April Newsletter

New York State Education Department I State Office of Religious and Independent Schools I Catapult Learning

Celebrating Student Voice

Meet Audrey!

A 9yrs old diagnosed with a rare CASK gene mutation and autism. Doctors said she would never walk, talk, or be a ballerina so she became a surfer instead! Autism is not a disease it is just a different way that the brain works. The important lesson is not to let a diagnosis define you rather embrace it and talk about it we can all learn from our differently abled friends. Don’t Dis My Ability 🙂 and find the Ability in disAbility.

Meet Audrey Paige, age 8, pictured her with Ella Sophia Gallagher, Age 8 St Anne’s School 

Spring Leadership Circle

A Model for Peer Collaboration, Professional Growth and School Improvement


Join this 4-part leadership PLC to end the year strong and set priorities for SY22-23. Meeting virtually every other Monday at 1pm, topics will address: where are we now and where are we going, how can we leverage resource to accelerate learning for all, what are your professional development plans and what is their impact for learning, and finally, how can you prepare now to set your school-wide priorities for SY22-22.

Impacting Student Achievement with
Math Running Records K-5


What is a Math Running Records and how do I use it to benefit my instruction and student learning? Join this dynamic 2-part series to learn from r. Nicki, the author of Math Running Records in Action, to learn about the framework for assessing your students’ basic math fluency and discuss strategies to target their fluency needs.

Meeting every Thursday in May at 4pm: Come join for one 2-part series or both!

May 5 and May 12: sessions will focus on using math running records to target addition and subtraction fluency. Open to all especially teachers of Grades K-2

May 19 and 26: sessions will focus on using math running records to target multiplication and division fluency. Open to all especially teachers of Grades 3-5

Leadership Corner

By Mitch Center

Amplify Student Voice 

Over the past few decades, businesses have gotten smarter about asking for customer feedback. We rate our experiences with Uber drivers, delivery services, and Amazon purchases. Walking around IKEA, I’m asked about the quality of my experience. We can’t avoid being asked for our reviews, our 1 out of 5 star ratings, our opinions…

But what about our work in schools? Do we ask our primary consumers – our students – what they think? And how could we ask more? Consider the following four areas:

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Feedback on Learning: After a lesson or unit in school, do we take the time to ask students how their experience was? Imagine a teachers asking, “How could your learning experience be improved?” or, “What helped you learn during this lesson/unit? What could have been done differently?”

Curricular Choice: Being a kid in school often means following a prescribed schedule, and making sure you get to your assigned periods on time. But do we build in time for choice, where students get to choose what they’d like to learn based on interests and curiosities? Efforts like 20% Time Projects, School-wide Enrichment Model and Genius Hours are all great examples of allowing students greater freedom in the authentic learning they pursue.

Staffing/Hiring: While our students certainly can’t replace our Human Resources Departments, is there a way to involve them in future hiring decisions? One promising practice is to have kids give feedback on demo lessons when teachers are interviewing. Simple questions like, “Would you want to be a student in this person’s classroom?” or, “Do you think you and your friends can learn from this person?” are a a great way to amplify student voices during this process.

Problem Solving: Students often have the best ideas for how to solve the problems that impact them the most, but so often aren’t asked, and aren’t given the time and opportunity to share their thoughts. Imagine bringing persistent challenges to them for their solutions. “We are noticing an increase in litter on the playground, what ideas do you all have for how we could keep our play space clean?” So often, those who are closest to a problem are best positioned to solve it, no matter the age.

So look around, think about how student voices can be amplified in the classrooms, school and across your district or region. Who knows, if you involve them more, maybe they’ll give you a 5 Star Rating? 

~Mitch Center provides leadership professional development and coaching for Catapult Learning and is a monthly contributor to our Leadership Corner Conversation.

Community Spotlight

Celebrating student voice in an innovating way, Maria Regina School shared how their students get the opportunity to highlight things that spark their interest to sharing school updates.

Check out students at Maria Regina School impacting the planet with ‘Roots bags’ while showcasing their digital media skills through YouTube videos:

Or sharing morning news and updates:

Are you interested in spotlighting your school or sharing school news?

Would you like to submit a calendar item or an article for inclusion?

Getting Ready for NYS State Assessments:

NYSED Resources and More


Would you like to submit an article for inclusion or highlights from your school community? Do you have a comment or suggestion?