Secondary Spotlight

November 15, 2015

"Drilling Down, Holding Fast"

Happy Pre- Turkey Week to everyone! Have you heard the story of Bus Driver Bill? Allow me to share a story of service- Bus Driver Bill was a 76 year old man who drove a school bus filled with elementary school students for over 50 years. He knew students by name, he knew their siblings, their parents, and their stories. Still driving a bus at 76, Bus Driver Bill became sick and went to the hospital only to learn that he would not be leaving. The hospital Chaplain was making rounds in the oncology wing and came across Bill's room. Bus Driver Bill had a very decorated and colorful hospital room. The hallmark of the room could be found around the window. It was a school bus. As the hospital chaplain chatted with Bill, she learned of his life as a bus driver . In fact, the students who rode Bill's bus created the bus bulletin board, complete with hand prints and well- wishes. Bill shared a story about each child that had signed his bus bulletin board. Bill also shared with the chaplain that he was nearing the end with his cancer battle. The chaplain asked, "what can I do for you? Pray? Sit with you?" Bill replied, "I do not need anything. Everything I need is right there in the window. I hold fast to the gift that I had the opportunity to serve and help these children."

As we drill down data and look at individual students, hold fast to what you know is the game changer for students- building relationships! We know this is not a class that is offered at the post -secondary level, it is something that is intrinsic, sincere and genuine that each of you possess and model in your schools. Celebrate the small victories that you and your teachers make each day! Give thanks that these students are in your life, because I am sure they are thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!


Grading: Formative versus Summative Assessments

This past Friday, we had our middle school principal round table. There was discussion of the grading procedures, specifically summative and formative percentages. Some shared that teachers were basing the majority of grades on summative assessment. During the development of the grading procedures, the committee had lengthy conversations about if we should "set" a certain number of summative and formative assessments. The conclusion was not to do this. In fact, the committee felt this would be a great place to start in the PLC process- powerful conversations about the purpose of formative versus summative assessments.

Rick Wormelli states teachers spend the majority of their time creating summative assessments. However, he continues to share that the greatest impact on student mastery is through formative assessments. More importantly, the critical piece is descriptive feedback that the teacher gives the students that addresses three key points:

1. What was the goal of this assessment?

2. Where are you on achieving/ mastering the standard?

3. How will we close the gap?

As teachers develop lesson plans, they should be able to circle at least one formative assessment. Of course, there are also informal assessments that are conducted daily as well and are very valuable in determining student mastery.

Are teachers using a variety of assessments to capture the summative piece which should include project based learning, labs, writing, etc.? How are your teachers using formative assessments?

High school principals- please ensure that your teachers are building common formative assessments for their final exams. Have the department chairs share the exams at a leadership meeting prior to final exams. Ensure exams measure mastery based on standards addressed the first semester. Exams should also reflect higher order questioning as well.

Below is the link for Wormelli's Formative versus Summative Assessment Ted Talk.

I would like to hear what your school is doing to address formative and summative assessments. We know that the formative process drives differentiated instruction. If you have some strategies that you are using, please share!

The Week Ahead

November 16- Progress reports go home

November 18- Digital 1:1 (Rena has notified schools that are being visited)

November 19- Title I Budget Meetings; Freshman Academy Adminsitrators' Roundtable, Lee; Board Meeting 5:30 PM

November 20- High school round table, 8:30 Lee High School/NCTHS


November 30- High school principals send home semester exam letter

December 5- AP Math Study Session at Columbia High school

December 8- Principals' Meeting


AP Surveys- Julie Summers has sent an email to remind you of the date to administer AP surveys for AP courses that end this semester. It is imperative these surveys are given to each student enrolled in a semester AP course.

Vacation- If you are taking vacation next Monday or Tuesday, please submit your request via Kronos.

PLC, DATA Meeting Agendas- Just a reminder to upload your agendas to your Dropbox. We will eventually move this into One Drive.

GRADES- PLEASE ensure that teachers are uploading at least one grade per week.

PD Credit- Please make sure to submit a form for teachers to receive PD credit.

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