December eNewletter

Highlights and Happenings in the month of December:

Walk throughs in many classrooms at both Lower Lake Elementary, Burns Valley and Lower Lake High School: My goal is to visit every classroom before the end of the school year. Why? It helps me get a good pulse on the teaching and learning here in Konocti as the director of curriculum and instruction. It helps me learn more about each teacher and the students. It informs our next steps in the way of support and progress with instruction and curriculum. I look to refine my skills as an observer to be able to provide valuable feedback to support adult performance and student learning.
The highlight: the high level of student learning through quality teach; the positive and caring relationships between students and teachers.

Literacy Foundation Skills Professional Development by Tracy Wilson for staff grades K - 2: We had a very expert and experienced reading specialist visit a sampling of primary classrooms (along with me) and then tailor the professional development to the needs of Konocti. Thank you to all who could attend, despite the busy season of work and holiday preparations.The information was powerful. The next steps to support foundation reading and writing skills in the primary levels were all manageable. Individual teachers, specific school sites and the district  are taking those steps. Stay tuned.

District collaboration day on December 3 around student results and/or student work. It is always powerful to come together for meaningful collaboration with our peers and colleagues. It was a big step to share student results and/or student work. The rich conversations begin with this analysis. Colleagues can share what worked and why they think it worked. Grade level teams moved into ways to "norm" the administration of test for additional consistency with the common unit assessment. Grade level teams shared ideas around re-testing and how best to re teach, re test and record the students newest learning. Grade level teams made arrangements to re align and revise the common unit assessments to move forward in their alignment and in their quality.

District Engaged Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting (ETLC): This committee is comprised of the instructional coaches, the grade level district teacher facilitators, high school department chairs (principals are welcome) and myself. It was a highlight just to have the opportunity to meet again. We get to share each grade level's progress with teaching and learning. We get to steal or borrow best practices from each other. We get to stay abreast to the continued steps or new steps being developed or implemented to support the district's instructional direction and vision. Time permitting, we get to coordinate a draft agenda for the next district wide collaboration time. The information and progress; ideas and insights, then, get shared to staff at staff meetings, site collaborations and district collaborations.

Lower Lake High School Writing Project: Lower Lake High School is well underway with the implementation of their literacy scope and sequence plan. The students wrote an information response during ELA classes. All staff learned what quality proficient grade level writing looked like by reviewing the writing rubric and by reading student exemplars. All staff proceeded to calibrate and score their students informational writing responses. The students, in the New Year, will receive this feedback to their writing. Staff will continue to support quality informational writing in their classes. Rock on!!

Forward progress with the Math Pilot Process: December was our second meeting. Here we evaluated various supplemental math materials. Grades 1st - 5th and grades 6th -7th came to consensus on which supplemental math material to pilot with their students in their classroom starting this January.
Some of the optional math materials evaluated in December are now on display at each staff room so other math teachers can view the different materials. All grade levels elected to try GoMath. The agreements are that we are driven and follow the common core math unit and common unit assessment. (either can be revised). We use GoMath to support the instruction of these clusters of standards. We also should look to use additional resources to thoroughly and comprehensively cover the cluster of standards to the appropriate depth, making it accessible and challenging for all students. We also commit to checking in each month, both on the piloted materials, and to revise/enhance the common core units and assessments.

This week inside Marshall's memo, you will find articles on these featured topics:

- Are we surrendering too easiy to digital distractions?

- The qualities of a good teacher

- The art of designing lessons with desirable difficulties

- A five-step model for leading classroom math discussions

- Negative relationships and how they affect a district's performance

- Teaching students to do Google searches that go beneath the surface

- How much autonomy should teachers have in their classrooms?

- Myths about adult bullying in schools and sports teams

- Recommended graphic novels

If you want an HTML version of this week's Memo, please click here:


November eNewsletter Part II

I had the privilege to visit most of the teachers classrooms at Carle. It is neat to see the students learning in this alternative setting.
Students interacted with the teacher.........students interacted with one another........students demonstrated their content knowledge through many literacy components - reading, writing, listening and speaking. The collegiality between staff and students was strong. The intentionality for learning and for caring relationships was evident

Instructional Movement:
Teachers had the opportunity to collaborate with many of their students' parents and guardians November 18 - 21. It is highly valuable for schools and families to have this individualized and specialized time for each student; to talk, share and learn about student academic success and student well-being.

Important Events:
During the next three weeks of December, there are many instructional events taking place.
December 2nd - Management
December 3 - District wide collaboration
December 3rd - optional Engaged Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting
December 4th - Instructional Coach Collaboration
December 8th or December 10th: The next 1st grade - 7th grade evaluation around some supplemental instructional math materials to pilot; and collaborative time to enhance the grade level common core units
December 15: Literacy Workshop for K - 2 staff by Tracey Wilson

“It is important that we recognize we have two equally important reading goals: to teach our students to read and to teach our students to want to read.”
            Linda Gambrell in “Getting Students Hooked on the Reading Habit” in The Reading
Teacher, November/December 2015 (Vol. 69, #3, p. 259-263), http://bit.ly/1P2AN3y


Marshall's Memo

Thanks to Chris Schoeneman, I started to subscribe to this great resource Kim Marshall's Memo.

He reads the most current research in education and provides a weekly summary of these articles.

I thought I would pass on these readings. Enjoy.

Kim Marshall's Memo HTML version the week of November 16:
In this week's memo you will find:
- Key insights from Grant Wiggins
- Richard Stiggins on formative assessment
- Asking the right questions in PLCs
- What UDL looks like in two classrooms
- Four types of assessment and how they can be used
- Going beyond growth mindset to teach students optimism
- Hard isn't bad
- When should a teacher disclose a personal tragedy?
- Measuring the "working alliance" between teacher and student
- Helping students find primary sources
- Recess in other countries
- International comparisons

If you want an HTML version of this week's Memo, please click here:

Kim Marshall's Memo for the week of November 9:


Kim Marshall's Memo for the week of November 16;

If you want an HTML version of this week's Memo, please click here:


November eNewsletter

November Curriculum and Instruction eNewsletter

Highlights and Happenings:
We had a very relevant and quality staff development on October 5th with a high participation turnout.
I also want to highlight and give a huge thank you for our very own Konocti staff leading many of these innovative workshops, relevant for K - 12 staff.
It was also fun to work together in a creative and light-hearted manner to create a contraption that would hold a golf ball dropped from ten feet.................people were quite creative in their successes! We learned alot and had fun along the way.

Tracey Wilson, from Placer County, will return December 15th to expand on teaching literacy foundational skills and teaching kids how to read. This workshop is for all k -2 Konocti staff.

High School staff continue their professional development through Sonoma County around Expository Reading and Writing Conference.

Middle school staff (and grades 3 - 5 staff) have the opportunity to receive this Expository Reading and Writing Conference through Sonoma County this spring as well.

This professional development supports the key shifts of literacy instruction in all content areas.

A selection of staff from each school site experienced productive and relevant training at the CUE conference. Staff learned information around the integration of technology into their classrooms and schools; as well as took at least one new app for immediate download and use in the classroom.

A majority of the instructional coaches, district grade level teacher facilitators and high school department chairs along with myself, Teresa and the superintendent, Donna, attended a two day The Art of Coaching workshop mid October. The purpose for these teacher leaders to attend this workshop was to refine and enhance our communicative and facilitation skills to support adult performance and student learning.

Back on campus at Konocti:

Positive Behavior Intervention Systems; The key components of this program continue to be highlighted by administration and staff in meetings and then in the daily routine of school. The whole school culture feels respectful and welcoming, and student centered when you visit a school campus.

With the holiday at the end of October, schools allowed for school and holiday spirit through school parades, school rallies and contests. Students and staff alike, had an opportunity to decompress in the holiday fun and school spirit events and activities. I am still on the edge of my seat to know who won the door decorating contest at BV?

October 22, I had the privilege of being apart of a district wide team doing walk thrus at both KEC and at LLHS. Collectively, it was neat to see high levels of student learning taking place in the classrooms due to the effective implementation of the following research based instructional goals that the district is focusing on - strategies around cues and questioning, strategies around student engagement, strategies around the formative assessment process.

Class Visits:
The superintendent, director of HR/LCAP and myself visit classrooms at least one time a month. These visits are unannounced. These visits attempt to mirror the walk thru model, meaning we provide some formative written timely descriptive feedback around the visible student learning based on implementation of the three district instructional focus areas - engagement, questioning and the formative assessment process.

Konocti Data:
Sites and management have analyzed some school site and district wide data around the four LCAP goals - student achievement, student well-being in a positive and safe school culture, and increased communication.
This data was presented to the school board October 21. The CAASP gave us our baseline data around which to learn from and support students in their skill-set and knowledge as it relates to the college and career standards and district mission.



October Curriculum and Instruction Newsletter

We have many lots of curriculum and instruction events this week:

October 5: Staff Development Day. Here is the link to see the agenda for the day and the list of workshops being offeredhttps://drive.google.com/a/konoctiusd.org/folderview?id=0BzdXrp4-sVj9LWE1R0Q5RmFEWTA&usp=sharing

October 7: K -3 Homework Workshop at Wednesday's School Board Meeting

October 8: Engaged Teaching and Learning Committee at 3:30 in the McClung Room

October 8: PAC/DELAC at 5:30 in the Burns Valley Elementary Library.

Instructional Highlights:
- the number of staff presenting their knowledge and expertise around such innovative and effective instructional practices.
- watching staff and administration, take the report card data to guide and inform the next and necessary instructional step within the school.
- have an all day staff development day together.
- seeing the positive impact of PBIS and student academic learning.

Professional Development:
- Literacy professional training across K - 12 as a Konocti instructional focus.
- The integration of technology into the classrooms to support engagement and student learning.

Walk-thru Update:
- Site administration and instructional coaches continue to walk through and visit classrooms to then provide timely and specific feedback around the site instructional goals and around individual teacher goals.
- Donna and Teresa continue to visit classrooms and provide timely, specific feedback around our district wide instructional goals of engagement, types of questioning and formative assessment in the classrooms.
- WestEd and the district team have a walk thru scheduled for October 22. Stay tuned for more detail.

Interim Assessments:
- grades K -1 may use the current common metrics to monitor student progress and achievement around the grade level ELA and Math common core strands.
- grades 2nd - 7th will use the Aeries.net common ELA and common Math summative/formative/unit and PT assessment results to monitor student progress and achievement around the grade level ELA and Math common core strands. 2nd - 7th grade may also use a SBAC interim assessment this January.
grades 8th - 12th will continue to use their department finals as the district wide common interim assessment. These finals may look to be revised to match the key shifts of the common core, including the literacy, the performance tasks, the increased rigor.

"Only a teacher" Thank God, I have a calling to the greatest profession of all. I must be vigilant every day lest I lose one fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow." Ivan Welton Fitzwater.

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus charter - that is the goal of education." Martin Luther King, Jr.