Oct. 23, 2020
Oct. 23, 2020

Academic Office Newsletter

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

Got feedback? We want to hear it!
KidSmart Supply Give-Away for District Teachers
Exciting news! KidSmart is hosting an exclusive school supply drive-thru event for SLPS teachers on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 4-8pm at its Maryland Heights location, 180 Progress Parkway, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.
Each teacher will receive about $800 (yes, you read that right!) worth of supplies. Teachers need to RSVP in advance HERE.
Beginning Teachers Assistance Program 
Click HERE for a flyer on the BTAP program for teachers in their first through fourth years of teaching (all grades). This professional development program is designed to satisfy Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education BTAP requirement for teachers to upgrade their Missouri Initial Professional Certificate (IPC). For questions, contact Dr. LaTisha Smith, latisha.smith@slps.org
Entering Parent Conference Data Into SIS
Your assistance is needed in capturing Parent Conference Day data and entering it into the SIS system.  
Please ask each teacher to provide you with a list of students whose parents participated in a virtual parent conference.   
In SIS, enter either a Y, the parent did attend or an N, the parent did not attend for each student. Click HERE for full directions.
Please have the Parent Conference data entered into the SIS system by Friday, Nov. 13.
If you have any questions email PupilAccounting@slps.org.
Tech Resource Team
The District has created a Technology Resources Team that contains numerous videos and professional development items. Anyone in the District can join the Team by clicking on this link: Technology Resources Team
It contains:
1) Microsoft Recorded videos
  • Using FlipGrid
  • Class Notebook Trainings
  • Microsoft Teams Trainings
  • PowerPoint techniques
  • Stream Video Recording
  • Excel helpful hints
  • Teaching In An Inclusive Classroom
2) Videos created by the SLPS Team related to cable management, hosting a teaching activity in Teams
Leading Schools with High ELL Enrollment
Leading a school with high ELL enrollment requires an intentional effort to understand LANGUAGE data and to use it to set grade-level and school-wide improvement goals. This 5-hour training opportunity supports school leaders working to envision how the roles of ESOL teachers and general educators coalesce to create equitable school-wide conditions for all students to learn grade level content and academic English, simultaneously. 
The 5-hour training begins on Nov. 16. To learn more about this professional development opportunity and to register, click HERE.
Coach Recognition Day
Did you know that National Coach Appreciation Day is on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020?  
Take this opportunity to show some love to all your school's coaches, including your Academic Instructional Coach!
GOOD NEWS: Book Donation at Mason 
A big thanks to community members for supporting Mason Elementary School with staff gift bags and more than 100 new, culturally relevant books for the school library!
The Science of Reading Podcast
Science of Reading is a biweekly podcast where literacy experts discuss how to develop “confident and capable” readers. This recommended podcast features Timothy Rasinski, Professor of Literacy Instruction and Director of a reading clinic at Kent State University. Dr. Rasinski is a leading authority in literacy and widely acclaimed for his research on the role of fluency in reading comprehension.
“A Conversation with Tim Rasinski”
In this podcast, Timothy Rasinski discusses the importance of fluency in reading comprehension. He describes fluency as the bridge from phonics and word study to comprehension and further delineates that fluency involves two competencies, automaticity and expression or prosody. Automaticity is the ability of students to read words effortlessly without sounding them out. Prosody is the ability to read with appropriate expression. Automaticity supports fluency. Prosody is the link to comprehension. These two subsets of fluency, automaticity and prosody, are connected. Proficiency is required in both areas as students become confident and capable readers. Dr. Rasinski also discusses various instructional strategies designed to accelerate students’ fluency, including performing poetry or portions of famous speeches.
Listen to the Science of Reading Podcast with Timothy Rasinski HERE
Focus On: Teacher Webpage - The "Public" Online Learning Space
It is critical that our school and teacher webpages are consistent across our organization and provide information and access for families into the “public” space of our classroom. During the “back-to-school” professional development website expectations were shared with all classroom teachers across the District. These key (up-to-date) features should be found on every teacher’s page:
  • A welcome page/meet the teacher
  • An updated weekly schedule for students (for hybrid classrooms there should be an in-person and virtual schedule posted)
  • The weekly lesson planner (derived from the SLPS Blended Learning Weekly Planner). This weekly planner must be updated every week and posted under the virtual learning tab on the website. Click HERE for the district template that should be posted every week. Additionally, the lesson planner should be posted using the document viewer app from our web design system. This allows users to directly view and access planner (rather than downloading it to their device.) 
Check out Ms. Polinsky’s webpage! Her site provides a great example of a website that utilizes all of the key features listed above. If you have an exemplar webpage to share please email natasha.mitchell@slps.org to share. 
Click HERE to access the back-to-school web design PD resources. 
Focus On: Virtual Relationship Mapping
There may be nothing more important in a child’s life than a positive and stable relationship with a caring adult. For students, a positive connection to at least one schoo1 adult – whether a teacher, counselor, sports coach, or other school staff member – can have tremendous benefits that include reduced bullying, lower dropout rates, and improved social emotional capacities. Rather than leave these connections to chance, relationship mapping invests time in making sure that every student is known by at least one adult. During a private meeting, school staff identify youth who do not currently have positive connections with school adults. Those students are then paired with a supportive adult mentor within the school. Adults may also choose to pay special attention to “at risk” students as these connections may be particularly important for students who are having a hard time at home or in school. For more information on this strategy and other resources for both in-person and virtual learning environments, please the see the Culture & Climate Resource Toolkit!
Culture & Climate Support: 
School leaders, if you need culture and climate support for your school, please reach out to Casetta Brown, Culture and Climate Coordinator, 314-345-4434 (o), 314-532-6582 (c), as she can assist you or connect you with our partners from Mizzou or EducationPlus.
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Elementary with Dr. Esther Palsenberger
STAR Smart Goal: Schools will implement SLPS English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum with fidelity through on-going support with planning, pacing, and intervention. The average Student Growth Percentile (SGP) of SLPS students in grades 1-5 in the area of reading from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021 will meet or exceed the district goal of 50% as evidenced by reporting tools from Renaissance (STAR) by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. 
Assessment Reminders: Esther Palsenberger will be requesting Quarter 1 ELA scores from each building in the next couple of weeks. If you currently have a building data tracker, please share that link with Esther. If your building needs a data tracker, click HERE for a great example. Esther will assist any building that needs help with understanding or completing the data tracker.
Assessment Prep Tips:  When checking the STAR reports, don't just look at the results but also look at the amount of time it took for the students to complete the STAR assessment. Many times, students will zip through the assessment resulting in low invalid scores.
Upcoming PD: 
  • Date: Oct. 28, 2020
  • Topic: Open Forum Elementary ELA
  • Time: 7-8am
  • Link: Teams
During this week's Open Forum, teachers discussed best practices and concerns. It's a time to talk with other teachers in the District. The big take-away was in preparation for the PTCs. B. Stocker had parents sign up using Sign Up Genius. You can provide a link for your parents on your Teams page and/or your DoJo page. Great piece of advice, Brittany!
Last week, those who attended the Open Forum received a "Distance Learning Playbook."  You never know what to expect when you join the forum each Wednesday morning from 7-8am.

During the transition from being all virtual to being hybrid, Ms. Willard at Patrick Henry has done an amazing job to make everyone feel like they are in the classroom. She uses an iPad stand in the classroom, so the virtual students can be part of the in-person class. Ms. Willard even takes the iPad stand with her when she is walking the students down for a restroom break. Virtual students are in the front row when Ms. Willard is doing a read aloud. She has a great relationship with her students!
Gateway Elementary School has prepared each of the in-person classrooms with grids. The teachers were pleasantly surprised to see the desks were already inside a grid (using red tape on the floor) in order to follow social distancing guidelines. It's a great way to allow students to visually see their space in the classroom setting.
Read Aloud and Nearpod Activity: How to Catch a Monster
New book recommendation:
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes & Laura Freeman
Description: Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants who would grow up to defend the rights of people everywhere and be named the Democratic vice-presidential candidate by Joe Biden in this moving picture book biography of Senator Kamala Harris.
Need to meet with Dr. Palsenberger? Click HERE for her appointment calendar.
Curriculum Corner: Math with Zehra Kahn
Upcoming Assessment: Common Formative Assessment for Quarter 2 is scheduled for the week of Oct. 26-30 in Scantron. The CFAs data will guide teachers about what students know prior to learning and will help teachers plan their instruction and intervention.
General Tips: To facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse teachers need to pose purposeful questions, use and connect mathematical representations, elicit and use student thinking and support productive struggle in learning mathematics. The teaching practices of mathematical discourse creates space for students to interact with peers and learn to value multiple contributions. By asking students to restate, and paraphrase other students’ mathematical ideas, students will make valuable contributions and will be resources for each other. If you would like to share or know more about this please join me during my open office hours. 
Current Smart Goal for K-12 Math: Strengthen implementation of Mathematics Curriculum with emphasis on blended learning model, SLPS Grades K-12 students will demonstrate an average proficiency at the same level or better than the district average as measured by CSA assessment by the end of school year 2020-2021.  
Weekly open office hours for math lesson planning and curriculum support. If you have any questions or concerns you can always join me from 7-8am every Wednesday (K-5) , Thursday (6-8) and Friday (9-12).
Please reach out for support: zehra.khan@slps.org, 314-532-3574.
Curriculum Corner: Social Studies with Dr. Glenn Barnes
SMART Goals For Social Studies: LINK
Assessment Reminders
1) Common formative assessments will take place Oct. 26-30. Elementary teachers can find this as the pre-assessment at the start of Unit 2 in the Grade Level Units.
2) Be sure to utilize the standards tracker that has been shared with you.
Assessment Prep Tips
Be sure to 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. Strategies like hexagonal thinking can assist you in building up vocabulary.

PD Reminders
1) Authentic Assessments in K-5 Social Studies, Monday, October, 26, 3:15-4:15pm
2) Planning Effective Online 6-12 Social Studies Lessons, Tuesday, October 27, 3:15-4:15pm
3) “Chow and Chat,” AKA Secondary Lesson Plan Support, every Thursday morning 7-8am
4) “Caffeine and Social Studies,” AKA Elementary Lesson Plan Support, every Friday morning 7-8am (Let’s talk about source analysis on 10/23)
General Announcements
We spend a lot of time focusing on literacy as an ability to read, but literacy encompasses other discrete skills in all of the subjects. The National Council for the Social Studies has produced this guidance on social studies literacy and why inclusion of social studies is critical to the success of our students. As you examine this list, you will see some similarities to ELA, Math, and Science. Social studies education provides the background information and direction for understanding all subject areas. When subjects are taught in silos, students are unable to make sense of the interconnectedness of what they are learning.
A strong emphasis must be placed on various types of literacy, from financial to technological, from media to mathematical, from content to cultural. Literacy may be defined as the ability of an individual to use information to function in society, to achieve goals, and to develop her or his knowledge and potential. Teachers emphasize certain aspects of literacy over others, depending on the nature of the content and skills they want students to learn. The following literacy skills for social studies are intended to be exemplary rather than definitive. 
  • Listens, read, write, and speak with comprehension and clarity
  • Define and apply discipline-based conceptual vocabulary 
  • Describe people, places, and events, and the connections between and among them 
  • Arrange events in chronological sequence 
  • Differentiate fact from opinion 
  • Determine an author’s purpose 
  • Determine and analyze similarities and differences 
  • Analyze cause and effect relationships 
  • Explore complex patterns, interactions and relationships
  • Differentiate between and among various options
  • Develop an ability to use and apply abstract principals
  • Explore and/or observe, identify, and analyze how individuals and/or institutions relate to one another 
  • Locate, analyze, critique, and use appropriate resources and data 
  • Evaluate sources for validity and credibility and to detect bias, propaganda, and censorship
  • Use a wide variety of media to access, analyze, evaluate, and create messages and reports
  • Investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary sources and viewpoints 
  • Articulate and construct reasoned arguments from diverse perspectives and frames of reference 
  • Present solutions to problems by analyzing conflicts and evaluating persistent issue
Shout Out
Thanks to Thomas Johnston at Gateway STEM High whose ESOL students created a podcast over the Constitutional Convention by using readers theater. His students not only were able to work on language proficiency skills, but they were also able to focus on the founding of our government. Well done!
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 or printed texts should be distributed to students. Reach out to Judine with any questions. 
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 Dept. Chair Meeting Schedule:
All 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. Dates: Oct. 26, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 29, April 26
Important Links
Don’t hesitate to reach out for support: Judine.Keplar@slps.org, 314-345-2314, office, or 618-698-2349, cell.
Curriculum Corner: Science, Elementary with Carrie Launius
Why not focus next week on Halloween science? Mystery Science gives you plenty of opportunities to teach our viable curriculum using Halloween as the theme.
These are the Mystery Science lessons available:
  • Biodiversity – Why are so many people scared of bugs?
  • Structure and Function – What happens if you don’t have a skull? 
  • Biodiversity and Adaptations – What is the biggest spider in the world? 
  • Bones, Animal Structures – Why do our skeletons have so many bones?
  • Sounds and Animal Communication – Why do owls day “hoo”?
  • How do things glow in the dark? *
  • Do bats really drink blood? *
*5-minute mini-lessons
Each of these fun lessons and mini-lessons cover big ideas in the Missouri Learning Standards. The mini-lessons are easy to do asynchronously!
Weekly Reminders
  • Current SMART Goal: Schools will implement the SLPS Elementary Science Curriculum with fidelity for 30 minutes daily in grades K-2 and 45 minutes daily in 3-5 to increase the number of students scoring above 70% on the District assessments
  • Tuesdays with Carrie, 7-8am every Tuesday for support
Curriculum Corner: Science with Dr. Valentina Bumbu
Science Teacher Highlights
Shout-out to Janell Anthony for being awarded the Teacher of the Month at Vashon High School. I am incredibly proud of her emergence as an effective virtual teacher leader.
Besides the SLPS Teacher Leaders, shout-out to the following teachers for going above and beyond on supporting their cohorts with NearPods, lesson plans, hyperdocs/hypernotes, and/or their proactive participation in science Team: Javier Trejo (Lyon, 7-8th Gr.), Martin Hofkamp (Pamoja, 6-8th Gr.), Julie Elking (Roosevelt, Biology), and DeAnna Meyer (Roosevelt, Chemistry).
  • Assessment SMART Goal for 6-12 science: Schools will implement SLPS 6-8 Science Curriculum with fidelity by applying the learnings from professional development and on-going support on planning and pacing, to achieve an average proficiency at the same level or better than the district average or 20% growth as measured by common formative and summative assessment by the end of 2020-2021 school year.
  • Assessment Reminder: CFA 2 window is starting the week of Oct. 26. Please wrap up grading CSA 1 in Scantron and input data in the tracker.  
Curriculum Corner: Performing 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. 
Weekly Booster-Open Office Hours for Lesson Planning, Content Support and Q/A: Every Wednesday morning 7-8am: SESSION LINK
  • 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: Visual Arts with John Grapperhaus
Elementary Brick and Mortar Art Classes: 2 Steps to Keep Art Class Safe and Sterile:
  • Students sanitize hands at the beginning AND end of class. (For pull-out art class, sanitize hands before they walk in.)
  • Sanitize (spray or wipe) art supplies, equipment and furniture (including push-in cart) at the end of each day.
SMART Goals for Visual Art in the 2020-2021 school year: LINK
Visual Art teachers (and anyone else!) are invited to an Early Childhood Arts Integration Booster PD with Springboard: October 21, 2020, 3:15-5:15pm: LINK
Weekly Booster: Open Office Hours for Lesson Planning, Content Support and Q/A, Every Wednesday, 3:15-4:15pm: LINK 
REMINDER: 1st Letter of Academic Concern
The template for the letter is included HERE.
In addition, document your communication using this form and submit by Nov. 2.
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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