Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Magnolia Message: Letter from the Superintendent

Welcome to the Spotlight on Student Learning!  This edition of the Spotlight provides an overview of Piedmont Unified’s many initiatives to develop and deliver relevant curriculum through innovative instructional strategies. Over the last few years, teachers at all levels have been teaching new curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards and have been implementing new…

Common Core Math: Secondary Math Textbook Adoption

Since 2013, Piedmont Unified has been working toward the full implementation of teaching the Common Core Math Standards and Standards for Mathematical Practice.  Currently our students in kindergarten through 9th grade are enrolled in Common Core-aligned math classes. The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice promote a deeper understanding of mathematics and require students to solve…

Common Core Math: New Online Math Resources Offer Differentiation Tools for PMS Students

by Lucas Denman Recently, the Piedmont Middle School math department has begun to develop a new website for students.  The website,mathhorizon.org, will offer a variety of extension activities and problems for students to browse through and explore. These activities will focus on real-world applications of mathematics, modeling, problem-solving, and reasoning.  Students will learn more about…

NGSS Update: Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards at PMS

by Dan Kessler and Camilla Thayer The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) represent a shift in the way students learn and are taught Science K-12.   The NGSS represents “3-Dimensional” instruction, where students learn what scientists DO, how scientists THINK, and what scientists KNOW.  Students use information gained by investigation in one situation and apply this…

Elementary STEAM Expo and the Importance of Arts-Centered Learning

by Tracy Broback   Imagine my surprise when I attended every workshop I could find on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education at the National Arts Educators Association (NAEA) meeting last Spring and found that art educators weren’t necessarily keen on the idea.   I was right in the midst of reimagining the annual…

World Language Instruction Evolving Towards a Proficiency-Oriented Model

by Christelle Hutin-Lee and Cheryl Wozniak Over the past year, the World Language department has been participating in professional development programs that have enhanced their instructional strategies and directly benefited their students.  For example, the Berkeley World Language Project provided comprehensive teacher training during our three staff development days.  In addition, some teachers attended the…

The College Admissions Process: How Do We “Turn the Tide?”

by Stefanie Manalo-LeClair Almost everyday I either overhear students say they want to volunteer for a group or organization so that it “looks good” on their college application. Other times I have students ask me directly, “What should I do to make my application look good to colleges?”  As a counselor, I am concerned that…

21st Century Teaching and Learning

by Cheryl Wozniak We are well into the 21st century, yet, in some respects, we are just beginning to understand how different of an educational experience our students need to be prepared to hold a variety of jobs, some of which have not yet been defined.  Similarly, we, educators, are learning how different our roles…