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

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.