VFEL Webinar Series Eight Elements of High School Improvement Rigorous Curriculum and Instruction December 2011
Virginia Foundation of Educational Leadership (VFEL) Webinar Faculty: Dr. Roger E. Jones Dr. Carol C. Robinson Dr. John C. Walker
Today’s Agenda Welcome (2 minutes) Team reports – Organization and Structure and Assessment and Accountability Standards (10 minutes) Research regarding Element 1: Rigorous Curriculum and Instruction (30 minutes) Activity/Discussion (10 minutes) Reflection/Next Steps for Webinar 3 (8 minutes)
The ultimate goal in school improvement is for the people attached to the school to drive its continuous improvement for the sake of their own children and students. Dr. Sam Redding
Objectives • Participants will be able to identify the defined practices and their effectiveness relative to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. • Participants will be able to identify steps they can take that will help close the achievement gap. • Participants will be able to describe the requirements of the Virginia College and Career Readiness Initiative.
Report Out • Share one strategy/idea/technique that you have implemented or plan to implement as a result of what you learned from Webinar 1.
Rigorous Curriculum and Instruction – Element 1 • Rigorous content and instruction are aligned to local, state, and national standards. • Research- and evidence-based instructional strategies are incorporated across all content areas for all students. • College and career readiness skills are incorporated across all content areas.
VFEL (2011)Report Findings: Importance of Vision • In each division and school in the study, there was a realization that vision was not driving the schools in improvement. • All agreed that a compelling vision was critically important. • Data was used to reconstitute the vision in some divisions/schools, while others realized that although the vision was fine, it was not the centerpiece around which decisions were made. • Conversations with faculty about vision, its meaning, and its implementation forced a needed refocus on what was important. • The belief in each division was that each child was important, and everyone in the division and school needed to be accountable for the success of all.
VFEL (2011) Report Findings: Research-based Instructional Strategies • Research-based instructional strategies were emphasized in each division. • Training was provided to all teachers in the use of the strategies. • Principals monitored the use of research-based instructional strategies in the classroom through informal and formal classroom observations. • All schools had implemented a research-based reading program.
VFEL (2011) Report Findings: Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment • Prior to entering school improvement, there was a lack of tight curriculum alignment. • A major effort was made to ensure that the written, taught, and tested curriculum were congruent. • Curriculum guides, curriculum maps, and pacing guides were developed or rewritten. • Formative assessment became a critical component of the instructional program. • Data was used to place students in remediation programs. • A process for monitoring CIA was put into place.
Academic Rigor Take a few minutes to discuss with your team a definition of academic rigor. Post your definition in the chat box. Be prepared to share your definition with the rest of the group. What should curriculum, instruction, and assessment look like if this is the definition in your school?
Academic Rigor Department instructional conversations Describe the vertical instructional conversations that are occurring in your building Raising RIGOR without increasing READINESS and providing SUPPORT will not increase your graduation rate. What conversations are occurring with the elementary and middle schools to address this issue? What conversations are occurring with the central office?
Defined Practices • Defined practices = the way we do things in our school (school culture). Remember, every school has its own DNA. • What are the defined practices in your school relative to curriculum and instruction and their effectiveness? • Examples: research-based strategies such as similarities and differences; using quarterly benchmark data to modify instruction
Based on a presentation from Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. (Graduate School of Education, New York University) at the Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference and Exposition, June 27-29, 2011 The Role of Leadership in Closing the Achievement Gap and Improving the Graduation Rate
What we know about the achievement gap • It mirrors other disparities (health, income, employment) • Tends to follow consistent patterns with respect to the race and class of students • External conditions affect academic performance (e.g. health, housing stability, poverty) • Poor students generally are assigned to less qualified teachers • Academic patterns have often been in place for a long time and tend to be accepted as normal
What we know about student achievement • All students learn but not at the same pace • Students who are behind must work harder, longer and under better conditions • Re-think remediation programs • Students who are behind must be taught by competent teachers • Closing the achievement gap requires increased accessto rigorous courses and increased academic support for students
Research- and evidence-based instructional strategies Alignment of standards, curriculum, instruction AND assessment Assignment of teachers based on student need Modeling and Mentoring of instructional strategies Engaging classroom environments
Research- and evidence-based instructional strategies Deep content analysis, including big ideas and essential questions Monitoring that is frequent and visible Interdisciplinary approaches to improve student engagement and achievement Teaching strategies that focus on differentiated instruction and student engagement
Teaching Framework The Interconnection and Intentionality of Teaching: Creating Conversations about Teaching and Learning Using the Teaching Framework document, have your team prioritize the top three elements (Red or Blue Print) that you will take back to discuss with your leadership team.
What we know about students • Many are bored and alienated in school • Much of what children know and how children learn is never recognized in school • The desire to learn must be cultivated • Less motivated students need support, encouragement, and regular feedback • High achievers can be “teacher proof” • Motivation to learn is often related to “real world” concerns (e.g. jobs, family and community needs)
The Virginia College and Career Readiness Initiative • Ensure that college and career-ready learning standards in reading, writing and mathematics are taught in every Virginia high school classroom • Strengthen students’ preparation for college and the work force before leaving high school • www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/index.shtml
Low Quartile Students Gain More From College Prep Courses* *Grade 8-grade 12 test score gains based on 8th grade achievement. Source: USDOE, NCES, Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000, in Issue Brief: Students Who Prepare for College and Vocation
Challenging Curriculum Results in Lower Failure Rates, Even for Lowest Achievers Ninth-grade English performance, by high/low level course, and eighth-grade reading achievement quartiles Source: SREB, “Middle Grades to High School: Mending a Weak Link”. Unpublished Draft, 2002.
Virginia College and Career Ready – Math Performance Expectations • Problem solving, decision making, integration • Understanding and applying functions • Procedure and calculation • Verification and proof • www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/expectations/perf_expectations_math.pdf
Virginia College and Career Ready – English Performance Expectations • Reading • Writing • Communicating • www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/expectations/perf_expectations_english.pdf
Needs Assessment • Take a few minutes to review the results of your needs assessment for Element 1. • Select an indicator that is a strength and be prepared to explain why it is a strength.
Summary • Schools in improvement that have achieved increases in student achievement are committed to their vision, the utilization of research-based instructional strategies, increasing academic rigor, and have a defined process for monitoring curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Summary • Leadership is the key to closing the achievement gap and increasing graduation rates. • The Virginia College and Career Readiness Initiative ensures that college and career-ready learning standards in reading, writing and mathematics are taught in every Virginia high school classroom.
Questions to Consider • Is my school’s vision: • compelling? • clearly articulated? • the guiding force in school improvement work? • How are research-based strategies incorporated across all content areas for all students? • How do we ensure that content, instruction, and assessment are aligned? • What is my staff’s collective level of understanding of college and career readiness?
Resources for Element 1 The Virginia Model: Profiles and Common Themes. http://www.edleader.org/Va_Model_Booklet_fini_05%2010%202011.pdf www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/expectations/perf_expectations Pedro A. Noguera, presentation made at the Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference and Exposition, June 27-29, 2011 www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/college_career_readiness/index.shtml USDOE, NCES, Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000, in Issue Brief: Students Who Prepare for College and Vocation SREB, “Middle Grades to High School: Mending a Weak Link”. Unpublished Draft, 2002.
What was one idea I learned during today’s webinar that I plan to share with colleagues at my school?
Next Steps • Be prepared to discuss the instructional conversation that was held with each department regarding academic rigor, focusing on the following: • Did each department’s definition of academic rigor align with your school’s vision? • Does the curriculum align with the intended academic rigor of the SOLs? • Does current instructional practice align with academic rigor? What changes will need to occur in order to ensure academic rigor? • Do common assessments and teacher-developed assessments contain the rigor intended by the standards? • Your regional liaison will discuss your answers with you at least one week prior to Webinar 3.
Regional Liaisons • Frank Ehrhart (email@example.com) • Courtney Graves (firstname.lastname@example.org) • Steve Sage (email@example.com) • Greg Wheeler (firstname.lastname@example.org) • Melanie Yules (email@example.com)