APT General Meeting
November 10, 2015


HeART of Oakland
Becky Potter reminded us that The HeART of Oakland performances are taking place at the Fox on Thursday, February 3, 2016. She told us that the goal is for every OSA family to buy 2 tickets to the show. She also acknowledged APT Connect by asking parents to submit the online form on APT Connect if they are interested in volunteering for the event. Then, Laurice Guerin from the English department spoke over her slideshow presentation about the English department. I missed the first minute and then hit record.

Ms. Guerin — English Department presentation.
We emphasize speaking and listening.  We want all our student to be really good audience members in additions to being able to talk about their own art and their own passion, so we try to give them as much practice as we can.  How do you do that when you just have them for one period?  We work together as a department and there are different focuses for each year.  For the past couple of years it has been common core because everyone in the state needed to focus on that.  This year we are revisiting our curriculum continuum, which looks at what we are teaching at each grade level — which novels are we reading, what literary analysis are we doing, what writing are we doing — so that by 12th grade students are ready for AP Literature and ready for college.

So here’s what we are doing:

At 6th grade we are looking at paragraph and essay structure.  Kids come into OSA with different schooling and different strengths.  Trying to get everyone on the same page.

In 7th grade we have writer’s boot camp which Ms. Bradburn and I designed several years ago.  It is prompt writing and we teach them how to analysis prompts and whip out writing in a timed situation, which is not something you usually have to do in life, but is something you have to do in tests especially in college and on SATs.

In 8th grade we see a big improvement from 6th grade.  Many students feel this improvement is from the writing boot camp curriculum — they know what an essay is and how to write it. We teach them in 8th grade how to write in the academic voice, and also MLA format.

In 9th grade, again we need to make sure everyone is on the same page.  We emphasis the things we do in 8th grade in addition to using evidence to support their writing.

In 10th grade they do an intense literary analysis.

At 11th and 12th grades, we offer both AP language and AP literature, so we are constantly working to make sure our kids are ready for the next level.

Q:  In middle school do the students do any kind of research paper?
Yes.  Research is one of the areas that common core is really pushing.  They want everyone to know how to do research and site sources.  We have worked with the history departments and usually they will do the papers for their history courses.  Some of the grades do it in english, but generally we try to work with the other areas to have an english component as well as components for that subject area.  Common core emphasizes writing and reading across the curriculum, so this addresses that need.

We took our first “CASP” test this year which is the common core reading assessment.  Our school scored 25% higher than the state average in english.  Ours was 70% and theirs was 40% proficient and above.  We were very happy to see that.

We are now starting the requirement to work with OUSD on a special reading assessment that is designed to help students grow in their reading over each year.  The assessment is the SRI, which we hope is the most useful and least cumbersome.  It is online and takes about 30 minutes per kid.  They put in their reading interests and it tells you their lexile level.  It gives a book list of books at their level and a little bit above.  It also gives tips for teachers and parents.  You should get a letter with the level and book list, and also info to help your child as home with reading.  We do it 3 times a year to better help the kids.  We are just inputting information and hope to have everyone assessed between Thanksgiving and Winter breaks.  Teachers will analyse the data after winter break.

Q:  Do you anticipate we will be doing this every year?
Yes.  It is useful and required.  We’ve been looking for an assessment like this for a while.

Q:  What if kids aren’t good at the computer?
It isn’t as cumbersome and doesn’t require too much keyboarding.  We are using the chrome books and we are practicing the type of skills kids will need.

Q:  Results are recorded as a lexile number?
Yes and they can take that info to the library or look online to find books at their level.  The thing I like about this is that they get books not only at their level but also related to the interested they put in.

Q:  When will be get the letter?
Mid-January or so.

Q:  Does this go through high school?
Yes, every grade.

To help us out with support for this new assessment style, we are starting a school wide reading program called OSA Reads.  The teachers at each grade level have chosen the top 30 books and put on bookmarks.  We are trying to get these books into each classrooms.  We are having a book fair with Laurel Books, at their new site in downtown Oakland.  The fair will be Wednesday December 9th (time TBD).  We need parents to help get this event organized.  Literary Arts kids will come over and read.  Maybe parents would like to read or maybe we can organize some holiday cookies?  A new thing for OSA.  I’m coordinate a wishlist of books for the classrooms that can be bought and donated that night.

Q:  Would it help if APT puts up a form on APT Connects?
We don’t need a form, but an email is fine.  We would like for the booklist to end up on the APT website to enable parents to buy books at other times.

Q:  Is this for English classrooms?  Do they have a reading period?
Some classes have a sustained silent reading, but nothing formalized.  In the past we’ve had “we read Wednesdays” and maybe we’ll bring that back.  We want to do whatever we can to help kids read.  The English classrooms try to make up for the school not having a library by having as many books as possible on our shelves.

Q:  With these 30 titles, how do we get them to teachers?
It is fine for kids to deliver.  It is not a book fair where the school gets a percentage, but an opportunity to buy books for the school.  It is fine to bring in 2nd hand copies of these titles as well.  The list has just been finalized and the bookmarks will be ready soon, and ready at the store that night.

Q:  Are you trying to get multiple copies of these books?
We are hoping to do book groups using these books, and would need multiple copies.

Q:  For donations, you only want what is on the list?
No, we are happy to have any books at 6th grade or above reading level donated at any time.

Future APT Meeting presentations:
We are trying to give parents information at the APT meetings from our academic departments.  Look for information about science in January, history in February, in math March, in foreign languages April.  In December we will talk about the OSA Showcase and eat some holiday cookies.

Vocal Music update:
The New Orleans show last weekend went really well.  Really impressed with the level of professionalism.  On December 12th, there is another vocal concert at 7pm at the First Congregational Church in Oakland.  Advanced tickets strongly encouraged as this show does sell out.  Tickets available online now and on some days as school.  Also 12/4 at the Oakland museum as part of first Friday.

IM Department update:
Instrumental music has scheduled performances coming up.  We have a ticket option — OSA IM flex card — that is a bulk ticket.  10 tickets on one card for $100 if you purchase now.  An amazing deal.

Visual Arts update:
Visual Arts show coming up December 4th and 5th.  5-9 and 12-5.  A big selling show, with lots of art on sale.  A lot of amazing work.  It is at the White Box.  Admissions free and there will be concessions.

Committee Updates:
APT-Connect — please add events that you are bringing up here.  It helps to keep us all informed about the events that OSA students are involved with.  Also KOSA radio (internet station) is already live — look for their section on APT-Connect.

Teacher Appreciation — Wednesday December 16th.  Breakfast and Lunch for teachers.  We will be asking for food donations as a thank you from the parents.

Fundraising — we are trying to put together an APT fundraiser.  Looking at a cookie dough fundraiser before the holidays.  Look for more info on the website.

Q:  What is the profit margin?
We don’t know yet, but hopefully we’ll have information soon.

The Learning Center still need help between 3-4pm daily.  The fundraising efforts would allow us to pay for tutors.  Reaching out to local colleges.  Please let APT know if you have contacts.

Safety — Continuing to work on the safety issues at pickup and drop-off.  We’ve run into a few snags, but it continues to be a work in progress.

Open Session:

(Paulina Gonzales)  Her son has been experiencing bullying issues.  Addressed with the administration, but continues to be issues daily.  Was told policy was in the handbook, but there is only a paragraph.  Would like an assembly on anti-bullying.  A restorative justice proactive approach would be helpful.

(Matt )  Great vibe at the school from a parent perspective.  Such an amazing place, but there is a piece missing from the puzzle.  Especially in middle school, both physical, emotional and cyber bullying have been happening.  Required by state code that there needs to be a comprehensive policy.  Not APT’s job, but feel strongly that parents need to have a voice in that process.

Wendy Snyder will bring this issue to the administration.

(Ms. Guerin)  In other years it has been addressed better, but it has been missing this year.  Maybe needs an ongoing committee.

(Carolyn Watson)  Brought this issue to the OSA administration last year.  Ms. Snyder and Mr. Oz were both helpful in helping to resolve issues.  Last year’s “challenge day” was really great.  Addressing these issues can require quite a bit of funding.  Trying to get a nurse to come to campus regularly.

(parent)  Need to remember that we are dealing with adolescents, and respect and compassionate impulse control needed.  It is a complex issues on both sides.

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