Developing potential and tapping existing internal expertise to promote learning and improve practice
Roles & Responsibilities Charts
Our newest Assistant Principal follows a weekly mentoring schedule with Mr. Duffy and Ms. Manolatos. She has also taken a hands-on approach in several areas of Administrative functioning of oversight, such as OORS data input, OSI and SCI reporting and investigations. In addition, our newest Assistant Principal has been involved with positive behavioral support outreach with our Guidance and Dean’s Departments.
Given the complexity of overseeing a complex, multi-faceted school organization, each Administrator, under the direction of the Principal, has been assigned specific functional roles/responsibilities to maximize efficiency and reduce redundancy and overlap in supervision. These roles are assigned in the summer, before the fall semester begins, but have been reevaluated and modified as needed. at regular intervals throughout the school year. Having specific responsibilities has provided each administrator with a targeted area to focus on. These AP specific roles were not assigned randomly, but done in a manner that has evaluated each AP’s instructional strengths and proclivities. However, these defined roles have not precluded one administrative member from filling in for another when an emergency arises or when we are experiencing a severe staff shortage.
School Budget & Purchasing
Martin Van Buren, P177Q’s newest site was able to purchase materials that will provide students with functional (i.e. dresser for folding and putting away clothes) and job- related skills (i.e. coffee cart, coffee maker and supplies, and cash register). A classroom inventory was taken at the main site to identify furniture that was outdated. Our basement flooded in August and new furniture was ordered for SBST, counselors, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists.
177Q also aligns its budget to meet the needs of various programs and teacher teams within the organization. Per-session funding is allocated for the Academic Recovery program, Title III After School, the Equity Team, Instructional Leadership Committee, College & Career Readiness, the special events committee, and other programs that have a direct impact on students.
School Budget: Purchasing, Hiring and Per-session funding are directly aligned to the vision and mission of our school. Staff members are asked to interview for team positions and per-session activities. During interviews for team positions and per-session activities, interviewees are expected to communicate how their understanding of our school's vision, mission, and instructional focus impacts their practices and how they can apply this understanding to the betterment of our school.
School purchases are strategically aligned to our vision and mission for the improvement of instructional and student outcomes. Regularly scheduled meetings are held between the school's administration, secretaries and purchasing manager. Surveys regarding instructional programs and supplies have been distributed to teachers and related service providers to ascertain their needs to identify instructional resources for our school. Requests to purchase many of these new programs were initiated by staff members in our school.
This year, funding was allocated for a teacher leader. The teacher leader is part of our school's ILT and curriculum committee and has an active role in the purchasing of instructional resources. The teacher leader supports instructional staff and teacher teams through classroom inter-visitations, information conversations, and targeted support.
Covid & ARPA was used to ensure the safe reopening & Homecoming of our school. Funding was used to develop reopening plans, identify instructional initiatives, and to plan for successful student outcomes. The ways in which these finds were utilized was communicated with school staff and parents to ensure a transparent, comfortable and safe reopening.
College and Career Readiness funding was used to support our transition programs through staffing and supplies. Chrome Books were ordered for our transition-aged students. Per-session funds were allocated for transition support and family outreach.
Curriculum and resource surveys have resulted in the purchase of Boom Cards, Freckle, iXL and Social Express licenses for our school. Staff who have provided their feedback on instructional programs have included teachers, deans, guidance counselors and speech therapists.
Our use of COVID funding allowed for a safe school reopening. Students, staff and parents felt at ease in sending their children into our school, as evidenced by parent feedback during our monthly "Bright Side" parent town hall meetings. COVID funding also provided digital instructional resources and programs such as Boom Cards for use by our remote and blended classes.
CCR funding allocations for human capital have allowed our Transition Team Leader (TTL) and a worksite teacher to provide family outreach to over families of students who are transitioning out of our school at the end of this school year as well as others who aged-out at the end of the 2020-21 school year but are still in need of support. The TTL also provides support for the transition planning of an additional students over the age of fifteen. Due to the challenges many of our students and their families have experienced during COVID and the COVID-related obstacles faced when exploring post-secondary programs, these one-on-one conversations and support has provided families with the support needed to navigate the 'aging out' and transition process.
The inclusion of an additional Assistant Principal has afforded our school organization the flexibility and opportunity to re-allocate and distribute some of our human capital and expertise over a wider range of activities. . For example, in the area of Safety, we were able to empower one of our School Aides to take on the role of Emergency Officer within our Building Response Team. In a true Crisis, the Emergency Officer is the only member that can take over for the BRT Leader; a tremendous responsibility if such a situation would ever arise.
P. 177 Q consists of a vast network of different , yet intricately connected components. These include, but are not limited to instructitional, behavioral, social/emotional, safety, parental and community involvement, as well as the basic operational requirements of budgeting and building maintenance that are necessary to run an extremely busy school organization. We have been able to distribute oversight of each component to dedicated and empowered individuals This distribution has provided for a more efficient and cohesive level of school operations.
Special Education Coordinator
The initial phase of articulation has begun by identifying students that will be going into a Less Restrictive Environment. Our LRE list includes 20 students for right now. The SPED coordinator is collaborating with the placement officer to keep track of seats available with graduates leaving and new admits starting in September 2022.
We currently have one dedicated individual, along with ancillary staff, who are responsible for overseeing the IEP process from the initial student mandate until date of implementation. This is maintained through email communication, staff meetings, workshops and individual training and support. This has enabled our school organization to keep a concise and up to date record of IEP compliance. In addition, staff members have utilized the Coordinators expertise if any impediments to an IEP implementation arises.
177Q continues to utilize surveys to make informed decisions about school-wide practices and programs. Recent surveys that have been conducted include:
Curriculum Committee: Summer theme
Data Team: Prompt Fading Survey
Parent Survey: Preferred meeting times
Student Cell Phone Surveys
Curriculum Committee: ULS/Freckle
NYC Learning Survey
School surveys have ensured that all stakeholders in our school organization feel empowered, and also that their input is valued and accounted for. Being transparent with the results of these surveys demonstrates a real and tangible commitment by the Administration to create a truly inclusive school environment. Most importantly, we have demonstrated tangible and concrete actions that were taken as the result of.surveys that have been distributed.
Attitudes, knowledge, behaviors and beliefs that characterize the school environment and are shared by its stakeholders.
Our Staff Handbook is a living document that is reviewed, updated and modified depending on the plethora of different circumstances that transpire during the school year. As we transitioned from a remote, then blended and finally a fully in person learning environment, changes in staff responsibilities and protocols were expected to occur. For example, parent meetings with staff were now encouraged and facilitated. However, certain safety protocols were still necessary, (indeed moving forward, these precautions will probably always be with us). Appointments for parent or other stakeholders are now required, as well as proof of vaccination status and health screening remain in place for any visitors.
In order to promote cohesion between programs, we are in the process of merging our Chapter 683 Handbook into the Staff Handbook.
Our Staff Handbook is monitored and updated for each school year, as well as for the 683 Summer Program. The handbook provides guidance and a blueprint of what are the expectations and responsibilities of all staff members throughout the organization. The handbook is a collaborative document, as Unit coordinators from our different sites, as well as other specialists, such as Deans, Food services and the UFT all provide input for the final document. This Staff Handbook clarifies and delineates all staff responsibilities and is used as a reference point for any questions/concerns about what specifically is expected.
For the 2021-22 school year, the staff handbook was converted to a live document with links and online resources. This allows for up to date information to be shared with all staff and provides on-demand access.
Safety Team / Deans
The statistically significant decrease in Covid 19 incidence has brought a much larger student population to our buildings on any given day. Thus far, these increased student interactions have not produced an increase in student behavioral incidents. Rather, the opportunities for our students to interact with their classmates, friends and familiar staff members appears to have fostered a cooperative spirit among most during this in person resurgence, as evidenced by our Dean support Data.. Our Deans and also Guidance staff have been extremely diligent in monitoring and addressing any incipient behavioral incidents and addressing them before they have a chance to escalate.
Our Deans have been instrumental in helping to maintain a safe and orderly school environment. This year they have taken a more proactive approach by walking through the school building at regular intervals, visiting classes, monitoring the hallways and checking on the vestibules and staircases. The students have come to expect these regular visits by the Deans, and as a result have developed measurable positive relationships. This has led to a decrease in many of the negative Dean intake interactions that a less student centered approach can sometimes engender..
A team approach of student, staff and parents/guardians input.has been instrumental in maintaining an exceptionally low level of student behavioral occurrences. Each of the incidents that do occur are followed up with immediate parental/guardian notification by the teacher, counselor, parent coordinator or Administrator. We look for any changes in routine, setting, family/student situation or perhaps illness that may have precipitated any incident. At times there may be a language barrier, with the parents/guardians feeling uncomfortable communicating information in English. If so, our Parent Coordinator or a guidance counselor will reach out in Spanish. We also have utilized the DOE translation unit on several occasions for other languages or dialects that may be required. Being able to communicate in one’s dominant language has the effect of opening up a more forthcoming line of communication with our students and parents/guardians.
STARS Programming, Encounter Attendance & IEP Compliance
High expectations are implemented regarding the importance of mandates for student learning. Students are programmed accurately to reflect their required learning ratios and special education needs. Students are receiving their mandated services on their IEPs and STARS programming and SESIS encounter attendance is entered to reflect these services.
Our IEP Team and Special Education Coordinator work hard to ensure all students are receiving their services. The team frequently checks the reports on SESIS, STARS, and Power BI to ensure all mandates are being met.
Currently, data shows students are at 99% mandates fully matched via the SESIS-STARS programming report. Students are at 100% for a valid SESIS subject and the special education program matches IEP recommendations. Additionally, our inclusion students at 139Q and 190Q are fully programmed at 100% for their SETSS push-in and pull-out mandates.
For related services, we are currently at 94.4% for all related services that have been encountered and/or first attended in SESIS. Additionally, we are at 96% in regards to encounter attendance/first attend for those students who are mandated for counseling services.
IEP Compliance Report: IEP compliance is implemented by our IEP Team and Special Education Coordinator to ensure that all IEPs are held within one year and follow SOPM Guidelines.
As of March 2022, our data reports from the District Office of Assessment and Accountability show that we are currently at 97% in the STARS-SESIS program services report. Our report continues to show 100% compliance for Valid SESIS subject, 98% for Special Education Program matches STARS, and 99% in all other areas. The reason we are not at 100% overall compliance currently is two-fold. The first reason is due to the fact that our students enrolled in Home Instruction are not programmable in STARS. The other reason is that some of our new admit students from outside NYC are still undergoing initial evaluations and/or are waiting for their comparable services plans to be changed to IEPs.
For related services, we are unable to access our most recent compliance reports due to SESIS errors. As per our most recent accessible report from SESIS, we are currently at 96% for the percentage of services encountered/first attended. Additionally, we are also at 98% for the percentage of services encountered/first attended for counseling with only 5 students not encountered.
For IEP compliance, our IEP teams are continuing to schedule IEP meetings by their compliance dates and making every effort to finalize them 10 days after the meeting as per the SOPM guidelines.
As of March 2021, our school’s year to date attendance rate is at 84% compared with the city’s overall rate of 89%. Out of our 500 students currently on register, 60 (12% of total students) are considered at risk as being chronically absent, 46 students have an attendance rate of between 16%-60% and 2 students have still not shown (but are pending home instruction enrollment.
Due to the overwhelming outreach and attempts made by our attendance team and guidance departments, our daily attendance rate for the past three months (January-March) has ranged from 84%-94% with only two days having dropped below 84%. Some of the strategies that we have implemented to increase our attendance rate are :PIF conferences, supporting families in home instruction and home schooling applications, attendance teacher home visits and wellness checks. Students who are absent receive daily phone calls, which are then documented on the attendance log. The attendance teacher remains in close communication with absentee student teacher teams. Classes with a monthly attendance rate receives attendance certificates. During school year 2020-2021 classes received pizza parties for good attendance. However this school year we have linked attendance incentives to the PBIS Leaders’ Center
One of our core values in our school’s mission statement is Welcome. We welcome all students, families, students and staff who enter, creating a warm environment for all individuals.
Attendance is one of the key points that drives our core value of welcome. Our school attendance team is composed of an assistant principal, the special education coordinator who also serves as the attendance coordinator on the school’s consolidated plan, the school’s attendance teacher, and the pupil accounting secretary. Guidance counselors and unit coordinators serve as support secondary members for the school’s attendance team. The attendance team meets weekly to review attendance reports from the DOE Insight platform and to discuss strategies and interventions based upon the DOE Every Student Every Day handbook for increasing the attendance of those students with little to no attendance and who are chronically absent to improve the school’s attendance rate. Some interventions which are implemented are PIF conferences for students over 18 and utilization of the school transportation coordinator to resolve any issues related to bussing which may be affecting attendance. Additionally, the attendance team has been assisting families that are still wary of sending their child in due to COVID-19 concerns in the application processes for home instruction and home schooling in order to prevent a substantial loss of skills for these students.
As of December 2021, our school’s attendance rate is at 84% compared with the city’s overall rate of 90%. Out of our 508 students currently on register, 65 students are flagged as chronically absent, 37 students have an attendance rate of between 16%-60% and 12 students have still not shown.
The school-wide calendar continues to serve as a valuable information source for events, workshops and programs. Some recent highlights include:
School-wide activities: Spirit Week, Holiday celebrations
Senior Activities: Prom, Awards Night, Graduation
Curriculum: Culminating Activities and Lab Classrooms
Trainings & Workshops: IEPs, SSI
PTA: Book Club & Meeting
A school wide activity calendar is created on a monthly basis. This calendar contains important dates/holidays/events that are taking place and is distributed to all stakeholders within and outside of our organization. The calendar has proven to be especially important given that the P. 177Q school Organization is not community based, but rather our school sites rely overwhelmingly on School Bus transportation to bring the students in each day. Everyone has been able to keep track of events by receiving either a hard copy or an electronic version which is posted on our website.
A focus on continuance and meaning beyond the present moment, contextualizing today’s successes and improvements as the legacy of the future
Organization and Time Management Systems
The commitment to a full time in person learning environment has presented our school with the added benefit of a well functioning team of competent and dedicated individuals, all situated physically in relative close proximity to each other. This helps facilitates a smooth and efficient level of communication that was much more difficult to achieve in a remote setting. For example, our new Parent coordinator can now personally assess issues affecting students and their families, and thus get a much better understanding of what needs should most quickly be addressed. Our attendance teacher has now been able to conduct home visits to assess chronic absenteeism and report his findings to Administration for possible further action. This has led to a measurable increase in student attendance during the second have of the school year. Our Secretary teams now are able to work in tandem, and can quickly communicate important information to staff members. and provide in person guidance to those staff members that need more assistance due to limitations with technological facility.
Organization & Time Management Systems: Part of maintaining the organizational practice of a school is to use a Principal checklist, Power BI for Compliance calendars, and conduct regular meetings with administration and extended cabinet. Additional organizational measures include maintaining organizational folders at the office/computer/email and logging into DOE workspace systems on a regular basis. This ensures that all Central, District and School wide items are taken care of. During the week, additional items from the Chancellor's Digest and Superintendent's Digest are deciphered and distributed to ensure timely completion of all items. Items and tasks of importance are clearly articulated in all job postings and through meetings with APs, extended cabinet members, teachers, paras, RS, secretaries and school aides. All aforementioned stakeholders understand that it is their role and responsibility to complete action items before the due date.
All APs have a clear job responsibilities list with stakeholders they supervise. Each AP understands the high expectations that are set forth for them and all stakeholders they supervise.
These effective organizational structures have been important for the daily and long-term operations of our school. By planning ahead, adhering to the deadlines and organizing structures, the school is run effectively and time is well managed.
Unit Coordinators: Communicative & organizational practices
P177Q has begun to look ahead to September and calculate seats available in our various class ratios contingent on students that we have flagged for a LRE. Additionally, the team will design classes based on students' worksite interest and needs, with the plan to group students with similar interests and capacities together.
The Unit Coordinators at 295 and Martin Van Buren have reached out to neighboring schools to invite them to see a tour of our P177Q sites. Tours by our Unit Coordinators will be offered both virtually and in person.
P 177Q currently comprises our main site and four additional off sites. This year we added P177@435, which is located at Martin Van Buren High School. All of our sites are supervised by a Coordinator or a lead teacher. Each Unit specializes in servicing a specific student population, and all are an integral part of the host buildings. However, our offstites are still intimately connected to the P 177 organization, with a centralized structure that enables us to communicate directly with our coordinators. The coordinators, under the auspices of a Supervising A.P., are responsible for disseminating important instructional, parental and operational information. For example, all teachers, irrespective of which site they are assigned, attend monthly grade conferences, and Principal Duffy regularly hosts an informal chat for all staff via Zoom. These initiatives provide all staff with a concrete means of belonging to our organization as a whole. In addition, all of our compliance components such as IEP’s are centrally generated and synthesized, but our Coordinators take a leading role in their oversight and implementation. Overseeing a large school Organization can be unwieldy and complex at times, but our coordinators have first hand knowledge and information about what specific needs and supports the students in their buildings require.
The gradual diminishing of Covid 19 incidence has led to an increase in the number and volume of students and staff in our buildings on a daily basis. Hence, more congested dismissal corridors were to be expected. To remedy this situation, students at our Main site are dismissed in segments, as well as by following our color coded Bus Map. The first, second, and Mini building extensions are called for dismissal separately, and any students that have late buses go to our Auditorium, where they are supervised by staff until their buses arrive. Loudspeaker and Walkie Talkie communication is utilized during the entire dismissal process to insure that staff and students are apprised of when and where buses are located, and also to remedy any glitches in technology which can disable our electronic bus map.
The major emphasis for all stakeholders at P. 177Q is the health and safety of our students. An area of specific focus are transition times, with morning arrival and afternoon dismissal requiring a meticulous attention to detail to ensure safety for all. With input from the students, staff, busing personnel and our tech team, a live, electronic, color coded bus map was created. The map shows each individual bus on our building perimeter and in the schoolyard, and also what departure or arrival status each bus is currently in. This bus map is available to everyone in the building, and can be downloaded to any computer or smartphone. This has mitigated excessive congestion in the hallways or bus yard. Students and staff are now able to safely navigate their way to the buses without undue delay or safety concerns. Our students, especially those on the Autism spectrum often have difficulty with unclear waiting expectations, so knowing exactly when their bus is departing goes a long way towards lessening any incipient anxiety that they may be experiencing. In addition parents report a great deal of satisfaction knowing more precisely when their children will safely arrive home by bus.
With the recent update of the DOE's field trip policy, 177Q students have begun to go out to their community worksites and will soon be able to participate in field trips. As a result of these updates, 177Q updated their Field Trip policy to ensure that the health and safety of all students and staff are maintained. All Field Trips must have an instructional purpose and a lesson plan must accompany all trip requests before they are approved by the principal.
All P177Q communicated and adhered to all protocols set forth by New York State and NYCDOE involving Covid Testing in schools and distribution of Covid Test Kits, quarantine periods (separate guidelines for staff and students) and contacting the situation room for positive Covid cases. These policies and protocols evolved and our schools kept up with all the changes.Our recent School Safety meeting agendas have reflected the welcome downturn in Covid incidence. The Safety Committee has transitioned back to a more building centered entity, with an emphasis on Drills, possible safety scenarios and re affirming the roles and responsibilities of our BRT members.
School safety meetings are regularly scheduled once monthly. Stakeholders from several disciplines and with different roles are regular participants. This year, the School Safety Committee has been instrumental in working towards ensuring that the physical structure of the building, (most notably the Main Site), has become structurally safe, in light of the devastating flood that was experienced earlier in the year. Our Parent, Head Custodian and UFT Chapter chair members of the Safety Committee have been instrumental in monitoring and providing oversight about any and all facets of this building's structural recovery. In addition, the Safety Committee has been keeping track of any safety concerns about the ongoing and long term construction project that the Main Site is undergoing. These concerns have been brought to the attention of the School Construction Authority. who have thus far, been responsive to the school’s concerns.
A 3 Tiered approach to managing students’ behavior is utilized at P177Q. Tier 1 supports include the school wide PBIS program with activity and tangible reinforcers. However, students at the Tier 3 level often require intensive behavioral interventions that require referrals to the dean. Our two deans have recently completed the D75 Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Course(TCI) and utilize TCI strategies to provide our students in crisis with emotional and environmental support. Deans and counselors work closely to teach students in crisis strategies to reduce stressors.
An analysis of the students referred to the deans indicate that many of the referrals include students who are assigned behavior support paras(BSP’s). Subsequently, the deans and counselors work closely with the classroom teams of students with BSP’s. The role of the deans and counselors is that of a behavior support facilitator, who provides assistance with designing and monitoring the effectiveness of behavior support strategies.
Our Dean’s office has evolved into a well functioning and all purpose de-escalation location. On a daily basis, the room has become a place where students can feel comfortable in times of duress, well before any behavior escalates to something negative. All of our Dean’s are trained in Positive Behavior Support methodologies, and these techniques are used to mediate and mitigate any feelings of anger or anxiety that may be simmering in a student under duress. Sensory items are regularly utilized for our functionally non-verbal students who have great difficulty expressing their feelings of frustration they may be experiencing.
The SLT meets monthly to discuss the needs of the school and plan accordingly. Through strategic planning, the team makes informed decisions that have a direct impact on 177Q students. Recent SLT votes have included monetary decisions, curriculum decisions, and special events.
Our school Leadership Team has embodied our focus on Distributed leadership this year. Given the confounding challenges that we were faced with -- those being the Covid Pandemic as well as the devastating flood that disabled our entire phone and internet systems, productive input from all members of the team became even more vital. Our UFT representative, and the parent members were especially concerned about the general safety of both staff and students as everyone came back into the building. They provided real time suggestions and solutions that have been implemented and put into place in a timely and safe manner.
Design and delivery of high quality curriculum that produces clear evidence of learning
ILT & Curriculum Team Purchasing
The curriculum committee is reviewing new and current programs while planning for the Fall 2022 school year. In their planning, the team is reviewing curricula that is aligned to our newly designed cluster positions in order to provide for more cohesive and structured programs in the arts, health, and life/vocational skills programs. Additionally, the Curriculum Committee will be meeting with the Data Team to ensure that all curricular decisions for the 2022-23 school year are data-driven and aligned to the needs of 177Q students as evidenced by SANDI and FAST data trends.
Two new teachers at Martin Van Buren reflected on their practice and expressed interest in switching their instructional programs from Freckle to Unique.
Common Planning time has allowed for teachers to collaborate in planning lessons aligned to P177Q’s monthly themes while simultaneously addressing student IEP goals.
Our teacher leader has been instrumental through lab classrooms and hands on curriculum training for these brand new teachers at a brand new site.
Surveys and feedback from students and staff are utilized when making decisions about purchasing curriculum. In the fall of 2021, teachers were provided with informational resources about the ULS and Freckle programs. Upon reviewing the information. staff chose one of the two programs to use with their classes and site licenses were purchased.
The ILT and curriculum teams meet with vendors and reviews programs to identify instructional programs for our school.
The Equity Team supports student achievement through its emphasis on self-advocacy. The Equity team is supporting students in their understanding of their role during their IEP meeting through the development of the “How to Participate at my IEP Meeting” document. The target audience for this work is with our upper high school age students.
This team has expanded to address the needs of students and their families to focus on equitable access. The team participates in a book club with parents that highlights culturally responsive and inclusive texts.
Substitute teachers and paraprofessionals
As the School year has progressed, the need for competent and dedicated substitute Teachers and Paraprofessionals has not abated. One factor that has helped to mitigate this situation is the progressive waning of the Covid Pandemic. Substitute candidates now feel more comfortable in a physical School setting, making for a larger substitute pool to select from. Our site coordinators continue to perform outreach looking for available candidates. These individuals are monitored and evaluated for continuation as Substitutes, as well as for skill sets that would make them suitable for full time employment in the future.
Staff that work with substitute teachers are asked to provide an evaluation to the site coordinator. These responses are reviewed and issues are addressed in order to ensure that 177Q maintains a high quality pool of substitute staff.
A major challenge of running a busy school operation has been finding available and competent Substitute teachers and paras to fill certain vacancies. Each of our coordinators is responsible for filling these vacancies on a daily basis, and they have worked closely with Sub Central to fill these needs. Substitutes are evaluated regularly for punctuality and effectiveness, and we have a screening process in place to identify our most effective substitutes.
This year, we have three substitute teachers in long-term coverage positions. The substitutes work closely with coordinators and coaches to receive training and support.
Since the summer of 2021, 177Q has hired one full time teacher and 7 full time paraprofessionals from our substitute pool.