Common Core and New Assessments to Transform Dublin Education, Workshops for Parents Coming Feb 18-19
Oftentimes, it is difficult to identify a single issue that will impact each and every student in a school district. For the Dublin Unified School District and in neighboring cities, that day has arrived. Following the lead of a majority of the other states, California is adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). For most of us, that is a mouthful. Let us delve into what this all means.
To lay a foundation, one must have an understanding of the ongoing change to the philosophy of the school district. A few years ago, Superintendent Steve Hanke and the leadership of the district employed installed an organizational shift. The plan was to create a Professional Learning Community or PLC. A PLC will focus on three main ideas: a focus on learning, building a collaborative structure and creating a focus orientation. As an example, the bi-monthly collaboration days are meant for teachers to meet across grade levels or by subject to refine best practices and to share teaching strategies. Building an effective PLC is always an ongoing endeavor. However, it has placed the district in better position to adopt the new Common Core Standards.
The objective of CCS is centered on four questions. What do we want our students to learn? In any subject, there must be essential skills or standards to learn. But it is recognized that most students learn at a different pace. How will we know that they have learned it? This is where the Smarter Balanced Assessments come into play. This helps to monitor each learner’s progress. How will we respond when learning has not occurred? The key will be utilizing the data from the assessments. Equally important will be building time within the school day for interventions. Finally, how will we respond when learning has already occurred? For the students that have gained mastery, they will be provided enrichment activities as a method to gain an even deeper level of learning.
What also comes with the movement to CCS and SBAC is the end of standardized testing as we have known it over the past decade. Students will no longer complete their grade level testing with a number 2 pencil. Testing will be conducted on computers or tablets.
Is your middle school daughter interested in science, technology, engineering or math? If so, there is a terrific local opportunity to further that interest being held on the UC Berkeley campus Saturday March 15. “Expanding Your Horizons” (EYH) is a national non-profit program created to motivate women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Over 26,000 young women participate in Expanding Your Horizons events every year, with UC Berkeley hosting an event for the third time this year. Mark your calendar – enrolment for this popular event opens February 17, 2014.
During the day long event, participants will hear from UC Berkeley professors, graduate students and industry professionals covering biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and other STEM-related fields. The event includes fun, hands-on activities. Students choose three different workshops from a broad selection, attend a keynote presentation and end the day with an undergrad college panel. Last year’s event concluded with an inspiring presentation by GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling.
Parents are recommended to register their child early as this event is expected to be very popular; online registration opens February 17 and is available here. For inspiring interviews with women in science, technology, engineering and math, ready more in OneDublin.org’s popular Women in STEM Series of articles.
Las Positive College in Livermore is separately hosting the Tri-Valley Expanding Your Horizons event on February 22, 2014. Note that registration for the 2014 event as Las Positas College is full. Read more here.
The Dublin Unified School District is holding a series of workshops for parents to learn more about important changes coming to Dublin education in the form of Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments. On February 19 and 20, from 6:30-8:30pm at Dublin High School, parents will have the opportunity to learn first hand about these important changes in our schools. Parents are encouraged to take advantage of these important educational workshops.
DUSD Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke, “In Dublin, our mission is to ensure that every student is college and career ready. In order to accomplish this important goal, teachers, support staff, leaders, and parents must understand and be able to help our students thrive in the new era of Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments. These new standards and the way we assess student achievement are changing teaching and learning in all of our schools. No longer will students be required merely to memorize and recite facts. They will be focused on deeper learning activities, explaining the ’how’ and ‘why’ of answers, and using right brained skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. All are essential for success in college and in today’s world of work, and are closely aligned with our stated mission for Dublin students.”
Workshop registration information:
One of the positive and ongoing traditions continued at last week’s Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) Board of Trustees meeting. Generally, the second bi-monthly meeting devotes an early agenda item to spotlight one of the ten school sites in the district. On Tuesday, the slot was devoted to Kolb Elementary School. Kolb is the newest school site in Dublin and serves just over 1,000 Kindergarten through fifth grade students. The school opened in the fall of 2012 and is led by Principal Ms. Nicole Williams Browning. The site is located on a large parcel adjacent to Fallon Road and right next to the Fallon Sports Park.
At the Trustee meeting, there were presentations to students in the category of Integrity in Action. Additionally, the Kindergarten teaching team was commended for their work in fostering a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Finally, as with each spotlight, a Certificated and Classified employee is recognized. OneDublin.org recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Kolb Certificated designee, Trisha Hahn. Ms. Hahn is a Resource Teacher and Intervention Specialist.
Trisha attained a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an option in Special Education from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay). She also received a Multiple Subject Credential in Mild/Moderate Special Education. Ms. Hahn was also an athlete as she played for the Women’s basketball team. She has been employed by DUSD for ten years now and had worked primary at Dougherty Elementary School. However, she also managed to split some of her work days between Murray & Green Elementary and Fallon while it functioned as a K-8th Grade school. When Kolb opened in 2012, she made the fully dedicated move to this site.
Dublin High School Junior Sunny Bai Chosen for 2014 Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC
Members of the Fallon Middle School and the Dublin Ranch community will never forget a Fall day in 2008 when a Fallon student was struck by a car and seriously injured in a crosswalk while on the way to school. Just over five years later, that same student, Sunny Bai, a junior at Dublin High School of Dublin, California has been nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC on February 14-16, 2014. The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.
Sunny Bai: “In November 2008, I was struck by a car while walking to school, just one block from my house. The driver was an elderly man who was distracted by his seat neighbor and unexpectedly crashed into me, despite the fact that there was also a crossing guard. The impact of the collision was great enough to throw me twenty feet from where I was, knocking me unconscious. The paramedics arrived and I was taken by a helicopter to the Oakland Children’s Hospital. Despite having internal bleeding, a broken rib, cuts and scars all over my body, I was fortunate to have not only survived the incident, but to have thrived.
by Jin Hyun (Dublin High School Class of 2015 Junior)
Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one”. This is the motto for the Dublin High School Kids Against Hunger Club; they raise as much money as they can throughout the year to feed as many kids as they can.
Kids Against Hunger is an organization with over 100 packaging locations around the United States and in Canada all with the same purpose; to package food to send off to developing countries around the world. The food that they send is composed of four main ingredients: rice, soy, vitamins and flavoring, and vegetables. A single bag contains all nine essential amino acids required for complete nutrition and six servings, at only 25 cents per serving.
Dublin High School’s Gael Force Robotics Club has been working hard designing and building robots in order to reach their goal of attending the VEX 2014 World Championships in April, and you can help them get there! The team is currently competing in two online challenges and needs your votes. To vote, all you need to do is register on the VEX Robotics Forum (http://www.vexforum.com/register.php) and then visit the entry pages to cast your vote on the two entries:
- The club designed and built a massive trophy-delivering robot (video below) – view the entry and vote here.
- The club has also submitted their club website – view the entry and vote here.
In competition so far for the 2013-14 season:
- Dougherty Valley VEX Robotics Tournament (October 2013): Team 5327B won the Design Award and qualified for the State Championship in March
- Bellarmine VEX Robotics Tournament (November 2013): Team 5327B made it to quarterfinals and team 5327A to the semifinals
- Modesto VEX Robotics Tournament (December 2013): Team 5327A (a returning champion) won the tournament with teams 2059A and 21B. The Dublin High School Gael Force Robotics Club also won the Inspire Award (based on nominations by other teams). Team 5327B was ranked 7th overall in the tournament and became 4th seeded alliance captains.