Replacing Hope with Certainty Improving the Achievement of All Students in the Mercer Area School District Through Focused Vision and Comprehensive Collaboration
Creating a Shared Vision Project – Achieving Equity in Education. This work has been completed as a part of the Creating a Shared Vision Project Course Offered Through the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Program I chose to conduct an equity audit of my district after reviewing the most recent PSSA scores. I worked with my Superintendent to put together an equity team to review the findings of my investigation. Three elements of our district were analyzed: teacher distribution, program equity, and achievement equity. I also included some data I had collected near the end of the school year to gauge student attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and/or concerns. Recommendations are based on research focusing on the areas of concern mentioned near the end of the presentation. I have also including references and my reflection regarding this process within this presentation.
Equity Defined Education Equity The educational policies, practices and programs necessary to (a) eliminate educational barriers based on gender, race/ethnicity, national origin, color, disability, age, or other protected group status; and (b) provide equal educational opportunities and ensure that historically underserved or underrepresented populations meet the same rigorous standard for academic performance expected of all children and youth. (Skrla, Mckenzie, & Scheurich, 2009. p. 3-4). Definition adapted from Wisconsin Department of Instruction Systemic Equity The transformed ways in which systems and individuals habitually operate to ensure that every learner – in whatever learning environment that learner is found – has the greatest opportunity to learn enhanced by the resources and supports necessary to achieve competence, excellence, independence, responsibility, and self sufficiency for school and life ((Skrla, Mckenzie, & Scheurich, 2009. p. 6)
Why is Equity Important? We must work toward not limiting students based on the way they look, how much money they make, who they are related to ,or their placement in a program: these factors DO NOT determine ability to learn. Schools need to act as freeways for success – not roadblocks! The world we live in tomorrow belongs to the students in our classrooms today – our classrooms are diverse with students who are too often defined by the color of their skin, gender, or a label provided to them by an adult. Would any of us sit quietly if our child was one of a number of students who: Do not graduate Are not prepared to go to college Are underrepresented in advanced classes Are placed in lower level classes Received less than the best teacher a school has to offer based on past practices. If it is not good enough for our child then why is it good enough for the child of a family we serve?
THE EQUITY AUDIT TEAM Equity Audit Team Members
Dr. William Gathers, Superintendent of Schools, recommended people who have the ability to enact change within the district using the information/data retrieved from the equity audit. The team includes several key administrators, a school counselor, and two teacher leadership team members.
Conversations Conversation with the Superintendent, Dr. William Gathers, focused on his genuine concern for the discrepancy that exists between the academic achievement of our general population and those students who have been identified as economically disadvantaged or in need of special education services. Dr. Gathers is genuinely aware of the situation, ready to take action to improve the situation, and is not afraid to have those conversations that could present other leaders and teachers with uncomfortable truths about their actions. We have also discussed the importance of “keeping the main thing the main thing” by maintaining focus – keep the Eye on the Goal! Initial discussion were held with the following members of the Mercer Area School District: The Superintendent Several Members of the Audit Team: Administration and Teachers Group of Teachers on the School Leadership Team The conversations that took place helped to guide the direction of research and suggestions for solution
Conversations Conversations with other audit members and the teachers on the leadership team demonstrated a slight awareness of the problem at hand; however, there seems to be a predominate belief among some members of both groups that all the roadblocks we face with our students are completely out of our control – it is the “fault” of the home, the parents, or the choices of the students. Some are intent on maintaining the low level classes while others recognize the need to increase academic rigor for all students. Regardless, one very promising element that has surfaced throughout conversations is the desire of the teachers and administrators to work together in addressing the disparities in the achievement of our students – the staff is excited to begin engaging in embedded professional development focused on collaboration and improving instruction for all students. Initial discussion were held with the following members of the Mercer Area School District: The Superintendent Several Members of the Audit Team: Administration and Teachers Group of Teachers on the School Leadership Team The conversations that took place helped to guide the direction of research and suggestions for resolutions
Components of the Equity Audit TEACHER QUALITY – PROGRAM EQUITY - ACHIEVEMENT Programming Demographic Data Gifted & AP/Adv Course Enrollment Special Education Discipline Achievement PSSA Results Graduation Rates Students Continuing on to Higher Education
CURRENT PROGRAM & ACHIEVEMENT DATAThe time has passed for hoping our students do well – We must plan for and have the belief that ALL students can achieve at high levels.
DISTRICT MATH RESULTS The percentage of students performing at a high level is not equal across all demographics – students in need of special education and identified as economically disadvantaged are falling further behind their peers
DISTRICT READING RESULTS Again, the percentage of students performing at a high level is not equal across all demographics – students in need of special education and identified as economically disadvantaged are falling further behind their peers
GRADUATION RATES The low number of students identified as needing special education services and/or economically disadvantaged graduating from high school should be a concern for the school and the greater community.
STUDENTS PURSUING HIGHER EDUCATION The overall percentage of students seeking higher education (two year, four year, or technical colleges) is alarming. We are either not inspiring our students to higher levels of achievement or we are not preparing them for the challenge – both are unacceptable.
STUDENT POLL What do our students have to say? Conversations with Students.
Student Opinion Poll Conducted During the Last Few Weeks of the 2009-2010 School Year.
293 Secondary Students in Grades 7-12 Participated in the Poll.
Students Surveyed Include a Representative Sample of the Overall Demographics of the Entire School District.
Students Were Asked Questions Regarding Climate, Rigor, Relevance, and Attitude Toward School
Student Opinion: Rigor & Relevance 78% of respondents are well aware of the school’s expectations for behavior and work 50% of respondents are satisfied with program choice and rigor 58% of respondents are aware of school goals for improving learning 54% of respondents feel they are being adequately prepared for the future 70% of respondents feel they are being prepared for college 71% of respondents feel their teachers are knowledgeable and prepared to teach for the 21st century
Student Opinion: Rigor & Relevance 54% of respondents feel they are engaged in meaningful conversations about content 40% of respondents feel that content is related to everyday life 52% of respondents feel they engage in challenging and thought provoking class projects 55% of respondents feel teachers utilize a variety of strategies to instruct and assess student learning 59% of respondents feel teachers help students achieve high learning expectations
Student Opinion: Rigor & Relevance 42% of respondents feel that homework assigned is relevant and helpful Plans for After Graduation 83% plan to attend college 9% plan to pursue a career in the trades (trade school) 8% plan to join the work for immediately This year – only 52% of graduating students have currently enrolled in a college or trade school
Student Opinion: School Climate 38% of respondents feel all students are treated fairly 72% of respondents are satisfied with the help they receive from teachers 90% of respondents feel safe at school 16% of respondents have been bullied 38% of respondents feel that teachers care about their lives
Student Opinion: School Climate 49% of respondents feel their teachers care about them 61% of respondents feel comfortable speaking with their teachers 46% of respondents feel that teachers listen to their needs 47% of respondents feel there is a mutual respect between teachers and students
Student Opinion: Attitude 45% of respondents are satisfied with what they are learning 62% of respondents feel they put forth their very best effort 62% of respondents feel they are developing into better readers 57% of respondents feel they are developing better skills in math
Student Opinion: Attitude 37% of respondents “like” coming to school every day 26% of respondents think school is interesting 46% of respondents are proud of their schooling 62% of respondents feel they are able to learn about technology and/or utilize their technology skills in the classroom
PRACTICES CONTRIBUTING TO LACK OF ACHIEVEMENT Abstract Vision – Not Publicized Lack of Aligned System Teaching and Learning Professional Development Supervision and Evaluation Lack of Teacher Leadership Building Leadership Teams Peer Visits and Learning Communities Lack of Shared Leadership & Collaboration between stakeholders Administration, Instructional staff Students, Parents, Community members Lack of formal process for leading change The items to the right are those that have been identified as processes lacking or inadequate to implementing a rigorous and relevant program for all students regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, ability, and/or economic status. In order to achieve the goals and vision developed during our most recent strategic planning session (2009 – 2015) the district must make significant changes in the way it operates in specific regard to its overall vision.
When we say high expectations for all do we really mean it? It is one thing to take as a given that approximately 50% of an entering group of students in kindergarten may not attend college, but to assign a particular child to a curriculum designed for that 50 % closes that door altogether. Are we comfortable providing only half of our students the best we have to offer?
WHAT CAN WE DO? A PLAN FOR REFORMING THE MERCER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
STEP ONE: Communicate Our Vision The Mercer Area School District worked with staff, students, and community members to develop a strategic vision for the future - “The Mission of the Mercer Area School District, with community support, is to educate each student to be an involved responsible citizen. Upon graduation, all students will be prepared to succeed in an ever-changing society by utilizing critical thinking and lifelong learning to become stewards of their communities.” What does this mean? What does this look like?
STEP ONE: Communicate Our Vision Vision provides a picture of the future with some implicit or explicit commentary on why people should strive to create that shared future (Kotter, 1996). A critical component to accomplish the goal of improving instruction in the classroom is the establishment of a common vision, rigorous curriculum, and common model of instruction (Marzano, 2010; Blackburn & Williamson 2010; Riddile, 2010). Vision has six main characteristics (Kotter, 1996). Imaginable: people can see it Desirable: people are drawn to it Feasible: people can accomplish it through small steps Focused: people understand it as a mechanism to drive daily actions Flexible: people are able to utilize their own strengths to accomplish it Communicable: It is easy to communicate
Adopt District Slogan The slogan will be posted in the community, in the schools, in the classrooms, on letterhead, clothing, and school merchandise with the purpose of serving as a daily reminder of our vision and process for meeting the needs of all students. Designed by Timothy Dadich, 2010
STEP TWO: Data Collection and Teamwork The Mercer Area District must work to promote shared leadership from teacher to teacher, teacher to student, teacher to parent, teacher to administration, administration to board members, building to building, building to central office, district to community. The Mercer Area School District must adopt a regular process for the collection of data and the collaboration between stakeholders to actively review the data to drive decisions for the direction of district programs and resources
ATP: Action Team for Partnership The Mercer Area School District will develop an Action Team for Partnerships (ATP) to organize and sustain a program of school, family, and community partnerships. With an ATP, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and others can work together to connect family and community involvement with school improvement goals. The ATP in each school aims to: Create a welcoming school environment for families Engage families and the community in ways that support student achievement and success
ATP: Action Team for Partnership What is an Action Team for Partnerships? The ATP is the “action arm” or committee of the School Improvement Team or School Council. Although the ATP members oversee the school's partnership program, other teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community members also may lead family and community involvement activities. What does an Action Team for Partnerships do? Review data and develop a one-year action plan for improvement with activities to promote specific goals for improvement aligned with the Mercer Area School District Strategic Plan Integrate all family and community involvement activities conducted by teachers and school groups in the One-Year Action Plan for Partnerships Recruit and recognizes other teachers, parents, community members for leadership and participation in family and community involvement activities Implement, coordinate, publicize, and oversee the planned involvement activities Monitor progress, assess the strengths and weaknesses of implemented involvement activities, document results, and resolve problems Report progress to the School Council (or School Improvement Team) and to the faculty, PTA/PTO, local media, and other groups Replace departing ATP members Continue improving the school's program of family and community involvement
ACTION TEAM FOR PARTNERSHIP STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING Utilize STAR Framework: Success Takes Active Responsibility (developed by Tim Dadich) Based on a combination of processes and research including: John P. Kotter – Leading Change Willard Dagget – Rigor & Relevance Fenwick English – Curriculum Audits Linda Skrla – Equity Audits Nan Henderson – Resiliency Model Robert Marzano – Creating an Aligned System Jane Pollock – The Big Four
STAR FRAMEWORK STAR 1 – Audit Current Practices Utilize formal audits on curriculum (English) Measures relevance and rigor of curriculum Measures effectiveness of programming Utilize formal audits on equity (Skrla) Measures equity of access to programming Measures Achievement Data Equity Measures equal access to highly qualified teachers Community, Teacher, Student, Parent Survey Measures climate, safety, satisfaction Measures image of school Achievement Data: PSSA, Graduation Rates, Higher Education Participation, Drop Out Rates The district logo will act as the focus for all inquiry, analysis, decisions, and actions – Our focus must be on creating Relationships, Resilience, Relevance, Rigor, and Reflection for ALL!
STAR FRAMEWORK STAR 2 – Develop Shared Language ATP collects and analyzes data Collaborates on setting improvement goals Shares improvement goals and data with school community Promotes goals under the common vision The district logo will act as the focus for all inquiry, analysis, decisions, and actions – Our focus must be on creating Relationships, Resilience, Relevance, Rigor, and Reflection for ALL!
STAR FRAMEWORK STAR 3 – Lead Change Establish urgency Create the support and leadership needed to move forward Develop the strategies Communicate and model the change Empower and train to avoid obstacles Generate short-term wins and recognize success Consolidate gains by improving leadership capacity Anchor new approach – articulate the connections between new behaviors and success The district logo will act as the focus for all inquiry, analysis, decisions, and actions – Our focus must be on creating Relationships, Resilience, Relevance, Rigor, and Reflection for ALL!
STAR FRAMEWORK STAR 4 – Reflect Establish a climate of resiliency and reflection through Resiliency Framework Align evaluation procedures to promote reflective practices on change strategies Develop assessments to measure effectiveness of change The district logo will act as the focus for all inquiry, analysis, decisions, and actions – Our focus must be on creating Relationships, Resilience, Relevance, Rigor, and Reflection for ALL!
STAR FRAMEWORK STAR 5 – Respond Respond to reflections Share success stories Connect effort to achievement Provide constant feedback to parents, students, staff, and community ATP Team meets to review process and move forward to continuing the cycle The district logo will act as the focus for all inquiry, analysis, decisions, and actions – Our focus must be on creating Relationships, Resilience, Relevance, Rigor, and Reflection for ALL!
STEP THREE: PROGRAMMING Utilize Evidence-Based Equity in Financing Developed by Odden and Picus Identifies educational strategies that produced desired results (staffing, instruction, facilities) Helps districts focus money where it will be most effective Implement Big Four Developed by Jane Pollock and based on research conducted by Pollock, Pickering, and Marzano Provides a way for each teacher to improve the learning of every student ONE: Use of a well-articulated curriculum review on a regular basis to ensure rigor and relevance TWO: Plan for delivery – GANAG Lesson Schema THREE: Vary assessments to meet learning styles FOUR: Give criterion-based feedback Create Aligned System Based on Marzano research on effective schools Aligns vision, practice, evaluation, and professional development to support learning
TIMELINE August 2010 Articulate vision to school and community using new district logo School sites utilize district vision to conduct workshop on first in-service day GOAL – to translate district vision to building/grade level/content area practices (Appendix B) September 2010 – June 2011 Leadership Staff Training Aligned Systems: Big Four, Supervision, STAR Framework Instructional Staff Training (Partnership with Keystone Educational Consult) Instructional Strategies, Differentiation, Assessment, Big Four Establish Building Leadership Teams Identify volunteers to train as ATP members and become familiar with data collection and change process Begin working with instructional staff to align evaluation/observation methods with strategies focusing on the districts initiative/vision to increase the quality of relationships, resiliency, relevance, rigor, and reflection for all students and professional development including teacher learning communities and opportunities for peer visits
TIMELINE Summer 2011 Establish ATP Team and begin collecting data Review budget in terms of Evidence-Based Equity Funding Complete steps 1 and 2 of STAR Framework August 2012 – June 2015 Continue professional development focused on instructional strategies, Big Four, and additional strategies developed by ATP Team Pilot new supervision model with select group of teachers in collaboration with union representation Ensure process is effective and meets the needs of teachers, students, and overall vision of developing relationships, resiliency, relevance, rigor, and reflection among staff members August – June 2012 Continue Initiative utilizing STAR Framework Convene Strategic Planning Team to Evaluate the six year plan Progress toward goals up to this point have been slow if evident at all Evaluate the impact of this initiative in regard to the progress of achieving the goals established initially through the strategic planning process
REFERENCES Epstein, et. al (2009). School, family and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Pollock, J. E. (2007). Improving student learning one teacher at a time. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Pollock, J. (2009). Improving student learning one principal at a time. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
REFERENCES Marzano Research. (2010). Creating an aligned system to develop great teachers within the federal race to the top initiative (1st ed.). Marzano Research. Marzano, R., Schooling, P., & Toth, M. Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press. Odden, A., & Picus, L. (2008). School finance: a policy perspective (4th ed.). New York , NY: McGraw-Hill Companies
REFERENCES Milstein, M. & Henry, D. (2008). Leadership strategies that promote student resiliency. Leadership for Resilient School and Communities, 2, 1-7. Skrla, L., McKenzie, L. & Scheurich, J. (2009). Using equity audits to create equitable and excellent schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Henderson, N. (2007). Resiliency in action(2nded.). Ojai, CA: Resiliency in Action Inc. English, F. (1999). Deciding what to teach and test: developing, aligning, and auditing the curriculum. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Reflections: Audit Members Response from Audit Team Members – It is important that the more experienced teachers share their knowledge and expertise with the newer teachers who in turn need to share new methodologies and advancements. Why are there so many less students in advanced English? It is vital for students to be aware of the variety of writing genres, to develop better writing skills, and to gain experience in public speaking whether or not they choose to join forensics. Is there really that much of a difference between their behaviors, or are our expectations and tolerances for/between the genders justified? I think we should put more emphasis in increasing our efforts to encourage more girls to participate in these courses, which have historically been dominated by the male gender.
Reflections: Audit Members Response from Audit Team Members – The results of the student opinion poll interesting, and somewhat disconcerting. Only 38% feel that their teachers care about their lives, and 49% believe we care about them? Either they are skeptics, or we're not doing our jobs. I would be very interested in hearing more about the implementation of a hybrid schedule We must work together at least in departments (sr high especially) so that we are aligning our goals and instruction to support and compliment each other's classes.
Reflections: Audit Members Response from Audit Team Members – You noted Marzano & Pollock's list of 9 instructional strategies for differentiated instruction from their book Classroom Instruction that Works. I would like to see a significant amount of professional development time allotted for actually teaching and modeling these strategies to all staff members. I also think we should allow time for discussing SPECIFIC methods for dealing with behavior issues. Marzano's suggestion to use real-time data to provide feedback to teachers regarding their effectiveness is excellent. From my personal evaluation in which you monitored my interaction with students, I was able to witness my own strengths but also identify my weaknesses. I think this would be of particular interest for all teachers to monitor their interactions (both positive and negative) with male and female students, and also for them to identify student behavior issues that are often difficult to assess when trying to provide instruction to the entire class
Reflections: Audit Members Response from Audit Team Members – I love the idea of developing teacher cohorts to specialize in certain areas or on certain tasks. My concern is that some teachers are very resistant to learning from their peers. I have seen this on past occasions when material for CFF was presented to the staff as a whole With such a low number of students continuing on to higher education after graduation, I feel it is imperative that we increase the amount of exposure that students receive to opportunities that are available now, through high school, and beyond. I am not sure of what job fairs are offered to our juniors and seniors, but I would like to see one held right here in Mercer, with all of the students in Mercer County schools invited to attend.
Reflections: Superintendent Concerns Raised by Audit We are obviously missing the boat in several areas Elementary Reading Math and Reading in secondary (11th grade particularly) Inequities between achievement, graduation, higher education of our students in special education and identified as economically disadvantaged Higher level programming needs to be opened to more students It is time to do away with tracking at the high school The Slide 32 statement said it all – slide 15 When we say high expectations for all do we really mean it? It is one thing to take as a given that approximately 50% of an entering group of students in kindergarten may not attend college, but to assign a particular child to a curriculum designed for that 50 % closes that door altogether. Are we comfortable providing only half of our students the best we have to offer?
Reflections: Superintendent Concerns Raised by Audit We have a system, it seems, that is failing half of our students – this is a concern we need to address immediately. There is a definite lack of teacher leadership Our first step needs to be changing teacher attitude and practice through professional development – I fear our old practices will not stop unless we provide learning opportunities for our staff.
Reflections: Superintendent Additional Concerns From His Perspective There is a lack of communication and focused collaboration among the districts administration to enact long term systematic change with respect to equity for all students Lack of total support and agreement from all leadership levels as to how best to implement change
Reflections: Superintendent Thoughts on Solutions Developing Teacher Leadership “By developing and sustaining true leadership you will change the culture and character of the buildings – but this must be coupled with a clearly articulated vision from the building leaders. This should also be done slowly, methodically, and diligently – DO NOT LET UP. Do not let go once you have created it – THIS WILL BE OUR TRUE IMPETUS TO CHANGE.” Articulate the district vision in a way that is meaningful and memorable - and convert this to actual practice. The focus should be on providing a rich learning experience for every student we serve. The logo/slogan will serve as a daily reminder of what should drive our decision making.
Reflections: Superintendent Thoughts on Solutions Developing Teacher Leadership Pursue the co-teaching method with the Director of Special Education Align all facets of what we do to promote student learning: Instruction, Assessment, Professional Development, Evaluation & Feedback Work toward eliminating general courses gradually over the next several years.
School-Based Activity to Translate District Vision Into Classroom Practice
Defining What We Do!
LONG RANGE GOALS Leadership Team Goals – as determined by staff surveys Improve student achievement Increase academic rigor across the curriculum. Provide timely and useful feedback to teachers and students. Close the achievement gap and provide a challenging curriculum for all students Plan for/provide support for more collaboration between teachers and between teachers and the administration. Improve our system of “supervision” to improve feedback and place less emphasis on teacher behavior and more emphasis on student learning Develop a comprehensive and embedded system of professional development Provide more time for instructional staff to: meet, plan, share lessons, discuss student learning, align curriculum, develop relevant interdisciplinary units of study, and analyze data. To accomplish these goal we must first (as a full staff) define our expectations for the following..
Academic Rigor & Student Success What are our goals for students? What are their goals? What does our world expect from them? What should students know and be able to do? What instructional skills/practices should be in place to help students achieve established goals? What does a rigorous classroom look like? What strategies should be common throughout each classroom and/or discipline? What structures need to be in place to support instructional staff as they work toward providing students with a rigorous academic program?
School Mission – How Many of You Have Seen It? The mission of the Mercer Area School District, with community support, is to educate each student to be an involved responsible citizen. Upon graduation, all students will be prepared to succeed in an ever-changing society utilizing critical thinking and lifelong learning to become stewards of their communities.
Purpose…. The answers to these questions will guide everything we do.
Scheduling – Bell Schedule – Instructional Day – Instructional Year
The Compass… What’s wrong with these statements? Let’s meet at 4:00 We’ll talk about this more when we find a place more comfortable. I’ll see you there. We want to develop the best readers and writers in the county. Our programs should be rigorous and relevant for life after high school.
Mercer Area School District Vision? We believe that together, through expanding relationships, the students, staff, parents, and community members of the Mercer Area School District create a collaborative, innovative educational system that: Appreciates diversity Promotes core values Provides students with the skills necessary to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, challenging them to become contributors to the future of their community, nation, and humanity Provides teachers and administrators with the skills necessary to engage future generations through the use of professional development and an emphasis on technology integration Creates an educational system in which students, teachers, parents, and the community are accountable for each child’s education in Mercer. Does the current format for professional development provide the time and support necessary to help promote the goal above? Excellent Goal – but are we doing this?
Shared Values – We Believe… Education is a shared responsibility All students must develop a sense of responsibility, accountability, and self-discipline in order to be successful Education is an on-going process in which students learn at different rates and in different way. A variety of learning experiences and strategies is vital for each student’s development Respect must be encouraged and demonstrated for self, other, and possessions so that open communication and trust among students, teachers, administrators, staff, and community flourishes – TRUST. Learning is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge, values, skills, and attitudes that are critical in preparing students for future challenges and opportunities ALL children are capable of learning and should be challenged to reach their highest potential
Shared Values – We Believe… Communication is a critical component of educational excellence Learning needs to be relevant, rigorous, and reflective, and should prepare students to live successfully in an ever-changing global society A variety of learning experiences and strategies is vital for each student’s development
Part I Defining our expectations ~Academic RIGOR~
IN YOUR OWN WORDS… Please take the time to reflect on the term “ACADEMIC RIGOR”” What does this term mean to you? What does it look like? In the classroom? In a school? Take one of the index cards at the table and write your definition of “ACADEMIC RIGOR”.
Academic Rigor Many different definitions exist…that is what we will define today. Some elements to keep in mind Common definitions of ‘Rigor’ have three components: Content, Instructional Strategies, and Assessment. Recommend a 4th – SYSTEM WIDE SUPPORT. It is determined not just by what is taught, but how it is taught and how it is assessed. Knowledge and thinking – must be connected (Not just what to know, but how to use what is known to solve problems) Learning has three main forms: To Know (Declarative), To Do (Procedural), To Transfer (Under What Conditions)
WITH THIS IS MIND Pair up with a person with the same number on the back of their agenda. Take a few minutes to compare your definition for ‘Academic Rigor’ Now…. Combine your answers so you have a common definition both of you can live with.
WITH THIS IS MIND Get together with another pair (that have the same number) and repeat the process…compare work and collaborate to develop a common definition all of you can live with.
Pair up one last time…. Group up with all individuals with the same number on the back of your agenda and develop a common definition all of you can live with. When you are finished…turn your definition in at the front table.
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Group 6 Group 7
Part II Academic Relevance – what will rigor look like in our subjects Supporting the worlds expectations for our students
Six Key Elements for 21st Century Learning Core Subjects: The authors reaffirm the importance of the core subjects identified by No Child Left Behind but challenge schools and policymakers to expand their focus beyond "basic competency" to understanding the core academic content at much higher levels. Learning Skills: "To cope with the demands of the 21st century," the report states, "students need to know more than core subjects. They need to know how to use their knowledge and skills-by thinking critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems, and making decisions." 21st Century Tools: Recognizing that "technology is, and will continue to be, a driving force in workplaces, communities, and personal lives in the 21st century," Learning for the 21st Century emphasizes the importance of incorporating information and communication technologies into education from the elementary grades up. 21st Century Context: Experiences that are relevant to students' lives, connected with the world beyond the classroom, and based on authentic projects are central to the sort of education the Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines as the appropriate context for learning in the information age. 21st Century Content: The report's authors believe that certain content essential for preparing students to live and work in a 21st century world is missing from many state and local standards. (See list.) New Assessments that Measure 21st Century Skills: "As pervasive as assessment seems to be today," the report says, "it remains an emerging and challenging field that demands further study and innovation." Recommendations include moving beyond standardized testing as the sole measure of student learning; balancing traditional tests with classroom assessments to measure the full range of students' skills; and using technology-based assessments to deliver immediate feedback. From Tech & Learning, October 2003. Twenty-first Century Skills, Will our Students be Prepared? By Judy Salpeter
Bloom’s Taxonomy: Ask Yourself - Do I reside in or simply visit the upper levels? Old Bloom’s: Categorical Revised Bloom’s: Action
Departments What supports our definition of ACADEMIC RIGOR will mean something different in ENGLISH than it will in MATH, SCIENCE, HISTORY, ART, MUSIC, FITNESS… The next portion of this exercise will be to meet in departments to establish a common language for student learning, instructional strategies, assessment, and administrative support.
Task – To Be Completed by 10AM. Using the common list of expectations Develop a definition of Academic Rigor for your content area. What students should be able to do… What strategies should be in practice – what should students be seen doing or participating in during instruction? How should students be assessed? What should the focus of grading be? What structures need to be in place in order to support your efforts with the students (staffing, materials, time length of classes, scheduling, professional development).
What You Do Today Matters!!! The discussions that take place will not end today – today is only the beginning. Your work today will make a difference in the way we support teaching and learning in this district and in this building. Use the handout to guide your discussions – one copy should be turned in by 10AM to the main office.