Thursday, February 22, 2018

Press Release Assistant Principal Hire

For Immediate Release February 22, 2018

On February 21, 2018 the HUUSD Board approved the unanimous recommendation of the 15 person hiring team to appoint interim Principal Sam Krotinger to Assistant Principal beginning July 1, 2018. The team, comprised of two student representatives, two school board representatives, four community members, two teachers, two support staff, the Director of Curriculum, Principal Lisa Atwood, and Superintendent Brigid Nease reviewed all seventeen applications and narrowed the field to four for interviews. Interviews were conducted on Monday February 19th, with follow up interviews on the 20th. While Krotinger had no prior experience as a school principal, after the second round it was clear that his experience as interim since July 1, 2017 gave him an uncompromised edge. The committee felt none of the other candidates would be able to provide what Mr. Krotinger could for Harwood. Therefore, the committee put forth the recommendation that Mr. Krotinger be hired as an assistant principal to work with Lisa Atwood, principal, for the next two years. Principal Atwood has already announced her anticipated retirement in 2020. It is expected that a new search will begin for two Co-Principals in winter of 2020.

 Krotinger has worked at Harwood since the fall of 2000 as the digital media educator. In 2015, Sam joined the Leadership team at Harwood and worked closely with Amy Rex who resigned her position in June of last year. Sam has also served on the district level leadership team since its inception, and provides additional support as the lead of the district-wide Visual Arts group. Krotinger completed his school leadership Educational Leadership from Castleton College and St Michael’s College, obtaining his administrative endorsement on completion of this program. Despite receiving this endorsement, Krotinger was not interested in leaving HU to begin his career in administration elsewhere. “I live in this community and believe in the irrefutable excellence of our schools.  After eighteen years of dedicated service, it is an honor to continue to serve this community in my new role as assistant principal”

 Sam grew up in the Berkshires, and went to high school in Massachusetts while his parents worked in a rural hospital in Haiti. When his family returned to the US, he moved to Vermont, where he attended the University of Vermont as a studio art major/comparative religion minor. After graduation in 1996, Sam lived in New York City and Portland Oregon, working in fashion photography and digital imaging. Sam moved back to Vermont in 1998 and received his first Masters degree in Curriculum & Instruction from UVM in 2000, completing student teaching at Essex High School. Sam began teaching digital media in Harwood's visual art department in the fall of 2000. He received his Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the Art Institute of Boston in 2009.

 Mr. Krotinger will join administrative team members Principal Atwood and Director of Support Services Michael Woods in building a leadership model for Harwood that capitalizes on each contributing member’s strengths as they look into planning for next school year, all while finishing the current year without interruption. “Eliminating a difficult transition will be much easier on students and staff”, says Director of Curriculum, Sheila Soule, “Sam has the backstory and the skills to continue the successful implementation of Proficiency-Based Learning”. Superintendent Nease strongly believes that cultivating leadership from within our organization is truly a best practice where ongoing mentoring and coaching can occur. Says Nease, “We are very fortunate to have Sam’s dedicated and intentional leadership emerge from within our school”.

Middle and High School Learning Expectations and Rubric Feedback Form

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

State Board of Education Approves Financial Literacy Standards

Image result for money mattersWhat Is Financial Literacy? 

Financial literacy is the knowledge necessary to make financially responsible decisions including issues of financial, credit and debt management. Financial literacy includes understanding how a checking account works, what using a credit card really means, how to avoid debt, balance a budget, buy a home, fund college education, and save for retirement. A lack of financial literacy is reportedly increasing among you people today. According to INVESTOPEDIA:

 "The level of financial literacy varies according to education and income levels, but evidence shows that highly educated consumers with high incomes can be just as ignorant about financial issues as less-educated, lower-income consumers (though in general, the later do tend to be less financially literate)". 

What are Vermont schools doing about these challenges? In many schools, some level of proficiency in financial literacy is already a graduation requirement. Now the VSBA  approved the Jump$tart Standards as part of the required standards for VT students. The Jump$tart standards supplement the current College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards for Social Studies, Common Core Standards for Mathematics, and Family and Consumer Science Expectations. The VSBA recognized the multidisciplinary nature of financial literacy as these standards can be addressed within social studies, math, business and family/consumer sciences. The AOE will be asking for K-12 Math, Social Studies, business, and Family/Consumer science teachers to assist in creating sample indicators, and proficiency-based graduation requirements. These changes will impact future development of curriculum and courses in HUUSD- stay tuned! 

Read more: Why Financial Literacy is So Important | Investopedia 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Katie Novak Releases New UDL Progression Rubric

Katie Novak Releases New UDL Progression Rubric
So many teachers want a clear example of what UDL looks like. They see and understand the guidelines, but they want to know how they translate to real life. For a long time, I struggled with this question, because UDL is so personalized; it can look very different from one teacher to another. To address the question, fellow education consultant, Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, and I worked together to compile a progression rubric to help teachers and administrators identify when a classroom has emerging, progressing or mastery UDL characteristics. This rubric is based on CAST's newly released 2018 UDL Guidelines.

We encourage you to download a copy at the link below and reach out with any questions!
View the UDL Progression Rubric

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SBAC Practice and Training Tests

SBAC Practice and Training Tests

About the Practice and Training Tests

The purpose of these training tests is to become familiar with the system, functionality, and item types; the tests are not intended to guide classroom instruction.
Some students may have difficulty with some of the content aligned to higher grades within the grade level/subject range of each training test; nevertheless, this should not interfere with students’ ability to interact with an item for its intended training purpose. If an item appears to be too difficult, encourage students to experiment with the tools, choose the best answer and move on to the next item.
Practice Test
The practice tests mirror the Smarter Balanced summative assessments in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. Each test provides students with a grade-specific testing experience, including a variety of question types and difficulty levels (approximately 30 items each in mathematics and ELA), as well as a performance task. All universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations approved by Smarter Balanced are available on the practice tests. Language supports, including translated glossaries and stacked Spanish translation, are available on mathematics Practice and Training Tests.
Training Test
The training tests are designed to provide students and teachers with opportunities to quickly familiarize themselves with the software and navigational tools that they will use for the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessments for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. Training tests are available for both mathematics and ELA and are organized by grade bands (grades 3 – 5, grades 6 -8, and grades 9 – 11), with each test containing 5 – 10 questions.  The questions on the training test were selected to provide students with an opportunity to practice a range of question types. The training tests do not contain performance tasks.
Accessing the Training Tests
Students may log in as a Guest User to take a practice or training test on their own. If a test administrator would like to administer a practice test session, students may enter their first name, student ID, and session ID (provided by the TA through the TA Practice & Training Site).
Users must use a supported secure browser or web browser to access the Training Test site. For more information on available browsers, refer to the Supported Browsers page.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Accommodations and Special Populations

Smarter Balanced Test Administration - Accommodations and Special Populations - Support Documents and Training
This webinar was used for a District Administrator (DA) Training on Text to Speech (TTS)/Read Aloud Accommodation for the ELA CAT Grades 3-5.
This document provides guidelines for the use of simplified test directions. Simplified test directions is a designated support allowable across all grades on Smarter Balanced assessments.
This form is required for special educators who either use assistive technology, administer an accommodation, or have a process that is not on Smarter Balance’s list of approved accommodations. When in doubt, please check with the state prior to completing the form. This form can be completed for any state assessment.
This checklist must be used to document a student's possible need for either the Text-to-Speech or Read Aloud accommodation for ELA reading passages for students with disabilities in grades 3-5. The checklist and supporting documentation will need to go to Linda Moreno [fax 802-479-1829] at the VT AOE for final review and approval. All communication/requests will go through the District Test Administrator (DA). Forms from educators and school coordinators will not be accepted.
This form is required for special educators who wish to request a human reader for the Read Aloud Accommodation or the Text-to-Speech Accommodation in grades 3-5 for ELA passages on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Math Program Adopted!

To: K-5 Mathematics Teachers, and Families
From: Sheila Soule
Cc: Elementary Principals, Brigid Nease
Date: December 21, 2017
Re: Elementary Mathematics Program Changes 2018-19
Over the past nine years, most schools in our District have been using a math program called Investigations Mathematics in grades K-5. When the Common Core standards were adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education in 2010 we updated our local curriculum and learned our Investigations program was not fully aligned with the new standards. The publisher provided some supplemental materials to help address the gaps, and then released a fully aligned new edition in 2016-17. Before simply purchasing this new edition of the program (at a significant expense), we decided to conduct a full review of other mathematics programs available to reach consensus on which program to move forward for adoption across the HUUSD beginning in school year 2018-19.

The programs selected for review were:
  • Investigations Mathematics
  • Bridges In Mathematics
  • Eureka Math (a.k.a. Engage NY)

A committee was formed to evaluate these programs and pilot each for approximately one unit (one month). In addition to using the materials for instruction, the team conducted school visits to places where the programs are currently in use.  The committee worked incredibly hard to exercise due diligence in evaluating these programs and should be commended for taking on this additional task. The committee members were as follows:
Pam Menz: Grade 2, Thatcher Brook
Anne Hutchinson: Grade 3, Thatcher Brook
Melinda Anderman: Grades 5/6, Crossett Brook
Brenda Hartshorn: Kindergarten, Moretown
Deb Fadden: Grade 4, Moretown
Ann Beattie, Kindergarten, Waitsfield
Ali Hale, Grade 4, Waitsfield
Jean Goldhammer, Grades 2, Fayston
Doug Bergstein, Grade 5/6, Fayston
Elizabeth Tarno, Grade 5/6, Warren

Following the implementation of all three programs the team came together to reach consensus on a final recommendation. The team reached consensus on moving forward with the Bridges In Mathematics program for implementation. Teachers in grades K-5 will begin training to use this program in June 2018, and will begin implementation in Fall of 2018. Bridges is a comprehensive math program that equips teachers to “fully implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in a manner that is rigorous, coherent, engaging, and accessible to all learners”. During the piloting process, teachers reported that their students were excited about solving mathematical problems and were seemingly understanding the mathematics at a deeper level. We look forward to working with these new program materials and to working collaboratively across all K-5 schools as we begin implementation.

Should you have any additional questions please contact Sheila Soule, Director of Curriculum, at (802) 583-7947.