February Faculty Meeting Podcast

1 Feb

Click here to go to the iTunes store to subscribe for free to the faculty podcast.

(Click the link above for the audio)

February Faculty Meeting – Rough Transcript

Below is the rough transcript of this month’s podcast.  A few individuals mentioned that it would be helpful in order to follow along with the audio.  Beneath this text is a comment form to post any questions you may have regarding the content of the audio.  Only Ralene and I will see your questions.

We expect everyone to have listened to this podcast by Friday, 2/3, to ensure we are all on the same page and up to date. 


Welcome back to our Nuts and Bolts section of the February Faculty Meeting.  Last month’s podcast was a great start for the concept of becoming more efficient and saving time for the most important aspect of our jobs, ensuring student growth.  Please notice, this month, I have included bullet statements to help those visual learners follow along.  You will find the bullets on my blog under the podcast and in the lyrics section if you are listening through iTunes.  I am still experimenting with iTunes, so please bear with me if it is not perfect.  Be sure to let me know of any unexpected issues there.



We have a few new members of our staff, Eva Diep joins us from SNHU, she is student teaching with Ellyn Vilela for the semester.  Additionally, two individuals are filling in while Katie Phaneuf is on her maternity leave, the interim SLP’s names are Kathryn Lane and Lauren Koczarski.  Welcome to you all.

Amanda Stark and Dawn Ghirozi are two recent of the many who go above and beyond…they should be acknowledged for their flexibility, adaptability,   and team spirit.  On a day when substitutes were in short supply, these two  individuals volunteered to fill in where they were needed.  Their flexibility enabled two classes of students to have their music instruction, and an entire first grade class was able to have a consistent and regular schedule throughout the school day.  Thank You!


Coffee Talk

In response to the feedback Ralene and I have received from the first podcast, I would like to extend an invitation to “Coffee Talk” with Drew and Ralene.  The first one will be held the Thursday morning after our monthly faculty meeting at 8:00am, depending on attendance, we would like to make this a monthly occurrence.  We want to provide a forum for conversation and foster a collegial and open environment for sharing ideas.  There will be no agenda, and you do not have to attend.  Anyone and everyone is welcome…just bring your questions and ideas!


ESL Updates – Faculty Meeting

As a reminder, Dr. Rosa Yuri Luna is here to discuss our English Language Learners and typical situations we may see while we educate them.  Last time she discussed various scenarios and how we would adjust individual lesson plans to account for the different student profiles.  Not all groups were able to share out their discussions, but the general feedback reflected a need to make learning hands on, with as many manipulatives as possible, preteach and teach the vocabulary through pictures and connections from home.

This month, Dr. Yuri Luna will delve more deeply into ESOL, its importance for those learners in our school, and the connection with 21st Century Learning and Core Values.  It seems like a lot, but there re ally is a lot of over lap.  In 21st Century Instruction, we talk about core academic mastery, global awareness, communication, and creative and innovative thinking, in our Core Values, we talk about reaching every child through personalized learning, and Dr. Yuri Luna is providing specific skills and strategies to addressing these pieces.  It is true, that we don’t have a lot of ESOL students in our school, but many strategies that are effective for ESOL students can be effective for others, regardless of coding.

I look forward to learning more from Dr. Yuri Luna…



The DIBELS and NECAP results are in!  Our winter benchmark shows that we are making significant progress towards our proficiency goal.  Here are some data statements from the grade level and school perspective:

Kindergarten students grew from 51% proficient to 82% proficient (31% growth) from September to January.

First grade students grew from 61% to 74% (13% growth) from September to January.

Second grade students grew from 80% to 89% (9% growth) from September to January.

While there is a lot to be happy about, and many, many individual student celebrations (at least one student has achieved at least an entire year’s growth in 5 months), we have a lot of work to do in order to achieve our overall district goal of 95% proficiency.  We appreciate the hard work and determination of the reading team to coordinate and record the data as quickly and efficiently as they do, and we appreciate the diligence we witness on a daily basis from all teachers to care for our children.  It is plain to see how much you all care…

NECAP Results are fresh off the presses.  As you know, students are tested in third grade, which reflects our finished work as a whole school.  The results of the data, in terms of AYP, are unclear.  It is going to be very close in reading, and we will probably not make it in mathematics.  There will be more details to come once this new data is processed and internalized.  Click here if you’d like to access the results: http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/necap/results/index.htm

Now, our next step is to process the data and use the many resources we have and work to hone our student’s skills…and challenge them and ourselves to work towards our goals and expectations.  We are doing a lot, and we need to make sure we are working as efficiently as possible and  constantly improving.


Systems of Instruction Updates

On January 30th, we hosted Amelia VanName Larson, Pasco County Florida’s Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction.  She comes to us with experience in helping schools structure themselves to provide multi-tiered systems of support through collaborative instructional decisions based on accurate and valid data over time that directly impacts student achievement.  She provided us with focus and direction as we constantly seek to improve our instruction and consequently student achievement.  More details will unfold as Ralene and I process the day and confer with the RtI leadership group.  Foremost on the “to do” list is scheduling, a topic near and dear to all of our hearts!

As Amelia and I toured the school in the morning, she could not help but mention repeatedly how obvious it was that we have a staff of caring and dedicated teachers, and how well cared for our students truly are.


Curriculum and Planning

Throughout the month of January teachers from the Kindergarten and grade 2 teams met with Checker Hansen, DOLA to develop rubrics for  reporting to parents. Rubrics were developed to guide teachers in assessing students level of skill development. Through this work, teachers engaged in examining the CCSS and discussing the instructional implications of the standards.

First grade teachers will participate in a similar exercise before the end of the trimester.


Map by NWEA

Measures of Academic Progress testing, by Northwest Evaluation Association, is almost completed at Underhill.  Kindergarten, first, and second grade students were screened in mathematics.  The intention of this round of testing was to familiarize students with the testing process, particularly Kindergarten and first grade students who experienced this for the first time.  In the spring, all students will be assessed again in both  mathematics and reading.

4 Responses to “February Faculty Meeting Podcast”

  1. Wendy Ryback-Soucy February 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Thanks for the podcast….as simple as it is, thank you for recognizing how our team cares for our students. We all give 100% everyday for the success of our little friends and it’s nice when administration notices…some days it is what gets you through! I have enjoyed the last 2 faculty meetings as they have been focused more on professional development. Thank you for adding in your podcast script for us visual learners! Is it possible to receive the podcast earlier in the week, so that we know what the upcoming faculty meeting will be about, etc? Just a thought….I’m usually not checking my work email late in the evening.

    • J. Andrew Bairstow February 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Wendy. Ralene and I hope to continue using our sacred 45 minutes per month providing PD time. This month’s contents included information from this past Monday creating a tight production turnaround. I will, however, work to get the podcast out sooner in the future. I am appreciative of your willingness to try something new and have an open mind!

  2. Matt Woodrow February 2, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Drew, this is especially helpful for those of us that can’t physically attend the meeting. I feel much more in the loop.

  3. Mary Lou Donahoe February 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    As said before podcasts are a positive way for sharing news. We are too busy to sit and listen to people make announcements. Perhaps instead of doing it on a monthly basis, we can just share news/announcements regularly via podcast. Thank you for going the extra mile and posting the information. The music was great, loved the Caribean beat in the midst of this dreary New England cold weather….

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