A gathering space for educators
In the Instructional Services Department at Van Buren Intermediate School District, supporting teachers and administrators with instruction is the heart of our work. It is our hope that this monthly newsletter will help capture upcoming events and important information to support your work in your districts, schools, and classrooms.
Browse our upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities below!
Instructional Services Closure Update
We applaud each of our districts and its educators for coming together in uncertain times and working diligently to make sure that our students are calm amidst the uncertainty, and are provided learning opportunities at home.
During the closure, the Instructional Services staff will be available via e-mail should you have any questions or need our assistance.
Please stay healthy and take this time to reflect on the amazing work you are doing. Also, do not forget to enjoy a good book or two!
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
Creating Essential Standards for our students isn't easy. It takes time. It takes collaboration.
What is even more difficult, however, is keeping these Essential Standards a focus during our day-to-day instruction. One way to do this is by using clipboards to document on a regular basis how our students are performing relative to what we said was essential. These clipboards are SIMPLE and VISUAL which is what makes them so successful. How teachers use their clipboard should be as unique as their individual teaching styles. The data on the clipboard is only useful to the extent that it makes sense for the teacher.
As we travel from school to school and work with leadership teams, we see variations of clipboard documentation. Here are just a few that I saw in the last couple of weeks.
Director of Instructional Services, VBISD
Cheryl-Marie A. Manson - firstname.lastname@example.org 269-330-2668
In this example, the teacher simply marks her clipboards with dots next to the numbers to indicate each time she works with the student.
Kinder Individual Checklist
This teacher has a laminated sheet for each student with all of the standards they report on. The standards marked with a red dot are Essential Stndards. As she works with students she documents their progress on each standard.
Middle School Example
Tracking how many times a student is absent is helpful in reviewing your student data as well. This teacher simply places a circle in the space where she has observed other students with the standard but could not due to absence.
Kinder Individual Checklist
Essential Instructional Practices
Essential Instructional Practice #4: Activities that build phonological awareness
Building phonological awareness is one key foundational skill to ensure our students can comprehend what they read. Some activities to consider are listening to songs, sorting pictures, and written words by sounds, segmenting words, and blending words. This continuum can further support understanding of different skills, keeping in mind that this is a continuum and not a sequence.
Essential Instructional Practice #5: Explicit instruction in letter-sound relationshipsDid you know that everyone has their own sight word vocabulary? For example, the word Michigan is a sight word for most who live here. Not all students will have the same sight word vocabulary based on their background and the high-quality instruction they have received. Watch here to learn more about sight words vs. high frequency words.
Reading Month Activities
Students at Maple Grove enjoy a read a loud at lunch time.
Mrs. Corona at Pullman Elementary kicks off Reading Month with a school-wide assembly.
The Instructional Services team along with several Van Buren school districts attended the Early Literacy Symposium and got a first hand glimpse at Ottawa ISD's Book Bike
Students and staff play a guessing game with readers hiding behind their favorite books at South Walnut Elementary (Bangor).
Staff at Redwood are Wild About Reading, and their door decorations show it!
Covert is gearing up for a heated book competition for March Madness.
English Language Learners
School Improvement Process (MICIP)
Use the CNA Guidance Document to analyze improvements against SIP objective statements and identify:
- Where are we now?
- What progress did we make?
- How close did we come to our measurable objective?
- Were our subgroup(s) gap(s) narrowed? Why?
VBISD Cultural Understanding Committee
- The VBISD Cultural Understanding Committee would like to share a valuable resource from Read Across America. This website celebrates a nation of diverse readers with recommended books, authors, and teaching resources that represent an array of experiences and cultures.
- There is still time to register for the CUC PD offering on: Supports & Resources for LGBTQ Students on Tuesday March 17th from 3:30-5:00 at the VBISD Conference Center. Click here for additional learning opportunities from the CUC.
Donate money to go directly toward purchasing books for schools in Van Buren County.