New Canaan High School educators whose last name begins with the letter S-Z author this blog.
Those whose last name begins with A-R author nchsneasc13

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Curriculum Sub-Committee Meeting

The Curriculum sub-committee will hold a meeting on 2/9/2012 at 2:15 in room 102.

1. review future meeting dates (during faculty meetings and CAPT testing)
2. review the next steps in the process and our goals by the end of CAPT testing
3. develop plans for sorting through the evidence collection boxes
4. begin sorting through evidence

Meeting attendance and notes will follow below as comments.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Evidence collection & more

We spent some time today planning for evidence collection.

We placed evidence boxes in four department offices. Each box is labeled with its respective standard. We will add more as we collect more boxes.

We also revised the evidence submission cover sheet, merging elements from the CAS-provided template and the form used by the science department during its recent Tri-State visit.

We set up a YouTube channel, and cloned our blog, giving all certified faculty editing rights.

We also created 60 posters of our Core Values/Beliefs and Learning Expectations - one for each classroom. We will distribute them to the department chairs at next Tuesday's meeting.

Finally, we are working on developing a digital companion form to the hard-copy evidence submission cover sheet. There is still some debate as to how this will be used, but we feel there is sufficient justification to warrant creating the form.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Post-faculty meeting NEAS&C activity

After the faculty meeting today, Mike explained that we are officially moving into the self-study phase of our review process. To this end, he introduced our NEAS&C activity for the afternoon.

We distributed the standards booklets, and introduced the 4 Themes 4 ED (see image on left). This was one of the activities from the Connecticut Association of Schools' (CAS) NEAS&C workshop we attended last week. 

Grouped according to standards committees, the faculty identified which theme(s) were association with which standards indicators. Then we passed around the mic to share out which indicators addressed the theme of personalization (there is an audio record of that).

We introduced the NCHSNEASC13 blog as a vehicle for continuing the conversation between meetings. We have a limited number of face-to-face meetings left this year, but we hope to use the blog to share anecdotes about our teaching and learning experiences with students to help our colleagues better understand what we do in our daily practice that addresses the NEAS&C standards. Mike posted an example in the last blog entry.

We aslo discussed plans to start collecting evidence after the winter break. It is important to start this process soon so that we have a full year's evidence when the visiting committee arrives.

Next up: January 19th faculty meeting with our NEAS&C Director,  Janet Allison.
After that: The community survey
Handout: NEAS&C First Newsletter
Resource: NEAS&C website

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mike McAteer's Pick a Poetry Project Project

While I hate the “no wrong answer” bias that students bring into poetry class, I also know that I have no single right answer about what poetry is. Some students are drawn to traditional poetry, some are drawn to children’s poetry, some are inspired by performance poetry, some want to read epic poems, others just like to be subversive. Taking all these factors into account, and knowing that any study of poetry has to involve some combination of reading, writing and speaking, I’ve developed my Pick a Poetry Project project. In this unit, students have to find their own resources, organize their time, and have an outcome in mind. While they may not all end up on task every moment of the day when we’re working on this project, it has resulted in some very provocative work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NEAS&C Seminar CAS 12/5 & 12/6

Just spent two days in a NEAS&C Steering Committee seminar at Connecticut Association of Schools in Cheshire. It was daunting. Most attendees' visit is scheduled for 2014, and at this point, we have a lot to do.
My notes look more like a giant ToDo list. Mike and Bryan took notes also. One thing I would like to focus on next is merging our notes and putting together a timeline starting backwards. I think it will reduce some of the anxiety I currently feel about time.
NCHS sent a team of 5: Anthony Bloss, Kris Goldhawk, Bryan Luizzi, Mike McAteer, and Michelle Luhtala

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Message to faculty about rubric development

Hello Colleagues,

Thank you all for the hard work you put into rubric writing last week. While we received a lot of positive feedback, we also know that this process is not at all easy. As we follow Thursday’s faculty meeting with rubric revision time, it’s important that we maintain perspective on the current task.
When we unanimously passed our statement on Core Values, Beliefs and Learning Expectations, we stated that we want our students to be “active participants in their learning,” by which we mean that we want them to choose resources, set goals, self-monitor, self-assess and reflect. In order to achieve this goal, we need to provide concrete information about our expectations, and that’s where the rubrics come in.

The Process
Now, the process is messy, and where we are right now is near the end of the first stage of a three-stage process:

  1. Stage one: We draft rubrics.
  2. Stage two: We use them in pilot form to communicate with students about the work we’re asking them to do, and then ask the students to assess their work using the rubric, while we do the same. From this, we identify the challenges and advantages of using the rubrics to communicate with students and assess student work, and we make recommendations for changes.
  3. Stage three: We revise the rubrics based on the data collected from the pilot experiment.
A Pressing Concern: Assessment
If there was one overarching concern expressed on our PD Day, it was, “But I can’t see how I’ll use this rubric to assess my students.” If you were one of the ones saying this, you’re probably right.

But this raises misconception number one: that our NEASC rubrics are for assessment. What we are working on are analytical rubrics, not assessment rubrics. While they will be used for assessment, their primary function is to clearly communicate expectations. If we think of them as communication of our learning expectations so that students can be “active participants,” the writing may be a bit easier.

In addition, you may not ever use the problem-solving rubric, for example. But if we can all speak the same language and communicate the same expectations when students are solving problems in our disciplines, you can imagine the effective habits of mind students will develop as they go through all our subjects in ninth grade, in tenth grade…you can see where we’re going. The clearer we are about what we want our students to do, the more quickly they will internalize our school’s standards for their performance.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. If we can understand the stages of the process, our work can be much easier on Thursday.

See you then.

Your Friends on the Steering Committee