SIATech
Newsletter
March 2014
SIATech
Event Calendar

SIATech Board Meeting
March 18, 5:00 PM PST
Oceanside, CA

CAHSEE ELA/Math
March 18 - March 19

NEW Mexico SBA Testing
March 10 - April 4

LCAP Development
Collecting Stakeholder Feedback
Survey

SAVE THE DATE
Just Announced! 3rd Annual Alternative Accountability Policy Forum
November 14-15, 2014
Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Spa

Events

SIATech News

SIATech Science Newsletter

View Personnel Bulletins and more on the SIATech staff and MYcroSchool staff sections of the schools' websites.

Career Opportunities

Florida

Gainesville
Math Teacher

St. Petersburg
(MYcroSchool Pinellas)

Math Teacher
Science Teacher
Temporary Teacher

About SIATech and MYcroSchool

The School for Integrated Academics and Technologies (SIATech®) is an award-winning dropout recovery program. SIATech is a fully accredited public charter high school that operates in partnership with the federal Job Corps and Workforce Investment Act programs. The school serves low-income, previously out-of-school youth.

MYcroSchool campuses are three standalone high schools that serve students who need to get back on-track to graduation.

SIATech excels at identifying student strengths and individualizing instruction to meet each student's needs and goals. The school's safe and caring setting enables students to take charge of their learning and obtain the tools they need for lifetime success, whether it is at their chosen career or further education.

Nearly 13,000 out-of-school youth have graduated from SIATech and MYcroSchool's campuses.

Visit the SIATech Website

Visit the MYcroSchool Website

Contact Us

Mission
We provide the premier high school dropout recovery program engaging students through relationship-focused, high-tech, and rigorous learning experiences resulting in Real Learning for Real Life®

Vision
STUDENTS will view their future with optimism, find success as self-directed learners, and contribute to society.

STAFF will be empowered to make a difference in an environment of respect, recognition and professional growth.

COMMUNITIES will benefit from the success and contributions of SIATech® students.

 

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In this eUpdate:

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Book Inspires Student to Make Movie Trailer
by Mwamini Nyirandabaruta

SIATech San Diego studentThis is an essay from SIATech San Diego Student Mwamini, who was born in Congo and grew up in a refugee camp in Rwanda. She came to the U.S. two years ago.

Reading a book is always important especially when it comes to English class. Reading books that are meaningful, funny and have an important message helps guide me into making good decisions.

I have been reading the book Novio Boy. It is about a teenager seeking advice for his date and not sure that his mother would approve. I found the book to be so enjoyable that I wanted to share this story with other SIATech students.

I came up with an idea to make a movie trailer about Novio Boy as most students are interested in movies and wanted to get their attention first before suggesting to them to read this book. I used other students in my English class to put the movie together and presented the trailer at this month's SIATech Student of the Month Ceremony for February.

I felt really happy when I started this project because I wanted to show those who haven't read the book a good reason why they should in the hope that it will motivate them to take interest and possibly read the book in the future.

About Mwamini:

Mwamini was selected as Student of the Month for High School English and Mathematics. Mwamini is pictured with some of the other SIATech Student of the Month recipients.

Mwamini was born in Congo and grew up in a refugee camp in Rwanda. She came to the U.S. two years ago and has learned read, write and speak English in that time.

Mwamini recently enrolled in SIATech and gives credit to Ms. Katelin Trant who inspires her to read. Mimi has completed her vocational training as a Certified Nursing Assistant and hopes to graduate high school in the summer and pursue her dream of attending college to become a respiratory therapist.

Mwamini Nyirandabaruta is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.

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SIATech Gainesville Hosts Florida Consortium

The Florida principals and members from the SIATech central office leadership team converged on SIATech Gainesville in February for the Florida Consortium.

Organized by Linda Dawson and Joy Baldree, the one-day event provided the team an opportunity for some welcome face time to discuss topics like finance; student learning, recruitment and enrollment; and ways the central office can better support the Florida SIATech and MYcroSchool campuses. The dialogue of the day was driven by our Florida principals. Attendee evaluations of the event revealed the day was a productive and positive experience.

Pictured from left to right: Catherine Bonnewell, Martina Green, Randy Starling, Joy Baldree, Rachel Maldonado, and Christal Blue.

One highlight of the Consortium was a principal- and student-led tour of the new SIATech Gainesville facilities. The beautiful bright campus is filled with high-quality and hard-working staff helping young people anxious to get back on-track to graduation.

Principal Christal Blue has done a marvelous job of moving the school into its new location and building an environment that serves as a foundation for student success.

Student NaiKeycia Reynolds shared her story of coming to SIATech Gainesville. She dropped out of her previous high school to care for her younger brother. NaiKeycia's 11-year old sibling had endured severe injuries playing football and required care around the clock. NaiKeycia put her own education on hold to help her brother recover and allow her mom to go to work.

NaiKeycia (pictured on left with Principal Blue) enrolled in SIATech Gainesville while it was still at its temporary location. She is enjoying the new classrooms at the current and permanent 7022 NW 10th Place location.

She said her favorite things about SIATech include the teachers who are always willing to help and that you can work at your own pace.

SIATech has helped NaiKeycia get back on-track to graduation and she expects to graduate this June. Thanks to NaiKeycia's determination and hard work at SIATech Gainesville, she has made up for the months she was out-of school and will graduate on-time!

After graduation, NaiKeycia plans to go to college in the fall and become a nurse. Armed with a diploma, a bubbly personality, and her contagious smile, NaiKeycia has a bright future ahead of her. Keep up the good work!

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MYcroSchool Pinellas: Saturday Art Walk and
Visit from State Representative
by Martina Green

On February 8, 2014, Board member Farrell, Principal Green, and student Shaquanda Maddox joined several community members at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum for a night of visual art, poetry, jazz and vocalists.

Shaquanda performed during the event (as a last minute request) and did a wonderful job. She had the opportunity to share her story and make a number of connections to both assist her in pursuing her dream of singing and finding a job to assist her family.

We made several community connections, including a potential partnership with the museum to showcase student talents at upcoming events, mentoring from several community members and partnering with ACT Right to assist students in finding employment, pursuing their dreams and linking with community mentors.

Pictured above: Board member Farrell, Principal Green, Mr. Green, Shaquanda Maddox and poet, Kristina Hollingsworth attended the event at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum. Shaquanda's unplanned performance gained her a few employment connections and many fans.

In other MYcroSchool Pinellas news, the school was visited in February by Florida State Representative Darryl Ervin Rouson. Thank you for your visit and continuing interest in our staff and the students we serve here in St. Petersburg.

Martina Green is the principal of MYcroSchool Pinellas in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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SIATech Inland Empire Students
Enjoy Frankenstein Up Close
by Priscilla Walker

On Valentine's Day 2014 several SIATech students and I had the opportunity to watch the play Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. The play was a first for most students who haven't had the chance to see a play live and in-person.

For these students, admission to the play was an essay about Frankenstein. They soon realized that Frankenstein was not about the square-headed, green-skinned monster with bolts on the side of his neck, but it was rather about a genius scientist who took the power of creation a bit too far. Several students weren't sure what to expect at first, they asked several questions about the creature and about the play in general on the bus ride to the performance.

Ultimately, it was an exciting day for the students. They had the chance to dress up in their best and were shown a great performance. Learning the rules of going to a theater was also enjoyable; students picked up on the rules quickly and were transported to Frankenstein's world.

SIATech High School student Austin Laraway stated, "[It] changed my perspective on plays." Sitting in the audience the students and staff had the opportunity to talk with the theater representatives and ask questions about the performance. They were excited to hear that the performers would be interacting with the audience at some point during the play and gladly accepted front row center seats!

As Rebekah Padilla (another SIATech high school student) stated, "I loved it! There was great acting! For a moment I forgot they were real and they could see the audience. They were great actors."

The play began with the monster coming to life. Watching him gain his footing was awkward, scary, and uncomfortable. Student Erick Guerrero summed it up best by saying, "I liked how I started. It was weird at first, but I liked how it showed how he came to life."

The students were able to pick up on how giving life to this creature was abnormal. Nakia Simons said, "It was very breathtaking and at the same time scary. It was beyond what I expected."

Watching the creature discover the world around him with innocence and child-like enthusiasm brought smiles to several of the student's faces. Likewise, seeing how the creature was violently rejected after learning so much about the world brought a tear to a couple of student's eyes.

In the end, the students were quite happy and enthusiastic to share their thoughts and opinions about the play. A lucky few were able to thank the theater staff for giving them the chance to see this novel come to life. Even luckier still, due to a late arriving bus, a few students were able to shake hands with Frankenstein himself and compliment his performance.

We were hopeful that we would see the actor who played the creature come out, so we could offer our praise, but alas we did not have that chance. As a chaperone I was glad to see, as student Mark Valdez stated, "[that the students] got to see real art, beauty, and performance that wasn't just a movie."

Going to the theater is a wonderful experience that I was glad to share with my students. I hope they will be able to visit the theater again.

Priscilla Walker is an instructor for SIATech at Inland Empire Job Corps Center.

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Updates from MYcroSchool Jacksonville
by Kelly Treat

February was a busy month at the Jacksonville site of MYcroSchool.

MYcroSchool Jacksonville Guidance Counselor, Dr. Donna Williams, invited Florida State College Jacksonville and a representative from the United States Army to educate students about their options after graduation from high school. Pictured at right, MYcroSchool Jacksonville Student Luis Aviles listens to the Academic Advisor from Florida State College Jacksonville.

Science Teacher Christiana Swanson and ESE Teacher Kelly Treat hosted the Jacksonville Zoo, which came to educate students about some of the zoo animals and animal taxonomy.

Pictured: Jacksonville Zoo Educator Michelle Myers speaks to worried MYcroSchool Jacksonville students about alligators.

In addition to the visits, MYcroSchool Jacksonville hosted its first "Dress Down Day," which included a raffle for all students who participated. Pictured below are some of the raffle winners:

Our school also launched its first student club. With the assistance of Dr. Williams, Testing Coordinator Constance Clearvaux, and ESE/PE Teacher Ms. Treat, students were able to establish and launch a book club.

The exciting thing about the book club is that the idea was presented to Dr. Williams by one student, Nysheki Johnson. Nysheki Johnson wrote an impressive proposal for the implementation of the MYcroSchool Jacksonville Book Club.

Nysheki (pictured on left) will be the club's president and Kayla Prince (pictured on right), who helped with the entire recruiting process for the book club, will be the vice president.

These students were very organized and worked for two weeks to set up the recruiting event and planning for how the club will function.

The entire staff at MYcroSchool Jacksonville is proud of these two students and of the students who took the initiative to join!

Kelly Treat is the ESE / P.E. Teacher at MYcroSchool Jacksonville.

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A Skype Session with DJ Bobcat
at SIATech Moreno Valley
by Jami Yee

Last month our students enjoyed an inspiring Skype session with Bobby "Bobcat" Ervin, professionally known as Bobcat or DJ Bobcat.

DJ Bobcat is a Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum producer, songwriter, DJ, artist and music executive. He has worked with musicians such as Clive Davis, Russell Simmons, Madonna, and he has also written and produced songs for artists such as: LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Mack 10, Tupac, Sir Mix A Lot, Bow Wow, Usher and Kid Rock, just to name a few.

DJ Bobcat led a fulfilling discussion with SIATech students about the different aspects of business, specifically, the music industry. The conversation was dominated by such topics as marketing strategies, target demographics, management agreements, and recording contracts.

DJ Bobcat introduced our students to the industry terms "taste makers" and "spit." He schooled our students on the various college majors associated with the endless number of rewarding careers in the entertainment industry.

He also discussed the various college majors associated with numerous jobs in the entertainment industry. This part of the conversation prompted Casey Rodgers to inquiry about jobs working with special effects in music videos.

Overall, DJ Bobcat encouraged students to "do what you love" and "build on your strengths."

He cautioned students to stay focus and "not to get caught up in the drama," to worry about themselves and not fall victim to worrying about what the next person is doing.

"It was an awesome discussion! He spoke the truth!" raved, Daija Bridges.

Denzel Hammonds was more than willing and happy to give DJ Bobcat a preview of his own musical talents! Check it out!

It was impressive to watch and listen to how DJ Bobcat captured students' attention in a storytelling manner to explore the benefits of having a solid education!

Jami Yee is the English/Social Studies/Senior Project Teacher at SIATech Moreno Valley Independent Study Charter High School.

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Pastor Duncan Brings His Experience & Wisdom
to MYcroSchool Gainesville in Celebration of
Black History Month
by Nan Thomas

This February, at the request of Reading Teacher Nan Thomas, Pastor Gerald Duncan of Prayers of Faith Outreach Ministries and Innovative Dads visited MYcroSchool Gainesville to speak with interested young men.

Pastor Duncan's outreach ministry has a mission to aid in the restoration of communities. A quote embraced by his ministry is I Corinthians 9:22 "Becoming all things to all men that we by all means might save some." According to Gerald Duncan, "We are dedicated to walking in love."

The pastor brought his love to MYcroSchool's male community, touching on issues such as drug sales, domestic violence, making better choices, accountability, education, and the importance of fathers in the lives of their children.

He talked to the young men about making the best possible choices so they can proclaim, "I am the first one from my family to graduate from high school, from college, and to buy my own house."

He spoke more specifically about the mistakes parents make, and the single parent families into which many of the MYcroSchool young men were born; when the male role model is absent, there is often a negative effect. Only 12 male students from both the morning and afternoon sessions raised their hands when asked how many of them were being raised by active fathers.

Pastor Duncan later asked all students in attendance how they learn to treat and love women when they do not see their own parents interact in the home; from the males, there was a resounding "from TV."

As Pastor Duncan told the young men, "There's no right way of doing wrong." He sold drugs in both Miami and Gainesville, was shot three times, defied death after swallowing cocaine to avoid arrest, spent years in prison, chose not to get an education or to get drug treatment, and had even put a gun to his head in an attempt to end his problems, but it was upon his last prison stay that he decided to change his life. He found God, earned his GED, and enrolled in college, later graduated.

Duncan stated, "I decided that I wanted to be a different person. I stopped making excuses." He indicated that he had "carried hate and rage in his heart since childhood" and it was his final chance to better himself. He no longer made "excuse after excuse" that due to the bridges he had burned he would not be successful.

Pastor Duncan's life change benefited not only himself. It included setting up a Gainesville neighborhood program for the area's youth, complete with computers. He created "Innovative Dads," a program designed to work with young fathers who want to be involved in the lives of their children, regardless of religious faith or lack thereof.

The same neighborhoods the pastor once sold drugs in, he now works within to reach their youth. He is "giving back'" to those in the neighborhoods where he once made his living off the sale of drugs and the addiction it often created.

pastor duncanPastor Duncan presented to a packed house of students at MYcroSchool Gainesville. Duncan spoke with MYcroSchool males about choosing to either be a follower or a leader, and the importance of making a choice to get an education.

He stated, "If you think people working with you at school don't care about you, you'll learn quickly how much the outside world doesn't care about you, your problems, or your excuses." He went on to praise the MYcroSchool concept and staff.

Other areas touched on were "safe sex" and abstinence; he reminded the young men to put their focus on education. An unplanned pregnancy by a partner may thwart or, at minimum, slow success. Education should be their goal. The reality is that without a high school diploma, "the alternative for most is juvenile facilities, jail, and prison."

According to a 2009 Northeastern University study, incarceration rates for those between the ages of 16–24 who dropped out of high school were 63 times higher than among college grads. Close to one of every ten male high school dropouts was institutionalized in 2006–2007.

Pastor Duncan suggested the students appreciate those at the school who are trying to steer them in the right direction so they have a chance; they don't have to like their instructors (or like them all the time), but they need to understand that what they probably don't like is that they are being held accountable. Being held accountable is imperative to fostering a successful attitude.

At the close of his presentation, the males of MYcroSchool were told that they can "hit him up on Facebook'" should they need someone to talk to or to simply listen.

Young fathers from MYcroSchool and others from the local community are always welcome at Innovative Dads' meetings, which are held at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursday of each month at Prayers by Faith located at 429 NW 4th St. in Gainesville.

Nan Thomas is the Reading Teacher at MYcroSchool Gainesville.

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SIATech Perris Celebrates Student's Progress in Math through Virtual Learning
by Maria Montoya

What is SIATech? Well, if you ask me, SIATech is my work place. But for many of our students, SIATech is their safe haven! It is a life vest and a place full of helpful people. It's a place where many of our youth come as their last resort after being shut down or ignored elsewhere.

SIATech, with the help of our partner organizations, opens up opportunities that have seemed impossible for many. Like in the case of Stephanie Carranza, a bright young lady who had completed all of her high school credits and yet could not receive a high school diploma because she still had to pass the California High School Exit Exam, better known as the CAHSEE.

Stephanie came to SIATech, with only one goal - to pass the Math portion of the CAHSEE. Right away, our ITA here at the Perris site, Roger Reinecke, came to me and asked about strategies to prepare her for the CAHSEE. My first thought was to enroll her in Virtual Learning! I explained to Stephanie about our Virtual Learning program and how the sessions are geared towards test prep. I got the impression that she didn't really like the idea at first, but was open to giving it a try. Was she in for a treat!

Stephanie was greeted in the virtual classroom by Nate Kramer, one of our Virtual Instructors, whose experience and friendly personality won Stephanie over and quickly changed her mind about virtual learning. Through the course work, Nate was able to help Stephanie opened up windows that she had thought were closed, primarily because of previous bad experiences with other teachers.

The lessons would go for an hour each day, so Stephanie's time went by pretty quickly. After each session with Nate was completed, she would have a "Kraft Mac and Cheese Smile" on her face! Some of her comments were, "He explains everything so well!" and, "Things are easy to understand when Nate explains them!"

How did Nate feel about Stephanie? This is what Nate had to say: "Stephanie was the ideal virtual student. She worked hard, communicated her questions clearly, and displayed patience during the occasional technology 'hiccup.' Her attendance was consistent, and in the few times she was late, she notified staff of the issue. While some students initially feel shy or uncomfortable using an online learning program to conduct a class, Stephanie seemed like a natural fit. The new experience didn't faze her.

"During class with others at the site, she demonstrated respect for her peers when they were stuck and needed additional time to work on practice problems or ask a clarifying question. Working with her was a pleasure, and I would not hesitate to work with her again, given the opportunity."

Last week when Stephanie took the Math CAHSEE, she felt well prepared and very confident. Even before the test began, she was singing the praises of Nate and our Virtual Learning program to other students waiting to test. Stephanie found in SIATech the confidence and strength she had thought she lost. Her future looks bright, and Stephanie looks forward to facing it with a high school diploma grasped firmly in her hand!

Maria Montoya is an Independent Study Teacher at SIATech Perris Independent Study in Perris, California.

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Students are the Winners for World Book Night!
by Lori Belzman

SIATech has a new literacy initiative to help improve all students' reading skills. This READ initiative will be strengthened by recent news that hundreds of books will be given to our school sites.

We got an amazing response this year for World Book Night. At least 33 staff members applied for the book awards and were chosen as book givers!! That comes out to 660 books for our classrooms!

There were a variety of books selected, but the texts with multiple donations include Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, This Boy's Life, and Waiting to Exhale.

This year's batch of books will be delivered to the schools on April 23, 2014 (William Shakespeare's birthday).

World Book Night is a quick and easy application process. If you didn't apply this year, please, please consider applying next year. Our students can only benefit from this celebration of literacy.

Lori Belzman is a curriculum coordinator for SIATech's network of charter high schools.

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Local San Diego Businesses Support UPATH….and Francisco Castillo
by Howie Cohen

SIATech at San Diego Job Corps celebrated one of their semiannual high school graduations in January, 2014. The graduates walked across the stage to be recognized for their hard work to earn their high school diploma.

During the ceremony there was an exciting announcement for one of the graduating students. Francisco Castillo (pictured above with California Education Director Liz Hessom), a graduate of the computer technician trade, received a special award. He was the recipient of the SIATech UPATH Scholarship.

Local businesses in Imperial Beach showed their support for higher academia and provided food donations to the UPATH program as well the funding of Castillo's scholarship. Sponsors included Yum-Yum Donuts, 7-11, New York Wings and Ribs, All American Pizza, and Giant Pizza King.

Castillo completed the UPATH program, a 12-week college-readiness program which mentors students on how to be successful college students and provides three college campus tours.

Castillo is now enrolled full-time at Southwestern College studying computer science. He has plans to transfer to San Diego State University after earning his Associate's Degree.

"I want to thank everyone that has supported me. My life has now completely changed and I am confident I can be a college graduate as well," Castillo said at the graduation.

SIATech San Diego would like to thank the local businesses that supported Francisco Castillo and the UPATH program.

As the old African proverb goes, "It takes a village."

Howie Cohen is an instructor at SIATech San Diego Charter High School.

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Professional Development:
Social Studies and English Workshops
by Lori Belzman

SIATech central office conducts a variety of professional development trainings and workshops for internal SIATech staff and for organizations outside of SIATech. These trainings provide an opportunity to share best practices in dropout recovery.

A couple of recent trainings for internal SIATech and MYcroSchool staff included the social studies and English workshops. The trainings are subject-specific but include a host of other guidance and information. The recent workshops emphasized literacy learning strategies as part of SIATech's new Reading Initiative. Presentations from the IT, Curriculum and Instruction, and Student Data teams provided our instructors with direct access to central office supports. The sharing of participating teachers' best practices was the highlight of each training.

West Coast Social Studies

The West Coast Social Studies teachers met virtually for two days: February 24 – 25. The passionate energy in the conversations and the sharing of concerns resulted in some amazing discoveries for some of the teachers.

We began each day with an opening activity focusing on literacy. On Day 1, we created historical metaphors (yes, we did some English!), and on Day 2, we focused on a historical figure while using our research, reading, writing, speaking and listening, and technology skills.

We followed this up with the six-word memoir activity where we summarized our historical leader or ourselves in only six words. To continue the literacy theme, Diane Fairchild and Kris Mallory talked to us about the Reading Initiative and its implications and applications at sites. We also took the Smarter Balanced practice test to see what types of questions and technology students would be required to master.

Another guest speaker, Kevin Pressley, fielded any and all IT questions while Schelly Wagoner and Howard Coven presented an overview of PowerSchool training from a social studies perspective.

These sessions were reflective of the format of many of our sessions: an open forum with questions and answers. We were able to cover various topics in this manner: technology concerns, curriculum issues, advice to new staff members, classroom strategies, social studies goals, and potential literacy models.

The highlights of the workshop, as always, were the best practices. Bobbie Arterberry shared a project using Twitter and current events. Kevin Jacks shared his daily warm-ups; resources for World History, unit 7 and U.S. History, unit 8; his personal PD plan on reading comprehension; and PD courses available via University of La Verne. Luke Sponsler shared his interdisciplinary project on the Super Bowl Competition where students were asked to create a Super Bowl commercial using iMovie on the iPad.

Nate Malkemus had a student call in to discuss his inquiry project for U.S. History. Zack provided some amazing insight on his fifteen-page inquiry, which included three inquiries, a speech analysis, analysis of documentaries, and an annotated bibliography. Nate also shared his Art in the Classroom projects, which included Dada poetry, world music, paper mache globes, dream catcher kits, blockposters.com projects for the Government state project, bean art, Photoshop art, and his many classroom contests.

Jose Estrada presented his real life lesson on tracking food costs for a monthly budget where students researched eating at McDonalds versus going grocery shopping.

The two days were filled with amazing conversations, passionate ideas, sharing of best practices, and contagious enthusiasm. We can't wait for next year!

East and West Coast English Workshops

The East Coast English teachers met virtually for two days: January 21 – 22, and the West Coast English teachers met a week later on January 28 – 29.

The teachers' energy and passion were truly amazing. The focus for this year's workshop: the Common Core. We began each day with an opening activity centered on literacy: a historical figure activity that involved reading, writing, researching, speaking and listening, and technology and a six-word memoir activity where we described ourselves in only six words.

In addition to this classroom focus on literacy, Diane Fairchild discussed our Reading Initiative and how we might make this work at our sites. Finally, we created Grammarly accounts and determined how we could use this to assess writing in our classrooms.

To review Common Core, we watched a Kate Gerson video on the ELA shifts and discussed what this would look like in our classrooms. We also watched a video of a 10th grade English classroom practicing close reading and attempted to answer this question: What does a Common Core classroom look like?

We took the Smarter Balanced ELA practice test to determine the types of questions and text students would be expected to master. John Fuller led us through a short presentation on the types of questions for both the SBAC and PARCC assessment and a Prezi overview on text complexity. We learned that it's not just the complexity of the text but also the task that goes along with the text.

At the request of several teachers, we held the following discussions: classroom differentiation and strategies to teach paraphrasing and plagiarism. We also completed a Treasure Hunt while exploring Teacher Central English resources.

It was an amazing two days for us all! We look forward to getting back together on March 12 for another virtual conversation and opportunity to discuss issues we face in our English classrooms.

Lori Belzman is a curriculum coordinator for SIATech's network of charter high schools.

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SIATech Little Rock Wins
eResources Digital Portal Grant

SIATech Little Rock is pleased to announce it was awarded an eResources Digital Learning Grant from the Arkansas Public School Resource Center. Along with 32 school districts, SIATech Little Rock will receive funds to provide digital coursework to students.

The eResources Digital Learning Grant covers the cost of several additional course options for students. This grant opportunity is available through a partnership with the Walton Family Foundation. SIATech was required to complete an application and implementation plan in its request for the grant money.

Chosen schools and districts were selected through a rigorous grants process which evaluated each application. "We were impressed with the quality of the grant applications we saw," said APSRC Executive Director Scott Smith.

SIATech Little Rock Principal Katie Tatum is thrilled by what the award will mean for students. "This grant allows SIATech Little Rock more flexibility with course offerings. It also allows me to offer students elective classes for which we don't currently have a high-quality teacher. This grant will open many doors academically for our school."

Schools and districts chosen to receive the grant will be required to participate and present in a "Best Practices" Conference hosted by APSRC in order to share their successes and allow other districts the opportunity to learn from them.

SIATech Little Rock looks forward to sharing their best practices and experiences using the resources as a dropout recovery charter high school.

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SIATech California Reaches Out to Parents for Input and Suggestions on Strategic Plan

SIATech continues to reach out to California parents, staff, students, and other community stakeholders for input on its 3-year strategic plan.

The California schools' Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) will set the school outcomes and goals for the coming school years. More information can be found at siatechaccountability.org.

Your feedback is needed! If you have not yet done so, please take the quick survey today!

Pictured above, SIATech San Jose parents complete the LCAP survey at the school's graduation while staff members look on.

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