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Closing the Achievement Gap by Improving Instruction in the Core. (or forget about it). Goals for Today. Examine how educators in one school developed a professional culture and implemented instructional norms to improve student learning.
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Closing the Achievement Gap by Improving Instruction in the Core (or forget about it)
Goals for Today • Examine how educators in one school developed a professional culture and implemented instructional norms to improve student learning. • Share practices that advance professionalism and improve instruction.
Timelines • 10:00 – 11:15 “From worst to first” • 11:30 – 12:30 Instructional Norms and Instructional Monitoring • LUNCH • 1:15 – 3:30 Professionalizing staff processes • 3:30 – 4:00 Q & A (Extra stuff if we have time)
Power of Culture The key to creating a school where failure is not an option is this . . . • Transforming the school culture • Some schools have productive cultures; others have problematic ones. But every school has a culture, whether one is aware of it or not. -Alan Blankstein, Failure Is Not An Option.
Waterford High School Worst to First
Waterford High School 580 Students Title 1 School: 52% Free/Reduced Minority Population: 47% English Learner: 16% (plus RFEP 11%) Special Education: 15%
Factors Contributing to SuccessDon Davis, Superintendent/Principal • Educational Program • College Preparatory Scheduling • One-Year Algebra • Support Intervention Courses • CAHSEE Prep • Time: Block Schedule (Optimize effective use of time)
Factors Contributing to SuccessContinued… • Culture • Mission / Vision / Beliefs / Pillars • Progressive • Professional Community • Instruction • Instructional Norms / InstructionalTours / Instructional Development
Sharing In your group share a particular aspect of your school, or a school that you serve, that you believe plays a significant role in student achievement.
“Bottom of the Barrel” JOAN BARNETT LEE/THE BEE Last Updated: February 22, 2003, 05:47:59 AM PST Sonoma Elementary School in Modesto got two 10s, a perfect score. Waterford High School was at the bottom of the barrel, with a pair of 1s. And other schools in the region were in between when the state Department of Education released two rankings Thursday that show how California's 8,801 schools stack up on a scale of 1 to 10.
“Worst to First” Waterford Academic Performance Index (API): Trends for Subgroups 52 point gap 98 point gap
Data / Observations (Academic Performance Index: API 200 – 1000) • Base API 2002 (475) • RSDSSS – SJCOE Visit (1st SWIPS) (School wide instructional practices survey) • Base API 2003 (562) • 2nd SWIPS Form • Base API 2004 (631)
Data / Observations Continued • WASC Process (Faculty Proclamation “Scores rise as instruction improves”) • Instructional Norms • Base API 2005 (702): Site Visitation – Broadening the Sphere of Influence • Base API 2006 (755): Instructional coaches
Accreditation: Self-study Improved InstructionThough there has been significant improvement in student performance on state-mandated exams, all population sub-groups continue to have significant numbers of students achieving in performance bands below the “proficient” level. This is true in all academic areas. Efforts have been made to align curriculum with adopted standards, select essential standards for instructional emphasis and create benchmark exams. To continue to see improved achievement and realize these gains over time, the consensus of the stakeholders is to improve the effective delivery of teacher-directed instruction; this instruction will utilize assessment data to drive lesson development leading to all students producing grade-level work every day.
Data / Observations Continued • 2007 Growth API (761): “Improve collaboration, improve instruction.” • 2008 Growth API (808): Formalize Peer-to-peer observation and feedback
The Rest of the Story Waterford API Trends Instructional Norms Time on Task Instructional Coaching WASC: Instruction Collaboration RSDSS
Continued • 2009 (API 803) Begin the development of Instructional Norms 2.0 • 2010 (API 806) Effective School wide Language Pedagogy (ESWLP)
“What Works” Clearinghouse • Turning Around Low-Performing Schools • http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practiceguides/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf • Four recommendations
Four Recommendations…. • Signal the need for dramatic change with strong leadership • Maintain a consistent focus on improving instruction • Provide visible improvement early in the turn-around process • Build a committed staff
Recommendation #1 Signal the need for dramatic change with strong leadership Communicating a clear purpose Creating high expectations and values Sharing leadership and authority Identifying advocates within the staff Building consensus
To become wholly focused on student learning, teacher-directed instruction, and professional collaboration, so that Waterford High School serves as a demonstration site for other educational professionals. Vision
The mission and vision are achieved by commitment to the following: High quality teacher-directed instruction raises student achievement. Academic content standards and assessments offer clear direction for instruction. An organizational culture characterized by professionalism promotes excellence. Outstanding Curricular, Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular programs advance student development. Beliefs
Pillars • Pillar 1: Pursuing Excellence • Improve instruction, programs and operations so that students achieve countywide and statewide excellence in academics (API, AYP, and college admission), athletics, and the arts.
Pillars Continued • Pillar 2: Personalization • Ensure that students become well-known by faculty and staff; and, commit to professional peer relationships among teachers, administrators, and classified employees.
Pillars Continued • Pillar 3: Purpose Driven • The mission is advanced through data-driven decisions, teacher-directed instruction, and a commitment to teaching as a personal calling. • “Each student graduates with choices!”
Pillars Continued • Pillar 4: Standards-Based Curriculum and Instruction • The California Content Standards are embraced when seeking and developing curriculum and when preparing well-crafted lessons. • “Each student has the opportunity to learn each day!”
Pillars Continued • Pillar 5: Block Schedule • Time is utilized as a resource to maximize student productivity.
Reflection • What are the “guiding principles” at your school? Or, how have you and your team defined and communicated your school’s purpose? • Reflect for 2 minutes, then share with your partner
A Professional Covenant “The key to successful schooling is building a covenant, comprising purposes that bond people together around common themes and that provides them with a sense of what is important, a signal of what is of value.” Sergiovanni (2005) Strengthening the heartbeat: Leading and learning together in schools, p. 8
Hard Truths • Teachers Matter . . . A Lot! • The most significant impact on student learning is the quality of teaching. • Ineffective teachers can impede the learning of students. • Next to a highly effective teacher . . . . . .the second most powerful factor in increased student achievement is . . .an effective school culture that encourages, supports, and expects teachers to work together to improve their own practice, as well as student learning. (Marzano, 2003)
Brutal Facts • Every study of classroom practice reveals that most teaching is mediocre – or worse. (Goodland, Sizer, et al) • Effective teaching practice is voluntary and therefore rare. (Richard Elmore) • Improvement will require recognition of the moral outrage at ineffective practices. (Roland Barth) • Instructional privacy leads to isolation; isolation is the enemy of improvement. (Mike Schmoker)
Fundamental Core Value • The leader never compromises the core values of the organization. • Waterford High School fundamental belief: “Student achievement rises as instruction improves.” • “Improve Instruction Improve Achievement” • “Improve Collaboration Improve Instruction”
Key Thought • A leader never compromises the core values of the organization
Examples of Core Values All students can learn if taught well and provided support. Students will have opportunity to learn every day Professional collaboration promotes instructional excellence State content standards and assessments provide clear direction for instruction Time is a valuable resource and must be allocated to maximize learning
Core value transformed to a goal • Every student that is in our system from kindergarten through 2nd grade will enter 3rd grade on grade level or above. • Every student that is in our system from K through 7th will enter 8th grade prepared to be successful in Algebra 1.
Personal Reflection To what extent has the “effective delivery of instruction” become a foundational aspect of your leadership? Share in your groups.
Auman and Young Learning 24/7 Classroom Observation Project 2006(1500 K-12 classrooms): • Clear Learning Objective: 4% of classrooms. • Evidence of Higher Order Thinking: 3% of classrooms. • Ineffective practices were almost as prevalent in affluent, high scoring schools as in disadvantaged, low-scoring schools.
BREAK • 15 Minutes
CULTURE OF INSTRUCTION Our Goal: Establish a Culture with Instructional Norms & Expectations
Of the 120 sessions presented at the Closing the Achievement Gap Summit, how many addressed the effective delivery of instruction in the school’s core program? Observation 26
Instruction: The #1 Factor in Achievement “The single greatest determinant of learning is not socioeconomic factors or funding levels. It is instruction.” Schmoker, 2006
Instruction: The #1 Factor in Achievement “Five years of instruction from an above-average teacher can eliminate the achievement gap on state assessments.” Kati Haycock, 2005
Instructional Norms Instructional elements that occur in all classrooms across all content areas A research-based instructional strategy that will be implemented in every class every day
Define: Instructional Norm A research-based instructional strategy that will be implemented in every class every day
WHS Instructional Norms Objective Teach First then Check For Understanding Student Production Alignment of Independent Work Meaningful Interaction Concept Development
Norm 1: OBJECTIVE (Deconstructed from the content standard) Students know and can articulate the purpose of the lesson; this includes the skill and concept that is being taught.
Norm 2: TEACH FIRST then CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING The practice of teaching before questioning is the norm. Moreover, teachers routinely enhance student engagement by checking for understanding often, mainly utilizing non-volunteers. Before releasing students to begin independent work, teachers have checked for understanding and are confident that students have grasped the skill and the concept that have been presented.
Benefits Students are engaged “I don’t know” loses its power Teacher is empowered to refine instruction Discipline issues decline
Norm 3: STUDENT PRODUCTION Students are expected to produce grade-level work every day in every class. This can be accomplished through guided practice and independent or group work.
Norm 4: ALIGNMENT of INDEPENDENT PRACTICE Teachers ensure that the independent work that students are expected to complete is directly aligned with the learning objective and with the delivered instruction.