New Canaan High School educators whose last name begins with the letter A-R author this blog.
Those whose last name begins with S-Z author nchsneasc13b

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Voted on three reports!

Three committees presented their reports to the faculty.

  1. School Culture and Leadership
  2. School Resources
  3. Community Resource. 
They all passed :-)

Community Resources

Culture & Leadership

School Resources

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Faculty Meeting

Today's work:

Complete evidence form for the evidence you brought today. Please attach the 21st century learning rubric that was used for assessment. Before you fill out your evidence sheets, be sure to review your copy of the four instructional standards indicators (we distributed copies). 
While all of our work may look like it should be classified as assessment, we have a lot of evidence in that category already. 
Give it a hard look to make sure that it can't go into another category.

Link to evidence page on nchsneasc13 website

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Professional Development Day

Instructions for November 6, 2012

12:30-1:00PM - Steering Committee and Committee Co-Chairs meeting

  • Debrief on feedback from October faculty meeting
  • Determine schedule for approving standards reports
  • Overview of this afternoon’s activities

1:00-3:00PM - NEAS&C work

  • Overview - What do we need to accomplish between now and January, 2013
    • Collect assessments measured by 21st Century learning rubrics (November 15th)
    • Vote on standards reports and executive summaries
      • December meeting report TBD (as per today’s SC/CC meeting)
      • January meeting reports TBD (as per today’s SC/CC meeting)
  • Today’s tasks
    • Finalize drafts of standards reports for full faculty approval
      • Incorporate feedback from October faculty meeting
      • Consider areas of redundancy to reduce pages, if necessary
      • Ensure that each indicator has a judgment statement (always, never, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, often, etc)
    • Check on evidence in the evidence box to ensure all judgements in the reports are substantiated, by indicator
    • If your report is ready, please start writing executive summaries

  • Some Suggestions for process
    • Do not try to edit the report whole-group.  Instead, split up and revise report in small groups as per peer review from 10/18
    • Make it “Ready for Prime Time”

Extension activity (if you have time):
Look for alignment with other reports (now that committee members have each read a different report)

Link to this document

Core values beliefs and learning expectations - December 20th room #110
Curriculum - December 20th room # 206
Instruction - December 20th room # 222
Assessment - December 20th room # 218
Culture and leadership -  December 1st room # 210
School resources - December 1st room # 224
Community resources -  December 1st room # College, and Career Center

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Steering Committee Meeting Agenda

NEAS&C evaluation seminar
Review timeline
Committee liaisons updates
Community liaisons
Fun ways to incorporate 21st CLEs into NCHS culture
NEAS&C visit

Sunday, September 16, 2012

21st Century Learning Committee

Steering Committee created an ad hoc 21st Century Learning Expectations committee consisting of Jeff Hague, Bill Tesbir and Mike McAteer. 

Jeff: Science, School Counseling
Mike: CTE, English, Math, Health and Physical Education
Bill: Social Studies, World Languages, VPA, SPED

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faculty Meeting

Meeting objectives

Changes to
Evidence page:

  1. Added links to curricula
  2. Added instructions for submitting digital evidence

Step-by-step instructions for submitting digital evidence

Created a spreadsheet for "what to look for" for each indicator. Each standard has it's own tab - navigate trough the standards by clicking on tabs.
Added that spreadsheet to each standard page on the website

  • If you need help arranging meetings with central office/other stakeholders, please complete this form.
  • Community Liaisons list is up, but not final. Feel free to convey concerns and/or tweak. We will send the final letter out on May 24, 2012. Please review by then. 
  • Next meeting, we wil hear about collaboration, healthy living, respect and communication rubric pilots.
  • Endicott Survey - special thanks to English Department
Today's work:
  • Look for the gaps in evidence collection. What are we missing?  Using the evidence spreadsheet, record existing evidence (if not already done) to identify gaps by indicator and department. 
  • Where to report for committee work this afternoon. COWS are available.

CommitteeRoomAssigned Laptops
Steering 211 or 212English COW A
Core Values, Beliefs…230Math COW A
Curriculum206Math COW A
Instruction204/205DMath COW B
Assessment218Math COW B
School Culture and Leadership210English COW A
School Resources 224English COW B
Community Resources 223English COW B

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interestingly, co-writing the “rough daft” for the NEASC report on Assessment, Indicator 4 was easier than I thought it would be because of New Canaan High School’s responsive and collaborative culture. It was amazing to review the many Indicator 4 documents and artifacts. Teachers are integrating NCHS Core Values, Beliefs and Expectations, as well as Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Faculty Meeting

  • The Counseling department has an update about piloting the contribution rubric.
  • CTE & Math have an update about piloting the problem solving rubric.
  • Met with committee co-chairs and department chairs last week. If you need help arranging a meeting with anyone from central office, town organizations or community members, please let us know. We made a form to facilitate requests.
  • Visiting committee opportunities in June. Please let us know if you are interested.
  • Timeline: Last PD day 1/2 TEPL, 1/2 NEAS&C - Goal: Have very rough draft complete by the end of of day on June 22. 
  • Endicott Survey 
    • Code: T126649 
    • Scroll down
    • Click BEGIN SURVEY
  • Committee meeting time

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Committee Co-Chairs meeting & Department Chairs meeting

We have a joint meeting this afternoon with the Steering Committee and the Committee Co-Chairs. This is our agenda.

After that, we will duck into Department Chairs meeting, which will already be in progress. We will share the outcomes of the Steering Committee and the Committee Co-Chairs meeting. Our preliminary outline follows:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Day with with Janet Allison

Janet Allison, Director Commission on Public Secondary Schools met with steering committee, committee co-chairs and the entire faculty. Here are our notes, and here is Janet's presentation.

Big takeaways from meetings:

  • The self-study report should reflect a common understanding of school-wide assessment practices. One suggestion was to use the same student evidence for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, which we are in the process of doing.
  • Prior to the publication of the final draft, these three committees will share their finding to look for alignment.
  • Steering committee will facilitate meetings with central office, support staff (NURSES!) and other stakeholders. A form will go out on Friday, March 16 prompting committees members to articulate their needs. The steering committee will schedule requested meetings.
  • Each committee will go through the exercise of self-assessing using the NEAS&C rating guide as a group (these are now on the website).
  • We’ve appointed an editing committee for the final draft.
  • We will be creating a student work portfolio for the visiting committee to review on Sunday night once they return to the hotel, Examples should be assessed by the 21st century learning expectations rubrics.
  • Steering committee will appoint a coordinator to liaise with Endicott and track parent participation. May require some “nudging”. Student participation is scheduled for April.
  • Would like to encourage faculty to update their committee’s self-study document (the one embedded in your standard page on the website) with in-progress indicator work. We are aiming for transparency in this process. It is important for the committee to see drafts and revisions (document history) as you acquire evidence and apply it to the self-study as measured by indicators.
  • School-wide rubrics and 21st century learning expectations: The visiting committee will expect to see that these are bring used throughout the school and across disciplines.
  • The steering committee is compiling a list of community stakeholders to participate in committee work - not necessarily face-to-face, but certainly as a part of the the committee's electronic correspondence.

About Your Friend, the Rubric

Ever feel shackled by a rubric? Like rubrics are trying to drive a wedge between you and your students? NCHS teacher, unchain yourself! Rubrics don’t have that kind of power.

Rubric is one of those words that has a bum rap; just ask any teacher who knew that a project was a C+ when the rubric insisted it was a B. But perception isn’t reality, and rubrics aren’t just for assessment anymore.

More importantly, rubrics are for communication.

Think about it: we want kids to be effective problem solvers, clear communicators, responsible and productive collaborators, among other things. We also need to teach our course content. How do we know how to connect the important content we teach to the important skills they need to learn? Simple: listen to the rubric.

The bullet points in those boxes are the places where our learning expectations reside. They articulate skills that we have always assumed we were teaching, and they show us something we might not have known: that social studies teachers are asking kids to collaborate the same way they do in an engineering class; that science teachers are demanding the same clear communication as English teachers.

By breaking those skills into their constituent parts, and naming those parts, what we teach becomes clearer to us. And by sharing those expectations with students, they know exactly what they should know. That’s communication, baby.

Then, when students hand in their work, we use the rubric to let them know where they are in their understanding of our learning expectations, and give them a chance to tell us how they plan to improve. So the cycle of communication between teachers and students, with the rubric as common ground, continues to clarify and specify exactly what we want students to achieve.

And we all live happily ever after.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Community Resources for Learning Meeting Update

On March 6, 2012 the Community Resources for Learning Committee met in the NCHS Career Center. The purpose of the meeting was to assess our progress on evidence collection and begin discussion on writing a rough draft for the narrative. The following people attended the meeting and participated in the collaborative effort toward the Community Resources Committee tasks: Rachel Alpert, Jean Bakes, Katie Bakes, John Barone, Linda Brooks, Lisa Floryshak-Windman, Emily Hernberg, Amanda Langlais, Lori Lewandoski, Arri Weeks, Sandy Warkentin & Lenore Schnieder. After discussing the evidence collection, committee members met in small groups to delegate tasks relating to specific indicators. Evidence was organized, cover sheets were completed and new to-do lists were created for each indicator. Each group will start to draft a paragraph that will be added to the Community Resources Narrative. The purpose of the next meeting will be to continue to work on the narrative paragraphs.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Email to committee co-chairs following March faculty meeting

Hello all, 

Thanks for all your hard work over the past few weeks! In anticipation of CAPT week, we would like to get all the evidence boxes down to the copy center to make sure that there are copies of evidence for each standard identified on the cover sheet. Michelle can coordinate that effort if you bring the boxes to the copy center. The link to the digital evidence submissions is on the evidence page at

We added "what to look for" for each indicator to the standards pages on the website as well. You have this in hard copy - it was given to you during the January 20th faculty meeting as part of your packet. 

We also added the work flow timeline to the website homepage. 

While completing evidence cover sheets, Many folks asked how to find their curricular standards. This issue was raised at the last department meeting, and we are formulating a plan to aggregate that information and make it more accessible. 

Finally, if you are looking for exemplars, there are sample narratives on the NEAS&C website.

Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you again!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Student and Community Involvement Subcommittee Update

After APs, when sufficient evidence is collected, and the drafts are nearing their initial submission stage, it will be important to expand your committee to include parents and students. Many districts do this from the get go, at the beginning of the self-study process. Our NCHS Student and Community Involvement Subcommittee is organizing groups of 14 parents and students - 2 of each for each standard committee - who will function as sounding boards as we progress through our self-study. We anticipate that we will be ready to integrate these additional members into our standards committees after the AP exams. While it may not be critical to include these community liaisons in your face-to-face meetings, it will be important to include them in standards committee correspondence, and to give them an opportunity to review the drafts.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Post by Christina Russo

While writing my PEGS mid-year reflection, it occurred to me how perfectly aligned the My Personal Wellness project was with the NCHS Core Values, Beliefs and Expectations, RTDC (responsive teaching for the differentiated classroom), and Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This collaborative 9th grade, health/ICT project gives students the opportunity to self-reflect on the 6 dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and environmental), choose from a variety of resources for their own learning,  evaluate, analyze, and synthesize information to make healthy choices, set goals for a healthy and balanced life, communicate effectively, and become inpendent learners.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Reflection Rubric Revision Process

English Department Meeting
February 1, 2012:
Revision of Reflection Rubric

Process for piloting the reflection rubric:

At the January department meeting, members of the English department were charged with piloting the reflection rubric developed in a NEASC group. Teachers paired with another member of the department in order to debrief their findings before we met in February. We had approximately one month to design, implement and gather student feedback about the clarity and purpose of the reflection task and rubric. Approximately 600 students from thirty sections of classes ranging from freshmen to seniors participated in the pilot.

Reporting from teachers:

Hannah and Jim:

Hannah’s classes did a mid-year reflection on writing goals. She asked if the goal was achievable, did you reflect successfully on your own learning.

Insights from data:

Student reflections were not specific, and therefore students need to learn to reflect.

Students were confused on the meaning of the last two boxes on the rubric in which they were asked to reflect on the reflection.

Jim’s students were asked to reflect on the midyear exam as well. They were asked to reflect on the mid-year exam and articulate their strengths and weaknesses. He asked how they progressed from their last reflection.

Insights from data:

Students echoed the first reflection.

Kat and Aaron:

Kat’s junior classes reflected on the research process having completed the research paper.

Insights from data:

Do reflections sooner, frequently during the research process so students can modify their goals along the way.

The paradigm of ‘with minimal guidance” or “independently…” was hard to grade.


Seniors used the course reflection journals to evaluate their progress in the class.

Insights from data:

Students could evaluate progress because it was a regular part of the class.

At this point in the meeting, the discussion opened up to all members. Teachers began to focus on themes regarding student reflection. Here are some of the insights from that discussion.

· We need to teach students how to reflect. Reflections over time will increase student investment

· How do we teach them to reflect? Set goals at the beginning of the year or quarter. Knowing you will need to reflect, knowing that you will look at skills closely on a regular basis to understand how you have grown will help students increase capacity to reflect

· Reflection helps students be accountable for their learning. Students whether they are upper classmen or in honors does not guarantee that they know how to reflect

· Students need to take into account teacher and peer feedback when reflecting

· Important to reflect after formative assessment

· Concern about the current scale used on the NEASC rubrics because so many boxes fall below goal; need to understand the reasoning behind this

Proposals for the revision of the reflection rubric, based on student feedback and teacher observation:

1. Provide a brief context for the rubric by distinguishing between the two types of reflection it will assess.

2. Reorder dimensions of performance to mirror the logical sequence of reflection
  • Gathering and evaluation of materials
  • Drawing conclusions from those materials
  • Setting goals based on those conclusions
3. A subcommittee of English department members will move forward and apply synthesized student and teacher feedback to the rubric before bringing it to the faculty.

Post-Meeting Discussion

The reflection rubric plays the role of supporting skill-specific expectations in subject areas; in and of itself, the rubric is a cross-disciplinary measure for the reflective habits of mind that serve as a schoolwide 21st century learning expectation.

Within a discipline, "Advanced" performance on reflection will tell the students and the teacher when it is time to develop more challenging expectations. Students may then seem to go backward in their reflection practice, when in reality they may be making the adjustment to a new set of expectations. The rubric should be designed with the a sense of increasingly challenging expectations in mind.

  • In short, the purpose of the reflection rubric is to help students develop the skills/habits of mind to successfully deal with increasingly challenging expectations in their courses.