Wednesday, April 30, 2008

State Math Day

From Cisely Scott

On Thursday, May 1st we will be celebrating State Math Day.  The focus of this day is financial literacy.  Yesterday I placed lesson plans in your mailboxes that you may use during your math instructional hour.  If you need books about money and/or math manipulatives (coins), please let me know.  I have also attached the flyer about State Math Day that you may view.  Let's make this day a fun learning experience for our students. Please email me any questions or concerns.  Thank you for your cooperation and support.

*** Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bill to cut ESOL teacher training hours may die

Source: Miami Herald

The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a compromise that preserves much of the special training for reading teachers of students learning English -- but the compromise so displeased the bill's Senate sponsor that he promised to let it die without a vote in his chamber.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

IPEGS for 2008-2009

Parkway Elementary was chosen as a 3rd Year Implementation IPEGS School for the 2008-2009 school year.  It is not clear as to whether or not this assessment tool for teacher observations will replace PACES. Details to come.

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Ratification of Insurance

The date has been set for the ratification vote on the 2008 Health Insurance packet.  UTD bargaining unit members are scheduled to vote at their worksites on Tuesday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 7, 2008. 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Florida Schools Grades Under Review

The first substantive overhaul of Florida's high-stakes test in nine years was overwhelmingly approved by a House panel Monday, a move Democrats hailed as long overdue.

See Full Article:

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Tax Holiday Shortened

A legislative compromise nearing final approval will set the 2008 back-to-school sales tax holiday for the week of August 2-8. Legislators cut the typical 10-day tax holiday to a week because of the budget shortfall affecting Florida.

See link

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Legislature poised to reform dreaded FCAT

Source: Sun-Sentinel

In hopes of damping " FCAT frenzy," the Legislature is expected this spring to approve a major revamp of Florida's public school testing program.

Rallies and motivational speakers meant to boost scores would be banned during class time. Schools could not buy new textbooks that mention the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Under House and Senate bills, the writing exam would be given March 1, and testing on other subjects delayed until April 15 at the earliest.

Click here to find out more!

Deferred Pay Plan

UTD is seeking input from its members who are 10 month employees regarding the "Deferred Payment Plan." According to UTD, many members have expressed concerns that their deferred pay plan did not carry them through the entire summer. After negotiations with district administrators, it is now possible to make adjustments to the deferral amount and to the number of checks, but only on a uniform basis.

Please click on survey.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Instructional Technology Summer PD

The Instructional Technology Department will be offering week-long technology professional development activities designed for both elementary and secondary teachers. The focus of these week-long sessions is to provide teachers the necessary tools to integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum.

Sessions are June 16, 2008 - June 20, 2008 or June 23, 2008 – June 27, 2008. Registration must be completed using the MDCPS Professional Development Menu and Registration System, Technology Tools and Tips for Elementary or Secondary  Teachers - Summer 2008:

*  Participants will be electronically notified of an approved registration. Selected participants are eligible to attend only one week-long session.

* Classes will be held at Felix Varela Senior High, 15255 SW 96 Street, from 8:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Lunch is from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. each day.

* Daily attendance is mandatory in order to receive 40 MPP's; no partial points will be awarded. Teachers who are tardy to class will not be admitted after 8:30 a.m., will not receive a daily stipend or MPP's.

* Stipend of $ 100.00 per day, (totaling $ 500.00) will be provided upon successful completion of the course.

* In order to receive MPP's, participants must attend all five sessions. There are no make-up sessions. Master Plan Point award requires an outside assignment(s); therefore, MPP's will not be awarded until after July 1, 2008.

* Participants who enrolled in prior summer sessions of Technology Tools and Tips are not eligible to attend.

* No wait listed participants or walk-ins will be admitted.

Contact: Ms. Julie Tuttle (305-995-1511)

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National Board Certification

From Ms. Cisely Scott:

The application cycle for 2008-2009 National Board candidates will open on June 1, 2008. Information regarding National Board candidacy requirements and the application process will be provided at the locations and dates listed below.  All potential candidates should attend an informational meeting, but may select any of the dates/locations that is most convenient for them. 
Miami Jackson Senior High (Auditorium)
1751 N.W. 36th Street, Miami
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Robert Morgan Educational Center (Theater)
18180 S.W. 122nd Avenue, Miami
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Hialeah Senior High (Auditorium)
251 East 47th Street, Hialeah
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
5:00-7:00 p.m.

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Health Insurance Resolved

Dade school employees spared higher insurance bills

In surprise fashion, the Miami-Dade School Board announced late Wednesday that it would cover all increases to the cost of employee health insurance through December 2008.

''The School Board listened to us,'' United Teachers of Dade President Karen Aronowitz said. ``They understood the pressure that everyone is facing. They knew that our teachers had to be the priority.''

The announcement put an end to a bitter fight that has raged since November.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Union Rejects Magistrate's Recommendation on Health Insurance

Source: UTD

UTD President Karen Aronowitz officially rejected the recommendation handed down by Special Magistrate Mark Lurie.
“We will never pit teacher against teacher in a plan that does not protect everyone,” Aronowitz said.

The magistrate's recommendation identified a group he called First Decade Teachers as the most vulnerable to the District's proposed offer and identified what changes could be made to help these teachers.

The magistrate’s recommendation included:

- "First Decade Teachers" receive flex dollars eliminated under the School Board's plan;

- "First Decade Teachers" do not pay the 13.1 percent increase for dependent care coverage;

Full Article

FCAT Writing+ 2009

As per the Florida Commissioner of Education's presentation this morning, the graduation requirement regarding the FCAT Writing+ assessment has been delayed. Current Grade 10 students will not need to pass the Writing+ assessment to receive a standard diploma. Also, the multiple choice portion of Writing+ is being discontinued.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

School Board Agenda

Please click the title bar to view tommorrow's school board agenda.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Interim Assessment

Please click the title bar above to view information about this week's interim exams.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Primary Math Study

We are happy to announce that we again be participants in the Primary Math Study which involved grade 1 and grade 2 classes this year. Details to come.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reading First Summer Academy

There will be two sessions being offered for any K-3 teacher that has NOT attended the Reading First Summer Heat. Academy. There will be a $100.00 stipend for four days and ALL four days must be attended.

The two locations  are Felix Varela and Michael Krop, and the dates are as follows: June 16-20 or June 23-27.
The time is 8:30-4:00. Please register on the Professional Development website and check periodically for the status. If you have any questions, please feel free to see Ms. Fogelson.

*** Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Summer Heat PD Canceled

The Summer HEAT professional development program will not be offered this year in light of severe budgetary constraints that have impacted district funding for many programs and services. 

However, limited opportunities for summer PD activities will be offered through various offices. 

Details to come.

*** Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing Nominations are due to Ms. Schwartz by Friday, April 11.  Please nominate those students who deserve recognition for exemplary behavior.  Thank you.

Ms. Angela Tillman's Phone Number

Please check your e-mail, dated Tuesday, April 8 from Ms. Tillman where she provided her newest phone number which you are asked to use when necessary.

Spring Interim Testing

During the week of April 14, grade 4 and 5 classes will participate in the Spring Interim Assessment in Science only.

Since Reading and Mathematics will not be administered this time, grade 3 is exempt from this assessment.

We will not be closing down the building this time and the target classes will receive more direction later in the week.

CELLA Testing

We will begin CELLA Testing for our English Language Learners on April 22.

Details to come.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Teacher cheating penalties few but harsh, can end careers

Source: Associated Press

Teacher Heidi Sweet says she put pencil marks next to questions some fifth-graders had skipped or gotten wrong while taking Floridas high-stakes standardized test to encourage them to try again. It was a career-ending mistake.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nationally Certified Teachers Bonuses Could Be Cut

Source: Miami Herald

Money for a state program that rewards nationally certified teachers who help their colleagues win certification could be slashed nearly in half next school year.