Strong Connections Make for Effective Learning

This past week, our Madagascar Jr Musical debuted at Feaster Charter School! Our entire crew – the stage actors, tech team, stage crew, directors, and custodial team – came together to build a stage from scratch and put on an amazing production.

Following the show, I was talking with one of our students and she commented on the scene where Marty the Zebra, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, and Melvin the Giraffe are given a stick of seaweed. The student said, “I finally get that scene from the movie, the herbivores and omnivores love the seaweed, but Marty doesn’t because he’s a carnivore.”

This statement got me thinking…this scene was in the movie, but the student didn’t understand why it was so funny until she had a personal connection with the characters. In addition to putting on an amazing performance, the students who saw this show also made important connections between the scenes and high-level vocabulary. When learners can connect with who they are learning from, with, and for, they are more likely to understand complex ideas. The connections we make with our learners matter; finding those ways to build relationships will create powerful learning opportunities.

If you have not had a chance to see the Feaster Charter Madagascar Jr production, check out this clip from the closing number by clicking here.

Holding Students Accountable for Using Devices for Academic Purposes

This past week, our Feaster Charter counselors held a powerful Student Success Workshop titled, “The Harmful Effects of Social Media.” During this session, our counselors reminded parents to go through their students’ iPad search history and to look through their photos and recently deleted images. This blog post is being written to share a reminder that teachers should do the same with their school-issued devices.

Checking Search History

The search history on an iPad can give us a lot of information about how the student is spending their time on their device. If you would like to have any restrictions enabled on the device, please reach out to your tech team.

  1. Open Safari
  2. Click the paper icon at the top left of the screen below the clock
  3. Click History
  4. Scroll through the history
  5. Long press on a website to preview the site without opening it

If you want to see how long students are spending on certain websites, you can

  1. Open settings
  2. Scroll down to Safari
  3. Click Advanced
  4. Look at how much data is being used on specific websites
To preview the website in the iPad search history, long press on the site and wait for the site to load in the preview screen (see example above)

Looking Through Photos

Another app to check on student devices is the Photos app. When looking through this app, you can

  1. Open Photos
  2. Scroll through images
  3. Click on a photo and swipe up to see more about the time and date when the photo was taken
  4. Go to Recently Deleted photos
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3


The screentime on a device, if it has been turned on, can tell us how long a student has spent on certain apps and programs:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to Screentime
  3. Click See All Activity
  4. Look through “Most Used”
For a video tutorial showing how to check student search history and how to go through photos, check out the video above

It is a great practice to periodically spot-check student iPad devices. This will help students stay accountable for using their devices for school purposes. If you see anything inappropriate on the device, please reach out to admin and your tech team, send the iPad to room 121, and set up a meeting with the students’ parent/guardian.

Professional Development – Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Chapters 7 & 8

This week, our Feaster Charter staff had a professional development meeting that reviewed chapters 7 and 8 of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain! Teachers rotated between three different sessions. This blog post reviews the key points and activities shared in all 3 sessions.

Information Processing Theory

Information Processing Model

Activity: Provide learners with a set of symbols, show them the set of symbols for 10 seconds and have them write the symbols they recall. Repeat this with partners. Do the activity a third time with a small group.

When we can chunk the information and rely on others to help us identify what is important, we can more easily recall what we are learning.

Information Processing Model:

  • Rehearsal Maintenance: hold information for immediate use
  • Organization – chunk the content
  • Elaborative – store information to aid learning
  • Meaningful Learning – students can make connections to what they are learning; for example, they must know subtraction before they can divide)

Types of Memory

Sensory Register/Sensory Memory:

  • Filters raw data from visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory
  • Unconscious – passive process
  • Limited capacity – visual (half a second) and auditory (lasts 3-4 seconds)
  • Seconds before decay – 2-3 seconds or less

Short Term (Working) Memory

  • Encoding, organizational, and retrieval processes occur
  • Defined more by quantity than time (5-9 items)
  • Rehearsal Maintenance – hold information for immediate use
  • Organization – chunk information
  • Elaborative – tap into prior knowledge
  • Meaningful Learning – make connections, use stored information

Long Term

  • Permanent storehouse of unlimited capacity; more or less permanent
  • Organized as schemata (plural of schema)
  • Retrieval of information is extremely rapid and accurate
  • Retrieval of information is extremely rapid and accurate

Strategies to Support Memory:

  • Total Physical Response – adding movements to words
  • Chants – GLAD strategy
  • Songs – rhythmic music that connects to the learning

Information Processing

  1. Input – deciding what is important
  2. Elaboration – making information meaningful
  3. Application – within 24-48 hours, revisit the knowledge

Building Intellective Capacity


  • Cannot start learning until the brain knows to pay attention to it
  • Use culturally oriented attention-getting strategies to wake up the RAS (reticular activating system) in the brain
  • Oral traditions start storytelling or learning with an attention-getting activity – drumming, chanting, music, hand clapping
  • Use novelty, curiosity, or relevance to generate excitement.


  • Call & Response – back and forth chants
  • Music – transition songs
  • Provocations – content in interesting ways
  • Talk – think/pair/share, talk time..


  • Provide the brain with information in amounts that it can retain


  • 7 to 1 (like a phone number)
  • Start with big picture then get into details


  • Unstructured Think Time: give time to process learning
    • 15-20 minutes of instruction followed by 5-7 minutes of think time where students can draw, write with a prompt, or complete one of these discussion protocols.
  • Cognitive Routines: basic mental maneuvers
    • How is this new material connected to what I already know?
    • What are the natural relationships and patterns in the material?
    • How does it fit together? What larger system is it apart of?
    • Whose POV does it represent?


  • Learner must apply new understanding within 24 hours for new neural pathways to consolidate
    • Authentic practice
    • Rehearsal
    • Repetition
  • After 20 minutes –> 60% remembered
  • After 24 hours –> 30% remembered
  • Practice once in 24 hours and once more –> 80% remembered

Shifting Academic Mindset in the Learning Partnership

Mindset Activity

An academic mindset means that learners are more willing to engage, work hard, and persevere through challenges. Completing a Mindset Quiz like the one linked here can us better understand our mindsets and the mindsets of our learners.

Microagressions & Academic Mindset

Microassaults- give more severe punishment to a student of color; overemphasizing military-like behavior management strategies; excluding students from fun activities as punishment
Microinsults- not learning to pronounce a student’s name or giving the student and anglicized name; confusing two students of the same race and brushing it off as “they all look alike.”
Microinvalidations- trivializing and dismissing students’ experiences as in telling them they are being too sensitive or accusing them of “playing the race card.”

Shift in Mindset

  • Help students create a counter narrative about their identity as learners
  • Use images, quotes, and poetry to ignite student’s imagination about what’s possible
  • Notice and acknowledge students when they are acting according to the elements of academic mindset
  • Help students connect with their current expertise and competencies
  • Help students interrupt negative self-talk

We are incredibly appreciative of our lead, counselors, and admin teams for helping to host our PD this weeK! Feaster Charter teachers can see the complete presentations by going to the Feaster Elementary OneNote and looking under the 21-22 tab.

Workshop Model: A Preview into the 22/23 School Year

During our Professional Development this week, we began with a reflection on our purpose and connected that to what we are doing with the workshop model and how that is related to what we are doing with our classroom libraries.

Learning Goals

•Participants will discuss a professional reading about the workshop model and connect it to learning environment.

•Participants will come to a common understanding of what workshop model is.

•Participants will discuss how to organize the classroom libraries.

Success Criteria

•Participants will be able to articulate connections between workshop model and the school’s vision and value.

•Participants will be able to name the three core areas of a workshop model.

•Participants will be able to articulate how they will organize their libraries.

Mission & Vision

Mission: Our mission is to use resources, research, and data to help all students develop the skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to succeed in work and life. Within a context of core knowledge instruction based on the Common Core State Standards, students will learn the 21st-century essential skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.

Vision: At Feaster Charter School, students are at the center of our decision-making. We are focused on instructional excellence and accept no excuses for lack of student performance. We are a school where instruction matters, teachers engage in the identification and implementation of research-based practices that make a positive impact on student learning. Our teachers use current research on teaching and learning to improve their instructional practice for the success of all students. All staff is committed to increasing student achievement for all students. Teachers and staff are evaluated and can be rewarded for their performance in moving student achievement forward. Through the focus on standards, assessment, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and learning environments, students leave our school prepared to thrive in today’s global economy.

Connection: Our work to facilitate learning is connected to our vision and mission because both help support our learners in becoming independent learners who are also critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, and collaborators.

Workshop Model Goal for 2022/2023

By June 2023, all teachers and students will be able to articulate their roles and responsibilities in the workshop model and implement elements of the workshop model as evidenced by the quality indicators (teacher, student, learning environment).

Using the Workshop Model to Foster Independence – Edutopia Article

Take-aways from the Edutopia article, “Using the Workshop Model to Foster Independence:”


“In the mini-lesson, teachers model a skill, strategy, or step of a project.”

-brevity, direct instruction happens during the mini-lesson, cognitive load is on the teacher

Workshop Portion

“In the workshop portion, students work on their own or in small groups.”

Opportunities for individualized feedback, increased independent time

Whole Group

“In the final portion of the workshop model, students come back together as a whole group for a reflection or debrief.”

Share successes and challenges, option to do a Google Form

Workshop Model

Mini-Lesson: teacher leads the learning and focuses on one standard

Workshop: teacher’s Role during Workshop time is to work with small group based on the content that was just taught while students are working independently

Debrief: students have an opportunity to present their work and get feedback

Classroom Libraries

Learning Environment Goal: By June 2022, all learning spaces at Feaster will be designed to promote student independence in support of the implementation of a workshop model as evident by the blended learning environment and students’ knowledge of how to access resources.

Booksource (loose option)

“Booksource is a leading provider of classroom libraries for school districts, literacy coaches and classroom teachers across the country. We are experts in children’s and young adult literature for the classroom and have spent decades helping build thousands of classroom libraries that fit every classroom need imaginable. We can help you choose just the right book to engage every student.”


Upcoming Dates – 5/19 and 6/2

•Supplies (book labels, tape, colored dots, bins and post-its) will be delivered to your classroom.

•Books will be delivered to individual classrooms, however, feel free to make changes as a grade level if needed. 

•Middle School students will be available on May 19th to assist.  Students will be assigned to teachers.  Additional community service hours can be scheduled as needed.

•Admin, Coaches, and Heather will be available that day to help with Classroom Booksource as is needed. You can also watch this video for more information.

Looking to use Booksource? Check out this tutorial!

Crisis Prevention w/ Shannen McKinney

This week’s Feaster Charter School professional development was hosted by Shannen McKinney who is a Resource Specialist at McMillin Elementary and has studied with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.


This training is intended to be used as a general resource for recognizing the various levels of behavior escalation and intervention strategies. Shannen McKinney focuses this PD on Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI). CPI is about maximizing safety and minimizing harm. These strategies can be used in a behavior plan, but a plan must be created in order to prevent failure and repeated crises.

Discuss core Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training concepts to specific de-escalation and verbal intervention

Introduce preventative techniques of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training

Learn levels of behavior for a person in crisis and corresponding staff responses

Promot the Care, Welfare, Safety, and security of all stakeholders in your care

The CPI Crisis Development Model


Crisis Development/ Behavior LevelsStaff Attitudes/Approaches
1. Anxiety1. Supportive
2. Defensive2. Directive
3. Risk Behavior3. Safety Interventions
4. Tension Reduction4. Therapeutic Rapport
Shannen McKinney shares this resource and discusses slight changes that we can make when we are addressing students who may be experiencing the above Crisis Development/Behavior Levels

Anxiety from learner = support from staff

What do you do as an adult facilitator when you are using restorative practices?

  • Hold a restorative conversation
  • Take students to a private location
  • Give time and space and allow for “the story to happen” – an alternative to restorative practices and asking questions
    • “Tell me about it”
    • “Tell me more”
  • Reflect on how the student is responding and how their demeanor may have changed

Defensive behavior from learner = directives from staff

  • Recognize when the learner is not exhibiting typical behavior. If the question being asked is a rational question, that should illicit a rational response. For example, if the student asks repeatedly when lunch is, the teacher can respond and/or write the answer in a visible location.
  • When challenging questions arise, the challenge should be downplayed and the topic being studied should become the focus. The goal is to avoid the power struggle because the second that you are in the power struggle, you lost.
  • Release is a common characteristic of defensiveness when a learner just needs to get their words out. If this is the first time that this has happened, let it happen and ensure that all learners are safe.
  • Learners can be fighters, flighters, or freezers when they are feeling defensive.
    • In the face of danger, what is your body’s first reaction? That is the go-to reaction when they are in a defensive mode?
    • When a learner is in fight mode, the first step is to remove the spectators and connect with admin and support staff.

Risk Behavior from learner = safety interventions from staff

  • Risk behavior is when a learner is exhibiting behavior that creates a dangerous situation to themselves or others.
  • Click this link for Ed Code on Restraint and Seclusion – when this happens, you need to write a report with the school psychologist.
    • Two types of safety interventions are restrictive and non-restrictive, restraints always require 3 adults
    • Non-restrictive strategies are our go-to’s…they should be practiced, risk behavior drills should be held and a system should be in place
From the Feaster Charter School 21/22 Staff Handbook, see pages 22-29 for more details

Tension/Reduction from learner = therapeutic rapport from staff

When a learner is calm and expresses guilt over actions, staff can give it time and we can hold a reflective conversation to learn what in the environment is missing that is not supporting the learner. The reflection should be focused on what the staff member can do to support the needs of the learner.

Nonverbal Behavior: Personal Space

Even when a single word is not spoken, we can create a narrative. This means that we need to get better at people-watching and creating narratives. Observing the signs and non-verbal communications can help us understand the needs of the learner. We can get better at identifying where our bubble is and understanding where the bubble of our students’ is.

Nonverbal Behavior: Supportive Stance

A supportive stance looks like:

  • Toes facing away from the person
  • Appearing non-threatening
  • Hands are down and relaxed
  • Communicates respect
  • Maximizes safety

Nonverbal Behavior: Paraverbal Communication

Rate & Rhythm: how are we making our voice sound interesting while recognizing learners who are noise sensitive?

Tone: remain calm and supportive while also recognizing how learners respond to different tones of voice

Volume: we have students who are noise sensitive and we can be our best selves by recognizing the needs of those learners

Integrated Experience

Behavior communicates our emotions and influences our actions. When we stay calm and consistent, the learner knows what to expect and gives us a moment to take a deep breath and consider the routines we have set.

Rational Detachment

Rational detachment can be the hardest to do because we have put so much effort into our work and detaching feels like failing.

  1. Don’t take things personally
  2. Use a strategy
  3. Engage in self-care
  4. Stay consistent and calm

Precipitating Factors

These are factors that influence behavior, they can be internal and external, but we have little to no control over them. We do not know the situations and the home lives of many of our learners, but imaging what we see as an iceberg where the majority of the emotions are underwater can help us focus on what we can influence.

Following a Crisis – Come Together to Make a Plan

How can we change our behavior to make the environment more supportive for the struggling learner?

Focus on what we can control, orient ourselves with the situation, identify patterns, investigate the cause, negotiate a solution, and give support

This PD hosted by Shannen McKinney was focused on CPI, or Crisis Prevention Intervention. For more information on this subject, visit this link.

Test Pep Videos 2022

This past week, our amazing Feaster Charter teachers worked to create short videos that would inspire our learners. The purpose of these videos is to help our learners at Feaster Charter remember their experiences from this school year and to recall that they have come so far. Watching these videos prior to testing will help build confidence and will help our students feel even more supported.

Testing Strategies

Test Pep with Feaster Charter TK-2nd, 3rd & 4th, and Admin

Test Pep with IA’s, Mindlabs, & Intervention Teachers

Test Pep with Admin, Dual Immersion & Library, 5th & 6th

Test Pep with Instructional Coaches, Intervention Teachers, & Counselors

We hope that these videos work to give all of our Feaster Charter students some inspiration and help them recall all their amazing experiences and learning!

CAASPP Training for 2022

This past week, our Feaster Charter teachers in grades 3rd-8th attend a training focused on adminstering the 2022 CAASPP. This blog post is a reflection of that learning.


  • Review the 2021/2022 CAASPP Test Administration guidelines
  • Ensure all materials are handled securely and appropriately
  • Ensure our school follows correct, current CAASPP procedures
4 CAASPP Assessments

Key Resources

  • All materials are available in the Fesater Elementary OneNote Notebook. Feaster Charter teachers can visit the OneNote to access the following documents:
    • Rollout Plan
    • Adjusted Blueprints
    • Relevant Vocabulary
    • Calculators
    • Science
    • Spanish
    • Sample Items
    • Intervention
    • Review Strategies
    • IAB
    • Additional Resources

2021/2022 TOMS User Roles

Test Site Coordinators (TSCs) include: Dr. Sleiman, Mr. Gordillo, Mrs. Ramirez, Mrs. Macleod, Mrs. Hernandez, Ms. Aderholdt

Section 1: Roles and Responsibilities

  • Test Administrator:
    • Read and sign the digital security affidavit
    • Complete CAASPP training
    • Review all policies and administration documents prior to testing
    • Administer CAASPP assessments
    • Ensure student(s) are receiving appropriate test settings
    • Ensure that testing is a positive experience
    • Report all potential test security incidents to TSC immediately
  • Test Examiner (in addition to the above)
    • Trained by CAA and view the Test Examiner Tutorial
    • Review DFAs before testing and return to CAASPP Site Coordinator

Security (see slide 10 for more details)

  • All summative test items and test material are secure and must be appropriately handled
  • Secure handling protects the integrity, validity, and confidentiality of assessment items, prompts, and student information
  • Any deviation in test administration must be reported as a test security incident
  • It is the responsibility of each person to maintain the integrity of the test
    • The TSC is responsible for immediately reporting any security violation to the LEA CAASPP coordinator

Test Security Incidents

These are three different types of test security incidents:

  • Impropriety
  • Irregularity
  • Breach

Section 2: Test Security & Incident Protocol

Each test is coded with a bar that can be decoded and tracked.

Any test security incident must be reported immediately to any of the test site coordinators.

Test Administrators cannot:

  • Review test questions before, during, or after testing
  • Check students’ answers including (but not limited to)
    • Advise students regarding how to manipulate technology-enhanced questions
    • Advise or coach students regarding wrong answers or to check an answer
    • Halt a student from continuing their test until they demonstrate that they have the right answers

Secure Materials

At the end of testing, the Test Adminstrators and Test Examiners must sign in the following items after testing is done:

  • CAA DFAs
  • SSID Cards
  • Scratch Paper
  • Print-On-Demand Resources
  • Special Forms

Section 3 Timelines and Schedules

Summative Assessments: Smarter Balanced Assessments for ELA and Math

All students in grades 3rd – 8th take the Smarter Balanced Assessment in ELA and Mathematics with the following expectations:

  • English learners who have been enrolled in a school in the United States for fewer than 12 months for ELA-Newcomer EL Date of 4/15/2021

SBAC Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and Performance Task

CAT: Adjusts the level of difficulty to student’s ability and includes a variety of item types; student is scored based on the number of correct answers AND difficulty of questions completed

PT: Opportunity to demonstrate higher-order thinking skills to explore and analyze a complex, real-world scenario; students must access both the CAT and PT to receive a score but not necessarily complete all items

Testing Times (May Vary)

Updates to the Smarter Balanced for ELA and Mathematics

Adjusted Blueprints

Math Adjusted Blueprint Linked Here

ELA Adjusted Blueprint Linked Here

  • The use of the adjusted test blueprints for 2021–22 was approved by the California State Board of Education.
  • Aggregate claim results for groups of 30 or more students will be shown on the public reporting website.

California Science Test (CAST)

Section 4 Accessibility: Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations

Accessibility Resources

2021/2022 California Student Assessment Accessibility Documents (linked here)

Section 5: Test Administration

Appropriate Testing Conditions

  • Reduce fear and stress
  • Room has good lighting and ventilation
  • Room is free of noise and distractions
  • Remove or cover any instructional resources
  • Post an “Unauthorized Electronic Devices May Not Be Used at Any Time During the Testing Session”
  • Place a “Testing – Do Not Disturb” sign on your door
  • Seating arrangements are appropriate
  • Establish procedures to maintain a quest testing environment
  • Cell phones and electronic devices must be turned off and put away
All classrooms have appropriate signs outside during testing time

Scheduling Considerations

Setting Up a Test Session

Test Rules for General Assessments


  • Must answer all test questions on a page (ie screen) before moving on to the next page
  • May not return to a test segment once it has been completed
  • Must answer all test questions before the test can be submitted
  • May not return to test once it has been submitted

Test Administrators:

  • Must follow the “SAY” script exactly each time a test session is administered

Scratch Paper

SBAC for ELA: Scratch paper should be provided for not taking if necessary, only plain paper or lined paper is appropriate for ELA

SBAC for Math: Scratch paper is required for all grades. Graph paper is required for Grade 6 and all above, it can be used on all math assessments

CAST: Scratch paper (lined, plain, or graph) that is blank on both sides is required for all grades as a non-embedded universal tool

Preparing Test Environment


Proctors – recommended in addition to Test Administrator

  • Must be a CVESD employee
  • Must attend site CAASPP training
  • Must sign security affidavit
  • PD is April 18th


Test administrators may pause an individual student’s test in the Students in Your Test Session table.

  • This will not impact other students’ tests
  • Not applicable for the CAAs because the CAAs are administered one-on-one
  • If there is a technical issue, students will be logged off and the test will be paused automatically
  • If a test is paused, the student must log on again to resume testing
  • Students are automatically logged off the test after 30 minutes of inactivity

Smarter Balanced CAT/CAST Discrete Items Pause Rules

  • If paused for 20 minutes or less, the student is:
    • Presented with the question or passage he or she was working on whenthe test was paused; and
    • Permitted to answer previously shown questions within a segment.
  • If the CAT is paused for more than 20 minutes, the student is:
    • Required to log back on to the student interface;
    • Presented with the page containing the question last worked on (if the page contains at least one unanswered question) or presented with the next page (if all questions on the previous page were answered); and
    • Not permitted to review or change any previously answered questions (except questions on a page that contains at least one unanswered question).

Pause Rules

  • 20 minutes or less, students may go back in and make changes
  • More than 20 minutes, no changes can be made

Section 6: CSA – California Spanish Assessment

California Spanish Assessment:

  • CSA Blueprint can be found by clicking here
  • Aligned with the CCSS en Español
  • Linear, nonadaptive computer-based test
  • Assesses ELs and non-ELs Spanish reading language arts
  • CSA must be assigned to students by Site CAASPP Coordianator (sends templates to LEA coordinator at least 2 weeks prior to testing)
  • DFAs/Scripts for CSA Administration can be found by clicking here
  • More information on CSA can be found by clicking here

Test Pep!

Feaster Charter teachers – please be sure to check the Feaster Elementary Notebook and go into the CAASPP tab:

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Chapters 5 & 6

This week’s Feaster Charter School Professional Development was focused on the book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. The notes below are from the two sessions that were hosted by our leadership team.

Affirmation & Validation with Mrs. Meagan Ramirez, Mrs. Marissa Hernandez, and Ms. Alicia Bravo

“Trust between teachers and students is the affective glue that binds educational relationships together. Not trusting teachers has several consequences for students. They are unwilling to submit themselves to the perilous uncertainties of new learning. They avoid risk. They keep their most deeply felt concerns private. They view with cynical reserve the exhortations and instructions of teachers.” (pg. 162) Stephen Brookfiled, The Skillful Teacher

Rapport + Alliance = Cognitive Insight

Building Rapport

  • Affirmation is not just about building self-esteem, we are understanding the identity and showing that we care about who the students are
  • Fear can cause a reaction that makes it physically impossible to learn – learners can stay in this mode for 20 minutes, this causes the learner to shut down, 20 minutes is the standard length of a learning block
  • Trust has the opposite impact; when students feel trusted, the brain releases cortisol
  • Non-verbal communication is part of the relationships we build
  • Learners may forget your words, but they will never forget how you made them feel

Ways to Build Trust

  • Selective Vulnerability – show your human side
    • Sharing those personal stories
  • Familiarity – being seen at different spaces on and off-campus
    • A teacher shared that she has a writing piece that she shared with her students
  • Similarity of Interests – making connections
    • Attending school events before/after school
  • Concern – recalling what a student shared
  • Competence – know your stuff
    • Being prepared and knowledgeable helps others build trust

Trust Circles

  • Planning: understand the needs of learners, have a purpose/goal, be consistent, choose a location where students can be in a circle, facilitate the conversation
  • Set-Up Checklist: Signals for non-verbal communication, talking piece, centerpiece where students can look, norms are posted and visible, activity materials, sit in a circle – consider who is next to who
Components of a Trust Circle – note that the check out and closing should help students feel heard

Feaster Charter teachers can check the Feaster Charter Elementary OneNote for a few trust circle prompts

Alliance & Feedback with Ms. Elizabeth Aderholdt & Mr. Roel Mislan

“Alliance focuses on helping the dependent learner begin and stay on the arduous path toward independent learning. An alliance is more than a friendship. It is a relationship of mutual respect.”

Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness means that a learner believes that they cannot change their situation regardless of the circumstances. If bad things happen consistently, the belief is that there is nothing one can do to get out of the bad situation.

Restore Hope

Validation, acknowledging the realities of the situation and validating the personhood of the student, can help restore hope

Components of an Alliance

  • The pact – make it an opportunity for growth, become a warm demander (see more about a warm demander by clicking here)
    • A warm demander uses a supportive tone of voice, listens to students, appreciates the uniqueness of individual students, makes students feel comfortable, shows a positive attitude, shows a sense of humor, shows interest in students, involves students in making decisions about the class and the curriculum, looks for improvements students have made, expresses warmth through smiling/touch/tone of voice/joking
Activity: looking at the above chart, highlight the characteristic that you see in yourself within each quadrant – consider what shifts need to be made to become more of a warm demander

Types of Feedback

  • Instructive and Corrective
  • Advice not Actionable
  • Evaluative not Instructive
The more specific the feedback is, the more a learner knows what to do next to improve

Quality feedback has the following distinct characteristics:

  • Instructive rather than evaluative
  • Specific and in the right dose
  • Delivered in a low stress, supportive environment
  • It is delivered in a timely manner

Elementary Feedback Resources:

Resources are linked in the Feaster Charter Elementary OneNote

For more ideas and resources, Feaster Charter teachers are encouraged to visit the Elementary OneNote where you can find updated documents and links.

California Charter School Conference March of 2022: Days 3 & 4

This blog post is being composed while at the California Charter School Conference in March of 2022. The links and resources are being compiled to share learning and to act as a reference guide when we reflect back on our learning and our takeaways from this conference. When questions arise regarding our charter school, we can refer back to this resource and share answers to potential questions based on the training and knowledge gained during this conference. This blog post will share the reflections on day 2 and day 3, to see the learning from day 1 and day 2, click this link.

  • Session Themes by Days:
    • Days 3 and 4 had session summaries that were mostly focused on student learning and student opportunities

Supporting Struggling Learners in a Rigorous Environment (Session Linked Here)

“Schools often struggle with providing a rigorous education to students who are academically struggling. This session will provide an example of how to create a Response to Intervention system that provides support for all students at their level, to help close the achievement gap, through a Reading Enrichment Math class, while maintaining a high level of rigor in all classes. Strategies will be provided to increase reading comprehension for ALL learners across all curriculums schoolwide.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Consider how supports are planned and how students get what they need
  • Helping students advocate and share when they are in need of support regarding their well-being
  • Creating a system of progression with differentiated learning (see OCS REM images below) – intervention teachers could work with this model
  • Defined levels of content for ELA and math with clear objectives creates opportunities for all learners to meet objectives while differentiating for the needs of each child
  • Flexibility is included so that studetns can move through the levels as needed based on data and teacher feedback
    • Student scheudle says “REM” for math/ELA – eliminates the
    • Level 3 is a “honors” style class where they cover multiple grade levels
    • See schedule on the page 12 “Logistics” slide of the presentation
    • Goal of program is to help students progress and get the instruction that they need in order to help them grow
    • Purpose of REM is to support ALL students – making sure that students who are ready to advance are progressing and accessing curriculum that sets them up for the next peice and students who need additional supports in different areas have access to those supports…REM creates a culture where everyone gets intervention regardless of academic level and needs
  • Teacher training included collaboration between department chairs, each REM class has a “novel study” and teacher cross-collaborate
    • 100% of teachers are trained in AVID critical reading
    • Higher level thinking skills/inquiry
    • WICOR Strategies: writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, reading
    • Classroom supports include all contents, plus case managers, and EL assistants
  • Parent communication includes student scores in language that the parent understands

“We need MORE STUDENTS!” – A Success Guide to Student Recruitment (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “You need more students – and fast! In this Solutions Session, learn how to boost student recruitment and enrollment by optimizing your school’s digital presence. We’ll teach you how to strategize your social media channels, to attract more interested families, and to streamline your recruitment process to convert more prospects into fully enrolled students. Learn how to make the most of your budget to put more funds back into the classroom where they belong!” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Schola is a recuritment system
  • Invite parents to events and build relationships
  • Instead of an “enroll now” poster, share a poster about school programs and what we offer – creates a sense of urgency
  • Create a variety of social media content
  • Check out the image below, “Stay Top-Of-Mind” for marketing ideas

Leaning Into Conflict (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Engaging your community for input on your school, programs, or initiatives is bound to elicit a range of sentiments — from the enlivening to the disempowering. In this networking session, explore and take on communication practices (1) where stakeholder’s input is the difference-maker, and (2) grant you a sense of freedom and comfort with any and all types of feedback. What to expect: An ice breaker and small group discussion” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Feedback can be taken in a variety of ways, it creates an opportunity to make community feel heard and it can be considered and used to improve the organization and school
  • Focus on thge content, not the person
  • Look for opportunities to improve and maintain a focus on the students

Starting a Student Tech Team? Curriculum & Tools for a Student-led Repair Center (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Vivacity Tech Student Repair Academy provides students with interactive training and core knowledge to help create an in house repair center. Students gain an understanding of Chromebook components, repairs, safe practices, hardware configuration and troubleshooting. E-Learning modules include videos, resource materials, and assessments.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Vivacity Tech (linked here)
  • Students get certified in repairing technology
  • May not be best for Feaster Charter, heavy on Lenovo devices, only initial modules are applicable to multiple types of technology
  • Potential to grow into a CTE for middle schools (similar to Mouse Squad)

General Session with Myrna Castrejón, President and Chief Executive Officer California Charter Schools Association (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “CCSA hosts keynote speakers during our large general sessions that take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Read more about our keynote speakers at
Award presentations taking place on Wednesday:
Volunteer of the Year
Teacher of the Year
Legacy Awards” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


ePorfolios:Digital Display + Student Showcases(PBL*DesignThinking)=SUCCESS (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “We’ll discuss ePortfolios, passage protocols and senior defense models showcasing student work/skills using relevant technology. Schools, programs and districts create a common capstone for students that allow them to more effectively compete for college & career opportunities, as well as market success of your instruction and site for student/ teacher / donor recruitment. Showcase students, teachers, alumni & content and replace your binders with digital artifacts that echo SLO’s, graduate profile, WASC, LCAP& shareholder/accreditation evidence.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • “Portfolios provide a planned professional presentation of past projects, projecting potential possibilities for post-graduate prosperity.” – Dawn Fregosa
  • ePortfolios showcase learning and show the progression of learning
  • Opens the students’ work to a whole new audience = purpose and world wide connections
  • Creates a public feedback loop when students and teachers can comment on posts
  • Opportunity to showcase student vision and mission, create a name for themselves
  • Work with a plagarism program
  • Use during parent-teacher conferences
  • Google Sites recommended as a starter…make sure that the resource is not deleted when the student leaves – check who owns the site…use Google Takeout to export student resources
  • Suggestion to use Bulbapp
  • FolioSpaces is another option
  • Utilize student portfolios in Mindlabs classes (RIASEC connections are made throughout the portfolio)
  • Digital Showcase – students present their work share what they have learned over their time at Feaster Charter School (presentation is done before students “accelerate” or promote)
  • Digital portfolio gives student an opportunity to share with potential employers or recruiters
  • Athletics can record highlights and add them to their portfolio
  • Organization of portfolio:
    • By class/projects
    • By course anchor standards
    • By mission, graduate profile
    • ACTE
    • By school mission
    • By accreditation
  • Portfolio should include: About Me, Work-Based Learning Samples, objectives, progression of learning

Enabling Authentic STEM Learning through Collaboration with Experts (Session Linked Here)

Session Details: “Participants will explore examples of impactful collaborations with professionals through interactive activities. A framework will be introduced and used to develop their own written products to use with their students to develop collaborative relationships with industry experts, which can be assessed by a single-point rubric for effectiveness. Attendees will also participate in an open panel discussion with experts and seasoned educators to address challenges, concerns, and how to create learning opportunities.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


Systems and Practices to Improve Student Performance and Well-Being (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “The state’s new growth metric shows New Heights Charter School’s success with students. The session will showcase some of what our team is doing regarding student learning and well-being. We will share a framework for thinking about teaching, learning, and school culture. Then we will engage in problem-solving groups where participants can bring their own questions to a facilitated process/discussion.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Identify the structures that the classroom needs, then individualize the plan
  • Beyond SEL podcast (linked here)
  • Help students understand their “I am” statement and then recognize what is happening
    • If the “I am” statement is negative about themselves, work to disaffirm the statement and work to rework the statement with the student
  • Reflection Questions:
    • If you could take a snap shot of the dilemma, what would you see?
    • What have you done already to remedy the dilemma?
    • What do you assume to be true about this dilemma?
  • Frame a Focus Question:
    • Pose a question that gets to the heart of the matter.
  • Gather a team to discuss the dilemma:
    • What assumptions seem to be operating?
    • What new questions do we have?
    • What haven’t we considered/thought about?

General Session (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: CCSA hosts keynote speakers during our large general sessions that take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Read more about our keynote speakers at -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • CAFFE Website:
  • “There are things that are impacting the way you do your work because you have not been exposed to new experiences.” – loosely quoted from Genein Letford
  • VUCA World: “VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change that is now the norm in certain industries and areas of the business world. VUCA demands that you avoid traditional, outdated approaches to management and leadership, and day-to-day working.” –
  • 7 Gems of Intercultural Creativity:
    • 1. Creative Growth Mindset – be transparent and share your struggles and ways that you persevere
    • 2. Empathetic Way – experience changes your brain
    • 3. Cultural Observation
    • 4. Cultural Curiosity
    • 5. Perspective Shifting
    • 6. Authentic Adaptation
    • 7. Creating Across Cultures

Other – Resources from Sessions Discussed During Connections with Other Educators

School-Wide Mental Health Screening (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “At least 1 in 7 students will experience a mental health disorder this year. The average delay of 11 years between first symptoms and diagnosis /treatment negatively impacts students, families, schools, and communities. With 50% of all mental illness occurring by age 14, middle and high schools play a significant role in identifying and referring students to care through annual mental health screening – promoting the capacity to learn and overall safety at school.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022

About Heads Up Check Up:

“Heads Up Checkup is the brainchild of Dr. Martin Eaton, a clinical psychologist with over 25 years experience working with children and families. After a speaking engagement on Childhood Mental Health at the local chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Eaton recognized the need for a comprehensive screening tool that would be thorough yet quick and easy to access. After assembling a team of research professionals, software architects, and programmers, Dr. Eaton spent two years developing and testing the Heads Up Checkup prototype. Advisors from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and education contributed their time and feedback. Members of the Mental Health Committee of the local chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics provided immeasurable support, feedback, and encouragement.

Heads Up Checkup was beta tested in multiple pediatric practices in Southern California as well as Northern California, Arizona, and Indiana. The screening tool is developed for use by schools, businesses, HMOs, and healthcare providers.” – Heads Up Check Up

Can Educators Thrive? Avoid the 5 Pitfalls and Attain Well-being (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “For the past three years, Educators Thriving has helped teachers across the country practice research-based strategies to improve their well-being. Come to our session to learn about the five most common pitfalls leading to teacher burnout. Practice with two strategies empirically proven to increase well-being. And see why 84% of our participants have reported that the program made teaching feel more sustainable.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022

Successful Students Equal a Successful Charter Renewal (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Attendees will engage with school leaders who have successfully navigated multiple charter renewals across several authorizers to review their school’s current performance data against the AB 1505 criteria for low, middle and high performing tracks. Participants will then engage in analyzing the current results to plot a path to renewal that will put them in the high performing track for the upcoming charter renewal year.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022

Padlet with all Learning

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California Charter School Conference March of 2022: Days 1 & 2

This blog post is being composed while at the California Charter School Conference in March of 2022. The links and resources are being compiled to share learning and to act as a reference guide when we reflect back on our learning and our takeaways from this conference. When questions arise regarding our charter school, we can refer back to this resource and share answers to potential questions based on the training and knowledge gained during this conference.

Padlet and Takeaways from Day 1:

KeyNote – Alex Sheen: “because I said I would” (Keynote Sessions Linked Here)

About Alex Sheen: “Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by the loss of his father, Alex and his organization send “promise cards” to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost. Alex is someone who truly honors commitment. He once walked over 240 miles across the entire state of Ohio in 10 days to fulfill a promise. In just two years, because I said I would has sent over 12.3 million promise cards to over 153 different countries. The promises written on these cards have made headlines around the world. Alex is a five time Tedx Talk speaker and his charitable work has been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, The Today Show, NPR, The Los Angeles Times and many other programs.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • “The promise we choose to make and keep defines our character.” -Alex Sheen (loosely quoted)
  • “A promise alone is not a good thing, that is why you also need compassion.” – Alex Sheen sharing how to make sure that a promise results in a positive outcome
  • “It’s okay to think that you can’t do it, but that doesn’t mean you’re right.” – Alex Sheen sharing an idea from one of the because I said I would team members

Custom Digital Student Showcases & Academic Competitions (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: Increase student engagement, celebrate high-quality work, engage community partners, showcase community service & entrepreneurship & STEAM projects with middle-high school students through customs ‘plug-and-play’ PBL projects & competitions. These amazing programs can build schoolwide-culture allowing for extensive differentiation & student choice We’ll showcase proven content, PD & exemplars. Teachers can coach students through choice-based curricula, while implementing age-appropriate instruction. Students compete for academic trophies, digital badges, micro-credentials & prizes. -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Activity: tell me about your charter school without telling me about your charter school
  • Reverse career fair – students have a day where they showcase what they are doing and parents and community members come around and learn what the kids do each day

Comprehensive Brown Act Training for Boards & Staff (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “This workshop will teach you everything you need to know to run a charter school complying with the Ralph M. Brown Act. Learn the ins and outs of areas cited by district attorneys and school districts as the most common violations of the law. Learn strategies for avoiding mistakes that can lead to revocation or nonrenewal of your charter.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022

Padlet with Day 1 Learning:

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Padlet and Takeaways from Day 2:

Best Board Meeting Ever: 2022 Edition (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Updated for 2022, this semi-scripted mock board meeting will highlight issues ranging from new Brown Act rules to conflicts of interest, while managing the occasional unruly guest. Sample agendas and policies included in session packet. Full cast. Public comments encouraged.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • During the mock board meeting, the panel of Procopio lawyers and school leaders addressed common events that occur that during board meetings
  • Categories for goal setting as a board: academic performance, financial management, leadership culture, overseeing operation management, board communciations – these can be reflected on as a board
  • Open vs Closed Sessions: cannot discuss dollar of salaries amount in closed session, dollar amount must be held in open session, recommendation must be made public
  • Director Comments: if listed on the meeting agenda, the baord members can share what they are doing within the school community and address items that they wish to share in regards to school-wide and community events; there cannot be a robust discussion about agenda items, but requests can be made for items to be added to a future meeting – advice is given to keep all agenda items in the same area of the discussion so that meeting participants can hear the complete discussion
  • Idea for board members to bring forth ideas for a future agenda: Board members can request to have items added on the agenda, these requests can be made through the Executive Director or the Board President
  • Agenda – put enough words on the agenda to tell the community what is going to be discussed

Critical Update on Recent Case Law & Agency Decisions (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “There is a growing body of case law and state agency decisions in addition to the Charter Schools Act that impact the operations of charter schools. Some of these critical decisions are unpublished or hard to find. Attendees will learn how these decisions impact their operations and legal compliance. Jerry and Paul will update attendees on recent decisions, pending cases, and trends in court and agency decisions.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022

Law Updates & Take-Aways:

  • Matilde Ek v See’s Candies In (2021): legislation focused on what happens when a member of the workforce can track a COVID case back to the workplace; exposure in the workplace resulting in death should be discussed with legal representation
  • Santiago Medina va Equilon Enterprises, LLC (2021): Your school or CMO might be considered a “join employer”
  • US Supreme Court Case – Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.: student was suspended for violating code of conduct, parents sued and prevailed in an 8:1 majority under free speech.
  • Mask Mandates (see images 6 & 7 in the gallery below)
  • Ban on For-Profit Operation – AB 406 provisions, be thoughtful when constructing contracts that the charter and the board are making administrative decisions; charter empoloyees and charter board should be making final decisions, eliminate any question about for-profit entities making charter day-to-day decisions.
  • Appropriate debt levels (see images 11 & 12)

Authentic Community Engagement – It’s Not Just a Checklist (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Explore and experience what it is to truly engage and know your charter community’s stakeholders versus simply checking off a compliance box. Through a series of simple guided practice activities, you will swiftly build deep and meaningful connections to other conference attendees. All we ask is that you bring curiosity, fun, and vulnerability! Join us in practicing authentically engaging with others and walk away effective tools and practices to get to know your charter community at a new and profound level.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Understand the needs of parents and increase parent participation
  • Activity: You are in a scenario where you are preparing for a community event with parents, practice asking questions to establish authentic connections. Some of the questions asked and thoughts shared by the group were:
    • Bridge the relationships by breaking the ice – build empathy with the families and their children by asking questions like what do you like to do together?
    • Take opportunities like ingress and egress, social and athletic events to build relationships with families
    • Ask students about personal lives, make comments about items that can make connections
    • Converse with parent board members and parent stakeholders about their role and the impact they can have on campus
    • What are the hopes you would like to see become a reality because of your child’s education?

Enrollment Marketing 101 = Thriving, Forever Schools (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: Enrollment is critical to ensuring every charter school is a forever school. In this dynamic educational environment, connecting with prospective families is more important than ever. Engaging with current families to retain existing students is equally as vital. How to do it all and do it well? Join this information-packed session to learn of the “ground game” and “digital game” needed to support and elevate every charter school’s unique attributes. -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Post regularly and post often
  • Create a good mix of videos, pictures, and information
  • Improve search engine results on Google

Take a Long-range Approach to Preparing for Charter Renewal (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: “Operating in our increasingly politicized climate can make charter renewals especially stressful. Take advantage of the two years of renewal relief to implement a long-range approach to monitoring and demonstrating student growth. Learn the best ways to evaluate growth with renewal in mind and to integrate performance monitoring into your ongoing processes for data evaluation and compliance reporting.” -CCSA Charter Schools Conference 2022


  • Use focus goals in the LCAP when drafting updates and charter renewals
  • Utilize the CA School Dashboard to address metrics
  • Use verified data sources (iReady, Renaissance STAR Student Growth Percentile, Benchmark, Achieve3000, SBAC growth from year to year and state average, local measures…)
    • with iReady, looking for “met typical growth” – the CDE document does not and will not define the percentages of this data, aim should be above 50% of studetns meeting typical growth
  • CCSA states that setting clear goals and leading cahnge guided by data being used actively to tell the story of your school will increase the liklihood of renewal
  • CCSA Snapshots – charter renewal FAQ (website linked here)
  • Make LCAP available and ask parents questions about their key role in the LCAP

An Inclusive Approach to Redesigning Teacher Compensation (Session Linked Here)

Session Description: How did a four-school charter network realize national top-quartile satisfaction levels regarding teacher compensation for three years running? The answer has at least as much to do with process as it does with the salary scale itself. In this workshop, participants will learn best practices for driving high-stakes change on a sensitive issue, placing equity and transparency at the center. This session will include opportunities to apply what participants learn to their own context.

365 Days of Community Engagement (Session Link Here)

Session Description: The most effective community engagement is not a “one and done” deal. Instead, each engagement effort should ideally be rooted in a year-round plan with intentional goals and outcomes. Come explore, discover, and create together what year-round authentic community engagement could look like for your network of stakeholders. And leave the session with a set of holistic, long-term strategies on how you might engage your local elected officials, parents, and other community stakeholders. Our annual community engagement roadmap is an invaluable resource that you will want to walk away with.


  • Greeting families during ingress and egress
  • 10:2 check-ins with students
  • Greeting students in the hallway, creating a community of learners and making connections with all students
  • Holding an advisory committee where staff members and teachers connect with students on non-academic items, focus is on building relationships
  • Clubs and events – mariachi, ballet folklorico, VAPA and STEM focused events

Padlet with Day 1 & 2 Learning

We look forward to continuing our learning and sharing with our Feaster Learns community! We are excited to be able to share so many great resources and document the conference so that we have a resource to look back at as we make important charter decisions.