December 2018

Verifying Class Enrollments / Rosters

Course Roster Verification

All teachers should notify the school Main Office immediately, if they detect errors in their class rosters. As new students arrive and currently enrolled leave, rosters for attendance and grading should be accurate.

It is equally important that teachers verify the dates when students enter and exit their classes, particularly if they receive mSGP scores from PARCC administration. The dates of a student's enrollment in your class determine whether or not a student's growth score is included in the teacher's median-SGP calculation.

To view a list of all students, both current and prior, in any class, click in the box to the right of your class in PowerTeacher, under the column for 'Course Verification.'

(The icon is missing, at the moment, but the link to the report stil works.)

To Launch the 'Course Roster Verification' Report in PowerTeacher.

Students names are on the left. Dates of enrollment are on the right. The report can be printed and brought to the Main Office, if needed.

The report lists all current and Active students in your class, with the dates of their enrollment, as well as students who have been dropped for your class, also with the dates of their entry and exit from your class. Current students are enrolled to the end of the course, usually the end of the year. 'Dropped students' have an exit date, and are recorded as either currently 'Active' or 'Inactive.' The enrollment information on these reports is exactly what is uploaded to the State every year and used to associate student performance with teachers for the mSGP, so its verification is very important.

Teacher Academy Spring 2019

Teachers can propose courses for the Spring Teacher Academy from 1/1/19 to 1/15/19. Courses must have a sponsoring Administrator who approves the content. Beginning 1/1/19, course proposals can be submitted here.

Approved courses will be open for Registration from 1/22/19 to 1/31/19. Beginning 1/22/19, this registration page will be open.

The first day classes could be offered is 2/4/19. All classes should conclude by 6/7/19.

Notes for the Spring Semester -

  1. Course proposals will be reviewed from 1/16/19 through 1/21/19 and evaluated in light of budget restrictions, priority of content, and overall need within District goals. -Please consider planning with your administrator, if you believe you have a good idea for a course that would benefit others in your school or grade or department. The foundation of the Teacher Academy is that teachers themselves know best what works and is needed in their classrooms.
  2. Please respect the Instructor's guidelines for 'Target Audience' and only sign-up for a course, if you are part of the indicated group, grade level, or subject area. As registrations are verified, class lists will be available here.
  3. Courses have a minimum registration requirement before they can be offered, and a maximum enrollment, after which registrations are closed.
  4. Teachers are restricted to five (5) registrations. If a course is not offered, due to low enrollment, or a change in the Instructor's schedule, registrants of those courses will have an opportunity -a day or two- to sign-up for another course. They can check total registrations as they progress on the class lists page above -the Verified Registration page.
  5. Please do not sign-up for a course unless you actually plan to attend.
BTA Dates for Spring 2019-

Course Proposals - Tuesday, 1/1/19 to Tuesday, 1/15/19

Registration - Tuesday, 1/22/19 to Thursday, 1/31/19

First Possible Day of Courses - Monday, 2/4/19

Last Possible Day of Courses - Friday, 6/7/19

*Please note that last year we split the spring term into two windows, to improve attendance, but it had no effect on overall numbers, so we are back to allowing courses to meet anytime between 2/4/18 and 6/7/18. Please only sign-up if you genuinely intend to attend the course.

Here is a folder with a bunch of evaluation reports on all of the Teacher Academy courses. Some include only classes related to Google, or Chromebooks. Some are just averages of the participants scores. Others include teacher comments. Search within any document by name, or topic, or specific instructor, if you wish. The course evaluations from this past semester will be added before January, after they have been shared with the Instructors.

Tips & Suggestions

Alice Keeler's recommendationsfor student interaction and Feedback:

Useful Apps & Extensions:

  • Extensity is available to both staff and all students (i.e., it is included on the List of Approved Apps & Extensions for K-8 students) and allows the user easily and quickly to activate and inactivate extensions and apps, without having to go through Settings for Extensions, or Apps List.
  • Another app approved for K-8 and available to everyone is "Print Friendly PDF" which removes ads and extraneous content when printing (or saving to PDF) many web pages. If you print, it saves paper; if you use the PDF, it retains only the content - most of the time.

Here is a PDF from Screencastify on "50 Ways to Use Screencastify in the Classroom." Included are 'lessons' for -


Update on Future Ready School Submission

At present, the District plans to go forward in the spring with a submission on behalf of the Middle School for FRS Certification.

Check the FRS page for a list of specific indicators for this year's submission.

Congratulations to the following teachers for presenting at the Annual NJECC Conference in January - Good Luck to All of Them -

Karah Iansito, Media Specialist, Bloomfield High School & Ellen Luca, Media Specialist, Brookdale School
A brief overview of Flipgrid with a focus on how it can be used for collaboration and feedback, and to encourage student voice.

George Agens, Educational Technology Coach, Bloomfield High School
Encourage Critical Thinking and Metacognition Through Digital Escape Rooms

Angela Brisini, BHS Media Specialist, Bloomfield School District & Joseph Martinelli, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Seton Hall University
Tools and Resources to Integrate Curriculum and Technology - HANDS ON WORKSHOP

Google Apps & Extensions

K-8 teachers should remember that their students are restricted in Google to the list of apps & extensions approved on this SharePoint list. If a teacher wishes to use a Google app or extension with students and that app or extension is not on this list and identified as "Added to MS" or "Added to ES" then students will not be able to use it. To add a requested app or extension to the list, go to the list, click on New, and add the precise name and link as well as other information. All requests will be reviewed for safety/security, redundancy to what we already have, and content/curricular relevance, by Tech & Supervisors. The review could take several days.


Per the annoncement in September, the oldest model iPads that cannot be updated to current iOS have been collected for retirement. K-6 schools now have a supply of Chromebook tablets for K-3 teachers to begin to experiment with as possible replacements. Covers are coming. Please remember to add to the list of approved apps or extensions any that you want to use with students.

6th Grade 1:1 Status & Plans

At the end of last school year, in May & June, the District Tech Committee recommended that the roll-out of the 1:1 to the elementary schools be limited to just one grade, in the model of the Pilot that was rolled out to just 300 students at the MS in 2016-17, and that the students not begin the year by taking home the devices. (Minutes of the June Meeting are here.) There were several reasons for recommending a slow roll-out to the Superintendent. First, while the librarians at the MS & HS are central and critical to the whole 1:1 at those schools, the media specialists in the elementary schools do not have the same freedom and availability. The librarians in the elementary have teaching responsibilities. They would simply not be able to help students who just drop in, or visit whenever there is a problem. More worrisome, the K-6 librarians would not be able to support the teachers in the roll-out, in the same manner as the Tech Coaches at the MS & HS, who have been as critical to success as the Librarians at those schools. Technology in the manner that the 1:1 envisions potentially transforms learning, as long as the teachers have support to implement change. There was a concern that the 6th grade teachers would need some additional resources to adjust to the 1:1 program, if learning were truly to be transformed.

There were also practical considerations. The MS & HS spent considerable time preparing their families for the responsibilities of the 1:1, reviewing with the parents and the students the various Acceptable Use documents and forms. (See here and here.) Given the comparative high turn-over of students in some of the schools from year to year (as high as 20%), it was deemed more prudent to introduce both students and families to the responsibilities of care and management of the devices gradually. Moreover, both the Librarians and the classroom teachers would have to adjust some of their routine procedures to support the program. Gradual roll-out of the program would give everyone time to make those adjustments.

A memo to the Superintendent & Assistant Superintendent on June 20, 2018 included the above plans with indicated rationales, and the added recommendation, based on consultation with the MS, that the 6th grade teachers be brought to the MS at least three times in the 2018-19 school year, both to see how that school and those teachers had integrated the Chromebooks in their teaching and make plans for their own integration of the 1:1 in their own elementary schools. The memo included a specific suggestion to have each sixth grade student complete a common lesson wholly online, an exercise that would potentially utilize the collaborative features of Google, and allow the students to create their own multi-media or other web-based presentations. It was suggested at that time that the lesson be graded, but that changed.

On Tuesday, August 28, at 10 AM, the Superintendent & Assistant Superintendent presented the above plan to all of the K-6 Principals. All the major elements of the plan were discussed, including gradual roll-out of the 1:1 in the sixth grade in 2019-20, not taking the devices home until after the year started, introducing both the teachers and librarians to the likely changes to their school days, as well as the plan to bring the 6th grade teachers to the MS three times, and once for a final meeting to the Board Office in June 2019. It was also decided in that one hour meeting that the project to be implemented for all sixth grade teachers and students to be completed before the end of the school year would be discussed and finalized as part of the teacher visits to the MS. The meeting in August concluded with the finalization of the specific dates for the 6th grade teachers to visit the MS.

Beginning Tuesday, October 2, with Berkeley & Brookdale, the 6th grade teachers and librarians of eight elementary schools visited the MS, in groups of two schools, enjoyed the very generous hospitality of the MS teachers, as they visited classes, and met in the afternoons to discuss the implications of the 1:1 for their schools in 2019-20. They heard a terrific presentation by the MS Principal on the SAMR model of Tech Integration, input from the MS Librarian and Tech Coach, and discussed concerns about the program for themselves and their schools, and what type of project to have their own students complete before the end of the year. In the course of the three months of meetings, four (five?) K-6 Principals visited with their teachers.

Among the recommendations for both the current year and next year that emerged from the meetings were the following -

  • If possible, provide some additional Instructional Tech Support to help the teachers and librarians, at least at the larger schools, something like the tech coaches at the HS & MS.
  • Provide some facile tech mechanisms or solutions for teachers to report both mechanical problems with the Chromebooks and behavior problems with the students to their Principals in order to ease their level of work.
  • Offer more Teacher Academy courses specific to effective use of Gradebook and online submission of assignments.
  • Provide a cart for holding the Chromebooks that is smaller, with less of a footprint than the ones purchased so far.
  • Find someway to add more electrical outlets to classrooms that had only one.
  • Make sure the Principals coordinated their messages to the 6th grade parents and students in the fall meetings.
  • For the project, have the students create a web site with reflection on learning that took place during the year. Commence the project only after PARCC finished for most students in May & June.
  • Use the final, third meeting of the 6th grade teachers at the MS to discuss among themselves how to integrate the 1:1 technology with their instruction and plan the end of year project.

And that is were we stand as of now, still planning the roll-out of the 1:1, more than less, but not exactly, as proposed to the Superintendent & Assistant Superintendent in June, based on the District Tech Committee's recommendations from last year. More updates will follow shortly.

What If . . .

Buried deep in a recent book about what schools in the future might look like, in a chapter on equity and expectations for student and teacher performance, there is a remarkable description of some routine daily and semester practices in one sixth grade in a school in, I believe, California. (Here is a link to the chapter in the book.)

At the end of every day, the sixth graders fill out two sides of an index card. On one side, they write something that they learned. On the other side, they write a question for the teacher. The process is explained:

The “something learned” may be a content item, or something about a peer, depending on the lesson. Or the questions may be, “What worked for you about today?” and “What could have been better?”

In the author’s words, The possibilities are endless; the point is that this ‘assessment’ is mutual, offering a window into the student’s learning and providing useful feedback to the teacher.

Fundamentally, the exit card and the student reflection on their learning is an effort to move education beyond the highly ineffective industrial-age structure of learning in subject-based ‘siloes.’[S]ubjects,” the author writes, “are at the heart of our modern dilemma— our inability to achieve both excellence and equity—for two reasons.He goes on:

First, the artificiality and the arbitrary origins of subjects (Wagner and Dintersmith 2015) mean that they are not aligned with the way knowledge is used in the world, nor with its rapid expansion, nor with the current ubiquity of content via desktop and handheld devices. Second, a subject-centered approach yields a deficit model of instructional design, wherein teachers, curriculum designers, textbook producers and test developers identify “gaps” in the learner’s knowledge and develop plans to close them. Meanwhile, the “minor” subjects, such as art, music, physical education, which, ironically, are the pathway for many to deeper learning—don’t count in contemporary achievement metrics.

It is a fascinating read, if you have time. I am sure certain educators will object to the citations of Pablo Freire and even John Dewey, who can be quoted out of context to suggest learning is not a difficult, arduous, gritty task. They may even snicker at the quote of Alfred North Whitehead who points out that learning used to be about acquiring wisdom, now it is about learning methods and strategies. The author concedes, Of course, learning must be about something, but the content need not be siloed in ‘subjects.’ What if, [as in the 6th grade class], we conceived of the classroom as a ‘think-tank,’ building the curriculum around problems and questions, not subjects?

As mentioned, it is interesting to the suggestion that education may have devolved, rather than evolved, into its current structure, and the revolution that constitutes the Information Age is a chance to correct old wrongs. "[W]e will not lack for significant content, if we treat young people’s experience as a primary text for refection, articulation, and interrogation."