Fahari's Weekly Staff Memo: 1/19/2015 - 1/23/2015
A Message from Fahari's Principal: Stephanie Clagnaz, Ed.D.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Are we who we say we are?
In recent weeks, we have been examining our collective practice to find evidence to answer the question: Are we who we say we are? It’s easy to use words to describe who we are and what we believe, but we are defined only through our actions - or lack thereof.
We’ve identified some big ideas about who we say we are:
- A community that values and supports the needs of the whole child, including counseling services, advisory and community meetings
- A community whose long-term goal is to provide opportunities for leadership and service in our school and beyond
- Our commitment to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline by expanding upon our restorative justice practices, including daily restorative circles
- Using the Gradual Release of Responsibility instructional model so that students are supported in the process of assuming full responsibility for their learning; planning for students to collaborate during small group work
- Our use of formative and summative student achievement data to inform daily small group, targeted instruction
- Our implementation of rigorous, Common Core-aligned instruction
- High levels of student engagement, providing many opportunities for students to make their thinking visible
- Implementation of the RtI tiers, including core instruction aligned to grade level standards; intervention and enrichment provided by the classroom teachers; intervention for those in need of additional support provided by instructional specialists
- A community steeped in authentic collaboration, including common planning time for teachers built into the school day
- Many opportunities for teacher leadership and the inclusion of teacher voice in decision-making
- A broad constituency base, including community partners
- Our value for family engagement, welcoming our families to our school and including their voices as leaders in our community
- A Board of Trustees that exhibits sound oversight of the school leader and consistently demonstrates a collaborative spirit
- Extensive professional development for both instructional and non-instructional staff
- A fiscally responsible and sound organization
- A community who is compliant with charter school regulations and laws
How is your professional practice aligned to our priorities?
What specific evidence can you identify about your actions that demonstrates this alignment?
How is it evident that you are who we say we are?
This week we had the opportunity to take our 7th and 8th grade students to see the movie Selma. I traveled with the 7th graders, and really enjoyed spending the day with our wonderful students. At the times the film was difficult to watch. There was something about seeing people who look like you be beaten in the streets by officers of the law and their fellow countrymen, that felt different than the many times I’ve read about these same events. In the days since viewing the movie, I’ve been left thinking about one scene in particular, where Martin Luther King Jr. says something along the lines of: “A black man will be able to sit at any lunch counter, but what does it matter if he can’t afford the burger? Or worse, what if he can’t read the menu?” Those words have stayed with me, as I thought about our work as educators, and what change can look like for people of color all these years removed from the spring of 1965.
We know that people of color of can walk into any “lunch counter” they please, but we also know that many of the families we serve are gripped by poverty and are ill served by the education system. Research tells us that these two factors--poverty and inadequate education-- are drivers of what has been called “the new Jim Crow”: the mass incarceration of males of color in the United States. In the years since the Civil Rights movement, the criminal justice system serves a mechanism through which people of color are segregated, disenfranchised, and disconnected from society. For our purposes as educators, the link between mass incarceration and our daily work is well documented:
- According to the Justice Department, illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level
- A study from two professors at the University of Western Ontario and the University of California, Los Angeles: "High school graduation reduces the probability [of incarceration] by 3-4 percentage points among white men ages 22-28 and 8-9 percentage points among black men" of the same ages.
- Research by Stephanie Ewart, argues: “The educational system creates [a] caste system and prepares students for incarceration by reproducing social inequality via cultural and structural mechanisms...School practices, such as tracking, hamper future social and economic mobility. Another byproduct of tracking is decreased skill level and low educational attainment, which are both salient factors in regards to contact with the criminal justice system.”
Coming back full circle, our students (in theory) will be be able to vote, and sit where they would like on buses. But as the movie reminds us, what comes next for people of color is gaining the capacities needed to enjoy the legal protections that Civil Rights movement secured. Equitable participation in American society is linked to the education a person receives. Research tells that if our students fail academically, their ability to participate in our society is severely diminished. This calls us to make it possible for all of students to achieve academically. We can do this by enacting what research tells us contributes to student achievement: being a school where teachers are part of teams that authentically collaborate, being a school that is purposeful in developing students socially and emotionally, being a school where our instructional practices place students not teachers at the center of learning, and finally, being a school where every adult believes that all students can learn at high levels. If we can do these things, I’m confident that we will be doing our part in ensuring that our students can “afford the burger” and “read the menu”.
Thanks for all that you do,
Assistant Principal for Administration and Culture
Family Engagement Updates
Thursday, January 22nd
Food served at 4:30pm
Speakers should arrive at 5pm to sign-up.
We need ALL community members to show their Fahari P.R.I.D.E. on Thursday, January 22nd! Be an advocate for our students and families! Show your support for quality education! Please encourage all students and families to attend! Food will be served at 4:30pm! See you all there!
~Ms. Clarke, Director of Family Engagement
Technology and Data Updates
Tech Tip of the Week: Using Microsoft OneNote for Screenshots
Microsoft OneNote is an application that allows you to organize images, files, notes, and much more in a single digital notebook stored on your computer. A screenshot is a picture of your current computer screen. It becomes useful when you cannot copy an item, only need a section of a screen or need to capture immediate information later use.
Step 1: Launch Microsoft OneNote
Click on your Start button, All Programs, locate Microsoft Office and launch OneNote.
Step 2: OneNote SetupIf you have not launched this program before you will need to configure OneNote for use. You will see the following setup option, click on the option circled in the screenshot below. After OneNote opens up for the first time go ahead and close the program.
Step 3a: Taking a ScreenshotThe simplest way to take a screenshot is to hold the Windows key down press the S key once.
Step 3b: Default Screenshot LocationAfter taking your first screenshot OneNote prompts you to setup default options. You can leave the default location as General. Be sure to check “Don’t ask me again and do the following” then click “Send to Selected Location”.
Step 4: OneNote Options
Once your screenshot is taken it is automatically copied to your clipboard and saved in your digital notebook. The screenshot can be pasted into any application where you can type and edit text. In OneNote if you right click on your screenshot, you will see some useful options such as save as an image or copy text from a picture. Screenshots come in handy because they preserve formatting when trying to copy content from PDF’s or content from the web into your documents.
Laptop Cart Reservations
Laptop cart sign out sheets are located on the Google Drive. In your Drive click “Incoming” or “Shared with Me” then search for the sign out sheet for your class to reserve laptops by period. The sheets are named after the classes who share carts and are as follows:
Princeton-UNC-Fisk Cart Sign Out
NYU-Tuskegee-Syracuse Cart Sign Out
UMASS Boston-Harvard Cart Sign Out
UWI-Brooklyn College Cart Sign Out
Group 1-Group 2 Cart Sign Out
Group 3-Group 4 Cart Sign Out
Data, Testing and Technology - Important Dates
January 27 – ELA Interim Exams
January 29 – Math Interim ExamsJanuary 30 – End of Quarter 2
Director of Data, Technology and Testing
Monday, January 19th, 2015:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No School
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015:
CRITICAL DAY - (No PTO may be used)
Thursday, January 22nd, 2015:
Public Hearing: Charter School Renewal
Speaker sign in: 5:30pm
Presentation, Questions, Comments: 6:00pm
CRITICAL DAY - (No PTO may be used)
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015:
Open House for Student Recruitment
Morning Session - 8:30am - 10:00am
Afternoon Session - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Friday, January 30th, 2015:
End of Quarter 2