"Super" Spruce Scoop

Volume 3 Edition 9

October 17, 2016

Data Points to Monitor

As you continue to support and monitor the work of your staff, please consider the data points that matter. Some examples of important data points are staff attendance, student attendance, student failure rates, ISIP, Achieve 3000 grade level or content failure rates, from the first six weeks. Also, all campuses should be at 100% completion of SLOs and PDPs. Finally, all teachers should have been observed officially through a Spot Observation at least 1 time so far. Some teachers should be receiving a second Spot Observation within the next week or two.

Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities are a lever for school improvement. They are also one of our feeder pattern priorities. I know all of our schools are using them to grow our teachers through Learning Walks, studying student work, data meetings, and previewing common assessments. There are many more ways to utilize PLCs as well.

This week, we saw some really impressive work from a few principals I would like to highlight. Dr. Wilson was observed leading grade level meetings and holding instructional conversations with teachers around the standards. When leaders take this deliberate step, we know our schools will perform. Thanks Dr. Wilson!

Also, Tanya had a group of Distinguished Teachers and DTR applicants preparing to deliver professional development. Not only does their solid work feed other staff members with pertinent learning, it allows the DTR candidates to make a contribution to the profession.

Finally, Juan is at it again. Late last week, I dropped in at Gonzalez and found him leading a group of 1st grade teachers through a review of the upcoming common assessment through a protocol. It was well scripted and helped teachers to unpack the test so they could discuss potential misconceptions before they begin instruction. The likely outcome will be instruction which is more aligned to improving student achievement.

Cuellar PLCs

Below are pictures taken from Cuellar's PLCs. Dr. Wilson is leading a book study using the text Teacher Like A Pirate. We will see the fruits of their labor in our student outcomes.

School Effectiveness Indices

We had several schools perform well as it relates to student achievement. Among the twelve schools in our feeder pattern, we had many above 55 in the School Effectiveness Indices, which is a significant accomplishment. Furthermore, we had several schools attain an SEI of 58. This is an outstanding SEI and reflects the kind of student growth we expect in our schools. Congratulations to our middle school principals, Ms. Rivera and Dr. Johnson, for leading their staff to above 58 respectively. They achieved the highest SEIs across the district at middle school. Really proud...! Also, congratulations to Mrs. Shelton, Mr. Cordoba, Ms. Sanchez and Mrs. Bernal as their campuses demonstrated strong results.

Keep in mind that 50 is average. Anything below 50 is below average. Conversely, anything above 50 is above average. All of our schools are expected to be above 50 this year. It can come to fruition through your leadership. Below are the feeder pattern SEIs by school in rank order. Finally, I encourage you to pull the SEI report for this year as it is informative as to where achievement grew or fell, and pull the longitudinal report for the SEI from 2008 through 2015. It is very telling.

  1. Y. W. S.T.E.A.M. - 58.5
  2. E. B. Comstock - 58.4
  3. Richard Lagow - 56.5
  4. Henry - 55.6
  5. Dorsey - 55.5
  6. Moseley - 52.3
  7. Gilbert - 50.5
  8. Douglass - 48.1
  9. Anderson - 48.3
  10. Blair - 47.7
  11. Macon - 47.3
  12. Spruce - 46.0

Academic Facilitator Message


The what and the how - Writing Process and Writer’s Workshop

The writing process are steps taken when writing. Writer’s Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build students’ fluency in writing through continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing.

Writing Process

Writer’s Workshop Explained by Dr. Courtney Bauer (4:39)


Resources- should be present:

☐Mentor Texts (books to read and model great writing during mini-lessons)

☐Document Camera and/or Chart Paper and markers for teacher modeling his/her writing

☐Student Portfolios

☐Writer’s Notebooks and/or Journals

☐Teacher Writing Journal to take Observational Notes

Topics or Mini-Lessons (8-10 minutes):

( During this time incorporate your LO/DOL)

  • Student Surveys about their interests in reading and writing

  • Procedures for Writer’s Workshop (practicing any transitions, expectations for Independent Writing Time, setting up students’ writer’s notebooks)

  • Pre-Assessment (Give students a personal narrative prompt like, “Write about a time you had fun this summer.”)

  • Writing about Small Moments (Recommended mentor texts could include: Come on Rain, chapters one or two from Small Steps by Peg Kehret, etc.)

Independent Writing (15-20 minutes or more):

(Students work independently while the teacher is conferring with a student individually or meeting with small groups)

  • Teacher either conducts roving or one-to-one conferences. During conferences, the teacher gives two specific compliments and one or two points for a student to work on. The teacher should focus on what action will lift the essay the most. Referencing the rubric(s) helps students to understand the writing expectations.

Sharing (2-5 minutes):

  • Students can voluntarily share pieces of their writing. For example they can read one or two sentences or one paragraph. Students can also turn and talk to their neighbor and share. Outstanding writing samples should be posted for the whole class to see.

Additional Resources

Grade by grade writer’s workshop website.


Anchor Charts for Writing Instruction


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More Reading...

Skills and Strategies | Making Inferences

What can you infer from this photo?

Look at the photo above.

What, literally, do you see?

Now: What can you infer — or make an educated guess about — based on what you see? Why?

Practice Inference-Making with Images

What’s Going On in This Picture?


The ESTAR/MSTAR Diagnostic Assessment is designed to follow the ESTAR/MSTAR Universal Screener, it is administered to identify WHY students are struggling with algebra-related core instruction, and provides information that can be used to plan supplemental instruction.

The 2016-2017 Administration Window for the ESTAR/MSTAR Diagnostic Assessments is: Fall: August 29, 2016 - October 21, 2016

  • Grade Levels Assessing: ESTAR-2nd-4th and MSTAR-5th-8th

  • ONLY GIVE Diagnostic Assessment to the TIER 3A/B students

The ESTAR/MSTAR Diagnostic Assessment can be accessed at http://mstar.epsilen.com.