Scenes of Educator Learning
C&I Program Standard 7 – Collaboration
School A is located in Sammamish, Washington and currently has 612 students enrolled. Our school has been named one of Washington State’s High Achieving Award Winning schools and this year has received the School of Distinction Award. School A staff enjoys a high level of involvement from parents and our school consistently reports 100% PTSA membership. School A also houses the district’s QUEST program for highly capable students.
School A staff strives to meet and exceed district and community expectations as well as our own expectations. A main component of our Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) is to focus on the following guiding questions as we plan instruction:
- 1. What do we want students to know and be able to do?
- 2. How will we know when students understand?
- 3. What will we do when students don’t understand?
- 4. How do we best support students who already understand?
Maintaining a firm focus on these questions will help to ensure that the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) at the grade, school, community, and district levels work together towards the same goal and, therefore, more effectively impact student learning. (DuFour, et al., 2006.)
These exhibits will specifically address collaborative strategies to improve student learning that engage the community outside of the students and staff in our school. Our district is made up of 4 learning communities. School A is part of a learning community that has 6 elementary schools, one junior high school and one high school. In support of our school CIP, I will describe how my team plans to collaborate with and utilize the talents and expertise of educators across our learning community, as well as our parent community, to address guiding question #1 referenced above; What do we want students to know and be able to do? The second part of this exhibit will describe how we further incorporate our community of parents to help us address the fourth guiding question: How do we best support students who already understand?
Exhibit B: Part 1 – Goal Setting
PLANNING AND ENGAGEMENT
Goal setting is a strategy that most educators employ when planning instruction. Districts have provided professional development on this subject for many years and research supports the positive impact that goal setting makes on student achievement. Schmoker (as cited in Sullo, 2007, p. 16) goes so far as to say that “setting goals may be the most significant act in the school improvement process, greatly increasing the odds of success.” Furthermore, Bandura & Schunk, (as cited in Northwest Regional Educational Library, 2005) state that learning increases if students personalize the learning goals presented by the teacher. Students who take part in setting their own goals are more successful in attaining these goals. Additionally, our district recently implemented a revised fall conference process that is focused mainly on communicating student learning goals to parents. These research findings, as well as the district’s new goal setting process, have led my grade level to seek effective strategies to engage kindergarteners in goal setting. Such strategies support question #1 in the guiding questions referenced in our CIP: What do we want students to know and be able to do?
Our peer kindergarten teachers in our district Learning Community also recognize the value of goal setting strategies and how goals are communicated to parents during fall conferences. We decided to make conferences an agenda item in our March, 2012 LEAP PLC meeting. (See artifact # 1 below.) As a result of this meeting, our kindergarten team obtained some useful resources that will help us implement a goal setting process at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year and communicate these goals during conferences.
One such resource is a collection of goal setting sheets designed with young learners in mind. (See artifact #2 below.) This goal setting tool is one way teachers can inform students of specific learning goals they will be working towards in the early part of the year. Students also engage in personalizing their goals as they select the ones they want to work on. These goals are shared with parents during fall conferences and are re-evaluated and revised during winter conferences.
Following is a timeline to further define our work towards incorporating goal setting into our curriculum and communicating these goals to the parent community:
(artifacts are noted in bold)
|January, 2012||School A Kindergarten team identifies goal setting as a focus for improvement.||Research data, district mandates|
|March 9, 2012||Establish parent conferences as an agenda item for an upcoming district PLC meeting. (Fall conferences are “goal setting” conferences.) (Artifact #1)||Communications via email|
|March 16, 2012||Share resources with district kindergarten PLC members.||District kindergarten PLC members, Goal setting sheets for semester 1 and 2(Artifact #2)|
|August, 2012||Revise content goals as needed to align with current district standards.Establish lesson plans to introduce goal setting to students in September, 2012.
Revise semester 1 goal setting sheets as needed.
|Current district power standards,School A kindergarten PLC members,
Semester 1 goal setting sheets
|Sept. 10-28, 2012||Conduct beginning of year assessments||Math CDSA, Reading and writing beginning of year assessments|
|September 24-28, 2012||Implement goal setting lessons, students complete semester 1 goal setting sheets.||Goal lessons established in August, revised semester 1 goal setting sheets for students|
|October 1-4, 2012||Conduct Goal Setting Conferences with parents and students, communicate current goals as established by student and teacher||Completed student goal setting sheets|
|October, 2012 – January, 2013||Deliver differentiated instruction; link to established student goals; assess, monitor and adjust instruction as needed||Student goals, assessment data|
|December, 2012||Revise semester 2 goal setting sheets as necessary||District math, reading and writing standards; assessment data, semester 1 and 2 goal sheets|
|Jan. 22 – 25, 2013||Review goal setting with students, students complete semester 2 goal setting sheets||Goal lessons established in August, revised semester 2 goal setting sheets for students|
|January 29 – Feb. 1, 2013||Conduct Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences, review year beginning goals, review current assessment data, and revise goals as necessary.||Semester 1 and 2 goal sheets, student performance data|
|February, 2013||Reflect on and analyze the effectiveness of the kindergarten goal setting process. Compare conferences from 2011-12 to conferences from 2012-13. Set new timeline and goals to incorporate improvements.||Notes and data from 2011-12 conferences and from 2012-13 conferences|
ANALYSIS AND REFLECTION
It is clear that we are only part way through the process of implementing an effective goal setting component to our kindergarten curriculum. It is likely that the timetable above will be revised along the way and will continue to evolve as we gain new teacher learning. Some hurdles we may encounter include new and revised district mandates, a changing kindergarten team, increased work load, or decreased parent interest in collaboration, just to name a few. One thing that will remain constant, however, is my continuing quest to deepen my understanding of effective collaboration with experts in student learning both inside and outside of my school community.
EXHIBIT B: PART 1 – ARTIFACTS
#1- District Learning Community agenda email #1agenda email
Exhibit B: Part 2 – Learning Enrichment in Reading
PLANNING AND ENGAGEMENT
The 4th guiding question from our school CIP – How do we best support students who already understand? – is of particular interest to our school community. We are fortunate to have families in our community that are deeply committed to providing students with ample tools, opportunities, and resources to help them achieve learning at a high level. Much of this support is offered to children before they enter through our kindergarten doors. Early exposure to and interaction with print, language, and other meaningful experiences often send students to kindergarten with advanced reading skills and a desire to continue to grow in this area. It is these students on which we focus as we address guiding question #4.
A report by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000), states that increased fluency in reading positively impacts comprehension. The report went on to say that reading fluency develops over time and with practice, rather than occurring in a predictable stage of development. For this reason, once students have mastered emergent skills in reading, it would be prudent to engage students in reading experiences that foster fluency.
The Read Naturally program is one such reading program that uses teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring to foster fluency skills in students. The Florida Center for Reading Research (2003) found that, while Read Naturally focuses mainly on fluency development, it also addresses other components of reading instruction such as phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. As a grade level, our PLC decided to offer Read Naturally to our kindergarten students who were reading at a Grade Level Equivalent of 1.0 or higher ( or Guided Reading Level D or higher).
Read Naturally, while a beneficial program for enrichment in kindergarten, is also a time intensive program. It requires trained adults to administer the sessions, a frequency of 2-3 sessions per week per student, and detailed record keeping. As demonstrated by other grade levels, this provides the ideal opportunity to collaborate with our parent community and bring in trained parent volunteers to conduct the sessions. Early in second semester, I consulted with our school Read Naturally coordinator and began the process of selecting willing parents and capable kindergarten readers to get the program up and running. (See artifact #3)
By the end of February, 2012 most of the parent volunteers were trained and I was able to set up a schedule for Read Naturally. (See artifact #4) The past 3 months have been productive in regards to student fluency practice. All participating students have shown improvement in their reading fluency (Example: artifact #5), they look forward to their reading sessions, and the parent community is actively engaged in improving student learning.
Here is a timeline to further define our work towards reading enrichment through Read Naturally:
(artifacts are noted in bold)
|February 1-3, 2012||Contact parents to garner interest in volunteering for the Read Naturally (RN) program.Submit parent names to RN coordinator. (Artifact #3)|
|February 6-10, 2012||Identify students who are at a reading level appropriate for the RN program.Submit student names to RN coordinator.||Reading assessments|
|February 15, 2012||Parent RN volunteer training||RN coordinator|
|February 20–24, 2012||Gather input for, create, and distribute RN parent volunteer schedule. (Artifact #4)||Parent volunteer input|
|February 27 – end of year||Conduct Read Naturally sessions.Progress monitor.
Advance levels as necessary.
|Read Naturally materialsStudent fluency data
ANALYSIS AND REFLECTION
So far in this process, I am pleased with the progress students are making in reading fluency. Several students who were not at a level appropriate for participation expressed a desire to participate in reading with the parent volunteers like their peers. I discussed this with the RN volunteers and we set up a protocol where if the sessions for the day were finished and there was time left, the volunteers would pull interested readers who were at or below grade level and read with them at their level. This opens up considerations for further parent volunteer opportunities that address the 3rd guiding question referenced in our CIP – What will we do when students don’t understand?
EXHIBIT B: PART 2 – ARTIFACTS
#3 – Parent training emails #3 Parent Training Emails0001
#4 – Parent Read Naturally volunteer schedule #4 RN Schedule
#5 – Student Fluency Graph/notes #5Student RN graph-notes
Florida Center for Reading Research. (2003) Read naturally. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from http://www.fcrr.org/FCRRReports/PDF/read_naturally_final.pdf
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Northwest Regional Educational Library. (2005). Setting Objectives. Focus on Effectiveness. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.netc.org/focus/strategies/sett.php
Sullo, B. (2007). Activating the desire to learn. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.