AALF Gap Closed 10 best practices


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AALF Gap Closed 10 best practices

  1. 1. Gap Closed: Ten EssentialBest Practices Asad Zaman June 20, 2012 Gap Closed: Ten Essential Best Practices National Charter Schools Conference
  2. 2. What is the Achievement Gap? Disparity in student performance of different genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses The gap exists in standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and college-enrollment and college-completion rates Minnesota has one of the largest Achievement Gaps in the nation Minnesota’s Achievement Gap has persisted for more than two decades
  3. 3. Percentage of MN 8th-graders proficient in math(Source NAEP via 50can.org)
  4. 4. Percentage of MN 8th-graders proficient in reading(Source NAEP via 50can.org)
  5. 5. Defining the Problem The thousands of papers and books mostly seek to define the problem or identify their root causes Very few works seek to identify solutions We come across as “celebrating the problem”
  6. 6. Identifying Solutions A “practice” typically employed by the “best” participants in a specific industry Several Gap Closing Schools identified by Charter School Partners (CSP) met in 2011 & 2012 to deliberate on the Achievement Gap Gap-Closing schools tend to have many common features or practices Ten of these “Best Practices” are employed by ALL the Gap-Closing schools in MN
  7. 7. 10 Essential Best Practices1. Coherent Instructional Philosophy2. Culture of Achievement & High Expectations3. Rigorous Curriculum4. Data Driven Decision Making5. Continuous Formative Assessments6. Frequent Informal Observations7. Targeted Student Support & Intervention8. Reading & Writing Across Curriculum9. Teaching the Whole Child (Beyond Academics)10. Staff Training & Development
  8. 8. Coherent Instructional Philosophy All staff members understand the purpose of the school The school exists to facilitate student success Success does not just happen “Begin with the end in mind” Student success is measurable
  9. 9. Culture of Achievement & HighExpectations Every student can grow Every student must grow Growth and Learning are the norms Student needs are accommodated Student excuses are not Real life examples of student success
  10. 10. Rigorous Curriculum Gap-Closing schools don’t just wing it The curriculum is used as a road map The curriculum is not a straight jacket Deviations from the curriculum are planned & analyzed, not ad hoc Gap-Closing schools self develop a curriculum map to align the curriculum with the benchmarks
  11. 11. Data Driven Decision Making Live and die by the data Claims of student growth need to be backed by objective data Data is pushed down to the grass-roots Data is used in real-time (daily or weekly) Teachers are intimately familiar with the data of their students Students are familiar with their data All data is used: Summative, Formative & Informal
  12. 12. Continuous FormativeAssessments Assessment does not cause growth Assessment paired with instructional modifications can generate growth Student mastery of each benchmark is verified immediately after the benchmark is taught (Weekly or bi-weekly) Student intervention is delivered throughout the year, not at the end of the year
  13. 13. Frequent InformalObservations Formal teacher evaluations are used for evaluation purposes and drive salary increases, bonuses, etc Informal observations are used fromatively to help improve teachers throughout the year Teacher improvement protocol
  14. 14. Targeted Student Support &Intervention Student intervention is delivered throughout the year, not at the end of the year Gap-Closing schools do whatever it takes If a student genuinely needs some support, the Gap-Closing school will find a way to give it to her or find a viable alternative for her Teachers stubbornly keep at it until the student gets it
  15. 15. Reading & Writing AcrossCurriculum Most disadvantaged students are significantly behind their peers in language acquisition and mastery Every teacher (Math, Science, Social Studies) teaches reading and writing Every teacher incorporates ESL and SpEd techniques even in mainstream classes This maximizes language acquisition throughout the school day
  16. 16. Teaching the Whole Child(Beyond Academics) Although Gap-Closing schools live and die by the data, they also understand that the child cannot be reduced to a test score Many essential aspects of education cannot be adequately measured Behavior, student well being, happiness, etc
  17. 17. Staff Training & Development Staff at Gap-Closing schools want and appreciate regular staff development Training is targeted to student needs using student data Professional Learning Community Practitioner Focused
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