The tutors for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Salina Intermediate and Stout Middle School participated in 16 hours of training at the Administrative Service Center. The tutors are college students that are strong role models and are dedicated to helping develop a culture of college readiness for students. The tutors will facilitate tutorial groups twice a week in the AVID Elective classroom with an emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking through inquiry, collaborative teamwork, study skills, organization and reading skills. We would like to extend a great big WELCOME to our tutors!!
The Bilingual and Special Education resource teachers joined together to collaboratively prepare for the WIDA ACCESS 2.0, WIDA Alternate and WIDA Kindergarten Assessments. Schools will be administering these assessments to English Learners in all schools beginning on February 8, 2016. This is a huge undertaking for our district so the collaborative time allowed staff to revisit and review the assessment. Most importantly, it provided time for teams to discuss key ideas for putting together a seamless test administration plan.
It is with regret but warm wishes that the EL Department announces the retirement of Mary Niebel. She is an integral part of the team (and a fun part too!).
One way to look at it is that your retirement actually means that you got promoted to one of the best roles in your life. Congratulations!
Thanks for everything you have done for your colleagues and the EL Department. Hard work, dedication and joy are only a few precious things you have shared with us every day. If you put as much effort into enjoying your retirement as you have all the years you’ve been working with the EL Department, your retirement will truly be amazing!
May the years ahead bring you great joy and relaxation. We will truly miss you Mary!
AVID students at Stout Middle School are practicing Socratic Seminars. The linked video (below) captures a Socratic Seminar based on an article claiming all students should have paid employment while going to school.
Socratic Seminars are structured, collaborative dialogues, focusing on a common text or resource. Students prepare for the dialogue by analyzing the text and preparing questions to spur the discussion. This strategy provides a format for students to practice skills in critical thinking, reading, and inquiry, as they participate in the inquiry-based dialogue.
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is the WIDA Consortium’s next generation English language proficiency assessment system. Beginning February 2016, we will begin administration of this new summative assessment from grades 1–12. An online assessment will replace the earlier paper-based assessment.
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The online test contains similar item types to the original paper-based test, with new features made possible through the use of the online test environment.
^screenshot of Listening practice test
The Kindergarten and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs assessments will not change from previous years and remain paper-based.
Bilingual Resource Teachers had a full day of learning today.
- The day started by delving into Language and Literacy to review the 7 Steps of a Language-Rich Interactive Classroom using the 12-minute research strategy.
- The learning continued by revisiting the RAN strategy and discussing benefits and adaptations for all levels from Kindergarten to 12th grade. (see previous blog for more information on how to implement this strategy with students.)
- Another important focus included a topic essential to English Learners… Oral Language Development! With explicit instruction and the right resources in hand, ELs can learn the patterns of the English Language by repeated encounters with language structures that have a gradient of difficulty.
- Finally, Resource Teachers spent an adequate amount of time sharing important feedback by participating in WIDA’s validation survey before the finalization of the NEW 2016 Can Do Descriptors.
Susan Stanley, Principal at Salina Elementary reflects on this week’s Language and Literacy work related to Planning and Teaching with the ELA Standards in Mind:
“We have had some very powerful learning this week at Salina Elementary. I truly believe that our staff has made great leaps in their understanding of Content and Language Objectives as they apply to their grade level standards. Taking the time to dissect and plan those standards into meaningful learning for our ELs with a common vocabulary, stretched our beliefs and learning for us all.
The teachers left excited and renewed. It was the definition of an effective PLC. Amy Markos is such an excellent facilitator. We are all going to see the results of this week of learning.
On behalf of the teachers and students of Salina, thank you again for bringing this learning to our building.”