relation to English Language Learners (ELLs). Check out RBERN offerings at https://www.monroe2boces.org/mid-westrbe-rn_home.aspx

Look out for future issues of the "Learning Together" newsletter on the first Friday of each month this school year!