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Tennessee Successful Schools A Project of the State Improvement Grant Susan M. Benner, Ed. D. Anne McGill-Franzen, Ph. D. Kandy Smith, Doctoral Candidate University of Tennessee LEAD Conference October 5, 2009 Tennessee Successful Schools Project

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tennessee successful schools
Tennessee Successful Schools

A Project of the State Improvement Grant

Susan M. Benner, Ed. D.

Anne McGill-Franzen, Ph. D.

Kandy Smith, Doctoral Candidate

University of Tennessee

LEAD Conference

October 5, 2009

tennessee successful schools project
Tennessee Successful Schools Project
  • Context of State Improvement Grant and Higher Education Task Force
  • High Need Elementary Schools
  • Literacy Focus
state improvement grant
State Improvement Grant

Serving identified schools preschool through high school, SIG helps sustain important services to schools, administrators, teachers, and students and their families so that children and youth will achieve strong literacy and pre-literacy skills

  • Literacy and SPED
  • Transition of SIG to system-level RtI consulting and professional development
characteristics participating schools 21 identified 14 participated
Characteristics Participating Schools21 identified 14 participated
  • 12 schools in towns
      • 2 schools in cities
      • Enrollment of schools between 300 and 750
  • Grades Served
    • 5 K-4 schools
    • 3 K-5 schools
    • 3 K-6 schools
    • 3 K-8 schools
  • Economically Disadvantaged (State Average: 54.7)
    • Below the state average: 3 schools
    • Above the state average: 11 schools
    • Lowest percentage in these schools: 42%
    • Highest percentage in these schools: 94% 
school characteristics
School Characteristics
  • Percent MinorityState Average: 32% minority
    • Below the state average: 12 schools
    • At or above the state average: 2 schools
    • Lowest percentage in these schools: 1%
    • Highest percentage in these schools: 35%
  • Percent Special EducationState Average: 15.4%
    • These schools: (for 2007 only)
    • Below the state average: 9 schools
    • At or above the state average: 4 schools
    • Lowest percentage in these schools: 1%
    • Highest percentage in these schools: 25%
perspectives from the field regional focus groups

Perspectives from the FieldRegional Focus Groups

Administrators

Classroom Teachers

Special Education Teachers

Parents

anecdotal or real life experience of teachers is always going to trump research
Anecdotal or real-life experience of teachers is always going to trump research.

Nelson, Leffler,& Hensen (2009)

general question
General Question

To what do you attribute your school’s success in literacy ?

probes
Probes
  • How does your school overcome the challenges presented by the at-risk student population?
  • Reflect on the use of student assessment data in the school’s instructional planning?
  • How do teachers collaborate in supporting students with special needs or struggling readers in your school?
probes cont d
Probes Cont’d
  • How does the leadership in your school support its success?
  • Reflect on parent involvement in your school.
  • Reflect on the importance of professional development in your school’s success.
  • What instructional practices in your school do you think contribute to your success?
what do these successful schools look like
What do these successful schools look like?
  • Unique paths to success—there is no universal key to success
    • Each school has its own DNA—Education Trust, 2009
  • Common patterns of effort that reflect the research base focused on schools that “beat the odds”
    • Shared characteristics across schools throughout this and other research
the schools
The Schools
  • Elvis Presley
  • James K. Polk
  • Richard Boyd
  • James Napier
  • Cordell Hull
  • Dolly Parton
  • Wilma Rudolph
  • Perry Wallace
  • Casey Jones
  • Nancy Ward
  • Alvin C. York
  • Pat Summit
  • Roy Acuff
  • Henry Foote
elvis presley elementary school 2003 2007
Elvis Presley Elementary School2003 - 2007
  • K-5 and K-4
  • Average enrollment 727
  • Rural
  • 55% Economically Disadvantaged
  • Racial Composition
    • 70% White
    • 21% African American
    • 8% Hispanic
    • Less than 2% Asian

2003

Targeted assistance

(AA and ED performance)

2004 - 2005

School improvement

(AA and ED performance)

2006 - 2007

Good standing

james k polk 2003 2007
James K. Polk2003 - 2007
  • PreK - 5
  • Average enrollment 262
  • Average 55% economically disadvantaged
  • Predominately white
  • Increase in Hispanic from 0 to 4.6%
  • African American approximately 4%

2003--20% Below Proficient

2004 --13% Below Proficient

2005--4% Below Proficient

2006--7% Below Proficient

2007--6% Below Proficient

Value-Added improved from C in 2003 to A from 2005 to 2007

cordell hull
Cordell Hull
  • K - 8
  • 328 average enrollment, gradually declining
  • 98% economically disadvantaged
  • High referral rates to DCS
  • Children read better than parents
  • Over 91% white, declining
  • increase in Hispanic population from 3.3% to 10.5%
  • African American relatively steady with average of 10.7%

2003

Targeted Assistance

2004 - 2007

Good Standing

Below Proficient ratings did not drop

Value-Added went from F (2003) to A (2006-2007)

perry wallace elementary
Perry Wallace Elementary
  • K-6
  • Demographics
    • 233
    • Rural
    • Economically Disadvantaged: As high as 97.2%, as low as 73.9%
    • 35% African American, 65% Caucasian
    • .4% Hispanic
perry wallace ayp data
Perry Wallace AYP Data
  • 2003
    • F in Academic Achievement; F in Value-Added
  • 2004
    • F in Academic Achievement; B in Value-Added
  • 2005
    • F in Academic Achievement; B in Value-Added
  • 2006
    • D in Academic Achievement; B in Value-Added
  • 2007
    • C in Academic Achievement; A in Value-Added
perry wallace elementary20
Perry Wallace Elementary
  • In 2003, did not meet Federal Benchmark (X)
    • With the only two subgroups in which there were more than 45 students:
      • All students
      • Economically disadvantaged
    • In two main categories:
      • Reading, Language Arts, Writing
      • Math
perry wallace elementary21
Perry Wallace Elementary
  • 1 of 74 Reading First schools in Tennessee
  • Became a Reading First school in spring of 2004
james napier
James Napier
  • 2003: low achieving school, “targeted assistance”
  • 2004-2007: “good standing”
  • Percentage of students below proficient on TCAP assessments in reading and language arts reduced by around 50% in all subgroups,
  • Largest gains achieved with special education students
    • 2003: 70% of the students with disabilities were below proficient on the state assessment
    • 2007, 25% below proficient
james napier23
James Napier
  • Academic achievement grades have risen from C in 2003 to B in 2007.
  • Value-added scores have risen from C in 2003 to A in 2007.
dolly parton elementary
Dolly Parton Elementary
  • Grades PreK-6
  • Demographics (2007)
    • 480 Students
    • Rural
    • 78 % Economically Disadvantaged
    • 95% White; 3.8% African-American; 1% Hispanic
dolly parton reading grades
Dolly Parton Reading Grades
  • 2003, 2004
    • B in Academic Achievement; F in Value-Added
  • 2005
    • B in Academic Achievement, A in Value-Added
  • 2006, 2007
    • A in Academic Achievement, A in Value-Added
percent of students proficient or advanced in reading
Percent of Students Proficient or Advanced in Reading

Dolly Parton

State

All Students

2003: 80%

2007: 90%

Students with Disabilities

2003:

2007: 70%

  • All Students

2003: %

2007: 95%

  • Students with Disabilities

2003:

2007: 86%

overriding forces
Overriding Forces
  • External support and effective ongoing professional development
  • Administrative leadership and standards
  • Collaboration between teachers
    • Grade-to-grade, SPED-to-regular, cross-grade
  • Dedicated time for engaged instruction
  • Connections between assessment and instruction, understanding use of data
external support and effective ongoing professional development
External Support and Effective Ongoing Professional Development
  • Perry Wallace
  • Cordell Hull
  • Overriding Forces
prevailing theme rigor fidelity
Prevailing Theme: Rigor/Fidelity

“What gets checked on gets done.”

  • Required Reading First Fidelity Checks
    • Administrator, Literacy Leader, Cadre Trainer
    • Tiers 1, 2, (Voyager) and 3
  • Rigor logs
    • MORT: Missed Opportunities for Rigorous Teaching
  • Student data/assessments for interventions
prevailing theme collaboration
Prevailing Theme: Collaboration
  • Leadership Team Collaboration
    • Principal, Literacy Leaders, Interventionists
  • Grade Level and Cross-Grade Level Collaboration
  • Professional Development
  • Shared Vision
  • Full inclusion school
  • School-wide behavior management (COMP)
cordell hull34
Cordell Hull
  • Resources and professional development in literacy education provided through Reading First
  • Special and general education teachers participate in the same professional development
learning to change
Learning to Change

“ And I, I think, just explicit and systematic instruction has helped us so much…I’ve been there for 26 years, and I really thought I was a pretty good teacher. …some of the things, I mean not everything, but, I mean, some of the things that I’ve learned, and I’m thinking, what was I thinking?”

“The dinosaurs, honey, let me tell you …’ it was hard… you know these new ones that came in they could do it snap, snap, snap…It takes a long time to re-train yourself to do this. But…I’ve embraced it and really… done well with it. And we teach the five components of reading…”

administrative leadership and standards
Administrative Leadership and Standards
  • James K. Polk
  • James Napier
  • Overriding Forces
james k polk
James K. Polk
  • Strong principal focused on Student Performance Indicators
  • Requires weekly lesson plan reviews
  • Connections back to district office with assistance provided in data interpretation
james napier administrative leadership and standards
James Napier: Administrative Leadership and Standards

Special Education Teacher describes principal as “very supportive in anything you want to try”

Gen Ed Teacher: “very much focused on SPIs…more focused on SPIs than on basals”

collaboration between teachers
Collaboration between Teachers
  • Dolly Parton
  • Elvis Presley
  • Perry Wallace
  • James Napier
  • Overriding Forces
dolly parton theme 1
Dolly Parton: Theme 1
  • Access to grade level curriculum with support enabled lowest achieving students to improve
      • The school moved to total inclusion for grades 3-6
      • The school became school-wide Title 1 thereby gaining two teachers, assistants, and instructional coach
      • Title 1 teachers, assistants, and special education teachers push into classroom to support instruction during reading block
dolly parton theme 2
Dolly Parton: Theme 2
  • Collaborative planning enabled adjustments to curriculum
      • The school initiated daily common planning and weekly grade level meetings
      • The instructional coach identified students for intervention based on mastery of SPIs
      • The special education and Title 1 teachers and assistants consulted classroom teachers’ posted plans
      • The special education teacher and classroom teachers monitored students’ progress on reading curriculum assessments
dolly parton theme 3
Dolly Parton: Theme 3
  • Technology programs increased the time students spent reading
      • Two computer labs and classroom mini-labs with Study Island and River Deep software supported 40 minutes extra reading daily
      • AR libraries are located in every classroom
most important element of school success
Most Important Element of School Success

“We’re looking all the way down and we are beginning to see what we can do for all levels of students. And I think that comes through the collaboration that we now have with our teachers….They want to do the best job they can do and so they are looking for that communication….I think that’s what’s important.”

inclusion issues
Inclusion Issues
  • “I’m planning probably an hour and a half or two hours a day after school and at home just making sure I am prepared for the next day…. And I am a veteran teacher….I love my intervention teachers, but I just don’t understand why they don’t have their own curriculum and why once kids are targeted they don’t pull them out and do a program.” Regular Education Teacher
elvis presley elementary
Elvis Presley Elementary

Collaborating on Lesson Plans on grade level and across grade levels

Sharing responsibility for raising student achievement

“…pulled together as a school, collaborated, approached the problem as a school problem, lots of crossover meetings to get communication flowing, a lot of hard work, a lot of meetings after school, a lot of dedication on the part of teachers to understand and accept we were going to have to work early and stay late to accomplish our goals…”

perry wallace collaboration
Perry Wallace: Collaboration
  • Leadership Team Collaboration
    • Principal, Literacy Leaders, Interventionists
  • Grade Level and Cross-Grade Level Collaboration
  • Professional Development
  • Shared Vision
  • Full inclusion school
  • School-wide behavior management (COMP)
james napier collaboration between teachers
James Napier: Collaboration Between Teachers

“One of the best things that’s happened in the last couple of years just like some of you have already said, we have grade-level time now where we all have the same planning time, and so we have the freedom to collaborate and talk to each other and help each other because we’ve found that that’s probably the most successful thing that’s happened in the last few years is getting to talk to other people. And, you know, we constantly have new teachers coming in, and it really helps them out a lot, too.”

dedicated time for instruction
Dedicated Time for Instruction
  • Elvis Presley
  • Cordell Hull
  • James K. Polk
  • Perry Wallace
  • Overriding Forces
elvis presley
Elvis Presley
  • Protecting Instructional Time

“…we look at our minutes of instruction and see how few we really have when you break it down, and we just can’t waste it, so we start looking at what we can eliminate and then we take it back…”

cordell hull50
Cordell Hull
  • Differentiating instruction

“…I have probably like 30 minutes of whole group a day, and that’s it. Everything else is small group, individual differentiated instruction.”

james k polk51
James K. Polk
  • Full day Kindergarten
  • Reading Coach
  • 90-minute reading block
  • Small group instruction in classrooms
  • 30-minute pull outs for Tier 2, with Title One teacher, reading coach, or paraprofessional
  • 60-minute pull outs for Tier 3
  • Computer lab time with Successmaker in reading
perry wallace rigor fidelity
Perry Wallace: Rigor/Fidelity

“What gets checked on gets done.”

  • Required Reading First Fidelity Checks
    • Administrator, Literacy Leader, Cadre Trainer
    • Tiers 1, 2, (Voyager) and 3
  • Rigor logs
    • MORT: Missed Opportunities for Rigorous Teaching
  • Student data/assessments for interventions
connections between assessment and instruction
Connections between Assessment and Instruction
  • Elvis Presley
  • James K. Polk
  • James Napier
  • Overriding Forces
elvis presley54
Elvis Presley
  • Monitoring student achievement closely in disaggregated data sets with fluid small groups receiving intervention as needed

“making sure every child has a significant relationship in the building”

    • Setting academic goals with students and communicating them to parents
    • Sharing responsibility for student achievement throughout the building
james k polk55
James K. Polk

“We use data in basically three different ways. One we identify the students and the needs, where they need their improvement and we zero in on that student at the classroom level. We also use it with our teachers to identify those students plus to also look at their teaching. You can look at those test scores and say, “Okay, I did a good job in this section. I need to work in this section” and I always encouraged my teachers to share with each other, …and then we also use it as a way to focus our entire school on our weaknesses and our strengths so that we could build from the data. You know the data was our guiding force.”

james napier collaboration between teachers56
James Napier: Collaboration Between Teachers

“One of the best things that’s happened in the last couple of years just like some of you have already said, we have grade-level time now where we all have the same planning time, and so we have the freedom to collaborate and talk to each other and help each other because we’ve found that that’s probably the most successful thing that’s happened in the last few years is getting to talk to other people. And, you know, we constantly have new teachers coming in, and it really helps them out a lot, too.”

themes related to research
Themes Related to Research
  • Students are spending more time engaged in reading and related literacy experiences.
    • Increased engagement time leads to higher student achievement (Carroll, 1965; Fisher & Berliner, 1985).
  • Collaboration (within and across grade levels; between classroom teachers, specialists, and special education teachers) has increased.
    • Effective collaboration improves achievement outcomes for at-risk students (Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998).
themes related to research58
Themes Related to Research
  • There is an increased emphasis on using assessment data to plan instruction.
    • Effective instruction requires matching curriculum to learner’s level of readiness (Vygotsky, 1978; Walpole & McKenna, 2006).
  • In some schools, inclusion of most special education students is on the increase.
    • Some studies indicate that inclusion results in higher student achievement, more positive student outcomes and higher teacher expectations (Idol, 2006; Ritter, Michel & Irby, 1999)
implications for practice
Implications for Practice
  • Inclusion Practices
  • Coordination of curricular materials across regular and special education
  • Professionals share responsibility for planning and instruction
  • ….
  • ….
lingering questions
Lingering Questions
  • Whose thinking is privileged?
    • How are planning and teaching responsibilities distributed across classroom teachers, special education and Title 1 teachers, instructional coaches, and assistants?
    • How is classroom instruction differentiated?
  • How is complex “push-in” scheduling managed?
  • Is there an “opportunity cost” with increased use of technology software?
  • How do we interpret TCAP reading scores when reading portions of the test are read to many TN students?
references
References
  • Booker, K. C., Invernizzi, M. A., & McCormick, M. (2007). Kiss your brain: A closer look at flourishing literacy gains in impoverished elementary school. Reading Research and Instruction, 46(4), 315-339.
  • Caroll, J. B. (1963). A model for school learning. Teachers College Record, 64, 723-733.
  • Crawford, E., & Torgesen, J. (2007, November). Teaching all students to read: practices from schools with strong reading intervention outcomes. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from http://www.fcrr.org
  • Fisher, C. W., & Berliner, D. C. (1985). Perspectives on instructional time. New York: Longman.
references62
References
  • Idol, L. (2006). Toward inclusion of special education students in general education: A program evaluation of eight schools. Remedial and Special Education, 27, 77-94.
  • Nelson, S., Leffler, J., & Hensen, B. (2009). Toward a research agenda for understanding and improving the use of research evidence. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Education Laboratory.
  • Ritter, C.L., Michel, C.S., & Irby, B. (1999).

Concerning inclusion: Perceptions of middle school students, their parents, and teachers. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 18(2), 10-16.

references63
References
  • Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  • Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher order mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Walpole, S., & McKenna, M. C. (2006). The role of informal reading inventories in assessing word recognition. The Reading Teacher, 592-594.
seven common traits observed in successful schools
Seven Common Traits Observed in Successful Schools

• Strong Leadership

• Positive Belief and Teacher Dedication

• Data Utilization and Analysis

• Effective Scheduling

• Professional Development

• Scientifically Based Intervention Programs

• Parent Involvement

(Crawford & Torgesen, 2007)

flourishing literacy gains in impoverished elementary school
…Flourishing literacy gains in impoverished elementary school
  • Detailed case studies of four exceptional schools
  • Themes common to all four school:
    • Administration and teacher knowledge and training
    • Strong internal and external community
    • Commanding leadership and thorough proper monitoring
      • “What gets checked on gets done”

(Booker, Invernizzi, & McCormick, 2007)