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Scenes of Educator Learning – Exhibit B May 30, 2012

Scenes of Educator Learning

Exhibit B

C&I Program Standard 7 – Collaboration

CONTEXT

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. 1.      What do we want students to know and be able to do?
  2. 2.      How will we know when students understand?
  3. 3.      What will we do when students don’t understand?
  4. 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.

TIMELINE

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)

Date Action Resources
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

#2 – Semester 1 goal sheets; Semester 2 goal sheets     1st semester goal sheets  2nd semester goal sheets

 

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.

TIMELINE

Here is a timeline to further define our work towards reading enrichment through Read Naturally:

                                                       (artifacts are noted in bold)

Date Action Resources
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

RN coordinator

Parent volunteers

 

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

REFERENCES

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.

 

Scenes of Educator Learning – Exhibit A May 17, 2012

C&I Program Standard 6 – Communication

CONTEXT

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. Samantha Smith 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. After participating in and reviewing the 9 Characteristics Survey, our staff identified characteristic #4, Collaboration and Communication, as an area of focus for our Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP). Specifically, we will continue to develop strong collaborative relationships through the Professional Learning Community Model (PLC) as developed by DuFour, Dufour, Eaker, and Many (2006). According to DuFour, et al., a PLC is defined as “… an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.”

In addition to furthering our work in the foundations of PLC collaboration, our CIP also states that teams will formulate “specific, appropriate, and attainable” grade level SMART goals with strategies that support these goals.

Our Kindergarten team consists of two all day teachers and one half day teacher. We have a total of 66 students, 22 in each class. This is the second consecutive year that we have maintained the same grade level team and we look forward to the continued growth of our collaborative practices. In support of our school CIP, our kindergarten team embraced the PLC model of collaboration and put several PLC components in place during the 2011-2012 school year.  We also developed a SMART goal that pertains to the Numbers and Operations strand of our district math standards. The artifacts included later in this exhibit illustrate some of our work in these 2 areas.

Below is a timeline illustrating a series of tasks that address the 2 CIP goals highlighted in these exhibits, as well as the resources needed to accomplish these tasks.

TIMELINE                             (* denotes that an artifact for this item is included in this exhibit)

Date Task Resources
August, 2011 Create team norms *
September,  week 1 2011;Weekly   thereafter Establish weekly PLC team meetings. Common weekly planning time
September, week 2, 2011 Assess all students on number sense.   Identify students who are not at standard. Identify “specific, appropriate,   and attainable grade level *SMART goal”.   Analyze student data. CDSA, Number Sense*Gradebook   event scores
October, week 1, 2011;Weekly   thereafter Establish grade level intervention   block. Begin weekly RTI groups. Common math instruction time for grade   level, remediation and enrichment lessons/activities, (*interactive technology)
November, week 1, 2011; Monthly    thereafter Progress monitor number sense skills.   Adjust groups as necessary Progress monitor formative assessments
January, week 1, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Compare to   SMART goal.  Adjust groups as   necessary. CDSA Number Sense, assessment data
April, week 1, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Compare to   SMART goal.  Adjust groups as   necessary. CDSA Number sense, assessment data
June, week 2, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Analyze   data and compare to SMART goal.  Reflect   on whether or not goal was met. What improvements can be made for next year? CDSA Number sense, assessment data

ARTIFACTS

CIP Goal #1: PLC

Artifact: Team Norms

Our first step to establishing our grade level team as a PLC was to create a set of norms for our group meetings. DuFour, et al. states that clarification of team expectations promotes unity and collaboration within a team. To start this process, we simply discussed our “pet peeves” associated with meetings. Each of the 3 team members contributed to this list and, therefore, became invested in the process.

Artifact: Data Analysis

     As we met in our PLC group, my team and I would analyze data derived from student work. We share scores on common assessments, notice patterns amongst students and/or classes, and reflect on strategies we might have used to achieve positive results. Artifact #2 shows one format we would use when presenting data to the group. This screenshot comes from our online grade book which can display data in a variety of ways.

CIP Goal #2: SMART Goal/Interventions

Artifact: SMART Goal

As we moved forward with our PLC collaborations, our team developed goals in support of increased student learning in number sense. One particular SMART goal we developed states:

“We will use common assessment data to guide the content of our intervention times so that students that pass go from 62% at standard in Numbers and Operations in October 2011 (per CDSA  rubric, #1-3), to 97% at standard in June 2012.”

The goal sheet (link inserted above) includes a list of coded students who were identified as in need of remedial intervention, a list of intervention strategies, a timeline to administer the strategies and assess progress, and data sources used to track goal progress. This artifact our goal progress as of January, 2012.

 

Artifact: Number Fluency PPT

As we analyzed student data during our PLC meetings, we saw a need for student practice in number fluency and quantity. We used technology to offer practice that was both engaging and repetitive, such as the PowerPoint presentation featured in the above artifact. (To reduce the size of this attachment I only included a snapshot of 6 slides.)

REFLECTION

We are still in the process of carrying out our interventions within the PLC framework. We are monitoring student progress towards our goal that 97% of students will be at or above standard in number sense by June 2012. As we analyze our progress so far, we realize that we are within reach of this goal.

We have encountered several obstacles along the way and we will continue to reflect on them and work on how to address them in the coming year. Some of these obstacles include:

  • Need for more than 30 minutes per week for PLC planning time
  • Team time constraints relating to half day teacher schedule
  • Inadequate use of building support and administrative personnel

We acknowledge that progress has been made both in our commitment to the PLC model of collaboration and, most importantly, to student learning. We look forward to continuing this improvement process throughout the 2012-13 school year.