building professional learning communities

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District Demographics. Small District in North-Central IndianaRural AreaStudent Enrollment, K-12, of approximately 950 studentsThree (3) Elementary Schools; One (1) Middle School; One (1) High School60% Districtwide Poverty15% ENL Population19% Special Education Population. Low Student Achievement What Used to Happen!.

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1. BuildingProfessional Learning Communities North White School Corporation in ACCESS Conference March 13, 2007

3. Low Student AchievementWhat Used to Happen! We had data We shared data We complained We cried We agreed that we needed to improve We went back and taught more of the same in the same ways we always had!! Etc.! Etc.! Etc.!!

4. Realization!!THIS IS NOT WORKING!!! No Real Improvement!! The Horse is Dead!!! Time to Dismount!! Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, “When the horse dies…dismount.”

5. Seems Simple Enough! However, we don’t always follow that advice! Instead, we choose from an array of other alternatives: Buying a stronger whip Switching riders Appointing a committee to study the horse Creating dead horse riding standards

6. Or, Maybe… Reorganizing the stables Developing a training course for riding a dead horse Complaining about the state of horses these days Getting an advocate for the horse Blaming the horse’s parents. The problem is often breeding

7. Create a Foundation for Fundamental Human Desires We All Want to Experience: Achievement—Success Connection—Feeling a Part of a Group Significance—Making a Difference But Changing What We Have Always Done is Frightening—And Very Hard Work!!

8. The Beginning of Change: Vision, Leadership and Perseverance Shared Vision throughout the Administrative Team to Initiate Change --Superintendent --Principals --Resource Support Personnel District-level Support from Outside Agencies --Indiana Department of Education TOPHAT-I Consortium District Ed Tech-Year 1 Recipient Outside Coaching Opportunities for District

9. Building a Professional Learning Community What Did We Do? Created a District-level, Core group of teachers and administrators from each of the five schools in the corporation: North White Staff Development Team Teachers in the NWSDT serve their respective schools as Teacher Leaders

10. What Did We Do? Identified Corporation-wide Goals Similarly, each school’s SIP reflected efforts towards corporation aims/goals Developed effective teaching strategies Aligned curriculum to Indiana Academic Standards Created assessments based on Indiana Academic Standards

11. What Did We Do? Used data to drive instruction Pooled all corporation resources—human and financial Followed a methodical approach—Coordinated activities, focus across all schools in the corporation Strived to make every component of the plan “mesh” with every other component Developed plans collaboratively with the Staff Development Team

12. How Did We Do It? Created Professional Study Groups Regularly scheduled time and focus for teachers to research, study, reflect, plan together Yearly focus—Examples -Marzano Research for Effective Schools -Best Practices Research -Vocabulary Integration into the Curriculum -Assessment

13. How Did We Do It? NWSDT Planning for Professional Days, Early Release Days, Study Group Days each Spring for the following year Coaching -In-house Content Coach -Outside Coaching with focus on yearly goals -Teacher-led Study Groups

14. How Did We Do It? Technology Component Technology Plays an Integral Role in Student and Teacher work in the NWSC Collection of Data Technology as a Teaching Tool Technology as a Student Learning Tool Acquisition of Innovative Hardware/Software Systems --1:1 Computing --ETS Criterion Scoring Engine

15. How Do We Know If We Succeed? Needs Assessment and Evaluations at Various Levels Outside Evaluation of Programs—Wabash Valley Educational Center NWSDT Monthly/Quarterly Meetings Surveys: Students, Parents, Educators Deliberate Monitoring of Student Progress: --ISTEP+ --NWEA --ETS Criterion Writing Collections --Classroom Assessments

16. In Summary…Professional Learning Communities

17. Contacts—North White School Corporation Michelle Hay Principal Buffalo-Reynolds Elementary Schools Ed Tech Program Administrator [email protected] Curt Craig Principal North White Middle School Ed Tech Project Site [email protected]

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