School Leadership Team Meeting Minutes

Thursday December 17th, 2020

Members in Attendance: Danielle LaPorte, Marc Ciprut, Alex DeCanio, Jessica Russo, Barbara Dean, Rachel Fritz, Kristina Silvagni, Shernette Walters, Suchi Behl, Denise Bucaoto, Sonia Mohan, Melissa- Ann Phillip, Samar Shamsi

Meeting Called to Order

Review minutes from last SLT meeting

Minutes from the November meeting were reviewed by the team and approved.

News and Updates Committee Reports

UFT News and Updates

Mr. Ciprut did not have any news to report on behalf of the UFT.

PTA News and Updates

There will be a PTA meeting at 8:30 AM on 12/23.

Principal Report

School Updates- Coffee and Conversations have been held by grade bands this month.  The presentation is the same at each meeting, however, the questions and conversations were focused on specific grade information. In the event of inclement weather, school will shift to a remote learning day.

COVID Testing

COVID testing will be continuing on a weekly basis. All students attending in person learning need to have a completed consent form on file at the school. Families have been very supportive of these new protocols. Random COVID testing shifted from monthly testing to now weekly testing. Testing date is not shared ahead of time.  Schools must meet a 20% threshold of students and staff to be tested on each testing day.

Review of Budget

Approximately $23,000 left for sub coverage. There was additional COVID money dropped into school budget as well to support the need for additional staff. We have budgeted money for an afterschool AIS (Academic Intervention Support) program for grades 3, 4, and 5. This is a per session after-school program that would require teachers to apply to teach the program after work hours.  We do currently have an Title 3 ENL after school program being taught by Ms. Keller and Ms. Glash.  Money was pulled from our budget due to our enrollment. After December 31st, some money may be put back depending on the number of special education students and ENL students enrolled.  Some funding we receive is tied to certain limitations/restrictions.  Our budget also has to align with our CEP goals and action plan.

DOE Ipads- status- DOE iPads have been shipped to the school and families who have requested these devices have been called and have started picking them up. **There have been some issues with DOE iPads as some of the apps won’t load.  Some of the documents are hard to read due to the screen cutting the words off.  Ms. LaPorte will look into this issue and try to get help from the help desk.**

Middle School Application Process- Welcome Letters

All grade 5 families should have received a welcome letter to set up their MySchools account. Families should set up their accounts first so they have them ready for when the application opens.  Application is currently not opened.  In January, Ms. Ria will hold a middle school application workshop for grade 5 families.

Kindergarten Application Window for the 2021-2022 school year

The Kindergarten application is open and closes on January 19th. Families apply through their MySchools account. All current Pre-K students in our school must apply for Kindergarten.

NYS ELA, Math, and Science Exams

All NYS Exams are still on schedule to be administered to students in grades 3, 4, and 5 in the spring. There have been some concerns from families. We are awaiting additional guidance regarding testing including logistics and hope this is shared at the next test coordinators meeting. If we need to bring back staff to support proctoring we can ask teachers who are working remotely as long as they are not on a health accommodation to support testing.  As we know the January Regents have been cancelled. Once we receive more information regarding the exams, the school will notify families.

Deputy Superintendent Visit

Dr. Davidson, the Deputy Superintendent, visited our school virtually last week (week of 12/7). She visited google classrooms, joined live google meets to see instruction, shared best practices, etc. Some highlighted items; students engaged in tasks on jamboard, students demonstrating learning through the use of flipgrid, math number routines, and opportunities for feedback.

Follow up to Model 1A/1B Conversation

Shifting from an A/B/C model to an A/B model: Due to our current in-person numbers as well as the need for additional staff, we are unable to safely make the shift to all students in school 5 days a week at this time. We are however able to make the shift to an A/B model. This still increases the number of in person learning days from 1-2 days a week currently to students attending 2-3 days a week. This shift will happen in January. SLT engaged in conversation to discuss the two options for the A/B model schedule. There was a choice of model 1A and model 1B. After the SLT discussion, it was brought to our families and staff for feedback. There is a really big push to get our students in person for 5 days a week of learning. If we can’t get all students in right now there are a few subgroups to be prioritized: SWD, ENL students, as well as students in an ICT setting, and our youngest learners. Currently we are in need of 4 special education teachers. There has been new guidance around the ICT setting and teachers working in an ICT class. There is a possibility to have Pre-K and Kindergarten students to have them start 5 days a week.

Discussion of New Business Agenda Items

Review of CEP action plan in Iplan Portal and feedback given to make revisions

Instead of reviewing the CEP action plan, concerns were raised from our school community (staff and parents) feeling overwhelmed due to the circumstances of the world. We are here to do our best to support each other’s well-being and the whole child which is extremely important. Some concerns raised were focused around supporting our students’ well-being and thinking about the whole child, the health and well-being of staff, covid testing, and aligning our work with the specific needs of our school community.  Ms. LaPorte will create a google form for the team to share their concerns and possible solutions regarding the needs of our school community for both remote and blended learning. Concerns still also exist around the large remote class sizes.  We will use the feedback to drive our next steps and plan of action for school improvement.

Questions/Concerns

Question from the Chat: When do educators receive the COVID vaccine?

Meeting Adjourned

Remaining meeting dates:

  • Jan. 21, 2021
  • Feb. 25, 2021
  • Mar. 18, 2021
  • Apr. 15, 2021
  • May 20, 2021
  • June 17, 2021

*Schedule may need to be revised. Some dates conflict with CDEC meetings.*

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Meeting Called to Order

Review minutes from last SLT meeting

Minutes from the October meeting were reviewed by the team and approved.

News and Updates Committee Reports

UFT News and Updates

Mr. Ciprut did not have any news to report on behalf of the UFT.

PTA News and Updates

Ms. Walters, PTA President reported that after-school enrichment programs have begun and are going well.  Attendance has been great for these programs with about 98% of students showing up. Today was chess with two classes running at the same time. This past Tuesday we had our PTA Executive Board meeting and we opened it up to the school. About 28 parents logged on and many questions and concerns were addressed. It was a very productive meeting. Our next meeting will be November 25th before Thanksgiving. 

Principal Report

School Updates-  In-person and remote learning is going well and has been great. Students are engaged in routines and have gained a sense of some normalcy in their daily schedules and programs. Students are attending school on their correct day and families are very good about completing the daily health screenings.

Review of Budget

The current FY 2020-2021 school budget was reviewed. Budget is based off of student enrollment which is how we are funded per student. October 31st is usually when our enrollment numbers are captured however the date was pushed to November. As of now, we have about 700 registered students, that is NOT including Pre-K students since they get funded by the State. We have discharged many students who have switched to a private school or moved to Long Island. We are currently using most of our money from school budget for sub coverage to fill the gaps with blended remote teaching. We have received Title III funding from the state which can only be used for Title III programs to support our English Language learners. This money will be used for a virtual ENL after-school program which will be taught by two ENL certified teachers. Online supplemental subscriptions for BrainPop ENL, IXL (ELA, math, science, and social studies) and Starfall have also been purchased students attending the ENL program. A portion of these funds will also be used for two parent workshops for our ENL families focused on “Helping Your ELL Child Learn English” and “Improving Your Child’s Study Skills”. The final portion of funds will be used for a professional learning workshop for staff members to support ENL students in the mainstream classroom. Additional COVID funding was given to schools for additional sub coverages to fill open positions. To ensure teachers and students have access to digital curriculum we purchased the TC reading, writing, and phonics virtual units and video lessons. We will be looking to use some of the money to hire additional staff to support some of the larger remote class sizes. 

Learning Preferences (Blended Learning Opt-In)

This window is currently opened and will close on Sunday, Nov. 15th. These students will begin in-person learning the week of Nov. 30th. Currently we have about 12 students who are requesting to switch to blended learning. Being that most of our students are remote we do have space to offer seats to all who are interested at this time.

iReady Diagnostic Screeners

We will be using iReady with all students in grades K-5 as a diagnostic screener to help us identify students’ strengths and areas in need of improvement. All students in K-5 will take the assessment online in Reading first then in Math beginning next week- the week of November 16th. All students will need to complete these assessments remotely and as independently as possible in order for us to get an accurate understanding of what students know and how we can help them. We want to see what the child knows. An example was given with regards to getting glasses and an eye exam. In order for students to get the right lenses they need to take an accurate assessment. This online assessment is an adaptive assessment which means that the questions change based on how students respond. If they get the questions correct they get progressively more difficult. These grades do not count or impact student report card grades in any way. They are simply diagnostic assessments to help teachers know where students need additional support and the small groups they can pull for targeted intervention. This will tell us if students are below, on, or above grade level. Mr. Burke sent an email to families with the information and teachers will receive training Monday afternoon regarding the administration of the assessment. 

DOE iPad status

We were able to give as many laptops that we had to students. We have been reaching out to families who have requested iPads but have not yet received them to see if they still are in need of a device. The DOE will be shipping us more devices to supply those families in need. 

PTC Feedback

Parents and teachers engaged in a nice dialogue on what is working best. Since report cards were not distributed prior, conversations were focused on how students are doing and how they can make progress.  Some remote teachers have had to use additional time to meet with all families. A thought we had for next time was to have remote teachers post asynchronous work in the morning of the half day so they could use the additional time to schedule parent conferences. This way they would have more than 5 minutes with each parent. 

Instructional Tools

Jamboard, Flipgrid, Padlet: Some instructional tools we have used as a school so far have been Jamboard and Flipgrid. Next we will incorporate Padlet and finally Pear Deck. The purpose of introducing these tools one at a time was to support students and families in becoming familiar with how to use the different tools. Our goal is to be able to have students select the tool they want to demonstrate learning for a given task. It is important to also know that even though Flipgrid is an approved instructional tool, some students/families are not comfortable having their children on video. Teachers should be mindful of this and allow students to use another method to demonstrate learning.

Discussion of New Business Agenda Items

2020-2021 Grading Policy

A draft of the revised grading policy was shared which included information from the academic policy guide.  The reason why we give report cards was discussed as well as the fact that students earn grades. Report cards will be given in December, April, and June. Due to this new learning environment some changes have been made for the grading policy of the 2020-2021 school year. We will still continue to use our current grading scale of a 1-4 however grades of 1, 2, or 2+ will NOT be given to students as the document states that students will not receive “failing” grades if they have not yet met the learning outcomes for their courses.  Instead, students will receive a mark of “N” for “Needs Improvement”. Students will still receive grades of 3, 3+, and 4. Students will receive a grade for marking period 3 and then the final grade will be a cumulative grade for all 3 marking periods. In terms of the final grades; families will be able to notify the school of their request either by email in writing or verbally in a documented conversation if they would like to have their child’s final grade only changed to “MT” “Meets Standards” instead of a passing grade.  This can be for individual subject areas. More information will be shared with families as we get closer to that date. Students will receive an “NL” if they are newly admitted to the school and have not been present for at least 75% of the days in the marking period. They can also receive a mark of “NL” if there is not enough information to determine whether a student has met the standards. Students will ONLY receive cluster grades for the cluster programs that they have engaged with within a marking period. For example, for the December report cards students will receive grades from clusters from their specials they had in cycle 1 and cycle 2. Cycle 3 will start in January. Next we looked over the revisions grade level teams made as to the percentages for how grades would be given. The weight of formal assessments was discussed since these assessments may not be as accurate in this type of learning environment. We hope to share this revised grading policy with families on Monday, November 16th.

Review of CEP Goals in iPlan Portal

The first submission of CEP is due in iPlan portal by Monday, November 16th ; we will work to create our action plan for all CEP Goals and discuss progress monitoring tools.

SLT members worked on the Action Plan for the CEP goals using a padlet where members had previously jotted down their thoughts and ideas for each goal. We went through the ideas shared for the CEP goal on supportive environment to look for trends and patterns across ideas to then come up with a few action plan steps after a discussion was held around what is happening in some classrooms to support this goal.  One action step we thought of was to have students complete a reflection at the end of each week indicating what was their best part of the week and what they would like the teacher to do next week to make it better. This would help incorporate student voice. A discussion was held around what this could look like in the lower grades where students could share this information out with the class. Another action plan step we agreed on was providing opportunities for students and families to express how they or their child was feeling. One way would be for parents to be able to contact the teacher via class dojo. Finally we discussed the idea of having a calm down corner or folders in Google Classroom with fun “Brain Break” activities, “Purposeful Play”, “Fun Friday” activities, etc. The next goal we discussed was chronic absenteeism for our English Language Learners. After reviewing some ideas we discussed having a point person for each grade to reach out to families to learn about why the child has been absent and provide support. We also discussed trying to have some of our staff members who speak the family’s native language call to develop a relationship with the family to offer help and provide support. This may help to make the family more comfortable in sharing.

The rest of the ideas will be reviewed and added into the action plan on iPlan portal for the team to review.

Questions/Concerns

  • Is there any plan or discussion to prepare for potentially going all remote in regards to NYC zones increasing in cases?
  • The school is prepared and ready with all google classrooms set up in the event that we have school closures due to COVID.  All curriculum is available digitally for staff and students as well.  Cluster teachers have also created google classrooms for their in-person classes just in case.
  • What would the effect be on preparing for state test prep (AIS)?  
  • Pending budget we would still be able to hold the AIS after-school program since it will be held virtually.
  • Parent concerns with class size ratio to teacher- blended vs. remote.  Once the opt-in window closes we will look at class sizes and possibly have a co-teacher to support.

Questions from the chat:

  • Will after-school ELA and math prep be offered again? Answer: As long as we have the funds, we will be preparing to have an AIS ELA and Math program virtually. 

Meeting Adjourned

Remaining Meeting Dates:

  • Dec. 17, 2020
  • Jan. 21, 2021
  • Feb. 25, 2021
  • Mar. 18, 2021
  • Apr. 15, 2021
  • May 20, 2021
  • June 17, 2021

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Members in Attendance:

  • Danielle LaPorte
  • Alex DeCanio
  • Kristina Silvagni
  • Rachel Fritz
  • Jessica Russo
  • Marc Ciprut
  • Shernette Walters
  • Sonia Mohan
  • Melissa- Ann Phillip
  • Denise Bucaoto
  • Concetta Ceriello
  • Samar Shamsi
  • Suchi Behl

Meeting Called to Order

Ms. LaPorte welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded all visitors of their role as observers during the meeting and if they had questions or concerns they could add them in the chat to be addressed at a future SLT meeting based on relevance.

Introductions

New members as well as alternates were introduced to the team.

Review CR A-655 & the SLT requirements

Ms. LaPorte read through parts of the CR A-655 document to ensure all members had an understanding of the function, structure, roles and responsibilities, and focus/priority of the School Leadership Team.

Assign SLT Roles & Responsibilities

Roles of Chairperson and Secretary were assigned by the Team (Chairperson- Ms. LaPorte; Secretaries- Kristina Silvagni until January; Sonia Mohan January until TBD).

Review School Leadership Team Bylaws

Ms. LaPorte read through parts of the SLT Bylaws and the team focused on making sure the Bylaws were aligned to the CR A-655 policy. Parts discussed were the Mission Statement which includes the purpose of the School Leadership Team, the expectations of team members, the role of the general public, core responsibilities, as well as what does not get discussed at SLT meetings including the mentioning of specific students, staff or parent names.

Set SLT Meeting Dates for the Year

Dates were set for SLT Meetings for the Year

SLT Calendar for the 2020-2021 School Year:

  • Nov. 12th, 2020
  • Dec. 17th, 2020
  • Jan. 21st, 2021
  • Feb. 25th, 2021
  • Mar. 18th, 2021
  • Apr. 15th, 2021
  • May 20th, 2021
  • June 17th, 2021

News and Updates Committee Reports

UFT News and Updates

Mr. Ciprut indicated that there was no news/updates to be shared.

PTA News and Updates

PTA President Shernette Walters welcomed newly elected SLT Parent Representatives. The Scholastic Digital Libraries for the students were published and shared with students, staff, and families. Some concerns were raised around Savvas Math online assessments/program ** Ms.LaPorte will contact Savvas to check it out** (Note: Check Answer means to save the answer. Ms. LaPorte will also speak with staff to make them aware. PTA enrichment programs will begin in two weeks. (Beginning 11/9) The PTA is working on registering students for these programs. A question was asked around other teachers’ names in the google classrooms- Ms. LaPorte stated that teachers are collaborating with grade level teachers and sharing the workload for assignments and creating materials. This has been helping to maintain grade-level coherency and consistency especially in the event that students switch from blended to remote and vice versa. An idea was raised around providing grade 5 students with an opportunity to experience departmentalization- Ms. LaPorte and staff will revisit the idea of departmentalization as we get into the Spring.

Principal Report

Ms. LaPorte thanked the teachers and staff for the successful reopening of school. Many of the teachers and staff are doing double the work- teaching in-person students and managing and meeting with the blended remote students as well. To help provide support, the first and second grade teams now have a blended remote teacher to help support and service blended remote students. We are looking toward growing this for the rest of the grades. We currently have 1 ENL teacher in person- Ms. Keller. We now have hired a remote ENL teacher to help support and service ENL students. Ms. LaPorte thanked the students and families with all of their hard work both virtually and in person.

Random Covid Testing took place this past week. This will continue to take place once a month. We will send home a notice to make families aware that testing will take place the following week however the exact day is not given. This past testing day went very smoothly and the students did great.

Opt-In Window UPDATE: There will only be ONE opt- in the window from Nov. 2nd-Nov. 15th for families of students participating remotely to opt in for blended learning. This change was made by the DOE in hopes to build consistency for our children and families. This is guidance from the DOE, not the school. We will be keeping our program model and currently have many seats open for in-person learning.

Marking Period 1 will end on Dec. 7th and report cards will be sent home on Dec. 21st. Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Nov. 5th and will be a dialogue between families and teachers to share information about students. Families are encouraged to share how it is going at home.

Nov. 3rd is Election Day. All staff members will be working remotely this day and it will be a full instructional day for students.

Discussion of New Business Agenda Items

Cellphone Policy:

The Cellphone policy from the 2019-2020 school year was reviewed and a discussion was held around revising the section on bringing personal laptops/iPads, etc. to school to include this as part of the policy to support student’s working in the blended learning model. A revision was made to the policy to allow students to bring in personal laptops, iPads, kindles, etc. to work on school-related assignments only. These devices are to only be used during the instructional time of the school day and should be placed in backpacks when not is use.

Homework Policy:

A discussion was held around our homework policy as well as being flexible with due dates of assignments, activities, and tasks. A consensus was made around not giving homework assignments this year due to the fact that students already don’t have enough time to complete the work from the day and could use the time to work on trying to complete any work from the school day.

2020-2021 Grading Policy

Ms. LaPorte discussed the new grading policy guidelines and reviewed important parts from the Chancellor’s letter that was shared with families. Pre-K will not be given grades. Grades will still reflect the students’ understanding and growth in subject areas. Each school will select their own grading scale from several options such as 1-4 numerical scale, A-D, etc. Students will not receive failing grades this year if they have not yet met the learning outcomes for their courses. (Level 1 or 2). Instead students will receive a mark of N for “Needs Improvement” Families will have an option to request for passing grades to reflect Meets Standards (MT) rather than their score of 3, 3+, or 4 numerical grades on report cards ONLY for the Final grade in the final marking period. Parents will need to request this by writing a letter after final report cards have been distributed in June. This can be a request for MT in one subject area and doesn’t have to be in all content areas. Attendance will NOT be a factor in a student’s grades. However, grades will reflect participation, demonstration of all components of student learning, and engagement in their work. Grade of NL means there is not enough work to assess or provide a grade. It is also used for newly admitted students who have not attended school for at least 75% of the days in the marking period. The team will review and add these new components to our grading policy. Grade level teams will work to revise their grading policy based on the discussion of weight of formal assessments in this learning environment.

Review of CEP Goals in iPlan Portal

Ms. LaPorte reviewed the process the SLT went through to determine our goals for the 2020-2021 school year. The team reviewed NYS Data for ELA & Math, ESSA (School accountability reports). As part of CEP we need a goal for all students, a goal for English Language Learners, and a goal for Students with Disabilities. We need goals in ELA and Math and Chronic Absenteeism if we received a level 1 in this area which we did for our English Language Learners sub-group. Our goals have already been approved by the superintendent over the summer. The team is always reviewing and analyzing the action plan and the data to see if we are on track for meeting our June goals. We are always able to revise our action plan but NOT the goals. At our next meeting we will think about school data we can use to progress monitor whether we are on track for meeting our benchmarks and June goal since NYS state exam results don’t come in until the summer.

Walkthrough of iPlan Portal

We reviewed a power-point which discussed the action plan of a CEP and Progress Monitoring. As a next step prior to our November meeting the team will work on adding their thoughts and ideas to a Padlet to create an action plan for each goal.

Questions/Concerns

Comments from the Chat:
  • If a child is shy perhaps or if a child is uncomfortable with this new way of learning or if a child is embarrassed about the appearance of the home they are in those could be reasons for not turning video on. If family has TV blaring in the next room or talks loudly on the telephone or family members curse in the background that could be a reason why their screen is muted. This is a new way of learning that not all families are comfortable with and not all teachers are comfortable with.
  • The teachers do not truly have a grasp on the students abilities so grading is going to be inaccurate as it was last year too. Please consider this thought for next meeting

Meeting Adjourned