WELCOME BACK!! August Newsletter
Learning Community P
We are off to a great start this year. The MTSS team rolled out a new website and e-book to support your MTSS needs. Here is the link. http://mtss.aurorak12.org/ Schools are working collaboratively to design asset focused systems that support the needs of the whole child. Building relationships is a huge focus this year. We are aiming to be more proactive as opposed to reactive. One of the most effective ways to do this is by getting to know our students and their families on a more personal level. The impact is already very apparent and reflected through the smiling faces of our students and staff.
If you were unable to attend our first MTSS facilitator’s meeting on 8-20-15. Here is a link to the recorded meeting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1y3EVz317E&feature=em-upload_owner
The STEM/Humanities grades at Vaughn have a joint field trip planned. The fifth grades and second grades are learning about life science this quarter and will head to Bluff Lake Nature Center in October for a real world lesson in habitats and the needs of living things.
The two below pics are of Vaughn second grade students planting their seeds for a science investigation.
Early Childhood Education
Teachers have been busy getting to know preschool students and families as well as establishing rules and routines in the classroom. Within the first three weeks of school, teachers have been focusing on supporting students and developing understandings about:
- My school and classroom are where I learn, work and play.
- My school has rules to help me learn work and play.
- People at my school help me learn, work and play.
Preschool students at Clyde Miller have been observing the weather and creating a concrete version of a bar graph using unifix cubes. Preschool students were actively engaged and working on skills such as connecting numerals to their objects, comparing and measuring, as well as demonstrating knowledge of the Earth’s environment.
Postsecondary Workforce Readiness
Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP)
Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) is the vehicle by which Colorado students explore the world beyond high school and reflect their understanding and plan for these next steps. ICAP is also a tool that reflects how a student’s Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) is achieved, accomplished and understood (Colorado Department of Education).
When all school leaders and educators are engaged in ensuring that students gain the knowledge, skills and aptitudes to explore career and academic pathways, a successful ICAP process is engrained in the PWR-going culture of school (Colorado Department of Education).
Students, Teachers and Counselors at Hinkley held their 1st Annual ICAP Signing Day on Friday, August 28th. Students, from 9th-12th grade, signed their commitment cards and committed to becoming postsecondary and workforce ready.
Throughout the 2015-16 school year, 6th-8th grade students at Clyde Miller will have dedicated time for ICAPs in their Counselor’s, Jennette House, ICAP course. The course is designed to give students more dedicated and meaningful time to prepare, review, and plan for their future.
Elkhart Elementary School Accountability Committee
Parent involvement is one of the keys to students’ success in their academic and career planning. When schools have active parent, family and community involvement, it brings a welcoming and inviting atmosphere to the culture and climate of a school. It also provides an environment of accountability to administrators, teachers and staff that all students can be successful in preparing for a postsecondary educational and/or workplace opportunity of their choice. There is a core belief that every student deserves higher education and career opportunities in line with their goals and effort.
Elkhart’s School Accountability Committee has active parent, family and community involvement. The committee meets quarterly to review and discuss the school’s annual goals and plans for parent outreach and engagement activities for the year. Their first committee meeting, for 2015-16, was held on Friday, August 28th.
English Language Acquisition
At the August ELA Teacher Leader Meeting, leaders from Community P shared strategies for supporting and collaborating with new teachers at their sites. One of the key roles of the ELA Teacher Leader is to support professional learning at their buildings. Along with their individual coaching and work with their ELA Consultant, monthly ELA Teacher Leader meetings provide opportunities for our teacher leaders to develop their practice as learners, leaders and advocates.
AWARE - Advancing Wellness & Resilience in Education
Project AWARE is working to support the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students through training and supporting youth-serving adults in Community P and in the greater community of Aurora. This school year has begun with getting to know some of the schools and staff in the community and sharing the work that Project AWARE will be doing to support them. Project AWARE is building relationships with behavioral health providers in the community to provide a continuum of behavioral health supports for our students and families. For example, we are piloting an on-line referral system from schools to community behavioral health providers such as Aurora Mental Health. All school-based behavioral health providers (Counselors, School Social Workers, and School Psychologists) have been trained on this new system and the pilot went live on September 1st! We have also begun training all behavioral health providers and some other district staff in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). We are helping to roll-out SOS (Signs of Suicide) for all 6th and 9th graders in our community this year and we have begun offering Youth Mental Health First Aid to staff and community members.
In the future look for additional training options that will support you in providing the social, emotional, and behavioral systems that our Community P students need and deserve! Please see our website for details and more information about Project AWARE. aware.aurorak12.org
Community P Project AWARE Coach,
Student Engagement Advocates
Community P Support Staff at the 2015-16 Start of School Event
Our schools in Community P started the school year with great enthusiasm. This is how some of the schools began the year:
-Clyde Miller welcomed their students with a red carpet, which helped make the students feel as important as they are; -Vaughn welcomed their students with a whole school assembly. The admin team, community corp., family liaison, and teachers connected with their school by rapping and singing to a song. The students and teachers also had a competitive game to make this year even more exciting; and -Sable welcomed their students and parents as the students were dropped off. Soon after, AP and SEA headed out to do home visits and find students that were not in class. Two students were found and invited back to school to start the year.
Great beginning of the 2015-16 school year!
Exceptional Student Services
ESS in APS has seen a lot of changes this year and one of them has been the shift to a more positive, proactive approach when it comes to students in our center programs. The AN rooms across the district have seen a facelift with the removal of the isolated “time-out” rooms. The AN room at Sixth Ave has students engaged in choral reading (pictured), and the Autism program at Hinkley has been using movement exercises (pictured) each day to get students’ brains focused for learning. In addition to strengthening the center program classrooms in terms of instruction and climate, more students are being considered for placements in a lesser restrictive environment as their needs change. The Autism center program at Hinkley is going to be using regular data tracking and monitoring to determine when kids can start to move into other, less restrictive, classes that can meet their needs, rather than being self-contained all day. The goal in Special Education is always to serve kids in the least restrictive environment possible, so while these changes require time and effort on everyone’s part, these shifts can lead to students becoming exposed to higher level curriculum, positive peer role models, and ultimately more independence.
“The Hinkley High School math team kicked off their year with some exciting work! Each PLC participated in a studio cycle. This practice is similar to a lesson study, but the focus is more on instructional strategies and their impact on students. The team planned a lesson together then observed one of their team members teach the lesson. During the observation, teachers took careful notes on what students were doing and saying. Later in the day, each team met to review their data, discuss the impact of their instructional strategies, and used data collected to inform their instructional decisions moving forward. The teachers were supportive of each other and focused on developing their instructional practice to better serve their students. The department will complete three more studio cycles this year with each team member taking a turn either teaching the lesson or facilitating the discussion. This collaborative work will really move our practice forward and lead to growth in student achievement. Way to go Hinkley Math Department!!”