Curriculum and Instruction News

January 2017

Building Momentum

Fox Focus, the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP), identifies improving student achievement as our number one goal. Adopting a rigorous, consistent, and aligned Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum is the first outcome listed in the document. Curriculum is useful to teachers when it provides focus and resources that make their work easier. Click here to see some places where our focus is coming together to build momentum.

Professional Development

#C6Learns Twitter Challenge

The C&I Department and DPDC are excited to announce the second annual #C6Learns 15-day Twitter challenge. The challenge encourages all Fox C-6 educators to share and connect with colleagues daily on Twitter for 15 days beginning Monday January 30th and ending Friday, February 17th with the purpose of sharing learning with colleagues across the hall and around the district in a virtual space to help educators develop a virtual personal learning network, or PLN, made up of like-minded educators.

To participate in the Twitter challenge, simply post one tweet each school day between Monday, January 30th and Friday, February 17th based on the day's topic. Each day's topic will be tweeted by @foxcpd in the morning. Be sure to follow @foxc6pd and #C6Learns to stay in the loop. Include the day number and hashtag #C6Learns to each tweet so that your thoughts are added to the district-wide conversation. For more information about the Twitter challenge and some helpful tips for getting started with Twitter, click here.

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Instructional Support Specialists

The Curriculum and Instruction Department is excited to offer the extra-duty position of Instructional Support Specialist. This extra-duty position will work with the C&I department to develop and deploy professional development on a variety of district initiatives. We are seeking instructional leaders from the following areas: literacy, math, science, social studies, and instructional technology. Applicants should have a practical understanding of current district initiatives including UBD, Kagan, PLC structures, balanced literacy, Google for Education, etc. They should also have evidence of successful experience in implementing district initiatives in their classrooms. Instructional Support Specialists will need to have the ability to devote time outside of contracted hours to meeting with the C&I team and other district teams to develop and deploy professional development. They will also need to have the willingness and ability to continue learning about district initiatives by attending relevant professional development.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Develop and deploy professional development to a variety of audiences.

  • Collaborate with the C&I department on instructional best practices, and high quality professional development.

Compensation for work outside of the contracted hours will be $20/hour, not to exceed 150 hours per calendar year.

If you are interested in learning more about this position, please attend the informational meeting on Tuesday Jan. 31 from 4:15-5:15 in the Fox High School Library. (Attendance is encouraged but not required to apply) To register to attend, please click here.

Applications for the position will be due on February 8, 2017. To apply, click here

Please contact Amy Zielinski with any questions you may have.

January 4th PD Day Review

On January 4th, teachers and staff around the district participated in a full day of professional development. Teachers and staff members learned more about a variety of topics, including: balanced literacy, supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, records retention, Kagan strategies, RTI, 6th grade transition, and content-specific PD.

Based on the survey data, the vast majority of faculty and staff felt that the day was well-organized and benefited their understanding of how to best support our students. To see detailed survey results, please click here.

Instructional Technology

Teacher Laptop Update

The Technology Department spent the first semester deploying 110 new teacher laptops to teachers around the district. Each new laptop was deployed with a wireless connection to the classroom projector and annotation software to allow both teachers and students to interact with learning material right from the teacher laptop. These pieces of technology have made it possible for teachers to teach without being tied to their desks and to interact with learning materials in new ways.

As the year continues, we will seek feedback from teachers who have been issued pilot laptops to help determine if we should continue to purchase the Lenovo Yoga 260 laptop we have or explore other options for the next round of laptop purchases. Whether the District decides to purchase additional Lenovo Yogas or switch to a different device, the laptops that teachers already have will stay in their classrooms; they will not be replaced with something else.

We have developed a few how-to guides to help teachers get started with their new laptops. If you have a pilot laptop and have questions, visit to see answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you still need help, you can submit a tech request.

Federal Programs

The New S.T.A.R. Mentoring Program

CALLING all teachers and administrators interested in the possibility of mentoring a student who currently faces homelessness or is a newcomer to our country! Click here for more information and to learn how to be a part of the new the Support, Tutoring, Advocacy, and Resources (STAR) program!

Access Testing for English Language Learners

The state mandated ACCESS testing window is currently underway for the English Language Learners in our district. The testing window for our state runs until March 3, 2017. These exams measure the growth of a student’s English proficiency skills and are used to help direct future ELL instruction. The flexibility of the Fox C6 teaching staff is much appreciated as the ELL teachers meet with students to administer the sessions of the exam. Many parts of the exam are taken online and some require individualized and/or small group testing sessions. Our students have done very well on these exams in past, so we are super excited to see how much they have grown this year. For more information and a general description of the ACCESS 2.0 exam for English language learners click here.

Family Engagement Opportunities

The Fox C-6 ELL Parental Engagement Program is proud to offer many great resources to our families.

Our Building Bridges Program is still going strong! This year we initiated our Bilingual Book Program. Research continues to support home languages as essential elements that support academic success for students. Bilingual books can help to build a bridge between students’ home languages and the languages spoken in the school setting. Parents can also use bilingual books to encourage their children to speak their native languages while fostering cultural appreciation. The Fox C-6 Bilingual Book Program gives parents the opportunity to read books at home with their children in their native languages. The program offers books in many languages. We currently have books in Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Turkish, Bulgarian, Chinese, Slovakian, Hindi, Farsi, Italian, Lao, and Bosnian. If you know parents who might be interested in reading at home with their children, please contact the child’s ELL teacher or Laura Flannery at 636-296-2030. Books will be sent home via backpack mail.

Our Building Bridges Program continues its effort to increase communication, trust and support between families and the teachers they work with. It has also expanded this year to include “Meet and Greets”. These sessions are hosted by ELL Teachers at their buildings. The informative sessions are an informal way to provide families with valuable information while giving them an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback about our program. If you are interested in hosting one of these sessions in your building, please contact your ELL teacher or Laura Flannery at 636-296-2030.

Our Growing Together Program has also continued and is expanding this year. We continue to place tutors from Jefferson College throughout the district to work with our ELL students. We are also excited to introduce Adult ELL Classes to our community members. These classes are offered at the Jefferson College campus in Arnold. The classes are designed to instruct adult students at their English Language Proficiency Levels. The classes are FREE! Please contact Laura Flannery at 636-296-2030 for more information.

Finally, our Begin at the Beginning Program continues to facilitate collaboration by helping parents and their children develop positive associations with learning English and going to school. We continue to offer Pre-K kits to families with children that will enter kindergarten in the fall. If you know of an ELL family with a child that will enter kindergarten in the fall, please contact your ELL teacher or Laura Flannery at 636-296-2030. We will make sure we deliver a kit to the family.

ELL Professional Development

ELL Teachers, District Diagnosticians and our District’s Federal Programs Coordinator met on the January 4th professional development day to discuss ways to improve the identification of English Language Learners who may need additional support. Through collaboration, research and discussion the group came up with ways we can better improve the support our district offers to the 233 English language learners in our district. We are always looking for ways to improve our federal programs!

A special thanks to the fourteen regular education teachers who attended an after school workshop on January 18th about research proven instructional strategies that foster academic achievement of English language learners. Topics discussed included: Student Engagement Through Active Learning, Can-Do Descriptors for ELLs and Family Engagement Activities That Improve Academic Achievement. Also, a special thanks to Amela Omeragic, Kim Hart and Laura Flannery for sharing the information they gained by attending professional development workshops outside of the district. By bringing the information they gained back to the district, we were able to meet compliance requirements and gain insightful knowledge that helps to better serve all students.


Grammar Instruction

The topic of grammar and where it fits into our K-12 scope and sequence of instruction has been a great conversation in our curriculum writing process. I would like to recommend a couple of fantastic resources related to grammar instruction to share within your PLC groups. These resources provide ways to teach grammar in a manner that is supported by a healthy dose of research.

What Research Tells us about Teaching Grammar by Michael W. Smith and Jeff Wilhelm (K-12)

This PDF explores the common issues related to grammar instruction in today’s classrooms and provides the research backing to move teachers towards using grammar as a means to elevate writing.

Grammar Matters by Lynne Doffmann and Diane Dougherty (K-6)

Using mentor texts as the cornerstone for how best to teach grammar, this book provides teachers with almost everything they need to get kids engaged in, and excited about, learning grammar. ISBN: 978-1571109910

Getting it Right: Fresh Approaches to Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Correctness by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm (4-12)

This text connects teachers with the grammar concepts considered “worth exploring”. The book focuses on how to not only maximize your effectiveness in teaching grammar but also how to teach grammar in a way that finally sticks! ISBN: 978-0439669337

College and Career Readiness

ACT ASPIRE results are in….now what do I do with the reports?

ACT Aspire test results will provide the District important information regarding how students are progressing at his/her current grade level, in addition to serving as a predictor of future ACT scores. Test scores will indicate which important skills, abilities, and knowledge your student has now, and which ones need to be learned for future success. Results will assist teachers understandings where a student is succeeding, as well as where extra help or academic focus is needed. ACT Aspire will also provide specific suggestions for improving skills to better prepare all students to have success at the postsecondary level. Please visit to learn more about this assessment. Click here to learn more about ACT ASPIRE results.

Information and Data

Tyler Reports

Did you know that you can generate a report in Tyler to show how a grade is calculated in either the grade book or in Term Grades? Did you know that it’s possible to create and save a personalized Student Data Grid template? Did you know that you can see a Student Gradebook Roster in almost exactly the same way a teacher does? If you answered NO to any of these questions, Tyler Help is on the way!

The data and information team is in the process of creating help documents for different areas of the Tyler program. Each time the C&I newsletter comes out from now on, there will be a link to a new help document and/or a video. These documents and videos will then be available on the District website in the Staff Resources area.

If you have any questions about the Tyler program or need help with any aspect of that program, help is just an email away. Send your comments/questions/requests to You can also call Lu Wiethop at extension 2252 for assistance.

Contact C&I