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Professional Learning Communities: Staying the Course. Sandy Thorstenson Superintendent. Whittier Union High School District. Changes in the Past 12 Years in Students We Serve. 73% Hispanic. 80% Hispanic. 22% White. 16% White. 3% Other. 4% Other. 13% English

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slide2

Professional Learning Communities: Staying the Course

Sandy Thorstenson

Superintendent

Whittier Union High School District

changes in the past 12 years in students we serve
Changes in the Past 12 Yearsin Students We Serve

73% Hispanic

80% Hispanic

22%

White

16%

White

3%

Other

4%

Other

13%

English

Learners

10%

English

Learners

20%

R-FEP

23%

R-FEP

Now

Then

31%

Soc Econ Dis

80% Soc Econ Dis

the power of measurable targets for coherent continual improvement
The Power of Measurable Targets forCoherent Continual Improvement
  • Academic Performance Index (API)
  • Annual Yearly Progress (AYP)
  • CAHSEE: Pass and Proficient
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate
  • Grade Level Credits Towards Graduation: On-Target Rate
  • College Eligibility: a-g Course Completion
  • Advanced Placement: Exams & Enrollment
  • Student Attendance Rate
comprehensive strategy to increase performance on measurable targets
Comprehensive Strategy to Increase Performance on Measurable Targets

Professional Learning Communities

We are committed to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES

slide9

Pyramid of

Prevention &

Interventions

RESULTS

staying the course growth over the past 7 years
Staying the Course:Growth over the Past 7 Years
  • If we add up the API Growth Points from each of the past seven years, how have we done?

WUHSD = 187 growth points

State of California = 56 growth points

  • How do our High Schools compare to the 925 Comprehensive High Schools in CA?
wuhsd actual college enrollment within 2 years
WUHSD Actual College Enrollment within 2 years

HS Grad Class

WUHSD Student Tracker Data, 2010

wuhsd s shared values
WUHSD’s Shared Values
  • Collaboration
  • Common Assessments
  • Directed Intervention
key questions addressed by plcs
Key Questions Addressed by PLCs
  • What do we want students to know?
  • How do we know when they learn it?
  • How do we respond when they do not learn it?
  • How do we enrich and extend the learning for those students who have demonstrated mastery?
1 what do we want students to know
#1 What do we want students to know?
  • CA State Content Standards
  • WUHSD Essential Standards
    • Course Notebooks
    • Pacing Guides
  • Collaboration & Sharing
  • Teachers Doing it
  • Together
2 how do we know when they learn it
#2 How do we know when they learn it?
  • Formative & Summative Assessments
    • Districtwide Common Assessments (4 or more per year)
    • Site-based Interim Assessments
    • Protocol for Collaborative Analysis of Results
    • Annual CSTs
  • Collaborative Analysis of Data
    • Analysis of transparent & timely student performance data within & between schools
    • Treasure Hunt in search of Best Practices
3 how do we respond when they do not learn it
#3 How do we respond when they do not learn it?

Building a Systematic Response

Pyramid of

PREVENTION

& Intervention

whatever it takes guiding principles
Whatever it TakesGuiding Principles
  • Intervention rather than remediation
  • Intervention that is systematic
  • Intervention that is provided in a timely manner
  • Intervention that is directed rather than invited
  • Prevention is the best Intervention
focus on freshman
Focus on Freshman
  • Parent Partnership
  • Campus Watch
  • Link Crew
  • Freshman First Day
  • Summer Bridge Program
  • ELA and Math Placement
time support
Time & Support
  • Alternative Bell Schedules
    • Student-Centered, Teacher Driven
    • Teacher Collaboration
  • Distributed Leadership Network
    • Intervention Specialists/Clerk
    • Course Leads
    • Link Crew Facilitators
alternative block schedule not allowing students to choose failure
Alternative Block Schedule:Not Allowing Students to Choose Failure

120minutes

120minutes

120minutes

100min

20min

100min

20min

100min

20min

Period

1 or 2

Period

3 or 4

Period

5 or 6

EMBEDDED

EMBEDDED

SUPPORT

SUPPORT

EMBEDDED

SUPPORT

BREAK

LUNCH

HOME

Embedded Support to Ensure Mastery

prevention practices
Prevention Practices
  • Revision of Grading Policies
    • Retesting: Ensuring students learn content
    • Case Against the Zero
  • Increased Feedback to Parents
    • Grading Period every 4.5 weeks
    • Teleparent  Parents as Partners
    • Zangle Parent Portal & Teachers’ Websites
new positions to meet challenges
New Positions to Meet Challenges
  • Revised Dept. Chair Description
  • Subject Course Leads
  • District Curriculum Assessment Coaches
  • EADMS On-Site Technology Support
  • Zangle On-Site Support Teachers
  • Intervention Specialist & Clerk
broad base of distributed leadership
Broad Base of Distributed Leadership
  • Over 40% of Teachers in Leadership Role
    • 137 Stipend Positions
    • 59 Dept. Chairs
  • Funding of Positions at each Site
    • 10 Teacher Leaders funded by Site
    • 28 Teacher Leaders funded by District
  • Annual Total Cost Districtwide for Stipend Positions: $139,500 (does not include dept. chairs)
development of teacher leaders
Development of Teacher Leaders
  • Site:
    • Leadership Meetings
    • Role of Department Chairs
  • District:
    • Lateral Networks
    • Summer Professional Learning
    • Targeted Leadership Training
    • Curriculum and Assessment Coaches
leadership training 2011 12
Leadership Training 2011/12
  • 2 Days in Summer
  • Facilitation of Teams
    • Communication: Dialogue vs. Discussion
    • Team Energy
    • Conflict
    • Developing Common Understandings
leadership support curriculum assessment coaches
Leadership Support: Curriculum Assessment Coaches
  • Assigned to different sites
  • Individual support for Course Leads
  • Team Workshops for Course Leads
  • Keeps finger on the pulse of Teacher Leaders
  • Communicates Needs to Administration
district quarterly course alike meetings
District Quarterly Course-Alike Meetings
  • Modeling of Collaborative Analysis
  • Gap Analysis
  • Discussion of Team Challenges
  • Sharing of Best Practices
teacher development for all summer pd
Teacher Development for All: Summer PD
  • One week for each Content Area
  • Teachers and Course Leads
  • New Learning with Application Time
  • Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Supplemental Collaboration Time (outside of the structure content week)
  • Last Summer: 1,165 Teacher Work Days
slide43

Developing a staff’s capacities for talking together may be the most significant investment faculties can make for student learning.Robert Garmston and Bruce Wellman

district support role
District Support Role
  • Amplified the Culture
    • Built capacity through developing Teacher Leaders
    • Brought Decentralized Depts together to collaboratively develop Common Assessments and address Support Issues
    • Supported a Culture of Inquiry
      • Safe Discussion of Transparent Data and Needs
      • Collegial, not Competitive
      • Student-Centered
slide45

How We Started

  • Listened
    • Rick Du Four’s Presentations for Teacher Leaders and Administrators
  • Read & Discussed
    • Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Improving Student Achievement
    • Whatever it Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond when Kids don’t Learn
  • Visited
    • Three Visits to Stevenson HS in Illinois
how we watered the seeds
How We Watered the Seeds
  • Learned
    • Gayle Karhanek Consulting
      • Districtwide Workshops
      • Consulting Days at each School Site
  • Applied
    • Pyramid of Interventions
    • 3 Meetings per Year
      • Peer Accountability in Reporting Progress
  • Communicated
    • Instructional Direction Brochure (version 3)
    • DVD
how we continue to expand capacity through collaboration
How we Continue to Expand Capacity through Collaboration
  • Fostering Leadership
    • Leadership training for Teacher Leaders
    • Support from Curriculum Assessment Coaches
    • Modeling at District Best Practices Meetings
  • Continual Learning for all Teachers
    • Summer PD
    • District Course-Alike Teams
    • Site Course-Alike Teams
vision of instructional leadership in the future
Vision of Instructional Leadership in the Future

Leading from Behind and not from in Front

Michael Fullan

 Distributed Leadership

 Lateral Coordination & Communication

  •  Sharing
  •  Peer Accountability
      •  Student Learning
slide49

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

Intensity

Coherence

Focus

Whatever it Takes