January 11, 2021

By Allan  


Hi Holt Bolts,

I know folks are thinking about report cards and standards and such right now, but do know you have my full permission to take time out to do “fun” dinosaur, ocean, or whatever topics that excite you. Those are the kinds of things that hook kids and make them want to keep coming back, which we especially need right now.

Eight items of note for this week:

• Report Card Notes – With Brooke’s Report Card Update, I wanted to highlight a few related items, the last of which I’ll also go over at the next Staff Meeting.

• Report Cards Open Soon – Once we’ve made sure all ELL students are properly flagged in Synergy, we’ll open report cards for any teachers who want to begin working now.

• Report Card Resources – Most everything you need to know about report cards can be found on either the 4J Elementary Report Card or Elementary Synergy TeacherVUE Documentation websites.

• Grading Performance Key – Mentioned in Tammy Christiansen’s Report Card Email is the Grade Performance Key below, which is intended to guide teachers wether you should mark a 1, 2, 3, or 4 for a student. Looking at the percentages, it should be clear that 4s are reserved for only a few truly exceptional students. 3s and 2s will encompass most students and 1s are for students who are significantly behind or who are not demonstrating what they know (i.e. not submitting assignments and/or participating in Zooms). Related to this is the the linked video on Calculating Report Card Marks, which I’ll also go over at the next Staff Meeting to make sure everyone is aligned in our grading practices.

• Student Engagement Ideas Doc – Linked here is the Student Engagement Ideas we shared out at last Monday’s PD/Planning Day. I know I didn’t capture all of the ideas that were shared, so please add to the doc to share your pro-tips with others. On a related note, here’s a WeAreTeachers Article about a teacher who is using wigs and costumes to up engagement in her classroom, which doesn’t seem too far off from Liz putting stickers on her face. :)

• Keep Hybrid Staffing Confidential – I didn’t say this at last week’s Staff Meeting, but do not to share with students or families the classroom and teacher shifts when hybrid starts. I’m waiting for the all-clear from downtown, which I hope is soon since I’m sure info will leak out if they make us wait too long.

• Wednesday PD/PLC Time – There hasn’t been any direction for this Wednesday’s “Hybrid Planning” and we’re pretty limited what we can plan for at this point (downtown and EEA have yet to meet), so in the absence of any direction, teams can use this time for prep. UPDATE: Meeting Cancelled. See email. 

I was originally thinking of having teachers start working on hybrid class lists, but since we don’t know when that will start and since there will likely be plenty of move-ins and move-outs between now and then, I’m thinking it’s better to hold off. Also, we still need to find out from downtown how we’re handing siblings, families in co-living situations, students with special services (SPED, ELL, etc.) for making and A-week and B-week cohorts.

However, if there are any type-A teams who want to dive in, I did make a new Hybrid Big Placement Form that teams can work on if you so desire. Just know that we may later need to make adjustments later once we get guidance from downtown. UPDATE: Link deleted. Talked at leadership and we’ll use a simpler form.

• easyCBM Updates – Data Coordinators and principals have gotten some easyCBM Updates I thought I’d share:

• Update on the 20-30% of Students Tested – Gloria shared earlier downtown requiring only 20-30% of students be tested, but we’ve now been told that students in the following categories should be tested as usual:

• Title 1 students
• Students with IEP goals that require them to test in easyCBM
• Students on interventions that call for repeated testing

• Can I test other students? – Yes, if you want to test additional students outside of the above listed groups, teachers are welcome to administer those tests.

• Which tests do I administer? – All the typical measures for that grade and testing season are to be given whenever possible. Listed below are all of the normally required assessments by grade-level.

K – Letter Sounds, Phoneme Segmenting, Word Reading Fluency
1 – Letter Sounds, Word Reading Fluency, Passage Reading, CCSS Math
2 – Passage Reading, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, CCSS Math
3 – Passage Reading, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, CCSS Math
4 – Passage Reading, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, CCSS Math
5 – Passage Reading, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, CCSS Math

• Subs Available – If any teachers want a sub to cover your class while you test your students, there are district funds available to cover. Let me know if you’d like to do this.

• What about my SMART Goals? – If you had easyCBM as a measure for your SMART Goals, don’t sweat it. This year is like none other. When it comes time to reflect at the end of the year, just say the school district did not require these tests to be administered and the data was not collected.

• Testing Window – The winter benchmark testing window closes Feb. 11.

• Report Card Parent Reports – Since the testing window goes past the planned report card send home date, my guess is that there will not be the usual district parent reports (attendance, easyCBM, OAKS, etc.) we send home with report cards.

• Enrollment Updates – If folks are interested, principals receive Monthly Enrollment Reports. Holt is the elementary second largest school in 4J with 491 student. We’re 39 students below our 530 enrollment projection, although if you look at the report, nearly every school in 4J is below their original projections. I’m not sure how downtown is going to factor this year into next year’s enrollment projections. My hope is they treat this year as an anomaly, but I did want staff to be aware we are almost two full-time teachers overstaffed at the moment.

• If you read one article this week… – Diane Ravitch, one of the original authors of No Child Left Behind and also Common Core, who has since renounced both and is now a bit of radical voice in education (who I also think is pretty awesome), shared the text of a terrific Facebook Post from a former upstate New York superintendent who wrote what she thinks educators should do once children actually do return to school.

• Schedule of Upcoming Events – See the Holt Staff Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for the next two weeks:

January 11 (M)
4:00-5:00, Allan to All Admin Meeting (Zoom)

January 12 (T)
9:10, Allan to Attendance Meeting (Zoom)
12:30-1:30, School Choice Presentation & Tour (Zoom)
2:00-3:00, Leadership Meeting (Zoom)
6:00-6:30, Talking With Books – Title 1 Family Event! (Zoom)

January 13 (W)
9:00-9:45, Virtual Coffee w/the Principal (Zoom)
9:30-10:00, 3rd Grade Data Team – Tier 3
10:40-11:10, 4th Grade Data Team – Tier 3
12:00-12:30, 5th Grade Data Team – Tier 3
2:40-4:00, PD/PLC Time – Hybrid Planning (Zoom)

January 14 (H)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Zoom)
5:00-6:00, Site Council Meeting (Zoom)
6:00-7:00, PAHS Meeting (Zoom)

January 15 (F)
12:00-1:15, Lunch Bunch – KG 12:00, 3/4 12:20, 1/2 12:40, 5th 1:00 (Zoom)

January 18 (M)
No School – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 19 (T)
12:30, Allan to Attendance Meeting (Zoom)
3:00-4:00, Staff Meeting (Zoom)

January 20 (W)
8:30-9:00, Student Council (Zoom)
9:00-9:45, Virtual Coffee w/the Principal (Zoom)
9:30-10:00, KG Data Team – Tier 3
10:40-11:10, 1st Grade Data Team – Tier 3
12:00-12:30, 2nd Grade Data Team – Tier 3
2:40-4:00, PD/PLC Time – Hybrid Planning (Zoom)

January 21 (H)
6:00-7:00, School Choice Presentation & Tour (Zoom)

January 22 (F)
7:30-8:30, Allan to 4JMAPS Meeting (Zoom)
12:00-1:15, Lunch Bunch – KG 12:00, 3/4 12:20, 1/2 12:40, 5th 1:00 (Zoom)

Have a good week and an even better three-day weekend!