Hello to all of the teachers in the schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This presentation is meant to give you further clarity as we work Together to strengthen our schools and classrooms as centers of Academic Excellence for this period in our history. As we to advance the mission of Catholic Education, please know that our Strategic plan is made up of three goal areas: Catholic Identity, Centers of Academic Excellence and Sustainability. In this particular presentation, I will focus entirely on the academic work within our classrooms. As the classrooms of the 21 st century redefine themselves, I would caution you on retaining a mindset that see this work as just one more thing to add to an already crowded agenda. It is the work of our strategic plan that is the work and must be the focus of our efforts.
The mission of Catholic Education is to provide for our children an educational setting that focuses first and foremost on the development of their spiritual lives and faith formation so crucial to their future as practicing Catholics. With Jesus as the reason for our existence, we are confident that our vision is focused in the right direction.
Students come to us as early as three years of age and have the possibility of remaining through Grade 12. Along each step of the way, every grade level is critical to the overall development of each student’s personal success and their ability to arrive at futures full of hope and potential. Our students who are learning challenged or face a variety of physical and mental disabilities are in need of learning environments that will provide them the opportunity to maximize their potentials and possibilities.
As we move forward with our Strategic Plan emphasizing the Rigor and Relevance Framework, transforming classrooms to greater levels of student engagement with a fuller integration of technology and related skills, time and intentional planning for the same is critical on the part of the teacher. Although transitions take time and continued learning, we cannot presume to think there is a never ending amount of time to get on board. The pace of change and the need to constantly update one’s vision is fast paced in the time in which we find ourselves. We cannot delay for the sake of the children who are in need of the right kind of instruction for each of the grade levels.
Regardless of our individual points of entry into the teaching profession, the students who come to us each day come from a very digital environment and mindset. The likelihood of their world becoming less digital or in need of a more collaborative learning environment is unlikely. It is we who must adapt our teaching style to meet the needs of the digital learner.
Since 2001, the Office of Catholic Education has partnered with the ICLE to steer our thinking and therefore our schools to prepare a vision that would enable us to be on the cutting edge of providing quality, Catholic education that keeps in mind the world our students will need to lead and live in throughout the rapidly moving 21 st century. It is essential that we are attentive to educational research and the predictions about the future that will enable us to remain marketable and focused on the learning needs of our students.
This diagram provides us with a clear, concise four category profile that together will enable us to work effectively and collectively in constructing 21 st century classrooms. The four areas of Foundation Learning, Stretch Learning, Learner Engagement and Personal Skill Development need to be delved into in each school so that these areas are fully developed at each grade level. For a more detailed understanding of each, I turn now to more specific information and examples of each category.
Foundation Learning is our Curriculum guidelines at the elementary level and our curriculum standards at the secondary level. The reference here is not inclusive of all of the core courses that we expect our students to complete in the schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In addition, we look to Religion as the primary foundational learning that is crucial to the development of the Catholic school student. The areas of Social Studies, Music, Art, Technology, Physical Education and an array of electives at the secondary level round out our Catholic School program of Foundation Learning. It is important that we remain attentive to the guidelines and standards and permit these documents to direct our instruction. Presently, the International Center for Leadership in Education is reviewing our guidelines and standards to see how they match up with National standards, state standards and what we can reduce in our sometimes burdensome guidelines and standards. When this work is done, the outcome will be shared with all faculty members. Stretch Learning causes the students to sit up and take notice. The use of problem based and project based learning integrated into the normal flow of the classroom allows the students to come at their school work from a different perspective, highly engaged and a daily collaborative experience. Flexible groups enable stretch learning to go on within the classroom as each student is given the opportunity to be challenged appropriately from his or her place of foundational learning. For our Special Education and LD students inclusion into the regular education classroom experiences provides a time of stretching beyond the rhythm of their daily classroom experience where the students also encounter a pull out of their comfort zone of instruction. Including Marzano’s instructional strategies provides a means of the students demonstrating their learning beyond the minimum requirements at each grade level. Every attempt and time Quadrants B and D are visited, the possibility of stretch learning takes place.
Learner Engagement must make a difference in every classroom. Teachers and administrators must continually take the pulse of the students attitudes toward learning and the level of engagement within each discipline. Key to learner engagement is the relationships that the teachers are able to develop within the classroom setting. Students need to know that the teacher is in their corner and desires beyond all else for EVERY child to succeed and works to show students how to do this. Communication with parents and guardians to support the learning of the student is an essential ingredient in the Learning Criteria. Schools cannot remain in isolation from the additional support that can be provided from families or the schools teaching parents and guardians their role in supporting the formal school years of their children. From time to time it is effective to get insights into the student perspective of the classroom experience. This year 50 of our elementary schools and 8 of our secondary schools took part in the We Teach and We Learn Surveys to get a look into the mindset of the students and the perspective of the teachers within the same schools. These schools will be asked to create an action plan that will get at the discrepancies, if there are any, between the two viewpoints. We hope to continue this process next year until all of our elementary and secondary schools have participated. Looking at attendance rates, discipline concerns, parent satisfaction surveys will continue to give us a deeper look into how effective the level of learner engagement is in our schools and classrooms.
Personal Skill Development: For our Catholic Schools, the faith formation and Gospel-centered focus within every school taps into the Personal Skill Development of our students. Encouraging the students to be other centered through service projects, assisting those in need, establishing opportunities for all students to develop their leadership potential, developing the skill of conflict resolution, respect for diversity and many other personal skills that will advance the success of their future endeavors must be thought out and integrated into the school day. We do a great job with this but must continually be intentional making sure that all aspects of developing the whole child are carefully named and integrated into the school program. Encouraging parents to work on these skills within the home setting is equally important. WE do not educate in isolation.
The National Educational Technology Standards for both students and teachers are critical to the work of the 21 st century school. Each and every faculty should have copies of these standards and begin a long conversation as to how they reveal themselves in the classrooms of your school. Technology is no longer relegated to the Computer lab to the Computer teacher….all of us need to be aware, focused and capable to integrating these standards across grade levels and subject areas. One way of developing our skills as educators is to participate in many of the online workshops that show us how to take each skill, a variety of web tools and integrate them into our instructional methods. Technology is here to stay…our world runs on it!
The students who sit before us today, from the youngest to the graduating seniors are becoming ever more proficient at an earlier age in the all things technological and web-based. The brains and minds of those who sit before you today have changed and will continue to change and one of the critical areas is the use of Web Tools. Together, there is much we must remain open to learn as we educate the students of these very rapidly changing times.
This could well be the first time in history that children come to school ahead of their teachers in some aspects. Our students were born into a digital society that will continue to ramp up a speed that will take us to tools yet created. However, our students desperately need our guidance, our wisdom and our support in educating them to the right use of the tools of our time. Ignoring their view of the world will not make for highly engaged learners or permit the creative ability that our students bring to the school house.
Currently and in the years ahead, we must take a very close look at the data that comes forth reflecting the outcomes of our instruction and work with our students. In some areas, the scores have flat lined which needs to be examined and reasons for the same arrived at. The questions shown in this slide must be asked again and again and again with refined and sometimes new answers rising to the surface. As we challenge our students to be critical thinkers, we must be the same.
As we go forward to transform Catholic education for this rapidly moving 21 st century, we must do what Jesus did….step away and reflect upon our work. Ask God to inspire us to be about the changes, alterations and new ways of educating our students for the way the world is evolving. God provides the kind of thinking that is necessary for the world throughout all of its history. Today, we are the educators who are working with the minds, hearts and capabilities of students who will lead this world and make decisions that will impact many. Our mission is to surround them with an effective plan that we shape to educate them to do the right thing, study the possibilities and act with Gospel values. As we all know, our work is never ending and always evolving.
The Strategic Plan of the Office of Catholic Education was intentionally created with simplicity, focus and brevity. Our areas of concentration are: Catholic Identity, Centers of Academic Excellence and Sustainability. At your local level, we encourage and expect that your daily work will find connections to the direction that we offer.
Parents and students today are looking for schools that will advance their talents and abilities and ready the student for their next level of education. Inherent in that search is the ability of the schools to truly focus on the needs of the learner.
The concrete actions that we are currently undertaken are listed on this slide. Rather than feel burdened as teachers on the many programs and initiatives that influence your work, they are found here. Each school is asked to give primary attention to the Learning Criteria, its connection to the Rigor and Relevance Framework as we work to edit the current versions of our guidelines and standards. The infusion of technology tools can no longer be seen as an add on but the woven into the very fiber of daily classroom instruction.
No vision, no work, no direction would be possible without you, the teachers in the schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We remain daily grateful for your time, talents and devotion to the students in your care. Together, St. John Neumann prays for us daily as we draw our rigor from God’s grace and provide relevant instructional centers of academic excellence. God bless us all and thank you for joining us!
Post comments or questions to the following blog….questions and comments need to be made in such a way as to advance the mission!
Strategically Planned--Faithfully Followed
Vision Strategically Planned ~ Faithfully Followed
"Always remember that only if one builds, as St. Paul says, on the one foundation which is Jesus Christ will one be able to construct something really great and lasting." Schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Parish and Regional Elementary Schools will rigorously challenge all students to achieve their spiritual and academic potential leading to productive and contributing lives. We will achieve this mission with the support of parents, staff, Church community and the wider community of neighborhood, state and nation. Our vision is that every Catholic school student will graduate from high school, globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the 21st Century. Each life will be imbued with a Gospel focus and values. Our students will live with Christ as the Center of their lives. Schools of Special Education will enable all students to reach their maximum potential through a respectful and challenging learning environment.
A Re-designed Vision <ul><li>Time is needed to get steeped in this re-designed vision in order to find the BEST ways to educate students. </li></ul><ul><li>However the pace of education today demands a more rapid movement toward success and providing the skills each student will need for a successful life in an ever-changing world! </li></ul>
A new generation of students expects a learning environment that integrates today’s digital tools, accommodates a mobile lifestyle, adapts to individual learning styles and encourages collaboration and teamwork . 2006 American Life Project Report
Redesigning for Results <ul><li>Research supported vision </li></ul><ul><li>Not fearful of experimenting in schools to get the right formula for successful student learning </li></ul><ul><li>International Center for Leadership in Education </li></ul>
Learning Criteria <ul><li>Foundation Learning - Achievement in the core subjects of English, Math and Science and others identified by the school . </li></ul><ul><li>Stretch Learning - Demonstration of rigorous and relevant learning beyond minimum requirements, such as participation and achievement in higher level courses, specialized courses, and so forth. </li></ul>
Learning Criteria Learner Engagement - The extent to which students are motivated and committed to learning, have a sense of belonging and accomplishment, and have relationships with adults, peers, and parents that support learning.
Personal Skill Development - Measures of personal, social, service, and leadership skills and demonstrations of positive behaviors and attitudes Learning Criteria
Tech Infused Learning Supported <ul><li>Students –Tools and Environments for Engaged Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers – Professional Development for Empowered Teaching </li></ul>
2005 2000 New Connections 2003 Connected Individuals New Communities Virtual Communities New Content Collaborative Communities Kids are designed and wired differently today – evidence in neural research supports the intensive amount of time engaged in technology has changed the prefrontal cortex – kids can toggle and multitask much faster than adults (4-6 times faster) International Center for Education, 2006
Who’s Living in the House and in the School House? The InfoSavvy Group, February 2005. Digital Native Students Digital Immigrant Faculty Information gathering quickly from multiple multimedia sources Slow and controlled release of information from limited sources Multitasking Single or limited tasking Pictures, sound, and video Text Random access to hyperlinked multimedia information Providing information linearly, logically, and sequentially Working interactively and networking with many others simultaneously Working independently Learning that is relevant, instantly useful, and fun Teaching to the curriculum and examinations
Raise Achievement and Close Gaps <ul><li>What do students need to learn? </li></ul><ul><li>How will they learn it? </li></ul><ul><li>How will we know if they’ve learned it? </li></ul><ul><li>What will we do if they don’t learn it? </li></ul><ul><li>What will we do if they already know it? </li></ul>
The most effective and efficient way to get the required results is with a systematic and systemic improvement process of planning, doing, study, and acting… PLAN DO STUDY ACT
Concrete Actions <ul><li>We Teach/We Learn Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Attention to the Learning Criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Rigor and Relevance Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Review of Curriculum guidelines and standards for essential learning </li></ul><ul><li>Infusion of technology tools </li></ul>
Vision Working on the work of Catholic Education
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