Nov. 13, 2020
Nov. 13, 2020

Academic Office Newsletter

From the Office of Dr. Paula Knight, Deputy Superintendent of Academics

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Extra Service UPDATE
Click HERE to read an important memo regarding revisions to Extra Service. Please contact Payroll, Finance or Academics with any questions. 
STAR Assessment
The STAR assessment window will open Monday, Nov. 16. It will close on the Dec. 17. It is important that each school have a 90% minimum participation rate during this assessment window.  
2020 Academic Office Winter PD Series
These sessions, Virtual Learning and Beyond: Sustainable Practices for a Reimagined Educational Experience, will be facilitated by Natasha Mitchell, Interim Director of Virtual Learning. Each session is a two-part series – two consecutive, synchronous virtual sessions (one hour each) with one additional hour of asynchronous work. (Nearpod Brand Ambassadors will facilitate Nearpod 201 – Nearpod 201 is one session). Educators must sign-up in My Learning Plan to attend! Click HERE for a one-page flyer with this schedule
Digital Engagement Tools & Tips for Concurrent and Virtual Teaching: In this session educators will explore technology-based tools and instructional strategies to promote engagement for virtual, hybrid, and in-person learners. There will be an intense focus on reimagining our traditional engagement strategies and leveling up to promote 21st century teaching and learning. Sessions are 3:30-4:30pm. Dates: Nov. 17, Nov. 19
Nearpod 201 (Nearpod Brand Ambassadors): This session will build on the skills learned in Nearpod 101. Nearpod brand ambassadors will be hosting a live PD event designed specifically for SLPS teachers. In this session educators will learn and practice using Nearpod to promote engagement and innovate synchronous and asynchronous instructional delivery. Sessions are 3:30-4:30pm. Date: Nov. 18
Check for Understanding (CFU - formative assessment) During the Synchronous Instructional Cycle: In this session educators will explore digital strategies on how to check for student understanding at key points in the lesson to make instructional decisions based on real time data. There will be an intense focus on how the connection between engagement, total participation, and formative assessment act as a cohesive set of teacher moves designed to actively check for understanding of student learning. Sessions are 3:30-4:30pm. Dates: Dec. 1, Dec. 3
Transforming with Technology – Empowering Student Voice: This session is designed for educators with intermediate to advanced virtual teaching skills that are ready to promote student agency in the classroom by empowering students to leverage technology to take an active role in their own learning. This session will focus on the pedagogical shift of utilizing technology to transform learning rather than substituting traditional content onto a digital platform. There will be an intense focus on the use of interactive and innovative technology software to design authentic 21st century learning experiences and publish student work. Sessions are 3:30-4:30pm. Dates: Dec. 8, Dec. 10
Standards-Based Grading Update
The pandemic has brought many changes to our lives, and we are all just trying to do what is best for our children. There are many things about teaching and learning that make us desperately long for the way things used to be—like sitting in circles together to have dialogue, students huddling together for partner work, and the like. However, there are some bright spots in these times: we are finally 1:1; our students are growing ever more savvy with technology and self-advocacy, and finally we have the opportunity to use our grading system for EQUITY. In the spring, our only response was to be flexible and ensure that no child suffered academically because they were not able to adapt quickly enough. Now we get to take that one step further. Grading is, as we were reminded in our Back to School PD, our opportunity to communicate (to parents, to children, and to the stakeholder community) the story of how our children are doing in school. Our flexibility and protection of our children comes in a new form: grading for learning. A grade should not represent compliance but rather capture the status of a student’s ability to master standards. In the weeks ahead, please check back here for updates and ideas for grading for learning and for PD opportunities around Standards-Based Learning and Grading.
Upcoming Topics: 
  • Are you grading for learning or are you grading for completion?
  • Do you value feedback more than grades?  
  • Are you punishing and rewarding non-academic behaviors with academic grades?
Special Message from the SLPS Foundation
The team at the SLPS Foundation knows our school staff are working tirelessly! Teaching both in-person and virtually, tending the minds and hearts of our young learners: this is noble work
The SLPS Foundation wants to say thank you to all school staff and is randomly choosing two schools a week to receive Friday morning breakfast treats. Want to know who the SLPS Foundation Morning Stars are this week? Watch our staff spin the wheel and announce this week’s winners on Facebook or Instagram. These efforts will continue weekly through the end of the quarter!
ECE Updates
PBS Learning Kits: The Nine Network has selected the SLPS Pre-Kindergarten Program to be the recipients of PBS Learning Kits! The press release is available HERE. The generous donation of 900 Learning Kits for Pre-K students includes the following: 1 PBS KIDS Playtime Pad, 1 copy of children's book Cannon's Crash Course, 1 copy of children’s book Biz is a Wiz as featured on Teaching in Room 9, 1 PPE disposable mask, 1 PPE washable mask, 1 pack of hand sanitizer wipes, 1 pack of crayons, 1 Nine PBS Educational Toolkit featuring Teaching in Room 9 resources, and 1 bookmark featuring art by a local illustrator in a tote bag courtesy of PNC Bank. Educators will receive additional books and PPE for classroom use.  
The learning kits will are available for use in the classroom and can be checked out for students to use at home. To receive learning kits for your school site, select a pick-up designee and contact the ECE Office to schedule a time for pick-up at Central Office the week of Nov. 16-20 from 7:30am to 4:30pm. Only one pick-up designee per site is needed.
SLPS Pre-K educators should continue to monitor their email for more updates regarding this exciting early learning project. 
SLSO PD Workshops: The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is offering two different workshop themes via Zoom, and two date options are offered for each. This year’s workshop uses the story of The Lion and the Mouse as the springboard for incorporating music into teaching critical concepts. Spots are anticipated to fill quickly, so register now for one or both workshops. Click HERE to learn more and sign up.
PPE Equipment: PPE aprons have been sent out by pony to all general education Pre-K teachers. Along with the apron in the enclosed envelope is an acknowledgement of receipt. Please be sure to fill out the receipt and return it to the ECE Office via pony mail. If you have not received your apron, please contact the ECE Office.
Returning Student Files: Reminder: Please continue to update P4 returning student files. It is imperative that neighborhood school sites have updated forms and documents for all P4 returning students sent to the ECE Office by Nov. 20. Secretaries may contact the ECE Office if additional assistance is needed.
Behind the Book Author Takeover 
Behind the Book Author Takeover is a Follett Community instructional resource offered free of charge. This interactive webinar series gives teachers and students opportunities to interact with popular authors, as they “candidly share insights into their works and how their books may be incorporated into distance learning and classroom plans.” 
In addition, various resources are suggested to support instruction of the featured books. Check the Follett Community website frequently for the dates of the live webinars. However, more than 25 recorded webinars are available for “anytime” access. The video recordings of the following award winning authors are included in the series: 
Torrey Maldonado (pictured), NYC teacher and culturally responsive author of Secret SaturdaysTight and What Lane, discusses how the social-emotional issues he faced as a child influence his writing. He states that he “unplugged” from books early in school because he did not see himself in books other than as a "sidekick" or negative stereotype. Mr. Maldonado writes books for young people that “he needed as a youngster.” 
Kwame Alexander, author of Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo BlumeThe Crossover and The Undefeated, discusses how music influences his thinking and writing. He also comments on the importance of eBooks during this time of social distancing when students may not have access to hardbound books. Mr. Alexander further encourages the use of various forms of media to extend learning after reading a book. “Put media back into the media center.”
Tony DiTerlizzi is the author and illustrator of Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure , The Spider and the Fly, and Kenny & the Dragon. In this webinar, he recounts his days as a “struggling reader” and praises his teachers for recognizing and supporting his artistic talent that, ultimately, inspired his love of reading and writing. 
Behind the Book Author Takeover can be accessed HERE.
GOOD NEWS: Faith-Based Partner Celebrates Walbridge Teachers
The Adopt-A-Teacher partnership between Walbridge STEAM Academy and The Crossing Church involves the current Reading Champions adopting a teacher in order to connect, encourage and support throughout the school year.
The Reading Champions are provided information about the teachers they adopt, which includes hobbies, favorite foods, restaurants, a simple wish list and their preferred avenue of communication, in order to encourage them on a monthly basis. 
The teachers receive monthly recognition gifts such as gift cards, lunch and other favorite things. 
From The Crossing Church: "We love our partnership with Walbridge and want these amazing educators to know, on a consistent basis, we respect, appreciate, and care about them."
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Secondary with Judine Keplar
General Announcements: Are you looking for your Proficiency Scales? You can access all SBG Resources for ELA 6-12 by visiting our OneDrive Folder.
Quarter 2 Instructional Planning: Middle School and High School ELA teachers should continue using open-source full-length texts and short texts for the remainder of the semester. No novels should be distributed to students. Reach out to Judine with any questions. 
If you have not yet added Judine Keplar to all of your Class Teams, please do so ASAP.
PD Booster Session → Using the SLPS ELA Data Tracker (Teams Meeting), Monday, Nov. 16, 3:15-4pm
SMART Goal Reminder: By the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, 70% of students in grades 6-12 will meet their performance growth target as measured by a comparison of their scores on ELA common formative assessments (CFAs) and common summative assessments (CSAs) that integrate high priority standards.
HS English Department Chair Meeting Schedule: All English Department Chair Meetings will be held from 3:15-4:15pm on Teams. If you did not receive a calendar invitation, please contact Judine for the meeting link. Our next meeting is Nov. 30. 
Important Links 
Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out for support! 
Curriculum Corner: Social Studies with Dr. Glenn Barnes
SMART Goals For Social Studies: LINK
Assessment Reminders: Be sure to utilize the standards tracker that has been shared with you and submit assessment results to me.
Assessment Prep Tips: Keep the standards as your focus and assess them. Use the exit slips and create questions and opportunities which reflect the requirements of proficiency. Focus on pushing follow up questions with higher DOK levels. 
PD Reminders
1) K-5 Social Studies Resource Sharing, Monday, Nov. 16, 3:15-4:15pm
2) Authentic Assessments in Secondary Social Studies, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 3:15-4:15pm (will be rescheduled)
3) Secondary Lesson Plan Support, every Thursday morning 7-8am, (2nd session starts at 2:45pm the same day)
4) Elementary Lesson Plan Support, every Friday morning 7-8am, (2nd session starts at 2:45pm the same day)
General Announcements: Glenn Wiebe is a teacher and leader in social studies in the state of Kansas. I have met with him and chatted many times about what excellent social studies looks like. He is an advocate, as Sam Wineburg of Stanford University puts it, provide our students with problems to solve. “A focus on the reading, analysis, and writing skills needed to develop an understanding of the past, instead of a focus on memorizing content.” Utilizing the SHEG framework, he builds up students through the use of questioning and source analysis. These questions and social studies based skills are needed to be fluent in all aspects of social studies based literacy. Starting with students in 3rd grade and extending through life, these are the skills and techniques rooted in developing critical thinking and analysis skills to be successful in social studies. These skills also cross over into other subject areas as well.One thing is certain about the election this year, it has exposed a greater need for civics education and involvement. Early numbers indicate a growing voice among those ages 18-29 who are going to the polls for the election. What does all of this mean? It means that kids are starting to see that their voice matters and that they have an opportunity to be change agents. As folks get older, they see that more of what happens impacts them and they increase in their likelihood of voting. Another trend to watch is that quite a few folks still sat out the election and believe the system does not care for them. Our own students have said this. How might we work to change this?
When Sourcing: Who wrote this? What is the author’s perspective? Why was it written? When was it written? Where was it written? Is it reliable (why or why not)?
When Contextualizing: When and where was the document created? What was different then? Same? How might the circumstances in which the document created affect its content?
When Corroborating: What do other documents say? Do the documents agree (Why or why not)? What are other possible documents? What documents are most reliable?
When Engaged in Close Reading: What claims does the author make? What evidence does the author use? What language (words, phrases, images, symbols) does the author use to persuade the documents audience? How does the document’s language indicate the author’s perspective?
Use of Evidence Analysis Window frames for asynchronous or synchronous leaning would fit into this way of thinking, especially when paired with resources from The Library of CongressNational Archives, and Digital Public Libraries of America Source Sets. Use images, or use texts. Either way, students can be critical consumers of information and further conversation with their own thoughts.
Curriculum Corner: Performance Arts with Kaye Harrelson
SMART Goals for Performing Arts in the 2020-2021 school year: 100% of performing arts teachers will integrate instruction with objectives in the Respond, Create and Connect strands of the Missouri Fine Arts Standards.  
Music Professional Development: SLSO Music Director, Stéphane Denève will share his score study process and rehearsal preparation routine as educators follow along with him through the score of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, “Eroica.” Perfect for band, orchestra and choral directors as well as general music educators, this workshop will be held via Zoom and questions for Stéphane are highly encouraged. This workshop is being offered at no cost to educators. To participate:
♦ Register now through the link below – space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
♦ Download the score before the workshop – a link to IMSLP will be emailed to you.
♦ Look for an email from by Nov. 30 with a link to the Zoom session.
Performing Arts Teachers returning to classrooms are reminded that indoor group singing should be AVOIDED (yes, even with masks), as should any movement that extends beyond the "personal bubble" around each student.  Humming is an option. There are no performances planned for SLPS schools this semester. 
Teachers and all students should sanitize hands at the beginning and end of every class session.
Contact Kaye Harrelson if more specific guidance is needed.  314-934-5445
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Elementary with Dr. Esther Palsenberger
CFA/CSA Smart Goal: Schools will implement the SLPS English Language Arts curriculum with on-going assessment using Common Formative Assessments focusing on high priority standards. By the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, 70% of students in grades K-5 will meet their performance growth target (established by the teacher) as measured by a comparison of their quarterly scores on the ELA common formative assessments (CFSs) that integrate high priority standards identified within the current curriculum plan.
Assessment Reminders:
  • 2nd Writing Performance due December 11, 2020
  • CSA#2 begins December 11, 2020
Assessment Prep Tips: The writing performance tasks located in the SLPS Curriculum Plan are aligned to the MAP assessment and MO LEAP (MAP Practice). Did you know that all grade levels (3-8) will have a writing performance on the MO LEAP that will be scored by an outside group if completed between Dec. 1 - Jan. 29? This will allow teachers to see how well the students are prepared for the 4th grade writing performance on the MAP. It will also examine how teachers and leaders score writing performances. Do they score too hard or too easy?
Back by popular demand ... Writing Performance Nearpods are now available. They are located in the District Library, and the links are located below. The multiple-choice questions are now in the quiz format, so it will be scored automatically for you (saving you time). Also, the writing prompt itself is now in the open-ended question format. This is an easier format for students to type their final version.
Need to meet with Dr. Palsenberger? Click HERE for her appointment calendar.
Curriculum Corner: Visual Arts with John Grapperhaus
I AM very happy to announce the winners of the 11th Annual Kevin Coyne Safety Contest. This year’s theme is Getting Through COVID-19 Together.  Thanks to all the schools for their participation! Winners will be receiving $50 cash cards.  The winners’ list can be found at this link, and the artwork can be VIEWED HERE on the district intranet.
SMART Goals for Visual Art in the 2020-2021 school year: LINK
Weekly Booster: Open Office Hours for Lesson Planning, Content Support and Q/A, Every Wednesday, 3:15-4:15pm: LINK 
REMINDER: Literacy Grant Applications Due Nov. 20
DESE received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for its Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) program. This grant provides PD to teachers to support literacy instruction.  
  • Identify a teacher or reading specialist at each of your schools, K-12, to be the lead for the literacy grant.
  • Complete the application by Nov. 20, 2020.  
Curriculum Specialists:
  • Dr. Esther Palsenberger, Elementary ELA, 314-779-5939
  • Judine Keplar, Secondary ELA, 314-532-6427
  • Zehra Khan, K-12 Math, 314-532-3574
  • J. Carrie Launius, Elementary Science, 314-934-5258
  • Dr. Valentina Bumbu, Secondary Science, 573-544-6835
  • Dr. Glenn Barnes, Social Studies, 314-934-5267
  • John Grapperhaus, Visual Arts, 314-934-5320
  • Kaye Harrelson, Performing Arts, 314-934-5445
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