Learning Together

Office of Instruction Newsletter - April 2022

Cheers to a successful Superintendent's Conference Day!

Three weeks ago, staff came together to learn more about equity and to take the afternoon to focus on personal wellness needs at our final Superintendent’s Conference Day. The morning’s presentation, hosted by current students, celebrated alumni successes, and offered three varied perspectives on equity, diversity, and inclusion. We want to thank our special guests: Mr. Jordan Smith, Dr. Cephas Archie, and Dr. Kiera Duckworth for spending the morning with us. Their personal stories provided the opportunity for each of us to extend our awareness of culture, identity, and bias. Staff were also challenged to get to know the story of someone else in our Gates Chili school community. What intentional steps have you taken to learn about others this month?

Our afternoon of wellness, by the numbers:

60% of our staff harnessed their productivity

  • "It was so nice to have the time in my classroom to work on things that have been piling up."
  • "1,000 thank yous for giving time for me to start planning a NEW and engaging project..."

5% carved out time to appreciate others’ contributions
  • "I met with my team and made contact with parents...this time was priceless and I was thankful for it."

10% invested in their equity journey by attending the matinee showing of July ’64
  • "This was eye-opening and mind-numbing. I never knew about the events of July '64. I had never known about Joseph Avenue and what happened there... I walked away quite affected."

25% participated in mindfulness, stress management, or physical activities provided by the Town of Gates Recreation Department, Body Works Unbound Therapeutic Massage of Gates, and local mindfulness expert, Erica Ebert

  • "Erica was legit awesome. I felt so good after leaving her class!"
  • "Gates Rec personnel were amazing! Had a great time!"
  • "Loved being able to move during the day!! Real mood booster!"

If you haven't already seen the conference day highlight video, we have linked it below.

Gates Chili Superintendent's Conference Day Spring 2022 - Gates Chili: A Collection of Stories
Big picture

Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)

In response to needs identified during the elementary ELA Task Force work, elementary teachers have begun participating in a professional development course to learn more about how students learn to read, why some students struggle and how to intervene. The professional development course is called LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling).

Currently, 17 teachers have begun the four-day training. This summer 40 more teachers will be enrolled in the training. Cohorts will continue to be offered throughout the next school year. In addition, the elementary administrative team has begun participating in a training to better help support consistent literacy instruction. Over the next year, K-2 teachers (including special education and intervention staff) will have this opportunity for comprehensive and consistent literacy training.

Following LETRS training, ongoing grade level support will be provided as we continue to work on applying the principles and practices to our classrooms.

Secondary Teacher Leadership

Teacher leaders play an integral role within the Office of Instruction, providing support, communication and leadership to their colleagues. As some of our well-respected teacher leaders prepare to enjoy retirement in June, we will be passing the torch on to new teacher leaders. This month we'd like to share some updates with you from the math department. John Unson has been the backbone of the math department for many years, serving as the 9-12 Department Leader and also 6-12 Curriculum Leader. We appreciate everything he has done and wish him all the best in his retirement.

We are excited to announce that Michelle Dossier will be our 6-12 Curriculum Leader, and Tyrone Allison will be our 9-12 Department Leader for the mathematics department, beginning July 1. Both Tyrone and Michelle have already started preparing for their leadership roles by having transition meetings with John and administrators.

Michelle has been a secondary mathematics teacher for more than 20 years, and she has been a Spartan since July 2006. Michelle has enjoyed her time in the classroom teaching many different courses and grade levels ranging from Algebra 1 all the way through AP Statistics. Being involved in our school community has afforded her opportunities to be a leader and work collaboratively with our students, staff members, and our partnering community members. Michelle is currently a co-advisor of the Gates Chili High School National Honor Society. In May 2021, she enrolled in the Leadership Academy at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she is currently pursing her New York State School Building Leader and School District Leader licensures. Michelle is excited to take on this new role as the 6-12 Mathematics Curriculum Leader and looks forward to working collaboratively with colleagues at the middle school and high school.

Tyrone has been teaching mathematics for 22 years, 16 of those at Gates Chili High School. In his time here, he has coached varsity girls lacrosse, modified girls lacrosse, varsity girls volleyball and he is currently one of the varsity football assistant coaches. Tyrone is actively involved with the Gates Chili Teachers Association, serving his high school colleagues as a building representative. He has recently served on our HS Rank and Weight committee, scheduling committee and several summer curriculum projects. Tyrone is looking forward to continuing his relationships with students, staff and administrators, while working towards goals that he has for the math department at the high school.

Look out for future issues of the "Learning Together" newsletter on the first Friday of each month this school year!