Thursday, June 19, 2008

Meet and Greet- Curriculum Committee and Community

Two sessions, one at 3:30pm and another at 6:30pm were held today at the Hoboken High School Library as the Curriculum Committee met with parents, Board of Education members and interested citizens of Hoboken. Dr. Petrosino led off each session with a 20 minute overview of the activities of the Committee over this past semester. This was followed by a 15-20 minute formal "question and answer" period with the audience. Many thought provoking and challenging questions were asked including "Will the new curriculum be more traditional or progressive?"; "What plans exist for the expansion of the John Hopkins Program?"; "What data will we have that will indicate whether the new curriculum is a success?"; "Has this model been used before with any success?" and "What will the new Pre-K curriculum look like?" In addition, drafts of curriculum maps and MYP unit plans were made available for review and discussion.  A request was also made for the sharing of appropriate documents for the public. Dr. Petrosino assured the citizen that this will be addressed over the summer.  After the formal question and answer period, an informal "meet and greet" was held for about a half hour where Committee members, parents, and community members interacted and discussed shared interest and concerns over some light refreshments. In total, approximately 50 people attended both sessions. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tools of the Mind- An Introduction

A growing body of research indicates that many children start school not ready to learn not because they do not know their letters or numbers but because they lack one critical ability: the ability to regulate their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors. Current research shows that self-regulation – often called executive function -- has a stronger association with academic achievement than IQ or entry-level reading or math skills.
Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood program that builds strong foundations for school success in preschool and kindergarten children by promoting their intentional and self-regulated learning. In a series of rigorous experimental trials, Tools of the Mind has been shown to have a significant impact on self-regulation of preschool children. The study also found these gains in self-regulation to be related to scores in child achievement in early literacy and mathematics.

Characteristics of Tools of the Mind
1)Tools of the Mind is a comprehensive curriculum including content that meets all state and national standards.
2) Content is presented in an integrated, developmental way so that instruction
forms a coherent whole
3) The instructional formats and activities in Tools of the Mind are research
based (peer reviewed articles in top tier research journals)
4) Instructional strategies used in Tools of the Mind include: child-directed activities; teacher-directed activities; and collaborative activities.
5) The thoughtful combination of instructional strategies and the matching of
instructional strategy to activity is specifically designed to support
self-regulation development and allow individual instruction in academic skills
6) Progress is monitored daily, weekly, and monthly.
7) There is ongoing use of assessment data to tailor interactions to meet
individual needs.
8) A recognition and commitment to the disposition that play is an essential
component to the intellectual, behavioral, and social development of the child.

Open Letter to the Community on Thursday's Meeting

Thursday's gathering between the Curriculum Committee and district parents and the community is a meeting to explain the process and the progress of the Curriculum Committee to date- specifically our progress on the K-12 curriculum, professional development activities, and our curriculum mapping. It is important to realize that the activities of the Curriculum Committee do not represent all the curricula decisions and activities going on in the district but certainly a very large part of it.

As many of the readers of this blog know, the Committee is actually WRITING a curriculum and not adopting one out of the box. This makes the process more time intensive but in the long run will be a curriculum that will have great ownership by the District and utilized.

The format for the meeting tomorrow is really more of a “meet and greet” and I am going to try to start things off with a quick 10 minute presentation, perhaps 10 minutes of Q&A and then an informal interaction with the teachers and parents around refreshments. This is only the first in what I am planning on being multiple opportunities to inform the community of our progress. Keep in mind, much of the activity of the Committee has been recorded on this blog.

In understand there is some community interest in Pre-K/K curriculum activities and while I will speak briefly about this in an overview, Jessica Peters and myself are planning a more detailed and concentrated presentation on the topic in the very near future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Self Regulation- an Introduction

In order to learn in elementary school and be successful students, children must develop the ability to self-regulate. Self-regulation encompasses not only emotions, physical behavior and social interaction, but includes the ability to monitor and control cognitive processes such as attention. Even though children may know many facts, without self-regulation they will not learn new things efficiently and will have trouble with more advanced content.

What is self-regulation? It includes:

1) the ability to stay on task
2) ignore distractions
3) remember on purpose
4) hold two strategies in mind at the same time
5) the development of self-discipline
6) the motivation to succeed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hoboken Curriculum Committee’s Open House

Who: Hoboken District Parents 
Where: The Library at Hoboken High School
When: Thursday, June 19th at 3:30-4:30 p.m. or 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Why:Following a brief presentation by Dr. Petrosino, parents will have an opportunity to talk to the Curriculum Committee Members and to get a better understanding of Hoboken’s Updated Curriculum.

***Light Refreshments will be served***

Friday, June 13, 2008

Curriculum Committee Meeting-MYP Unit Planning

Today's weekly meeting* was again led by Kate Dominique and focused on Assessment in the planning of an MYP (Middle Years Program) unit. Working in content groups established previously, the Committee utilized the IB North America Adapted MYP PLANNER as a guide to finalize a number of units. The Committee is now well versed at unit development and will fully utilize this skill during the 4 weeks of formal meetings this summer (July 14-August 14). The unit planner includes such topics as: Brainstorming Significant Content and/or Skills; Finding the Big Idea; Approaches to Learning; Area of Interactions Focus; Significant Concept(s); and the main Unit Question. The main focus of the unit development is to this of a unit from Assessment to Teaching and Learning Activities Through Inquiry. Units were developed in Language A (grade 6), Language B (grade 6) and Earth Science (grade 6). 

Before the formal meeting from 3pm-4:30pm, Dr. Petrosino held a brief 15 minute meeting with new Committee members who will be joining the group this summer. Materials were handed out and a brief discussion on expectations and gratitude for their participation ensued. 

* Today's meeting was moved to Friday because of the annual HEA end of year party scheduled for Thursday, June 12. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Curriculum Committee Approved

Below is the list of faculty appointed for the Summer Curriculum Committee at the June 10th Board of Education Meeting. Summer meetings of the committee will take place from Monday July 14 and continue until Thursday August 14. The Committee will meet four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) from 9AM to 3:30PM with a 1 hour lunch period. Additional (not alternative) times and dates may be arranged when appropriate and approved. Meetings will take place at Calabro School.

Jayshree Amin, Vincent Cassesa, Rosangela Perez, Lea Gualario, Louis Taglieri, Elise Rosenberg, Paul Huggins, Sharlette Cullen, Janice Shikham, Susan Imholz, Marni Rosenblum, Gabriela Garcia-Taglieri, Tasha Leggard, Joanne Ariyan, Joanne VanGulick, Jill Littzi, Martin Shannon, Melanie Alberto- Kolmer, Michelle McGreivey, Erin Kraven, Edward Barfield, Robert Meyers, Frances Cohen, Isabel Bruno, Christopher Munoz, Damian DeBenedetto, Victoria Chodos, Robin Piccapietra, Derek England, Geidy DeLaRosa, Jared Ramos, Kathleen Kelly-Ynoa, Mary Sifonios, Stephanie Safko, Mark Schartner, Juliana Addi, Ryan Sorafine, Adriana Coppola, Kelly Sogluzzio, Jennifer Suyat, Barbara Teller, Meghna Patel, Mark Taraszkiewicz, Cara Killen, Tania Trinidad-Payamps, Donna Yula, Romy Marchesani, Fiona Stephens, Helen DeRose, Jenisa Wilson, Andrea Canonico, Tara Donnelly, Patrick Ciriello, Anabel Gomez, Veronica Ramos, Kevin Metcalfe, Bess Mitsakos, Beth Tomlinson, and Marni Rosenblum

Monday, June 9, 2008

Neptune Visit- Tools of the Mind

On Monday, June 9 a group of preschool staff: 2 directors, 2 Master Teachers, 2 classroom teachers and the Supervisor of Early Childhood visited the Early Childhood Center in Neptune Township. Neptune Township has been implementing Tools of the Mind in its preschool classrooms for approximately five years. The goal of the visit was to meet with a trainer from Tools of the Mind and see the program in action. The staff split up among classrooms, observed the program in the classrooms, discussed the program with the classroom teachers and had the opportunity to have the Tools of the Mind trainer answer any questions regarding the program. Everyone left the visit with a positive feeling toward the Tools of the Mind program and excitement to see the program implemented in Hoboken's preschool program in September 2008 .

For more information:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Curriculum Committee Meeting- MYP Units Grade 6

The Curriculum Committee braved a heat wave today with temperatures in the mid-90's as work continued on unit plans for Grade 6 MYP. Kate Dominique led the morning session with a detailed presentation on the next phase of the unit planning activity. We had a delayed start of 10:30AM today due to Senior Prom last night at the High School. The Committee continues to move forward in a very productive manner. The following are summaries prepared by teachers of the various subcommittees:

Members: E. Barfield, V. Cassesa, A. Gomez, K. Kelly-Ynoa, M. King, R. Meyers and V. Ramos.
Area: Language Arts Literacy Grade 6

The Language Arts Literacy group created a design for the sixth grade thematic units of “Families and Communities” and “Meeting Challenges.” For each of these units the group developed and organized a detailed unit plan that included established goals, enduring understanding, essential question, goals/rationale and assessment. The group was able to work effectively and productively as the group dynamic was positive and pleasant. Each member contributed consistently and as a result, a successful unit was developed.

Members: Kevin Metcalfe and Damian DeBenedetto
Content Area: Social Studies
Grade 6

Today Kevin Metcalfe and I worked on The "big ideas" and essential questions for social studies, completing September through October. Today was productive in that we feel we got a good grasp on the direction we are taking and will be able to proceed in a smooth and timely fashion. We also discussed the possibility of meeting prior to the summer session to get a head start on writing the curriculum for Social Studies and to get Chris Munoz up to speed.

Members: Janice Shikhman and Beth Tomlinson
Content Area: Physical Education and Health
Grade 6

Our group worked on drafting deigns from big ideas. Our first draft was planning a 4 week health unit on good hygiene. The next draft planned a 4 week unit on what is good sportsmanship and how how recreational activities can foster cooperative learning in all areas of life.

Members: Roseangela Perez
Content Area: Science
Grade 6

I just wanted to bring you up to date with what the group happenings. Today we focused on the outer space unit and developed a big idea from which to further our planning. We developed concepts, established learning goals and created new and innovative forms of assessments. Today was great because the group was able to produce a interdisciplinary connection amongst various subjects. The discussion was motivating and productive. At the current time we are ready to move forth with Dec. and Jan. topics and themes.

Members: Isabel Bruni, Tania Trinidad-Payamps, Geidy DelaRosa
Content Area: Language/Language B
Grade 6

On June 7, 2008, we drafted a thematic unit based on concepts of the Learning by Design Textbook. We applied those concepts to the MYP unit. We completed a unit for grade 6th. We explored and came up with our own: Established goals, Enduring understanding, Essential questions, Big ideas, Predictable misunderstanding and errors, Goals/rationale
We brainstormed the areas of interactions and we came up with areas of interactions for this particular unit. Also, we included the summative assessments and culminating activities. Lastly, we linked our unit to the NJCCCS in the following disciplines:World Languages, Technology, Social Studies, Health and Physical Education

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scholastic- SRI Reading Inventory Workshop

On Tuesday, representatives from Scholastic visited the district under the invitation of Jennifer Lopez (Reading First Coordinator and Dr. Anthony Petrosino) conducted a professional development workshop on the administration of the SRI Inventory. The SRI Inventory will be utilized with rising 4th through 7th graders as a diagnostic instrument focusing on students reading abilities. The SRI Inventory will allow the district to:

1) Monitor Progress—Fifteen new and enhanced reports, including the new Student Yearly Progress Indicator, will help our district evaluate student progress toward proficiency goals, measure reading growth, and meet NCLB requirements.
2) Assess Reading Levels—With SRI the district will be able to accurately determine student reading ability and incorporate reading levels into daily instruction.
3) Meet Student Needs—The district will be in position to target students for intervention and instructional purposes. SRI also provides personalized reading lists for every student.
4) Demonstrate Accountability—With full data export capabilities, SRI will enable the district to disaggregate student data to demonstrate accountability and monitor yearly progress for all students.

We anticipate that SRI will generate a wealth of criterion- and norm-referenced data for every student, including a percentile rank, stanine, normal curve equivalent (NCE), and a native Lexile measure- which will help facilitate specialized and differentiated instruction for our students.

The workshop participants included:
Scholastic - Maxine Dennis (Scholastic Rep)and Doretha Beckham (Trainer)
Calabro - Kelli Cudney Leon
Connors - Maria Morales; Catherine Mascis; Kevin Metcalf; Martin Shannon; Kelly Sogluizzo Wallace - Cara Killen
District, NCLB - Jennifer Lopez; Dr. Anthony Petrosino
IT Department - Matt Burakowski; Joseph Desantis