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Teacher Talk - 1/3/2022

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Message from Superintendent León
 

Dear Teachers,

The incredible work you and everyone else has endured is to be commended and applauded.  I appreciate your ability to adapt to seemingly ever changing situations, and to do it with grace and dignity along the way.  Not easy.  Not easy at all.  This communication is intended to be brief and to highlight key information.

Please be advised that everyone is to continue to adhere to all district protocols and ingress/egress procedures at our schools and buildings.  We begin remote instruction from January 3 through January14.  We anticipate resuming in-person instruction on January 18, 2022.

In looking ahead, I want you to be aware of some other important updates:

January 3: The Reset Begins.  Please refer to the reset notes and updates below in this month’s editions of Teacher Talk and adhere to that guidance.  I want to thank the teachers, school counselors, social workers, and CST members who assisted the Office of Teaching & Learning and Student Life in this all too important work balancing the academic program and the social-emotional needs of our students.  We will monitor and make other updates with assistance and support from the field.  Lots of good work was already underway from September, but we want to make sure that we streamline where possible.

Week of January 3: In keeping with guidance before the start of the winter break, all employees are required to be COVID-19 tested this week. For your convenience, COVID-19 testing was already scheduled at your school on previously scheduled dates and times.  Any changes will be communicated to you by your Principal.  You can always test at any other location of your choosing.  Please submit results in ESS on the date of the test.  Unvaccinated staff will also need to adhere to the testing guidance issued from the Governor’s Executive Order provided to you by HRS.  Any positive results are to be reported following our district’s procedures.  Any person already diagnosed as COVID-19 positive should adhere to the appropriate testing guidelines. 

Week of January 10: Unvaccinated staff will continue weekly testing as outlined in October. All staff members will also be able to continue weekly testing offered at the school.

January 10: This was the date that all other external partners were to begin in-person services for students. All partners will remain virtual and begin services for in-person on the 18th.

January 10 - 25: This was the window of time in which MAP exams were scheduled to be administered to students.  We are moving the start date to next month.

February 1: MAP exams begin. The window of days is to allow for flexibility purposes.  We should plan for the last few days to be for make-up purposes only.

February 17: Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held virtually from 1 pm – 7 pm.  If some of you want to hold these meetings from another location other than your school, you will have one-hour travel time so your sessions will run from 2 pm – 8 pm.  It is important to note that once all of your meetings are over, you are done, regardless of the end time I’ve just noted or your location.

June 22: I usually don’t like forecasting so far ahead because other factors make things confusing.  The students are required to attend 182 days of school in Newark, while the state of New Jersey has a 180-day minimum.  In Newark, these are not two additional days for snow day purposes like other districts bake into their calendars.  Assuming we have no events that close schools, I am anticipating the end of the school year to be the 22nd. However, you will be paid through the 24th.  If the closing of schools becomes necessary and I have to add days to the calendar beyond the 22nd, I intend to invoke the minimum state requirement of 180 days at that time.   

In closing, I want to thank the NTU who from the start and throughout these past few weeks have been extremely helpful and supportive. So, a lot of what has just been shared in this communication has been with their collaboration.

Again, I thank you.

Superintendent León

 

 

 

Message from Dr. Reilly

The Reset
 
During the holiday break, Superintendent León, Dr. Reilly, and Special Assistant Jazleen Othman sat down with elementary and secondary teachers in order to better understand what adjustments needed to be made for better learning to happen. This discussion focused on the use of pacing guides, teaching of writing, development of lesson plans, and the value of content area learning.  Below are the adjustments that were determined by the superintendent.

Pacing Guides
 
Pacing documents are guides that must be adjusted as new data emerge. Teachers need to determine what adjustments are necessary in order for students to learn and communicate what and why time adjustments are needed to administrators. There are two compelling reasons for teachers to adjust pacing guides. 
It is common when new curricula are being implemented, that the lesson pace may be slower as teachers learn the material.  Given the new standards issued by the NJDOE, much of the curriculum is new and ensuring teachers have time to work with the curriculum, and develop a deep understanding of content, pedagogy, and differentiation methods is critical.  
 
Additionally, learning disruptions will require teachers to help students “fill in” necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors as students grapple with new content. Acceleration rests on the practice of providing the right assistance at the right moment.  As such, adjustments may be needed, especially given the learning disruptions of the last year.  
 
As recommended in the review of the 4 shifts this past summer and fall, the development of shared curriculum (shift 3) is an excellent method that can be used to help manage curricular changes, including pacing.  Discussing pacing changes during PLCs by grade level or subject specific teachers should be routine and supported by all administrators.
 
Writing
 
Writing is important, as is responding to writing.  It is admirable that monthly writing happens in a systematic manner (progressive writing). That said, the monthly writing tasks should be writing that naturally occurs within the curriculum and selected by teachers.  Adding non-curricular assignments on a monthly basis for writing is counterproductive as it shifts attention from the curriculum. Writing that is produced during instruction represents important learning and can easily be used as the monthly writing task so as to not duplicate effort and detract from content learning.
 
In K-1 there is only draft writing.  It is too arduous and again, counterproductive, to require young children or children experiencing developmental delays to rewrite their work. This is developmentally inappropriate.  Last, keep in mind that for children who are acquiring letter-sound knowledge, drawing is a natural substitute for writing and should be valued. In summary:
 
Select writing that occurs naturally in the curriculum. 

Rewriting is developmentally inappropriate for K-1 children or children with significant learning delays.

Drawing is a form of writing that should be valued for children who are still acquiring letter-sound knowledge.
 
Lesson Planning
 
Planning instruction is very important.  These are thoughtful documents that teachers write to help them consider the content, pedagogy, differentiation, and assessments of learning they will use while teaching.  At present there is a lack of coherence across the district with regard to what is critical to note in a plan, as opposed to what might be only interesting or even superfluous in the plan.  Dr. Reilly will be convening a committee to create guidance on planning.  What is essential in a plan? The outcome of this group will be to streamline the lesson planning process so that planning can be helpful and not onerous.  Teachers and administrators will be represented on the committee in order to help guide the process.  This committee will make recommendations to Deputy Johnson and Superintendent León as to what content needs to be included in plans. A set lesson plan format will not be developed as there are multiple ways to represent a plan.
 
Content Area Instruction
 
One of the best ways to develop writing capacity in students is to provide them with content knowledge lessons every day. To that end, learning science, social studies, visual and performing arts, physical education, health, and world languages help to build knowledge.  In these courses, assigning an ELA writing task lessens content knowledge learning by taking time away from critical content.. Writing that naturally fits a discipline and deepens the learning should be developed by content area teachers, but should not displace important learning.  Substituting important content experiences and knowledge with practicing an ELA assignment should not occur.  This is a disservice to learners.
 

Important Links:

 

Dr. Mary Ann Reilly

 

 

 

NEW ITEMS 

  • NBOE Remote Learning Code of Conduct (New)
  • Revised School Calendar SY 21-22 (New)
  • Wellness 2022 (New)
  • Updated Winter MAP Administration Window (New)
  • Marking Period Calendar Reminder (New)
  • Newark Enrolls Reminder (New)
  • SEL Programming and Initiatives (New)

 

 

 

NBOE IN THE NEWS

Stay informed on everything happening within Newark Public Schools and the Newark Board of Education! Read up on all of the many ways the district is garnering media coverage.  

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NEW ITEMS 

 

NBOE Remote Learning Code of Student Conduct (New)

The district is sharing with teaching staff members and other staff who are involved with students for virtual learning the ‘Remote Learning Student Code of Conduct’, which is to be adhered to by all students during remote instruction.

This narrative provides information that allows for clarity and consistency in the district throughout the period of remote instruction. Below you will also find grade appropriate Remote Learning Norms for review with students.

Please share the Remote Learning Student Code of Conduct document with students, parents, and families to communicate the district’s expectations for conduct during remote learning. Teachers are to distribute the grade appropriate Remote Learning Student Norms in their Google Classrooms and review the expectations with students. 

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Revised School Calendar SY 21-22 (New)

Contact: Matt Brewster, Staff Development
Email: MBrewster@nps.k12.nj.us

Please be advised that the SY 21-22 School Calendar has been revised effective 12/21/2021.

The changes to the calendar are as follows:

  • Thursday, December 23, 2021 was changed to Staff Development Day #4.
  • Wednesday, January 12, 2022 is a regular school day for all students and staff.

The remainder of the calendar is unchanged with Staff Development Day #5 scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

SCHOOL-CALENDAR-SY-2021-2022-REVISED-12.21.21.pdf

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Wellness 2022 (New)

Contact: Randy Schrader, Benefits
Email: Benefits@nps.k12.nj.us

The last 2 years taught us the importance of taking care of ourselves and our families.

To enable employees to do so, NBOE is providing a suite of tools by clicking the Wellness tab on:

www.hrconnection.com
(guest code: nboe)

  • Annual Screening Incentives
  • Peerfit
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Monthly Wellness Newsletter - Click here to view the topic calendar
    • January: Health Literacy - understanding health information and navigating the healthcare system

Information on the site will be updated throughout the year.

Contact Benefits at benefits@nps.k12.nj.us for additional information.

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Updated Winter MAP Administration Window (New)

Contact: Rochanda Jackson, OPPET
Email: rjackson@nps.k12.nj.us

The Winter MAP administration will open on February 1, 2022 and will close on February 16, 2022.

All students in grades 1-7 are expected to participate, except those that are enrolled in high schools. As an alternative to Winter MAP testing, all eighth graders will participate in the High School Entrance Exam; all high school students will participate in mid-terms and finals. Kindergartners will not participate in MAP. These updates are reflected on the NBOE Testing Website, where you can access to the Testing Calendar and other related content:

NBOE Testing Link

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Marking Period Calendar Reminder (New)

Contact: Rochanda Jackson, OPPET
Email: rjackson@nps.k12.nj.us 

This is a reminder that the current SY 21/22 Marking Period Calendar has reconciliation periods already inculcated in its development:

1) Teachers have two weeks after the grade storage to update
2) Teachers have up to 20 days to make retroactive changes to attendance in PowerSchool. No dates in the original calendar have changed.  However, text and headers associated with potential reconciliation activity have been added to the Marking Period Calendar to make these windows clearer for teachers and school administrators.  

Marking Period Report Card Reconciliation Dates 

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Newark Enrolls Reminder (New)

Contact: Rochanda Jackson, OPPET
Email: rjackson@nps.k12.nj.us

This is a reminder that the Newark Enrolls schedule remains the same. The application window will close on February 11, 2022. The High School Entrance Exam will be administered to NBOE eighth graders on February 18th; makeup opportunities will be available on February 25th. Match letters will be released on April 18th.

For additional information, please review the Newark Enrolls website

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SEL Programming and Initiatives (New)

Contact: Mary Harvey, Office of Student Life
Email: Mharvey@nps.k12.nj.us

Attached is a link to the district Social Emotional Learning programs and initiatives provided by NBOE for the 2021 – 2022 school year.  If you would like additional information regarding any of the programming listed, please contact the Office of Student Life.

SEL Programming and Initiatives 2021 – 2022

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Teacher Talk will be delivered every other Monday.

  • The submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.

 

 

 

NPS Mobile App! 

The district's NPS Mobile App is now available for download for both Apple iOS and Android. With this app you, can:

• Receive Push Notifications when there is inclement weather and school closings

• Track news feeds (powered by your school web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts) at the district and school level

• Look up commonly-sought information directly from the mobile app

 

 

 

Contact Us

To support and encourage highly effective instruction, Teacher Talk synthesizes information and resources that will help NPS teachers meet the expectations of the framework for effective teaching. Teacher Talk is typically published every other Monday. Please open the form with Firefox or Chrome in order to add attachments.

You may submit items for inclusion in the Teacher Talk newsletter via this form:
https://www.nps.k12.nj.us/departments/communications/teacher-talk-form/

The submission deadline is Thursday by 5:00 p.m.