January 4, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
It’s a new year! Goodbye, 2020! Thank you for continuing to partner with us throughout this challenging time. In many ways it’s been an exciting time too. We are proud to see how many of our children have grown in the areas of self-discipline and motivation to succeed during distance learning. We are proud too of how our teachers have experimented with new programs and adapted to the 2020 normal. Of course, we continue to look ahead eagerly to the time when it will be safe for everyone to return to the school building. Our current projection is to begin hybrid instruction on February 1, but we will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Allegheny County would have to be at the moderate level or below for two straight weeks before we can safely begin any in-person instruction.
We wanted to take some time to share with you some details about our A-TSI school improvement plan. The state designated us for Additional Targeted Support and improvement based on our test scores and our attendance numbers in the 2018-2019 school year. At that time we gathered data via surveys and interviews with students, parents, teachers and even community members to determine our strengths and our challenges. We made a plan for improving students’ yearly growth in math and English language arts, as well as a plan for improving attendance. Mrs. Ferguson transitioned into the full time Attendance Officer, and we hired Ms. Conner as our Instructional Supervisor in charge of data in the first year of the plan. We also started the quarterly perfect attendance breakfasts and raffles, and we raffled off a bicycle at the end of the year.
In this second year of the plan, the attendance and behavior teams are partnering with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU3) on a program called Check & Connect that has been shown to be effective in improving students’ attendance in research studies. The math department is also engaging in a partnership with the AIU3, specifically the Math & Science Collaborative, in order to develop school-wide strategies for helping students to build problem solving skills. The English department is using research-based strategies from the PA Department of Education to guide students in developing their comprehension, inference and analysis skills when it comes to reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Our goal for this school year is for students, despite the challenges of distance learning, to show a year’s worth of growth on the Star360 math and English tests and a level of growth (from beginning to emerging to developing to meeting) on the written open-ended questions. We are grateful for your continued support helping your children to do their best and participate every day in the Zoom lessons. We know that the test days are not as interactive, but they are just as important so that we have an accurate picture of exactly what each child needs. We will be sending you a letter in June with updates about the Star360 and benchmark written tests scores and whether we have met our goals for the school year. If you have any questions about Star360 data shared at the Learning Partnership, please reach out to your child’s English teacher or to Ms. Conner.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email, or via our virtual office hours for parents:
- Jan 29th at 11:00
- Feb. 23rd at 3:00
- March 30th at 9:30
- April 28th at 11:00
- May 27th at 3:00
Check your email or the website calendar for the Zoom office hours link to stop in for a chat.
We hope to “see” you!
Kathleen A. Garland, Principal