The PROSE Newsletter: December 2015 Issue
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Volume 2 | Issue 4 | December 2015

'Tis the Season to Be Collaborative!  

The PROSE Panel is excited to say that the Distributed Leadership Critical Friends session was a huge success. PROSE defines collaborative and distributed leadership as school models that maintain the key role of the principal and still ensure a real role for teachers and the school community in the decision-making process at the school.  Seventeen schools came together to answer the following questions: Should we create permanent committee structures around key areas? If so, how should committee members be selected, and how should the committees interact? Are there other approaches? How would student or teacher programs be affected, if at all? How can PROSE help us implement the right approach for our school? 

This month's Critical Friends session will be centered around Calendar and Scheduling. Ms. Angela Logan-Smith of Goldie Maple Academy will lead our discussion. The  Goldie Maple Academy has implemented a longer day for all students through a radical change in teacher scheduling: a four-day work week. Ms. Logan-Smith will share her technical expertise and discuss ways the change has enriched the experience of students and built a stronger community. If you wish to attend, please register by end of day on Friday, December 11. 

  Satellite Academy High School Uses PROSE Flexibility to Boost Student Achievement!!

This year Satellite Academy High School has introduced several innovations around scheduling. These innovations were implemented in response survey data collected from interviews with our students who have dropped out. Data demonstrated the need for more flexible programming designed to provide increased opportunity for working students to balance the demands of work and school. The school has been careful to implement a new schedule without disrupting school structures that contribute to the creation of a cohesive community that is the basis for their transformational work with at-risk students. In order to avoid any adverse impact on existing structures, Satellite Academy High School has ensured that:
  1. There is an overlap between staff (both teachers and administrators) who work in the day and evening program.
  2. Advisory classes were scheduled at the end of a daytime student's school day to include students from both the day and evening program.
  3. Both day and evening program students have an opportunity to participate in school-wide community events, and the newly created Friday program that has substantially increased the number of enrichment classes the school offers to support student interest as well as progress towards meeting graduation requirements.
It is currently still too early to produce a full evaluation of the pilot. While there have been some minor challenges, the overall impact of these innovations has been overwhelmingly positive. Satellite's PROSE planning committee has already started to develop adjustments aimed to address identified challenges.
Perhaps the most authentic qualitative assessment of the program can be inferred from the following excerpts taken from student and teacher testimonials about their experiences in the evening and Friday program.

Testimonial of Teacher in Evening Program:
"Evening classes, for me, have been one of the highlights of our new structure. I teach an English class entitled Words, Literature, and Language that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:55pm until 4:25pm. But since the very first class, I've felt as if I am teaching community college rather than high school. It’s most likely due to the richness of the conversations that we have regarding the reading material. I was concerned, at first, that students would get restless and impatient working in one subject area for an hour and a half. But class seems to go by so quickly. Students notice this as well. With only 20 students, the small class size has provided students with an ability to have deeper and richer discussions about the texts. One of my students, Emani, even commented that her attendance and focus have improved.
The students who attend evening classes tend to be students with more responsibilities, and so they approach the lesson with much more maturity and confidence. When we are drawing connections between the reading material and the world we live in, students are able to offer the funds of knowledge that they carry with them into the classroom. We’ve used Sherman Alexie to discuss the conflicts of community versus individuality, we’ve used Gabriel Garcia Marquez to discuss the harms of political corruption, and we’ve used Alice Walker to discuss the lasting impacts of the civil rights movement. Students leave class still debating about these issues. And side by side with deeper interest in the subject matter, their literacy skills have improved. It has been an amazing experience and I look forward to building on our curriculum for next year."
Testimonial of Teacher in the Friday Program:
"Something is always happening at Satellite. One of the highlights this year is the Friday program, part of which are a number of enrichment classes that have students traveling from room to room, for five out of over a dozen enrichment courses we are offering this year. Students play instruments under the direction of a New York City band. They leave the building to learn self-defense techniques in a Jiu Jitsu studio down the street. Some sing in Inspirational Choir and write their own lyrics and melodies in Songwriting class, while others learn to craft their own beats and rhythms in the Music Production class. In three different rooms, our students are learning to find their voices, hone their craft, and tell stories they hadn’t known were within them. They learn to breathe, stretch, and relax in Yoga class, and ask themselves what they can do to create more moments of peace and happiness in the Mindfulness class. In the Japanese Language and Culture class, students make sushi, learn Japanese phrases, and takes trips to learn about the culture and art of Japan. All around the building and the neighborhood, one can spot Satellite students aiming their cameras to produce assignments for their Photography class. For any teacher who yearns to see her students engaged in meaningful, inspiring electives, it is a thrill to be in the building on Fridays.
One of the most gratifying parts of our Friday enrichment program are the bridges that are organically born out of connections students make between their enrichment classes. “Oh, I shared a piece in Spoken Word today, and a student said that the Magazine class is looking for pieces to publish,” a student shares. A student in Photography class is choosing interesting angles from which to photograph students in Soca, as they dance to the rhythms of the islands. Students in the Mindfulness class are making references to the importance of paying attention to one’s breathing, which they have learned down the hall in Yoga class. When students seek and make connections without prompting, we know that real, engaged, meaningful learning is happening."
Student Testimonial about the Friday Enrichment Program:
"The Friday enrichment that Satellite Academy offers give students the opportunity to participate in programs that appeal to our interests. We are given the chance to indulge rather than focusing strictly on core-subject academics. I have been able to progress and develop through creativity. It has enabled me to hone my knowledge and skills in classes such as Photography and Spoken Word. Along with personal growth, the program strengthens bonds among not only peers, but also students and teachers. These outlets really help break some out of their shells as they actually engage in programs that support their passions."
 December 9 - PROSE 2016 Face-to-Face Info Session: The PROSE Application Process information session for potential PROSE schools will be held at 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, Room B/C on Wednesday, December 9th from 4 PM - 6 PM. We encourage all interested schools to attend as we will share information regarding PROSE expectations, the application process, and provide templates of the PROSE application and scoring rubric for guidance.  Feel free to email or for additional information.  We look forward to hearing your ideas and expanding our community!!  Register Now!!

 December 10 - PROSE 2016 Info Webinar: If you cannot make the face-to-face information session, you can attend the live webinar from 3 PM - 4:30 PM.  The webinar will be recorded and available on the wiki for access as well.  Please register now to attend.

 December 11-13 - Enza Academy Presents Design Your Revolution: Enza Academy is a youth innovation and leadership incubator that fights for racial and economic justice by empowering low-opportunity, high-potential youth of color with the technical skills and social consciousness to build bold solutions to big challenges in their own communities using the force of their own imaginations. As part of our many programs, we are offering a hackcamp titled Design Your Revolution to high school students, December 11-13.  Design Your Revolution is a three-day immersive social impact, innovation and entrepreneurship hackcamp  for  low-opportunity high school youth of color. Students can sign up directly at Please share the flyer with all interested students.

December 17 - Critical Friends Session: Calendar and Scheduling: PROSE is very excited that PROSE principal, Angela Logan-Smith of Goldie Maple Academy will lead our discussion. The  Goldie Maple Academy has implemented a longer day for all students through a radical change in teacher scheduling: a four-day work week. Ms. Logan-Smith will share her technical expertise and discuss ways the change has enriched the experience of students and built a stronger community.  This is not just a presentation, however; it is a chance to share and work with other schools. We encourage participating schools to bring along current programming models and future plans; and share their own expertise and questions. The goal is to allow our participants to leave with ideas they can use in their own instructional context. Please register by end of day on Friday, December 11.
RESOURCE CENTER: Its Our Anniversary: PROSE Periodicals: This month is the One Year Anniversary of the PROSE Periodicals.  Our periodical is a great way to learn about all that is transpiring around innovative policy changes and school implementations.  You may find all of the archived PROSE periodicals on our wikispace.  We encourage you to revisit these as there are many exciting school highlights, policy updates and opportunities to join other exciting DOE initiatives.  If you are reading this periodical, we thank you for your continued support and appreciate your patronage.

 Policy Update

Answers to many of the Frequently Asked Questions from PROSE schools have been posted on the PROSE Knowledge Base.

Enrollment Integration Pilot:
Last month, Chancellor Fariña announced changes to the admissions policies of seven schools that are designed to promote diversity. As part of the new admissions pilot, schools will give priority to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch (FRL), English Language Learners (ELLs) or students in the child welfare system.  PROSE is happy to say that five of the seven schools are PROSE schools. In light of the exciting Integration Initiative, the PROSE panel is hosting a meeting of the minds for schools who are either implementing integration through the pilot, or have proposed to do so in this year’s ballot.  The purpose of this meeting is twofold:
  1. To surface existing enrollment needs as they pertain to increasing diversity and allowing greater access to schools for students of all backgrounds;
  2. To assist schools in the implementation planning of the current integration pilot, while putting mechanisms in place for Year 2 PROSE schools which allow for buy-in from the school community through a successful PROSE vote and implementation process.
The integration pilot has opened the door for ten additional PROSE schools to potentially implement admission changes through a successful PROSE vote.  For more information, please feel free to email the PROSE panel.
Of the 62 Cohort One PROSE Schools, 53 received School Quality Reports for the 2014-15 School Year.  PROSE Schools received higher ratings on all six elements of the Framework for Great Schools than non-PROSE schools during this time period.
Meet the PROSE Team: Nancy Scala

Nancy joins the PROSE team as Director of Academic Policy, Operations and District/Charter School Partnerships. This is her 20th year with the New York City Department of Education.  She has always lived on the operations side of the street - beginning her tenure at District 31 Business office and then moving on to the Staten Island Regional Operations Center in 2003.  She joined the Empowerment Zone as a Network Business Manager during its inaugural year, and two years later became the Network Leader where she remained until May of this year.
"Our school has made significant progress in calibrating our outcomes/mastery grading system, and aligning outcomes and assessments to the mastery/grading system.  Our PROSE master teacher played a central role in advancing this process."
~Cohort 1 PROSE Principal
Copyright © 2015 Office of School Design & Charter Partnerships, PROSE, All rights reserved.

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