Do Not Let The NYS Test Scores Define Us!

Hi All:

I hope you are having a wonderful, restful summer and getting recharged for another fantastic school year! Yes, I am trying a new format for the Monday Focus this year and will be putting it into blog format.  Just so you know blogging is the future and lots of educators and folks are blogging.  Be brave and try it out.  You have lots to share!
As you are aware, the NYS exam results have been released.  We were warned that we would see a dramatic drop in our scores.  We were also told that this should not affect teacher growth scores as this is an adjustment in the curriculum and a new test.
You know, as your building principal, it was hard to watch this unravel last week.  It truly put a knot in my stomach, didn’t it for you? What I have to remind ALL of you is this:  You cannot let this define what you do, day in and day out.  EVERY district is in the same boat, every teacher, every building principal, every superintendent.  There is nothing we should stress about and we need to continue in the manner of positivity.
Please know that our administrative team will be working on how to release scores to the community.  I have not seen individual student results nor have we received growth scores from the state.  Once we get this, we will be planning for the release to the community, parents and teachers.
Remember, we are humans, we are not a score and neither are our kids we teach.  You are the best of the best and we have to remember to keep the tenants and beliefs that we have instilled and that the social and emotional curriculum is just as important as the academic.  We will get through this together as a team like we have done in the past.  You are already working hard to align curriculum, work on assessments, and getting ready yet for another fantastic school year.  I cannot ask for more.  Know that my door is always open and I will see you soon!
  • The custodial team is doing the finishing touches and finishing up rooms in the 4-5 wing.  I have to commend them all for the hard work in moving all classrooms, supplies, furniture, etc. from one building to another.  Thank you for a wonderful job!
  • Our office will be back up running full time on August 19th.  We have lots to do, so please work with us as we get our school up and running.  Our supplies have not come in yet, so we will be working diligently on that as well as ALL of the packets and “things” we need to do to get our school up and running for September.
  • A great post by my friend, Peter DeWitt regarding the release of the NYS test results.  Take a peek.
  • Check out my blog post “Why We Need to Believe in our Kids”
  • Please remember to mark on your calendar our Meet and Greet for Sept. 3 from 6:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.
  • Please start enrolling in our Remind 101 class for text to your phone for delays and cancellations.  This will take over for the snow phone tree.  (Please refer to my email regarding this feature.)  How do you join?  It’s simple. To receive messages via text, text @eastsides to (347) 732-3168.  That is it, very simple.  Please start joining.  Thanks.
  • I am in conversation with Dan Cullen, principal at Stillwater Township Elementary School in NJ to hook up our building for cross-conversations on best practices.  Their grade level teams are interested in partnering with us and I thought, wow, what a powerful tool to see what others are doing.  Dan and I just did a google hangout and we are in the planning stages.  Lots of opportunity here, so please keep your mind open and I will provide staff development on how to do this, i.e. google hangouts, skypingetc, etc.  Here is the link to Dan’s school.  More info, will be forthcoming.
  • Please check the East Side Announcement page for updated dates, announcements etc.  Lisa is updating this continually!
  • What are the five things your are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!

Other items of interest:

SED prepared material to accompany the release of 3-8 student scores, including explanatory slides, some test items with explanation, and eventually a scale score conversion strategy. 
The APPR 2.0 section of the APPR microsite now includes the notes about what we learned from SLOs, evidence collection, and end-of-the-year meetings. Don’t forget that the deadline for APPR Plan Implementation certification is August 30th (forms and instructions are posted on the APPR Plan page of the APPR microsite). 
North Carolina is the largest state to change their tenure laws. In the future, the most effective 25% of teacher will be offered four-year contracts while all other teachers will be offered one or two-year contracts. 
People who were bullied throughout their childhood are more likely to convict crimes and serve time in jail – more reasons to tackle bullying. 
Some of the 101 things for a great start list might not apply to K-12 education, but many do. It might be worth a look by your new teachers and mentors – and then have them create their own list. 
Here, again, is your Opening of School Checklist from JustASK publications. You’ll be able to check many of these things off – but there might be a few more things to add to your to-do list to help you be ready. 
This new video from EdLeader21 lets you look at some schools where the 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking & Creativity) are a deliberate part of the educational program. 
Here are two examples of the positive welcome back letters students should receive from their teachers before a new year starts. 
Here are great ideas for getting to know your students at the beginning of the year (NYS Teaching Standards #1). 
This is a good collection of 2.0 ideas you can share with teachers prior to the beginning of the year. Larry Ferlazzo, too, shares a great collection of ideas for the new school year. 
This guide to 21st Century learning for parents starts with the 4Cs, and then provides web site and other resources to support the 4Cs outside of school. 
This picture is another approach to expressing what college, career, and citizenship readiness really means. How many of these skills are measured by the NYS Assessment System? 
Here are Alfie Kohn’s tips for creating meaningful learning environments for our students. As you expect, he downplays compliance and suggests ways to involve students in their learning. 
A Touch of Humor

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