Teachers share best practices at conference day

Teachers stand with Greg Tang, a mathematician Professional development is important to us. It’s what helps our educators stay on top of our educational game!

A handful of Liberty teachers recently spent a professional development day with Greg Tang, the mathematician and mastermind behind some of the district’s favorite education math games and classroom programs.

 

Those teachers spread the wealth (of knowledge) during the district’s March 15 Conference Day.

With a background in economics, business, and math education, Tang is intent on developing “a more intuitive approach to math, one that combines problem-solving and arithmetic and integrates math with language and art.” In addition to writing engaging picture books, he also develops teaching guides, workbooks, flash cards, and math games.

Teacher stands in front of a SmartBoard

At Liberty, we believe that effective professional development is more than simply sharing new ideas; it also includes a commitment to fully integrate those ideas into the classroom and the school culture.

The district builds professional development into its budget because it keeps teachers up-to-date on new research about how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.

ConnectED conference inspires TSTT

Members from Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers represented Liberty High School, the TSTT community and future educations as they took notes and asked questions at the Southern Tier ConnectED conference.

Our students were professional, respectful, and eager to learn as they heard from and collaborated with educators from around the state.

 

Group of female students sit outside on a small ledge

LMS parent meeting on NYS assessments March 21

Liberty Middle School will hold a parent meeting on New York State assessments on Thursday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The meeting will feature a presentation and discussion about the state assessments and how the school uses the results to better its instructional practices.

LES hosts Camp Read S’more Literacy Night

A group of students sitting around a paper campfire Liberty Elementary School hosted “Camp Read S’More” Literacy Night for all students and parents on March. 14. Attendees camped out at several literacy stations, including a campfire read-aloud, book bingo, a s’more station stuffed with adjectives and a photo booth.

Caucasian students holds up a book

Students who attended the elementary school’s Literacy Night were thrilled to find that their school’s gymnasium was transformed into a world of twinkling stars, tents and campfires. The memory of the slush and snow on the ground was long forgotten while students and their parents cozied up with a good book under the stars.

More photos from Camp Read S’more are available on our Facebook page. 

Importance notice regarding give back days

When snow/inclement weather days are not used, the district “gives them back” by closing school on days that were originally scheduled to have school in session. Although Liberty Central School District has ten days snow days built into the calendar for the 2018-19 school year, as of March 14, we have used four.

While no one can accurately predict what the winter has in store for us, at this point it seems likely that we will not require all of the remaining snow days.

Read below to review the district’s plan to give back this year’s unused snow days.

  • School will be closed on Friday, March 22.

If the district does not use any additional snow days by April 12, the following days would also become give back days:

  • Tuesday, April 23
  • Wednesday, April 24
  • Friday, May 24
  • Thursday, May 23
  • Friday, May 17

Please note that in the event that additional snow/inclement weather days are used during the remainder of the school year, some of the dates listed above will have to remain as regular school days and your child will need to be in attendance at school. Additional information will be sent home to parents and posted to the district’s website if changes are made.

ELA assessments set for April 2-3 and May 1-2

Liberty Middle and High School will be administering the NYS ELA Assessments for grades 5-9 on Tuesday, April 2  to Wednesday, April 3. Make ups will begin on Thursday, April 4 to Tuesday, April 9.

The NYS Math Assessments for grades 5-9 will be administered on Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday May 2. Make ups will being on Friday, May 3, 2019 and will be administered until Wednesday, May 8.

The NYS grade 8 Science Performance Assessment will be administered from Wednesday, May 22 until Friday, May 31. Make ups will take place during the testing window.

The NYS grade 8 Science Written Assessment will be administered on Monday June 3, 2019. Make up sessions will be administered from Tuesday, June 4 until Friday, June 7.

Technology, SAMR individualizes instruction

Imagine walking into a classroom where a high school student is annotating and analyzing a passage from a book, while the classmate next to her decides to brush up on last week’s lesson on close reading first.

Look further and you see 15 students working independently at their own pace while another meets with his teacher for some one-on-one help.

Is this level of classroom differentiation possible? It is for high school English teacher Mrs. Pia Caro, who implements technology based learning model using iPads.

Students in Mrs. Caro’s English classes use Google Classroom as a tool to enhance their learning.  Google Classroom lets students ask and answer questions that only Mrs. Caro can see. It also feeds student progress back into an online dashboard that Mrs. Caro uses to tracks her students’ progress in a given lesson. She monitors each students’ progress, giving regular feedback. If a student falls behind or misses a class due to illness or an athletic event, Mrs. Caro can step in and tweak her assignments.

Working in a Google Classroom help students by letting them learn more at their own pace and retain the information being given to them. According to Mrs. Caro, students can, in some ways, absorb more from lectures with technology than they can with just paper and pen. They can download lesson readings, look up unfamiliar concepts on the fly and create accurate, well-organized notes. In addition, if a student is too nervous or embarrassed to ask a question in class, they can refer back to previous materials or reach out to the teacher through e-mail or by adding a private comment in the Google classroom. Not only can students learn the material given, but they can also seek extra help online at their own pace and time, without feeling embarrassed for raising their hand.

Mrs. Caro uses Google Classroom as a hub for resources for students to access online. Video, audio, animation, and other applications and added into her virtual classroom for students to enhance teaching and learning efforts.

Mrs. Caro has been integrating technology in the classroom using iPads to achieve the skills that digital learners need to compete in our global society for years, and has been a pioneer in the SAMR model.

SAMR is a model designed to help educators infuse technology into teaching and learning. Short for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, the  model supports and enables teachers to design, develop, and infuse digital learning experiences that utilize technology. The goal is to transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students.

Some of the ways that Mrs. Caro redefines typical classroom assignments are through visual essays/collage boards or video/rap presentations instead of a handwritten essay or vocabulary worksheet.

Click here for a helpful explanation on SAMR or read below for some specific examples:

 

Original Project or Lesson:
A hand-written book report turned into the teacher

  • Substitution: Students create book reviews using Google Docs and share them with the teacher.
  • Augmentation: Students use various add-ons for their book reviews, such as speech recognition for voice notes and word prediction.
  • Modification: Students use Google Classroom to post their book reviews, receive peer feedback, and participate in ongoing discussions about their book.
  • Redefinition: Students use a similar free video app to create a 30-60 second book trailer. Working with the technology integration specialist in the school, the students turn the URL of their book trailer into a QR code, and then put their QR code into the book jacket for any student to scan and access the trailer.

 

Original Project or Lesson:
A class presentation on regional animal adaptations.

  • Substitution: Students read various articles online about how animals adapt to their environment.
  • Augmentation: Students choose an animal and work in groups on a shared Google Presentation to research their animal and present their findings to the class.
  • Modification: Students put their presentations on a blog or online classroom to write learning reflections, post comments, and discuss peer learning.
  • Redefinition: Students use Skype in the classroom to meet live with a science museum director to compare/contrast animal adaptations of their region with other animals in other regions of the United States. Prior to the live meeting, they use Google Earth to research various areas and animals of that region to determine what types of adaptations these animals might demonstrate.

Original Project or Lesson:
An overview of a location consisting of hand written content supplemented with compiled cut-and pasted magazine clippings.

  • Substitution: Use presentation software (like PowerPoint or Prezi) to construct a presentation providing information about selected location
  • Augmentation: Incorporate interactive multimedia – audio, video, hyperlinks – in the presentation to give more depth and provide more engaging presentation.
  • Modification: Create a digital travel brochure that incorporates multimedia and student created video.
  • Redefinition: Explore location with Google Earth; seek out and include interviews with people who have visited the location.

Original Project of Lesson:
A report and presentation following a pen-pal exchange with a student from a different country

  • Substitution: Students from different countries meet weekly on a video chat service like Skype or Google Hangouts. They take turns conversing in each other’s native languages, offering suggestions for improvement. Later, they write each other questions and answer them in the different languages.
  • Augmentation: Video chat allows students to see each other’s facial expressions and unspoken cues, as well as interpret context clues.
  • Modification: Students send questions back and forth to each other in a shared Google Document and discuss them in a video chat. That unique combination of suggestions and revisions in real time wouldn’t be possible by with sending letter or making a phone call. In this case, we have changed the task completely.
  • Redefinition: By adding a social media element — students becoming Facebook friends and staying in touch with each other frequently and long-term — the task becomes something that was previously inconceivable.

Student musicians jazz up the capital

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther proudly welcomed student-musicians from Liberty Middle and High School to Albany as part of the annual “Music in our Schools Month” celebration in New York State.

Choirs, orchestras and bands from across the state travel to Albany throughout the month of March to perform in the concourse of the Empire State Plaza as part of “Music in our Schools Month”.

Performances like these are a terrific showcase for the talent that exists in Liberty schools and other districts throughout the state. It was an honor for our musicians and directors to meet our county legislators and let them hear the results of their hard work.

High school jazz band performs in an all white room. A blue banner with gold lettering in the background reads: NYSSMA

NYSED seeks input on Parent Dashboard

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is building a website called the ESSA Parent Dashboard as a way to help parents and guardians become more informed about and involved with their children’s education.

The dashboard is expected to have information about school performance and other school-level data that parents and the general public may be interested in.

NYSED is encouraging parents, guardians and community members across the state to answer this eight-question survey to provide feedback on elements they’d like included in the dashboard.

You can access the survey at this link: http://www.nysed.gov/ZkS

According to NYSED, several additional considerations will guide the development of the Parent Dashboard, including:

  • input from parents and other stakeholders;
  • design features that meet the needs of parents;
  • content that is both informative and useful to parents and the public; and
  • opportunities for ongoing feedback to refresh content and to make continuous improvements.

The Parent Dashboard is scheduled for initial release in May 2019, with a final release in winter/spring 2020.

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