Spotlights on success
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Spotlights on Success. Recognizing True School Achievement. Session 1. Words of Wisdom from Educators at Five Successful Arkansas Schools. Gary Ritter, Director, Office for Education Policy 1:00 PM-1:15 PM. AYP as a Measure of Success?.

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Spotlights on success

Spotlights on Success

Recognizing True School Achievement


Session 1

Session 1

Words of Wisdom

from Educators at Five

Successful Arkansas Schools

Gary Ritter, Director,

Office for Education Policy

1:00 PM-1:15 PM


Spotlights on success

AYP as a Measure of Success?

Schools starting off as low performing schools can make huge gains and continue to be labeled as “failing” while schools making much smaller gains may still be classified as “successful” just because they started from a higher point on the scale.


Spotlights on success

Why Did We Select These Schools?

It is possible for schools to contribute greatly to student achievement and still be identified as “failing” even though that school has made significant gains above and beyond the gains seen from other schools in the state including many schools which have never failed to make AYP.

One way for this to happen is for a school to have strong gains over what would be expected based on the school’s demographics. We will first look at the information for two such high gaining schools.


Spotlights on success

Howard Elementary

-25 Math in 2006

-13 Math in 2010

Howard FRL: 95% Enroll: 354

Ark FRL: 59%

Successful making continuing gains with low-SES and minority students .


Spotlights on success

Marked Tree Elementary

+6 Math in 2010

-18 Math in 2006

MT FRL: 78% Enroll: 343

Ark FRL: 59%

Successful making continuing gains with rural, low-SES students .

More than twice the state’s growth.


Spotlights on success

Why Did We Select These Schools?

Another issue with NCLB is that there is no incentive for schools to encourage students to move beyond proficiency. Many schools focus on the “bubble kids” and below basic students to the detriment of the students who have been labeled proficient.

A major goal of any educational policy should be to encourage growth for all students. We now highlight a school which has continually moved students from proficient up to advanced.


Spotlights on success

Salem Elementary

+21 Math

+20 Lit

+17 Math

+10 Lit

96

92

92

88

87

83

81

75

72

69

Salem FRL: 33% Enroll: 384

Ark FRL: 59%

Successful making continuing gains and moving students from proficient to advanced.


Spotlights on success

Why Did We Select These Schools?

One of the positive outcomes of NCLB has been the requirement to report results by subpopulation. Before NCLB, schools could hide the fact that a particular subpopulation within the school was not being adequately served by boosting the scores of the main population.

Minority students were especially likely to be a hidden, underserved population. Due to the testing requirements of NCLB, we can now identify not only those school under serving subpopulations, but recognize those who are making great achievements with these students.


Spotlights on success

Bragg Elementary

-8

+6

-4

-2

+1

-8

Bragg FRL: 68% Enroll: 384

Ark FRL: 59%

-28

-30

-26

-28

-21

-23

Arkansas


Spotlights on success

Grace Hill Elementary

Outperformed all state subpopulations!

+4

+5

+9

+5

-3

-5

GH FRL: 87% Enroll: 461

Ark FRL: 59%

-15

-21

-15

-15

-5

-12

Arkansas


Session 1 part 2

Session 1, Part 2

Panelists

Anesa Thompson, Superintendent, Marked Tree

Jane Stewart, Counselor, Howard Elementary

Jenny Humble, Teacher, Grace Hill Elementary

Mark Scarlett, Principal, Salem Elementary

Terri McCann, Principal, Bragg Elementary

Velmar Greene, Principal, Howard Elementary

1:15 PM-2:15 PM


Spotlights on success

Questions

Your school has been identified as a high performing school despite several demographic factors that might typically hinder growth in other schools. How have you been so successful?


Spotlights on success

Questions

What are some of the key components of your school culture? How did you (and your team) develop this culture?


Spotlights on success

Questions

What is the keystone ingredient to your school’s success without which this school could not function at the level it does?


Spotlights on success

Questions

You have had success recruiting and develop quality teachers at your school. What do you by way of recruitment, retention, and training for the teachers at your school that aid in the development of high quality instruction?


Break

Break

2:15-2:30


Session 2 part 1

Session 2, Part 1

Characteristics of Successful Schools and Implications for Practice

2:30 PM-2:45 PM


Characteristics of effective schools

Characteristics of Effective Schools

  • After the OEP used data to narrow down our list of schools to 5, we visited each school.

  • Each site visit included:

    • Observations of multiple classrooms, cafeterias, and playgrounds

    • Interviews with principals

    • Interviews with teachers and leadership teams


Observations

Observations

Several common themes began to emerge in each of these different schools despite the fact that each had their own unique style.


Observed themes

Observed Themes

Visible, Supportive, and Pro-Active Leadership

Teachers Focused on Achievement and Supported by Autonomy

Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

Collaborative Environment for Entire School Family


1 visible supportive pro active leadership

1. Visible, Supportive, Pro-Active Leadership

  • In each of these schools, principal visibility created an atmosphere that fostered a high standards while simultaneously providing the support necessary to achieve these standards.

    • Greeting parents in the car rider line

    • Serving cafeteria duty

    • Leading school-wide meetings

    • Classroom walk-throughs

    • High involvement in discipline


1 visible supportive pro active leadership1

1. Visible, Supportive, Pro-Active Leadership

  • Principals provide feedback and support to help teachers address weaknesses

    • Professional Development

    • Follow-up Meetings

    • Organization of mentors


1 visible supportive pro active leadership2

1. Visible, Supportive, Pro-Active Leadership

  • The principals’ visibility enabled them to be more aware and involved in discipline issues in the school. Their visibility was cited as a motivating factor for good student behavior

    “Teachers here know that if they work here, they can teach, and I’ll take care of the discipline so they focus on the classroom.”  


2 autonomous teaching driven by data

2. Autonomous Teaching Driven by Data

  • The use of data at these schools appeared to focus educators on the achievement of each individual student, and in so-doing, enabled teachers to increase achievement of students at all different levels

    [Since using data], “we are more focused on student achievement, and there is less adult drama.”

    -Teacher


2 autonomous teaching driven by data1

2. Autonomous Teaching Driven by Data

  • The use of data at these schools appeared to focus educators on the achievement of each individual student, and in so-doing, enabled teachers to increase achievement of students at all different levels

  • DATA TOOLS

  • Parent Night Programs

  • Data Walls

  • The Learning Institute

  • Accelerated Reader

  • Cognitively Guided Instruction


3 culture of success permeating entire school

3. Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

  • Principals at these schools were very effective at creating a culture of success that was evident in the standards set for both students and teachers.

“Every child is the same in expectation level, but not in story.”

-Teacher


3 culture of success permeating entire school1

3. Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

  • It was clear that teachers did not have a sense of victimization nor apathy regardless of the type of student population at their school.

  • Instead, there was a sense of energy felt at all of these schools and a proactive attitude.

  • Issues that some might perceive as disadvantageous were considered as a challenge to tackle by the teachers and faculty at these schools. They were solution-focused, not problem focused.


3 culture of success permeating entire school2

3. Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

Orderly, but intellectually active, classrooms were common at each of these schools.

Most observers would have pegged these schools as positive learning environments before seeing any graphs or tables highlighting the test score growth that has occurred over the past several years.


3 culture of success permeating entire school3

3. Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

  • While it is not uncommon to hear schools talk about holding students to high standards, it is slightly less common to hear principals discuss holding teacher to a high standard

  • However the principals in these effective schools held teachers to a high standard and were not afraid to address weaknesses

  • The careful recruitment and retention of teachers that “fit” helped ensure that the culture of success was built into the school


3 culture of success permeating entire school4

3. Culture of Success Permeating Entire School

  • All of the principals were clear that those teachers that did not fit were encouraged to find a better fit elsewhere

  • This emphasis on finding and keeping people that “fit” paid off both in terms of limited turnover and a culture of success

    “We are do-ers here.”

    -Teacher


4 collaborative environment for entire school family

4. Collaborative Environment for Entire School Family

  • The recruitment and retention of teachers who “fit” the culture of school was a key ingredient to the success of these schools without which they could not have created any of the other defining features of the school.

  • The idea that teachers are free agents who close the door and no one knows what happens in their classroom would not describe any of these schools


4 collaborative environment for entire school family1

4. Collaborative Environment for Entire School Family

  • Instead teachers at these schools actively engaged in small learning communities, grade level team meetings, and other forms of collaborative efforts

  • It was not uncommon for other teachers to model discipline or lessons for weaker teachers at these schools

  • These not only improve instruction at these schools, but also empower teachers as leaders in the school

    “I feel like I am an expert.”

    -Teacher


4 collaborative environment for entire school family2

4. Collaborative Environment for Entire School Family

  • These school leaders recognize the importance of creating a family like environment that is conducive to collaboration. School leaders facilitate this environment through hiring, prioritizing, scheduling, and structuring the school to best enable these teachers this professional opportunity.

    “I can train anyone with a degree…to be an effective instructor. What I really look for in hiring job candidates is a passion for children and a fit with our school culture.”

    -Principal


Session 2 part 2

Session 2, Part 2

Situating the Case Study

Results in the Broader Research

Dr. Joshua Barnett, Arizona State University

Dr. John Pijanowski, University of Arkansas

2:45-3:10 PM


Conclusion

Conclusion

Closing Comments

Diane Pounder

3:10 PM - 3:20 PM


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