Friday, December 16, 2011

Teacher Leadership Opportunities: Common Core Standards

Greetings teachers!

Please read the letter below to learn about ways that you can participate in our efforts to transition to the Common Core State Standards. The complete letter and application for leadership opportunities are attached. Note that the application is due Friday, December 16th.

To: OUSD preK-12 Language Arts Teachers, Secondary ELA and Core Teachers, Literacy coaches, and Instructional Leaders


In order to prepare teachers and ultimately students for a successful transition to the Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, we must develop a deep understanding of the new standards and their implications for instruction, as well as begin to build a curricular guide that will support teachers in designing Common Core aligned units and lessons that consider the unique needs of Oakland students. We believe that we cannot do this work without engaging teachers who best understand the needs of our students. The literacy team at LCI would like to invite interested OUSD educators to collaborate with us in this important work.

Specific Project Goals Include:

  1. Create a common core curriculum guide that includes course descriptions, tools and resources, and sample lessons and units that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and incorporate best practices that address the diverse needs of Oakland students.
  2. Develop a cadre of teachers who are positioned to take leadership at their site and /or district level around the Common Core State Standards in terms of both professional development and curriculum development.

Who Should Apply?

  • Teachers who have interest in developing expertise in the new Common Core State Standards and connecting them to ongoing and future classroom practices and district initiatives.
  • Teachers who have interest in participating in quality professional development on developing Common Core aligned performance tasks and curriculum using backward design.
  • Teachers willing to take on leadership roles within their school and the district in order to collaborate and support colleagues as they work to understand the new Common Core State Standards.
  • For the development of sample units only: Teachers with at least 3 years of classroom experience and ample experience in backward design.

Menu of Opportunities and Estimated Time Commitments

Attend learning sessions to develop expertise in the CCSS and backward design

3 or 4 sessions after school and /or Saturdays beginning in January or summer PD days

Feedback on planning and co-facilitation of Second Wednesday Central PDs

2 -3 hours of planning time, 1.5 hours of co-facilitation for each PD (not necessary to commit to all PDs)

Provide consultation on the development of a Common Core Curriculum guide

Approximately 2-3 hours each meeting in February, April, and June

Collaborate with literacy specialists and other teachers to create or revise and pilot sample performance tasks, lessons, and units

Weekly planning sessions and reflection of implementation for approximately 2 months (at your site or centrally)


  • Deepen understanding of the Common Core State Standards and backward design
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Collaboration with other teachers and literacy specialists
  • Compensation (hourly rates for facilitation of PD, consulting, and attending learning sessions; stipend available for unit development)

Interested teachers should fill out and return the attached application form.

For more information, contact

Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction

Oakland Unified School District

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A friend and fellow pre-schooler mom shared this article with me. It's about a practice called staylistening that is based in counseling. Although in our classrooms, we may not use this technique exactly as outlined in this article. There are still some really important takeaways.
  1. All of us, not just our children, have episodes of upset, during which our logical, reasonable and cooperative powers are totally sidelined by encompassing and confusing clouds of feelings.
  2. Children are built to let us know the instant their minds are derailed by feelings. They don’t hide their troubles.
  3. Staylistening is not for the faint of heart. It takes work to shed our own feelings of hurt so we can keep reaching for an angry child.

We must secure our own mask. We must prioritize sleep, healthy eating, and learn ways to manage our stress or our own hurt, trauma, stress will derail our logical thinking and derail our ability to support the children in our classroom.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FREE Bullying & Social Thinking Workshop (free)

I saw this on Berkeley Parents Network. Bullying is a huge issue and any way we can learn about how to prevent HAS to be a good thing
Learn practical strategies for children & parents to prevent bullying.
FREE EVENT Mon. Jan. 9 from 7:30-9pm
At Communication Works: 4400 Keller Ave. Suite 200 Oakland
RSVP mandatory by Fri. Jan. 6 to 510.639.2929
Visit for more info.
Submitted by: Stephanie Alvarez (

Monday, November 7, 2011

Preparing Educators & Youth in a Racist World

What a title!

Today at 4 p.m. Claude Steele, Dean of Stanford University's School of Education in partnership with Mills College School of Education will be presenting at the Castlemont High School Auditorium here in Oakland.

8610 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland.

Also mark your calendar for future events:
January 23: Bill Ayers & Rick Ayers
February 23: Gloria Ladson-Billings
April 23: Sonia Nieto

Powerhouse team! Hope to see you there.

Acupressure for Teachers

How cool is that???

My friend Funmilayo is offering this workshop for teachers practically for free (sliding scale from $5 to $15).

Acupressure is an ancient healing art utilizing light to medium finger pressure to specific
points on the body. Acupressure can be very helpful in relieving stress and promoting
an overall sense of calm in many people. It has been helpful in relieving muscle tension,
headaches as well as strengthening the body’s resistance to various illnesses. In the spirit
of “Taking care of yourself”, acupressure allows you to embrace balance, calm and peace of
mind into your life.

For more information and /or to arrange your appointment . . . Call: Your Body’s Melody 510-304-5785

Space is limited to 5 teachers so hurry. She may be able to set up two sessions if there is a need but that still leaves thousands of teachers stressed out so hurry!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chabot Space & Science Educator Open House

Thursday, November 3 (4pm - 7pm)
Open House is FREE but reservations are required!

Our family is a big fan of Chabot Space & Science Center. Our 3-year-old and our 7-year-old always have a great time there. We've seen all of the movies there at least half a dozen times. The place is just . . . cool!

And Chabot Space & Science loves . . . TEACHERS. Next Thursday, November 3 from 4-7 pm is an open house for teachers. We get to learn about the various classes available for K-12 science classes in astronomy, earth, life and physical sciences.

Register here.

You definitely don't want to miss this. There's a raffle, hands-on exhibits and demos and other really cool stuff plus it's FREE.


  • New Programs, Including "Tap the Wind,” an Energy Class Where Students Design Wind Turbine Blades for Maximum Efficiency
  • Visit the Challenger Learning Center® to Learn About Our Simulated Space Missions for Students Grades 4–8
  • Hands-On Exhibits, Including the Interactive Bill Nye’s Climate Lab
  • Hands-On Demos with Chabot’s Dynamic Education Staff
  • Raffle for a Free Trip
  • Telescope Viewing Through Our Historic Telescopes (weather permitting)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Outstanding Educator Award--Apply today!

California Teacher Corps Annual
Michael McKibbin Outstanding Educator Award
Your Opportunity to Honor an Excellent Teacher!

The California Teacher Corps is proud to announce the second annual Michael McKibbin Outstanding Educator Award. This award is designed to honor an outstanding educator in California who has completed or is currently enrolled in an Alternative Certification credentialing route.

Michael McKibbin, a retired administrator from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, has been instrumental in establishing and supporting alternative route programs in California. He has been a strong advocate for the selection of the right teacher for students in California and the California Teacher Corps Michael McKibbin Award recognizes and honors his lifetime work.

Application Process

Intern Program Directors throughout California utilize the California Teacher Corps Storytelling Guide (attached) to submit nominations.

Completed applications should be submitted electronically to the California Teacher Corps or in person at the statewide CCTC regional meetings no later than November 29, 2011.

Successful candidates will have attributes that align with the California Teacher Corps Vision, Mission, and Goals including but not limited to the following:
Exemplary educator who has made a positive, powerful impact on his/her classroom or school, including leadership roles

Second-career professional whose previous career will resonate with the general public

Highly-qualified and expert in his/her subject matter

Working in a high-need school, location, subject area or underserved communities.

The award winner is expected to attend the California Teacher Corps annual conference (February 9-10, 2012) in Napa Valley. It is expected that the Intern Program pay for conference and travel costs for the Intern. The nominating Director should submit a brief cover letter stating that, using program or regional funds, he/she is willing to pay for the Intern's travel and conference expenses.

To learn more about last year's winner, Baljeet Gill, go to our website. For additional information, contact the California Teacher Corps board at

Nominations Must be Received by November 29, 2011