Palo Verde Unified School District Alternative Governance Board Palo Verde Valley High School – English minutes

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Palo Verde Unified School District

Alternative Governance Board

Palo Verde Valley High School – English

April 15, 2014

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  1. Call to order
    Ms. Shaffer called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m.

  2. Introductions and Welcome
    Ms. Shaffer welcomed the group to the meeting.

    Member present:

    Lois Shaffer Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Interim Director
    of Special Services; AGB Coordinator
    Steve Spraker AGB Consultant, Essential Leadership Solutions
    Sonny Hernandez Member, PVUSD Board of Trustees
    Paula Garcia District ELD Coordinator TOSA
    Kay Smith PVUSD Retired Educator
    Britt Loureiro PVTA Representative; Kindergarten teacher,
    Felix J. Appleby Elementary

    Also present:

    Brandy Cox Principal, Palo Verde Valley High School
    Kristin Tennefos Curriculum & Instruction Assistant; AGB Secretary

  3. Overview of AGB Roles and Responsibilities / Norms
    Ms. Shaffer confirmed that the members were familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the AGB team and the group norms; when the group returned from the classroom visits, Ms. Shaffer expressed the importance of confidentiality.

  4. Approval of minutes from the March 25, 2014, meeting
    This is postponed to later in the agenda to adhere to an amended schedule for classroom visits and observations. Ms. Loureiro motioned to approve the minutes as presented; Ms. Smith seconded. No discussion
    AYES: 5
    NOES: 0
    ABSTAIN: 1

  5. Review of agenda
    Ms. Shaffer reviewed the agenda with the group and made note of amendments to the order of the agenda.


  1. Opportunity for discussion with Brandy Cox, Principal, Palo Verde Valley High School
    Mrs. Cox provided a brief overview of the English Department and teachers; a powerpoint presentation was offered later in the agenda after classroom walkthroughs; Mrs. Cox resumed her presentation/discussion with the group after the minutes from the March 25, 2014 AGB meeting were approved. She provided an overview of the school’s demographics and staffing. She also provided data from the school’s APR and AYP reports. CST ELA, CAHSEE and CELDT data was also presented, along with EL and Special Education data. Mrs. Cox also provided an overview of the recent Jane Schaffer Writing Program workshop and the importance of writing across the curriculum. She also discussed what has happened throughout the year and since the last AGB meeting at the school, as well as the projected vision for the school.

  1. Break
    No break was taken at this time to adhere to classroom visits and observation schedule.

  2. Classroom visitations (approximately 60 minutes)

    1. Observation forms / division of teams
      Team 1: Mr. Spraker, Mr. Hernandez, Ms. Smith, Mrs. Cox – Rooms 25, 26, 27, 28
      Team 2: Ms. Shaffer, Mrs. Louriero, Mrs. Garcia – Rooms 27, 28, 25, 26
      The team left to observe the rooms at 8:36 a.m. with direction to return at 9:20 a.m.

  3. AGB Reflection from Classroom visit

  1. Team notes
    The group returned to the meeting at 9:15 a.m. and discussed their observations from the classroom visits

  2. Selection of questions
    The group selected questions to ask the English teachers.

  1. Discussion with Social Studies Department (approximately 15 minutes)

    1. Welcome
      Ms. Shaffer welcomed the teachers to the meeting at 10:27 a.m.

    2. Introduction of the AGB team members
      The group introduced themselves to the teachers. Teachers present:
      Mr. Stewart Echeverria, Mr. Jay Tribby, and Mr. Tim Jorgensen

    3. Follow-up
      Ms. Shaffer reminded the teachers of the commendations and recommendations from the last AGB Meeting.
      The teachers indicated they are working on writing assignments (argumentative and defense) based on a quote from history regarding Hitler and Chamberlain; they indicated they are implementing the Jane Schaffer writing program, and are receiving good responses from students on this assignment. They used media and music from the Cold War time period to demonstrate the era and using Document Based Questions (DBQs) to prepare for CCSS. One of the teachers advised he attended a Social Science CCSS training to prepare. A collective departmental goal by the teachers recognizes that SS needs to be more closely aligned to ELA; the department is trying new things this year and stepping out of their comfort zone to implement those things and embrace CCSS.

  2. Discussion with English Department (approximately 45 minutes)

    1. Welcome
      Ms. Shaffer welcomed the teachers to the group.

    2. Introduction of the AGB team members
      The group introduced themselves to the teachers; teachers present:
      Ms. Sheila Reid, Ms. Valcine Blevins and Ms. Marty Northrip

    3. Questions
      Describe your last collaboration meeting. i.e. What was the structure, the agenda items and outcomes?
      The teachers indicate they meet for their PLC meeting every Tuesday at lunch; recent discussions were 4th qurater benchmarks and advise they are already working on creating them. The department is implementing the Jane Schaffer Writing program with response to literature and expository writing. They have been working on a writing prompt (teachers bring suggestions to PLC, and one is chosen to use for the benchmark); Special Education teachers are also invited to the weekly meetings.

      How do you monitor the effectiveness of your planning?
      The teachers indicate that the implementation of the lesson plan is effective, along with reflective questions: What’s worked and what hasn’t? Did the student learn what was taught? If not, what do I need to change to ensure all students are learning? The teachers indicate that sometimes, the reflection shows that students grasp the lesson quickly and efficiently.

      What factors do you consider when planning for the instruction of English Learners?
      The teachers advise they determine where the EL students are at academically – they use visuals, modeling, then involve the student in the lesson; they partner EL students with other students and use choral response with vocabulary. The teachers indicate they break down the structure of a paragragh (using group and partner work with student collaboration, then individual). They then put paragraphs together to form an essay, after the essay structure is broken down.

      What does differentiation look like in your classroom for students who are having difficulty?
      One teacher indicated she uses extra credit on assessments for students who are struggling; she feels that the Jane Schaffer Writing program offers opportunity for differentiated instruction. She pairs students who are on a lower and higher level to work with each other. Another teacher advised she groups students in 3’s (one student who is struggling with 2 students who are not); she spends individual time with the students whenever possible, and encourages discussions between the students.

      How do you teach students to utilize higher-order thinking skills in your classroom? How do you ensure that they are using those skills?
      The teachers advise they coach the students through the analyzation process. They use Bloom’s Taxonomy and one teacher indicated she teaches the students how to teach the class and present the lesson, mainly for Honors and AP classes and selectively for other classes. She expects and mandates the students to still be responsible for their learning even when she is absent from the class and encourages students to “take it to the next level.”

      What type of technology do you use in your classroom on a regular basis?
      The teachers indicate they use LCD and ELMO projectors, laptops, document cameras, digital presentation with powerpoint, media and audio clips, mobile apps, Instagram, Remind 101 (text messages to parents and students about upcoming tests and assignments). They encourage students to use engineering in their projects.

      What is your department doing to prepare for Common Core?
      The teachers advise they meet with other departments to cross collaborate with writing prompts and ELA assignments. They use varied reading and writing assignments between the students and encourages peer analyzations.

  3. Debrief
    The group discussed the responses by the teachers.

  4. Public input

  5. Commendations and Recommendations
    -- Jane Schaffer writing in use in all classrooms
    -- Interventions were structured, reflective of core classes
    -- Collaboration is evident
    -- Lesson planning is evident
    -- Vocabulary in place in some rooms

    -- Create writing process focus walls
    -- Standardize the display of lesson standards/objectives
    -- Review writing of lesson objectives
    -- Teach bell to bell – create closing activities
    -- Continue to deepen Checking for Understanding and share
    instructional strategies

  6. Adjournment
    Mr. Spraker motioned to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Hernandez seconded. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned at 11:51 a.m.

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