The PROSE Newsletter: September 2015 Issue
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Volume 2 | Issue 1 | September 2015

PROSE Announces Its New Staff Members & Model!

Welcome to the PROSE community of 126 schools!  We are excited to partner with you and your school community.  This school year, the PROSE panel, which consists of UFT, CSA and DOE members, will work to obtain a number of groundbreaking flexibilities that you have proposed to further innovative change processes and advance your school's vision for improving practice and student learning outcomes. We have learned a great deal from the program this past year which has informed our continued development.  The composition of the DOE PROSE team has been reorganized to enable the implementation of the flexibilities schools have requested. The four areas of focus are: Academic Policy, Labor Relations and Human Resources, Teacher Evaluation, and Use of Time and Scheduling.  
The DOE PROSE team has been modified as listed below:

We look forward to a very productive year in PROSE, as we form great relationships with the schools of the PROSE community.

Early to Learn at Voyages Preparatory High School

Voyages Preparatory High School, a transfer high school in Elmhurst Queens, started the school year a day earlier for students as part of a scheduling flexibility granted through PROSE. Teachers reported for two days prior to Labor Day before their official start date. These changes allowed the school to better meet the needs of their students. The additional days prior to the DOE’s official school day allowed the school to take the equivalent amount of time off that would better align to their trimester schedule.  
Students at Voyages Preparatory High School 
juggle multiple responsibilities outside of school that can interfere with their attendance and school participation on certain days. To this end, classroom instruction emphasizes the strengths of students as mature and intellectually capable people over remedial content coverage. Participation in PROSE allows teachers to focus on the most important aspects of classroom learning and target students for corrective teaching, thus allowing students to pursue their own best outcomes inclusive of a rigorous academic program.
 October 9 - PROSE Kick-Off Celebration: All PROSE schools are invited to a morning of reflection and community building.  During this exciting kick-off, schools will understand the PROSE expectations, learn about flexibility accomplishments from last year's implementation, understand this year's PROSE flexibility priorities, and explore the new PROSE professional learning community. The celebration will take place at the UFT, 52 Broadway, 2nd Floor Ballroom from 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM.  Register now. We look forward to seeing you there.
RESOURCE CENTER: Option PROSE Implementation 
 Schools wishing to implement Option PROSE for the 2015-2016 school year can access the implementation guide on the PROSE wiki.  Similar to last year, the implementation guide provides schools with an overview of the Option PROSE process, steps to the structured review process, final scoring and other notes pertaining to support and implementation. Read the Policy Update next to find out about the voting process. 

 Policy Update

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

Option PROSE:
Option PROSE will allow schools who make this choice to give teachers the option to focus on a specific area of their teaching with a defined purpose in mind! This alternative to the current evaluation policy includes two informal observations, a plan designed by teachers in collaboration with school leaders, and structured review of the teachers' activities throughout the year.  Option PROSE was extremely popular in many of the schools that used it last year because schools worked alone, across grades, or across interest areas, and they often used this evaluation option to strengthen the collaborative structures they already had in place.  Details about Option PROSE are in the Resource Center.  If you are not yet an Option PROSE school, voting will take place for interested PROSE schools between September 18th and September 23rd on a ballot provided by the Panel. The PROSE Panel will have an information meeting about Option PROSE after school on ThursdaySeptember 17th, 4-6 PM at the UFT Headquarters, 52 Broadway.  Register now.
At the end of the 2014-15 school year, all Cohort One schools were administered an End of Year Survey.  Over 95% of respondents indicated that they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the PROSE program.
Meet the PROSE Team: Kamar Samuels

Kamar Samuels serves as the Senior Director for Special Initiatives and Partnerships.  His role will span PROSE, consolidations and other opportunities to partner with our unions.  Kamar has been the principal of the Bronx Writing Academy in District 9 for the past six years. During Kamar’s tenure at the Bronx Writing Academy, the school was at the forefront of many innovative initiatives in the city: PROSE, the UFT Community Learning Schools Initiative, iZone360, and the Danielson pilot. Prior to leading the Bronx Writing Academy, Kamar taught at P.S. 41 and P.S./M.S. 194 in the Bronx. 
"At PROSE schools, teachers stay in the classroom and do the jobs that we love and also have leadership roles that allow our voices to be heard. The collaborative piece - it's not just a buzzword.  It does work.  I honestly believe the more voices in that room, the better our chances of answering the question, of finding that solution, of better meeting the needs of our students."
~Betty Nieves, Teacher at School of Integrated Learning
Copyright © 2015 Office of School Design & Charter Partnerships, PROSE, All rights reserved.

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