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CAO & AP Messages

August 17, 2018

Hotep Students, Parents and Caregivers!

Can you believe summer 2018 is almost behind us?  We hope that this time was used to fellowship with family and friends, check something off of your To Do List, reflect and read a good book!  The 2017-2018 school year gave us many moments to celebrate while also leaving us with an ambitious list for continued improvements. Reflecting on the feedback provided from our students, parents, and staff as well as standardized test scores, we have made changes to our instructional programming.  Students in grades 9 and 10 will reap the benefit from an intervention period where they will be exposed to teacher directed and online curriculum via Achieve 3000 and Study Island.

The first program, Achieve 3000, exposes students to informational text such that every student in class reads the same grade-appropriate content differentiated at their individual reading level, empowering all students to fully participate in whole-class instruction and discussions.  It also has instructional materials to enhance college and career readiness skills and supports students with special needs as well as students receiving support through our Response to Instruction and Intervention Program.  The second program, Study Island, incorporates rigorous multiple choice and technology-enhanced items for mathematics. To support the learning process, students have access to built-in tools, immediate feedback, and if necessary, automatic remediation to ensure success.  We will continue to provide double periods of instruction in Algebra 1 for our 9th grade students and Biology for our 10th grade students. Our 11th grade students who require additional supports to demonstrate proficiency on the Keystone Exams will be provided full year Keystone Prep courses, which will not take the place of core content areas.  It is imperative that our students attend school daily and on time so they can take advantage of the rigorous programming that we have to offer.

If you visited the school during the summer months you might have noticed some renovations!  We decided to tear down walls to build two full size classrooms. This has allowed us to establish a 9th grade learning community on the first floor complete with a newly constructed STEM lab.  We’ve also replaced additional water fountains with newer models that will allow students to fill up their water bottles and reduce their carbon imprint. Last year we saved 12,663 water bottles and we are now positioned to save even more! The positive feedback we received from students regarding our outside seating area prompted us to purchase and install additional seating for students to enjoy during their lunch period.  While all of our classrooms were equipped with technology, we’ve replaced our Smartboards with Smart TVs, which will provide greater levels of functionality for our facilitators. Last year we also piloted a 1:1 chromebook program with two pathways. Students in grades 9, 10, and 12 had access to chromebooks via a classroom cart while our 11th grade

students were permitted to travel to and from school with their laptops.  As you can imagine this was quite a learning experience in that insurance was optional.  While we are pleased that the pros surpassed the cons, we were faced with a substantial financial burden due to damage, misplacements, unreturned laptops, and theft.  Students who failed to return their laptops have incurred a $200 replacement fee, which until paid will prohibit them from participating in any extracurricular activities such as sports, prom, trips, and graduation.  

Both 11th and 12th grade students in good standing will have 1:1 computer access allowing them to take their  devices home with a nominal $55 insurance premium fee. On the other hand, both 9th and 10th grade students will continue to use devices in their respective classrooms.  

As you can imagine, this summer has been fast paced, with staffing changes, new hires, and a two-week summer institute training that will serve as the foundation for moving us forward.  We will miss staff members who are no longer working directly with our students but remain embedded in our hearts.  Please take a moment to welcome our new family members who are joining us this school year:

Sister Alexis Anderson, Science Facilitator

Baba JaRon Burnett, STEM Facilitator

Brother Andrew Chan, Mathematics Facilitator

Sister Kimberly Grandy, English Facilitator

Brother Victor LoPiccolo, Science Facilitator

Brother Maximillian Macias, Science Facilitator

Sister Liza Meiris, Mathematics Facilitator

Mama Maria Hernandez, Spanish Facilitator

Sister Stephanie Mack, PE/HE Facilitator

Brother Russell Phillips Jr., Mathematics Facilitator

Brother Angel Rivera Jr., English Facilitator

Brother Benjamin Slater, SPED Facilitator

Sister Melanie Stafford, STEM Facilitator

Brother Charles Thomas Jr., Dean of Students

Brother Steven Vaughn-Lewis, Science Facilitator

Sister Julie Woodlin, Mathematics Facilitator

Sister Danielle Wright, OurStory Facilitator

Parental involvement is a vital component in the education process.  We hope that you will take an active role in your child’s education by joining our Wazuri Parent Association and attending monthly Wazuri meetings, which are held at the school on the fourth Thursday of the month.  (See the calendar for specific dates.) Be sure to log into Schoology to view your child’s assignments and PowerSchool to view your child’s grades; each program has an app that you can download on your mobile device. We Are Rising towards academic excellence and counting on your support for a great 2018-2019 school year!

Yours in the spirit of Ujima,

Jury Segers                                                 Carla R. Pitt

Principal/Chief Academic Officer                Associate Principal