Hemlock School PTA Curriculum Committee News
|Hemlock School Curriculum Reps are:
Victoria Follender and Yvonne Mundy
Hemlock Curriculum Meeting
Monday, October 22, 2012
In attendance Audrey Bellovin, Amy Sullivan, Yvonne Mundy and Victoria Follender
How will the Curriculum Committee support Hemlock
- The Curriculum Committee members will partner with administrators and parents to bring forward parent concerns and work with administrators to determine how best to address or solve them.
- We will bring forward concerns even if they may not necessarily be our own.
- Approximately 50% of Summer Assignments were returned. The Summer Assignments will continue to be reviewed in the classroom by the teachers.
- Next year, the Summer Assignment package will be revisited to ensure the materials are consistent with the Common Core. In addition, the Summer Assignment cover page will be revised to state the grade the student will be going into. Example: If student is leaving Kindergarten the Summer Assignment package will read, “Going into the 1st Grade”.
- All students should receive the same Summer Assignment for their respective grade.
Dignity for All Students Act:
- A Dignity for all Students Act (DASA) flyer, with age appropriate Code of Conduct language, was sent home before the school year began to parents.
- Teachers will continue to be trained on the DASA with the latest literature and a new Character Education Program, Second Step. They have attended a staff development class held on October 17th lead by Dr. Tornincaso. She collaborated over the summer with the elementary school social worker to create a curriculum to address the DASA mandates. Some of the topics covered are Honesty, Tolerance, Personal Responsibility and Respect for others. Many of these are addressed in the Second Step Program.
- From time to time, parent letters will be sent home about Second Step.
Reinforcement of homework at home:
- It was discussed that homework should reinforce what is learned during the school day.
- Homework in Kindergarten will be revisited by Ms. Bellovin to address consistency, as well as be developmentally appropriate for the age.
- Focus will be for the children to enjoy learning rather than be discouraged by it.
- 1st Grade homework is posted on Hemlock’s website. An e-mail blast will be sent to parents reminding them with the link to the website. The monthly first grade newsletter will contain the link.
- As a reminder to parents, during Back to School Night, 1st Grade parents were informed that teachers would be skipping pages in the math workbooks and using additional materials to meet the Common Core Curriculum.
- As an initiative to meet the Core Curriculum, Mrs. Bellovin, as well as many other administrators, regularly attends conferences to evaluate the current resources and see what else is available. Likewise, the district has retained a Math consultant to work with the primary and elementary school teachers to help them align their teaching with the CCLS. Teachers at the primary level would attend a total of nine half days of training, in addition to several after school staff development meetings. In addition, a Primary School Math Specialist was recently hired part-time, who will divide her time among the three primary schools. Her role would be to work with certain students and also assist teachers in aligning their resources with the common core curriculum.
- Student Learning Objectives are consistent at Hemlock, Homestead and Locust Schools. The Primary schools are viewed as “One school with three campuses”.
From time to time, Mrs. Bellovin receives requests for a list of apps used at school. Although she does not endorse apps, there is a list of apps used at Hemlock that parents can obtain by contacting Victoria Follender at email@example.com or Yvonne Mundy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Summary
Monday, June 11, 2012
Committee Members Present
Mrs. Bellovin (Principal), Mrs. Sullivan (Teacher Representative), Amy Ferris (Parent)
Follow up to Self Esteem Adelphi Presenters at PTA meeting – Mrs. Bellovin felt that the presentation reinforced what the school community already has in place to support student self esteem and student conflict resolution. The Hemlock community currently encourages students to be “bucket fillers” and to be kind and helpful to others. In addition, the teachers help the students to solve their own conflicts by evaluating the different choices available to them. The faculty and staff will continue to develop anti bullying and character development programs. In addition, New York State has mandated that all school districts implement DASA (Dignity for all Students Act) beginning in the 2012 – 2013 school year. This act is related to student bullying and character education.
SLO (Student Learning Objectives)– Starting in the 2012 – 2013 school year, New York State requires that teachers assess the student learning growth of all students in classrooms that currently do not have state assessments. In order to measure student learning, Kindergarten and First grade students will be assessed in reading and mathematics. The teachers are working to ensure that these measures are as embedded into the children’s typical day as possible and are not seen as anything out of the ordinary.
Common Core –In regards to ELA, the teachers are well prepared to implement the new learning standards. The book room is well stocked with new informational texts for the students to enjoy. For mathematics, the teachers have adjusted the curriculum to meet the new common core standards. The mathematics book and workbook support the teachers’ instruction. Since, the topics in the book are not all necessarily part of the curriculum, the teachers do not utilize all the pages of the book. The students will be covering less topics and their learning of the topics will be deeper. There is more opportunity for mathematical discussions and problem solving in the classroom setting.
Summer – The leveled summer reading lists and math packets were sent home last week. Parents are encouraged to have their children read throughout the summer, as well as read to their children. Parents can have discussions about the text and ask questions that have their children thinking deeply about a text. A child could reflect on why a character behaved a certain way or how a character was feeling at different points of the text.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Meeting Summary
Friday, February 3, 2012
In attendance: Mrs. Bellovin, Ms. Sullivan and Nicholas LaBella
Review of the report card structure i.e. evaluation criteria, rating, etc. Parents have expressed interest in some form of commentary in addition to the rating.
Commentary on the report cards has not been viewed as effective in the past. Parent/Teacher verbal communication is a better means of discussing the child’s performance and progress.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Meeting Minutes
Friday, December 2, 2011
In attendance: Mrs. Bellovin, Ms. Sullivan and Nicholas LaBella
Follow up topic from the September meeting regarding the communication effort to parents. As of September, the First Grade has incorporated the use of a Monthly Newsletter which is being distributed via email to the parents.
To date, Mrs. Bellovin and staff have not received any feedback from parents in regards to the newsletter.
Parents should continue to make use of the school’s website as a valuable source of information
Presently all of the classrooms, the Speech and the Music/Art rooms have been equipped with Smartboards. During the Christmas break each Smartboard will be set up with a computer. Hemlock currently has 12 iPads/6 iPods for the First Grade and 6 iPods for the Kindergarten.
The staff at Hemlock will continue to use a methodical approach to the introduction and use of technology in the classrooms.
On Friday, December 9th the topic of the PTA Board Meeting in the Hemlock Multipurpose Room will be “Technology at Hemlock”. This meeting will consist of the children providing demos of iPods, iPads, and the Smartboard.
During the previous PTA meeting, Mrs. Bellovin shared with the parents a list of applications the children use on the iPad. Since the meeting, the list has been emailed to all the parents. Feedback from the parents has been positive.
Mrs. Bellovin and Ms Sullivan addressed the concern raised by a couple of parents regarding the volume of homework for the First Grade.
For First Graders, Hemlock follows the guidelines of 20 minutes of homework per night. This consists of Math and Word Study. In January, they will add the assignment of 5 words to alphabetize and put in a sentence.
The weekly homework assignment package is provided on the school website each Monday. This is in the effort to assist the parents with the flexibility to plan accordingly. The assignments are not mandated to be completed nightly rather on a weekly basis and the children are not penalized for missed assignments.
Homework assignments follow the DI model whereby the quantity of work can be managed on an individual basis.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Meeting Summary
Friday, September 23, 2011
In attendance: Ms. Bellovin, Ms. Sullivan, Amy Ferris and Nicholas LaBella
Parent Communication –
Hemlock wants to remind parents that they are always welcome to contact the classroom teachers if they have any concerns or questions about their child. Parent concerns are acknowledged within 24 hours. It may take longer for the situation to be fully discussed or settled. If a teacher has a specific concern about a student, the teacher will contact the parent to address the issue. Teachers do not wait for the first parent conference to communicate a concern with parents. In addition, the first grade teachers send home weekly homework that is also posted on the website. The homework represents what is being taught in the classroom in regards to math and word study. In January, the kindergarten classes will begin homework. Hemlock’s website is a great place to see photos of special events and activities that happen within the school.
Differentiated Instruction –
Kindergarten and first grade classrooms are a wonderful example of differentiated instruction. The students are broken into small groups for guided reading instruction and other activities throughout the day. Children work individually, with partners, in small groups, and as a whole class on activities. Children are given the opportunity to read on their own instructional level and to choose books to read that interest them. For the first time, the primary schools sent home a Me Map and a parent survey, “Things My Child Likes to Do”. The information from these forms will be used in the classroom to assist the teachers to further differentiate the instruction for the children. The forms will be looked over and the teachers will look for common themes and interests among students. The Me Map gives the teachers an overview of the students’ personal interests. The parent survey gives the teachers insight into the type of learner your child might be. The teachers are aware that the parent survey is a working document and reflects where your child is at this point. Children at the primary level are constantly changing and developing. The teachers are also aware that you may see different behaviors in the home than they see in the classroom. For example, you may write that your child is a self starter at home, but the teacher hasn’t been seeing that. Now, the teacher is aware that they may need to help encourage that attribute in the school setting.
Hemlock Curriculum Meeting - May 27, 2011
In Attendance: Ms. Bellovin, Joellen Crowley, Amy Ferris
Developmental Skills Program
The children currently in the developmental skills program at Hemlock will be assessed before moving to the elementary school. The students will be evaluated using the Gates-MacGinite Reading Test, current running record and teacher recommendation. All students needing continued support will still receive it in September. All second grade students are screened in Math and will receive support if needed.
Summer Reading List
The Summer Reading Lists will include guided reading levels. Parents should use this as a range and continue to allow children to pick books based on interest.
Hemlock Curriculum Meeting Summary - March 25, 2011
In Attendance: Ms. Bellovin, Joellen Crowley, Amy Ferris
Transition plans for the current Hemlock students are in place. All of the children will be well prepared to enter the next grade.
The current Kindergarten class will have an opportunity to meet with the first grade teachers. The teachers will visit the classrooms to familiarize the students with who they are and what to expect in first grade. The current report cards will also be helpful for parents to become aware of what type of skills the students will be assessed on. Parents can look ahead at the reading skills to see what the children will learn in the future.
There will also be various opportunities for the current first grades to visit the elementary schools. Parents are invited to an orientation on May 5th. The current first graders will then visit the elementary schools on May 19th during a typical day. Students are welcome to visit the elementary schools on the evening of Open House, May 9th.
All parents are encouraged to come to the staff at Hemlock with any transition questions or concerns they may have.
Hemlock School Curriculum Meeting January 28, 2011
The first report cards were distributed in December. The report cards are meant to report on your child’s progress throughout the year and are developmental. A number 2 on the report card means that the child is not yet consistent in that area. They may be showing competence in the skill some of the time, but not consistently. For the marking period from September through early December, the child may have started out inconsistent and may now be becoming consistent. A number 3 represents that the child shows a consistent ability in that area and a number 4 means that the child is exceeding the expectation and the teacher is sure that will not change. These ratings pertain to the whole report card excluding the reading.
Mrs. Sullivan’s first grade class currently has iPads that were received from a grant. From a separate grant, the first grade classes share a set of iPod Touches. The iPod Touches have educational apps and are used in centers as they rotate through all first grade classrooms. The school is interested in expanding these technologies through continuing to apply for additional grants.
Joint Primary School Curriculum Meeting - November 2010
Guided reading is just one of the many tools the teachers use to assess reading. The levels help dictate what specific reading skills are taught. They also track growth and if there is any sign of a problem the teacher will contact the parent. Guided reading levels were reported for first graders at the November conferences. Kindergarten guided reading levels will be shared later in the year.
The new primary school progress reports will be issued December 17th for the first of three times this year. Notable is that the progress report cards will include both a performance and an effort grade. Curriculum guides published this year may be used along with the progress report cards.
The write traits program (techniques for good writers) will be incorporated into the Writing Workshops
Hemlock Curriculum Summary
In Attendance: Ms. Bellovin, Ms. Sullivan, Amy Ferris, Joellen Crowley
The new report cards are ready to go. The new format will be presented at the Board Of Education work session on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 8:15 p.m. in the high school library. The new report cards will be issued three times a year and will include both a performance and an effort grade.
A curriculum guide was issued to all parents at Back to School Night. The purpose of the guide is to give parents an understanding of the basic concepts covered in each grade. The guide is posted on the Internet.
Guided reading is just one of the many tools the teachers use to assess reading. The levels help dictate what specific reading skills are taught. They also track growth and if there is any sign of a problem the teacher will contact the parent.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Summary May 2010
· Due to be released in Fall of 2010
· Will be sent home 3 times a school calendar year
· Standards based report card/reflects NYS Standards
· Rollout of the new style Report Card is starting with the Primary Schools and will be carried into the Elementary Schools in the future
· Effort grade is included, indicating the child’s approach to school work
· Social/Emotional section and the Behaviors that Promote Learning section are the titles that are given to non-academic areas that indicate a child’s classroom behavior
· Specific comments from teachers will NOT be included. This type of discussion is done during Parent/Teacher conferences and throughout the year
· Reading levels for each student are not given out to parents at the end of the year
· Parents should use these recommendations when going to the library or the bookstore:
o Get a book that the child can read by themselves
o Get a book that an adult will need to assist with reading
o Get a book that should be read to the child
· A list of suggested reading will be sent home with the child for the summer
· An optional math summer packet will be sent home with the children to be done over summer vacation. It can be returned in September. Content from this packet will be reviewed and incorporated into classroom instruction in September.
Hemlock April 2010 Curriculum Update
Preparation for the current first grade student transition into second grade is achieved in many ways. On Tuesday, May 4th, all parents are
invited to attend an orientation at either Stewart or Stratford School at
7:00 p.m. On May 20th, all first graders will visit the elementary school
where they will be attending a tour of the school (Stratford or Stewart) and see what a typical day feels like. In addition to these formal orientations, the students have had many opportunities over the course of the year to attend activities at both schools. The children have gone to both Stratford and Stewart for Arts in Education performances, the Stewart Opera and the 5th grade play at Stratford.
Class placement, which includes teacher input, is carefully considered for every child. Every effort is made to ensure that all children are placed with familiar faces from Hemlock. While this process should lead to a smooth transition, any concerns that you may have about your child’s placement should be sent in writing to Ms. Bellovin no later than May 3rd.
Looking forward, formal kindergarten registration for the new class is complete, though we welcome new children throughout the school year. The district determines the age requirement for entry into kindergarten. Children must reach their 5th birthday by December 1st. It
is felt that it is most beneficial for children to be placed with their age appropriate peers. The current kindergarten screening includes the DIAL 3 assessment that is used to determine readiness. Screening results are used to determine appropriate support services. However, there is no entrance exam for kindergarten and teachers strive to help each child reach their potential.
FEBRUARY 2010 CURRICULUM UPDATE
Kindergartners are working hard learning their high frequency words. Teachers are using clever and unique ideas to teach this subject matter and it is quite a success for every student! Though the ways they are practiced may be different from class to class, the words are uniform for all children.
Appropriate level books are being sent home with the children. Teachers work closely with each child on the skills in the books before they go home. When the children read to their parents, they are so proud of their accomplishments. All books are brought back to school the next day.
Kindergarten teachers participate in a “collegial circle” during prep period. This is where ideas on curriculum, lessons and issues are circulated amongst each other and any issues resolved. Great ideas are generated during this time!
First Grade Update:
Spelling tests and Book Reports have started! All first grade teachers work collaboratively to prepare the book reports. The results are fantastic.
Science texts are being used as a guide for the Science curriculum. The science lessons that are done in class are all active and hands-on. Last year, the first grade teachers work collaboratively on designing UbD (Understanding by Design) units for science. This reflects a district initiative.
For Social Studies, the teachers use a weekly reader for current events and a text book in the classroom. A great deal of Social Studies is also done through literature.
The science and social studies curriculum for both grades are driven by the New York State Standards in these areas.
Program Kick Off:
Hemlock has proudly announced the start of ‘Fun, Fit and Go!’ which is a program to get children in the habit of exercising outside of the school environment and involves family members as well. This program is being led by our Physical Education teacher, Mr. Caparella.
100th Day of school is quickly approaching – fun filled activities are planned for this day for all students. (February 12th)
We plan to highlight a piece of the curriculum at each upcoming PTA meeting to give parents a better sense of what the content is and how it is being addressed in at Hemlock.
Hemlock Curriculum Committee Update December 2009
Curriculum enrichment is ongoing at Hemlock. The school has implemented many creative ways to meet the new NYS mandate for Physical Education. The children are engaging in physical activities every day after morning announcements and in their classrooms guided by their teacher. There also has been great success with the current Occupational Therapy program. An OT pushes into the kindergarten classes once a week and assists the teacher with the current curriculum. The OT provides the teachers with tips to facilitate the children’s learning. A committee has also been formed to revamp the current report cards to more accurately reflect the New York State Standards. The new report cards will be looking at the children’s skills in relation to the standards. The exact wording is still to be determined by the committee. Finally, a map of the United States has been added to the blacktop outside of the school. Suggestions for how to use the map were distributed to each teacher. The map is being integrated into the curriculum when appropriate.
October 2009 Summary
"Hemlock Curriculum is off to a running start. Their comprehensive Balanced Literacy program is in full swing starting with the Early Literacy Profile (ELP) for the Kindergarteners. This will assist teachers with grouping the students more effectively using real data collected. Consultant Erica Pecorale is diligently working with and training our teachers from all primary schools on the Writing Program, which is the next step in this cohesive process. First graders are working hard on their Write Traits using word choice and learning techniques that authors use when writing their stories. This is certainly the start of an exciting year for all of our students."