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STAFF NEWS AND NOTES

NUTS & bolts


24 EDITION 24, ISSUE 33 CHARACTER TRAIT ASSIGNMENT May 14 18 English May 21 25 Social Studies

11, May 11, 2012

KUDOS - To Joan Schneider and Suzanne Sail our Health office inhabitants. You may not be aware but this week has been Nurses Week. Thanks to Joan and Suzanne for all that they do on a daily basis keeping all of us on the healthy side of life. I cannot imagine what its like to sort out the alleged illnesses of young adolescentsthey do a great job at it. Thanks for what you do for our school on a daily basis, Joan and Suzanne!! - To our art teachers for the work that they do with our art students on a daily basis. If you have ever stopped to look at the work that is produced by our 7th and 8th grade students you will be truly impressed. This past Wednesday evening was the Music and Art for Youth Month annual opening reception held at the NYSUT building on Route 7. The art will be hung in that location for awhile, so if you have the time you really ought to stop by and take a look. Great job Mary, Jenn, Aaron and Paul for your efforts with our students and for getting this great work out of them! In the connected kudo department, to Omar William and the Jazz Ensemble for kicking of the reception last Wednesday evening, as they always do, in a very spirited, upbeat jazzy fashion. Thanks for taking the time to provide this opportunity for our students but also to showcase one of the performing groups from our school. As always they are a great reflection for themselves as well as for our entire school. Thanks and great job, Omar and the Jazz Ensemble! - To Dawn Savery and the entire English department for giving kids the opportunity to get some good books in their hands. The Spring Scholastic Book Fair was held this week and all students visited the fair out of their English classes. There is nothing like having a good book to read and our students were given an opportunity to secure several. Thanks, Dawn, et. al. for your efforts in putting this program together and continuing to emphasize that reading is a very important skill for all of us!

Fair Cooperative

NWEA LAST ROUND Our last round of NWEA assessments will take place during the week of May 14. The math assessment will be administered on Monday and Tuesday, May 14 and 15 with the ELA assessment taking place Wednesday through Friday, May 16 through 18. NYS FIELD TESTING Yes, we have finally learned what field test we will be administering. On Thursday, June 7, we will be administering the ELA field test to all seventh graders. At this time, we have no details about the time allotment needed to complete this field test. Stay tuned! STUDENT COUNCIL ADVISOR POSITION OPEN We have an opening for a co-advisor for our student council for the 20122013 school year. If you have questions about the position please speak with Melissa Brandt or Kristina Gabriele, who have served at co-advisors this year. If you wish to put your name in the running for the position please let R. Moore know. INTERIM PROGRESS REPORTS The 4th quarter interim progress report schedule is listed below: Wednesday, May 9 Tuesday, May 15 Thursday, May 17 Friday, May 18 Grading Window open Last day of interim period Grading Window closed at 4:00 p.m. Progress reports printed, stuffed, and mailed

SPIRIT WEEK Once again this year Student Council will be sponsoring Spirit Week held during the week of our track meet. Themes for the different days include: Monday, May 21 Tuesday, May 22 Wednesday, May 23 Thursday, May 24 Friday, May 25 Mismatch Day Twin Day, Twin Day Hawaiian Day Hall Color Day Sports Fan Day (Hall Color Day if it rains on Thurs.)

ZONE #1 B. Christiansen

PM BUS SUPERVISION ZONE #2 ZONE #3 ZONE #4 L. Coluccio P. Coughlin S. DeMarco

CAF S. Majewski

People are reminded to be on duty on a daily basis to make sure that supervision is provided.
ALL STAFF MEMBERS ARE REMINDED THAT THE BUS SUPERVISION IS AN ASSIGNED DUTY AND IT IS IMPERATIVE FOR ALL STAFF MEMBERS TO BE WHERE ASSIGNED DUTY; IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ARRANGE FOR REPLACEMENT PERHAPS BY SWAPPING WITH A COLLEAGUE.

MIX IT UP DAY!! LETS MIX IT UP!!! When All lunch periods on May 24th- Track Meet Day (May 25th is a back-up day) Who All students and, hopefully, all staff! We also want to include the cafeteria staff! What is it? A national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance a decade ago, Mix It Up at Lunch Day encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. In our surveys, students have identified the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. So on this day, we ask students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. Its a simple act with profound implications. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. When students interact with those who are different from them, biases and misperceptions can fall away. For more information, check out: http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/whatis-mix How will we run it at SJHS? * As each student walks into lunch, they will receive a lollipop. * They will then go to a table that is color coordinated with their candy. * There will be a student monitor at each table to help facilitate conversation, and there will be conversation starters as well. * ALL staff members are invited to the cafeteria during their lunch to join in on the fun! We will need help passing out candy, bringing students to their assigned table, and would love it if teachers sat with the students too! * If you dont want to sit with the students, mix it up with other staff members! Go to a different hall for lunch, or eat in the staff room if you normally eat in your classroom!! **Guidance staff will be available for students who are uncomfortable** Why?? It will be a fun way to make our school more of a safe, accepting community!

LONG-TERM CALENDAR OF EVENTS May 7 11 Spring Book Fair MPR Fri., May 11 Great East Musical Festival Studio Art Field Trip to The Hyde Museum Mon., May 14 Houston 7 Field Trip to Philadelphia May 14 15 NWEA Math Tues., May 15 Norris/Clay ES Field Trip to Thatcher Park Wed., May 16 PTA/Staff Appreciation Breakfast Thurs., May 17 Calhoun/Houston ES Field Trip to Thatcher Park May 16 18 NWEA Language Arts Fri., May 18 Clay 8 Field Trip to Hyde Park 7:00pm Faculty Play May 23-June 1 Science 8 Performance test Thurs., May 24 Track Meet Fri., May 25 Track Meet Rain Date Fri., June 1 Science 8 Performance Test NCTA Retirement Dinner Mon., June 4 Science 8 Written Assessment Thurs., June 7 6:30pm Studio Art Show Reception 7:00pm Parent Orientation Wed., June 13 7:00pm PTA/PAC Fri., June 15 6th Grade Student Orientation 7:00pm Grade 8 Awards Program/Dance Fri., June 23 Regents Rating Day CALENDAR OF EVENTS Mon. May 14 NWEA Math Day 1 Houston 7 Field Trip to Philly 2:30 pm Math Department Meeting Science Department Meeting English Department Meeting Special Ed. Department Meeting Tues., May 15 NWEA Math Day 2 5-week Interim Point Norris/Clay Earth Science Students to Thatcher Park 2:30 pm Guidance Department Meeting Library/AV Department Meeting Wed., May 16 7:00 am PTA Staff Recognition Breakfast NWEA ELA Day 1 Thurs., May 17 NWEA ELA Day 2 Calhoun/Houston Earth Science Students to Thatcher Park Fri., May 18 NWEA ELA Day 3 Newsletter Posted Selected Clay 8 Students (Podcasters) to Hyde Park

PTA STAFF APPRECIATION BREAKFAST Mark your calendars! The PTA Staff Appreciation Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16. Food will be available beginning at approximately 7:00am in the library. STAND UP COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES FOR MAY 2ND Book Talk- Mike Donahue (Laura, Calyn, Tracy, Toni) The book talk has been canceled for this year due to time constraints! T-Shirts Days (Sarah, Tracey) Our last t-shirt day was May 8th. Results to be announced. Walk a Mile in Someones Shoes (Margaret, Tracy, Toni) The shoes are being hung by student government and look fantastic! Thanks so much to Kristina, Melissa, and the kids for all of your help hanging them! Take a Stand Tuesdays: The videos are still inconsistent. Shelby and John mentioned that students do not really listen to the videos in homeroom, and when they do listen, they make fun of the videos. John and Shelby thought that Take a Stand Tuesday announcements should relate more to our school. They brought up the idea of us making our own videos, or at least having a variety of announcements (ex: one of them could read some bullying statistics) Posters: Evan Hennessey created a nice drawing of holding hands which Tracey Maynard made this into a poster. It goes along with the new statewide policy, which is Take a Stand, Lend a Hand. One poster will be put in each faculty members mailbox to hang in their room. An announcement involving Evan is also in the works for T.A.S.T. The Show: If You Only Knew Me This activity received positive reviews from most staff and students. We all agree that next year, it should not be done the day before a break because the message was lost. - Many of the students seemed interested in doing our own "Challenge Day." Might be a thought for next year..... Mix It Up Day This will take place on track meet day during lunch. A information sheet was handed out to all staff at the faculty meeting Monday May 7th. Extra sheets are on the counter in the main office. - I also strongly believe that the lunch staff should be involved in some way. They are often disrespected by students. Perhaps if they were involved in the activity, students would see them as part of the school. Maybe make them t-shirts to wear for that day? - What to do with kids who are in restrictive lunch? - How can we get cafeteria staff involved? Maybe make them shirts? Can they be on some of our Take a Stand Tuesdays? Thanks to everyone for your hard work!!!!!! NEXT MEETING DATE: Wednesday May 16th

This can be done by peers as well as administrators, he notes, which reduces the burdens on overworked principals and assistant principals. The Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program does just this. Refocusing the Debate: Assessing the Purposes and Tools of Teacher Evaluation by John Papay in Harvard Educational Review, Spring 2012 (Vol. 82, # 1, p. 123-141), http://her.hepg.org/content/v40p0833345w6384/ Teacher Evaluation Done Right In this Huffington Post article, Boston teacher Lillie Marshall [my daughter] cites some of the results of a recent Teach Plus survey of Massachusettss most troubled schools: 41 percent of teachers rated their evaluators as fair or poor overall; 35 percent rated the quality of feedback they received from evaluators as fair or poor; 45 percent rated their evaluators fair or poor in content knowledge. This needs fixing urgently, says Marshall. if were not getting this right, it has the potential to sabotage everything else. In marked contrast, this is the way Marshall describes her supervision by her schools history and ELA department head, Tracy Wagner: Content knowledge Wagner has ten years of successful teaching experience with a similar student population; she knows her stuff, says Marshall, and I trust her. The action steps she provides work. Frequent visits Wagner pops into Marshalls classroom at least ten times a year for 10-20 minutes, providing a much more authentic understanding of me as a teacher than just one or two fancy, announced, full-class observations. Shes caught me being a phenomenal teacher, and has also seen moments of shame, but ten varied visits provide her with a picture of me that is actuallyme! Face-to-face feedback Soon after each visit, Wagner has a casual conversation with the teacher. Lets be real, says Marshall, a specific, frank, timely conversation provides teachers with far more valuable feedback than a formal observation write-up. Talking allows me to give Tracy the context of the other 99% of my teaching which she doesnt observe, and lets us delve deeper into her observations and next steps. Wagner also follows up with written notes on each observation. Looking at learning During her observations, my evaluator looks at student work and talks with students to gauge understanding, says Marshall, Tracy is able to give me concrete feedback on what skills my students are getting, and suggestions for which specific skills I should focus on next. For example, during a classroom visit in February, Wagner noticed that Marshalls seventh graders were doing a good job selecting evidence in their essays but needed more work analyzing how that evidence proved their theses. She made this point to Marshall afterward and printed out three suggested lesson plans. In a subsequent visit, Wagner could see that those lessons had worked students were using evidence more effectively. Now that theyve got the foundation set, you can teach lessons on spicing up word choice, she said. Im your evaluator and Im here to help you. How I see it, says Wagner, my job is to meet each teacher wherever they are in the path to improving their craft, and to walk them further along that journey. Marshall concludes, How lovely it is, as professionals, to have affirmation that were growing, and to receive concrete ways to produce further growth When done right evaluation provides not only accountability, but also a welcome boost to the next level of excellence. 5 Teacher Evaluation Must-Haves by Lillie Marshall in The Huffington Post, Apr. 27, 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/teach-plus/5-teacherevaluation-must_b_1446778.html ADVISORY Advisory isnt just about videos, but if you get caught short due to the weather canceling outdoor plans or one of those odd things that crop up, remember that there are quite a lot of videos and DVDs in the library collection that may work for you. Besides things like the Mike Pritchard series and various other self-help types, we have a few feature films (although not new) and episodes of the Simpsons and I Love Lucy (if youre talking about teamwork, theres nothing like the show with Lucy and Ethel on the candy assembly line.) You can search our collection on the internet by typing in video. DVDs come up under that subject, too. You can narrow it down by including a topic. If you dont have the link bookmarked, just go to the district page and click on SJHS right on the top under NCCS Resources, then on our homepage click on the scrolling blond character (remember, neither Dianne or I are blond, its a fictional character). Search box on the top. Judy Stott & Dianne Hobden Your Friendly Librarians

MARSHALL MEMO 430 by Kim Marshall Teacher Evaluation That Improves Classroom Performance In this Harvard Educational Review article, Brown University professor John Papay notes three points of agreement among researchers and practitioners: Teachers are the most important school-level factor in student learning. There is wide variation in different teachers impact on achievement. The teacher evaluation system in most districts is not working well. In such a system, says Papay, not only do administrators and policy makers gain no real information about teacher effectiveness, but teachers receive no meaningful feedback to help them improve their instructional practices. This situation has led many districts to consider using value-added student achievement data to evaluate individual teachers. Although this approach appears to be sophisticated and seems to make sense, Papay questions its accuracy, reliability, and validity. He concludes that its no better than the traditional classroom observation process in measuring classroom effectiveness and thats not saying much! Which brings him to his main point that teacher evaluation needs to go beyond measuring classroom performance and focus much more on helping teachers get better. If teacher evaluation is to improve student learning systematically, he says, it must be used as a tool to promote continued teacher development. Using teacher evaluations in this manner holds much more promise for comprehensive change than identifying (and rewarding or sanctioning) the best and worst performers. In most cases, Papay says, value-added data do very little to help teachers develop their skills. Classroom observations, on the other hand, have that potential if visits are frequent and unannounced, based on clear standards of good teaching, with well-trained administrators giving teachers candid, helpful comments on what they see. Effective evaluators must be willing to provide tough assessments and to make judgments about the practice, not the person, says Papay. They must also be expert in providing rich, meaningful, and actionable feedback to the teachers they evaluate.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK Ive learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou