TOAST Weekly Newsletter

Week of: Nov. 17th-Nov. 21st, 2014

Meeting the needs of our scholars?

What do you think? Our we meeting the needs of our scholars? I feel in some ways we are and in others we are not. This of course is a much bigger issue than just TOAST, but TOAST could be transforming the way elementary schools work in Albany if we really want it.

One thing I must make clear is that I am for an extended day for schools. As 1 of 6 children, from a single parent, my mother depended on the school and community to help support the needs of my family. There were no excuses, no comments about the type of parent my mother was. Just the overall need to do the right thing to support my family. Those are the memories that I have as a young scholar in an urban school setting. After all, we often say that the schools should be a focal point of the community, but we have limited hours of operation that support real learning. Time that is needed if we are to truly provide access to all and meet the needs of EVERY scholar.

As we move forward and plan for the 2015-2016 school year, I am looking for risk takers who will share ideas of what an extended day for TOAST would/could look like. Do we bring in experts for the real world to support the learning that is happening in the classrooms? How could we staff the extended day? Do we look at flexible scheduling or offer incentives for staff? Do we make connections with service providers so our scholars and families can be supported in all capacities? I have ideas of my own, but would like to hear what you have to offer. Feel free to email me or leave me some thoughts in my mailbox!

180 Days of School - Is that enough time?

BLT Meeting Update:

At our last BLT meeting, I invited Nicole Lindeman to come so we could discuss any topics, issues or concerns TOAST may have regarding technology. At the end of the meeting, the team and Nicole had agreed that in order for TOAST to move forward with any projects for new technology, an overall needs assessment for TOAST would need to be completed. I shared a breakdown of the work that needed to be completed through the ISTE website as an example (ISTE= International Society for Technology in Education). The agreement at BLT was that the staff at TOAST would complete a diagnostic tool in order to inform the BLT on next steps and plan accordingly. The link to the ISTE Diagnostic Tool is listed below. It took me about 10 minutes to complete. Please print out your completed assessment and place in my mailbox by Friday, 11/21/14. Time will be allotted during our Principal PD Wednesday to work on this for TOAST as BLT continues to plan forward.

Crisis Debriefings Needed:

There are a few scholars that have crisis plans. These plans are located in the office as well as with staff that are directly in contact with specific scholars daily. After any incident of crisis for the specific scholars, a meeting to debrief will be completed no later than the end of the school day of the incident.

Mrs. Laddin and I will connect with any staff that need to be present.

PTA Meeting

Monday, Nov. 17th, 6:30pm

Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science & Technology, Albany, NY, United States

Albany, NY

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Friday, Nov. 21st, 7:30am

Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science & Technology, Albany, NY, United States

Albany, NY

Looking forward to seeing our families come in Friday. Many teachers have scheduled meetings to begin at 7:30am.

TLQP Members (Current and New)

Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 3pm

Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science & Technology, Albany, NY, United States

Albany, NY

A brief meeting with members to discuss establishing a set meeting date and time for the year, We will also discuss ideas that staff have, current budget and establish roles.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Transformational Power in Education Technology

One thing we need to keep in mind is that no matter what tool we select as educators to support the learning that is taking place both in the classroom and real world, nothing will take the place a great teacher. Transformational power in education is a necessary ingredient required to make change. That change can be the direct result in success for our scholars, staff and families. By teaching our scholars and staff how to use technology as a support and not a crutch, we are preparing for the world that lies ahead. Technology is more than just researching topics for upcoming papers or projects on the netbooks and desk top computers. As the school of Science and Technology, we need to be clear on that and fully aware of the technology standards that are in place to support the learning and move our scholars.

The video link below is a quick view on how the use of technology and how it can support education has transformed, but the tool only enhancing the individual experts. It is not a replacement. It is an enhancement.

The Transformational Power of Education Technology

PBIS Mini Lesson Reviews 11/18/14

Ms. Cascone and I will be conducting mini- PBIS review sessions Tuesday. Each lesson will take 10-15 minutes. Ms. Cascone will email you each a schedule with time frames. This time, we will be selecting scholars to be part of the overall reteaching of the expected behaviors.

If we buy it, the gap will close! Are we sure about that?

The one thing that we struggle with as educators is picking the right tool to support our scholars and selves when everyone is telling you to go in another direction. It is not that iPads, Chrome Books, desk tops are wrong, but why are we buying them? What is the purpose of these tools? Shouldn't the overall goal be success academically and/or socially for our scholars? If so, how will you know? Are these tools to sit in your learning environment or will scholars be allowed to touch, use, bring home devices to expand the learning opportunities?

I guess I am asking if we are asking the right questions? Are these needs or wants? How will TOAST define the need vs. the want? In order to move forward, we must ask ourselves to tough questions and listen to each other's responses.

I believe the gap WILL close if we choose tools responsibly and with a clear plan, goals in mind that are shared with all and we have common expectations. No excuses, just high expectations.

The video below is a quick visual that I shared last year, but relevant to the topic.

Technology in Education

Have a great week!