the RAHH

December 15-19

Holiday gift...no more CWTs                                (as we know them)

Effectively immediately, you do not need to worry about completing the CWT observation form and turning them in.  This is in anticipation of working toward and focusing on the new evaluation model with its companion opportunity to increase effective feedback. Please know you are still strongly encouraged to be regular in the classrooms to monitor, inform and guide the magic of learning...

Hubb's Work Station

What drives the work stations for classrooms in your building? Ok, I know the teacher decides that. But, how does each teacher decide what stations and activities will meet the needs of all the student in her classroom? There should be a wide variety of areas teachers can pull from to drive each station. It could be from anecdotal notes from observations of students reading, writing, or doing math. It could be from running records or writing samples. This data tells you what students know. If you know that, then you’ll want to find out what your students need next?

Shelly Shaver shared (sorry for the tongue twister) some training on the prompting guides that were handed out at SPS NOW. As teachers do 1:1 conferences with students in guided reading (or writer’s workshop, or math workshop, this is the prime time to get ideas for work stations. So if a teacher sees a student word calling with reckless abandon to the meaning of the story, the teacher should, use the prompting guide as reference, and teach setting a purpose for reading. Then, the teacher can create a reading log response work station in the classroom library that could help with reading for meaning. This creates alignment between instruction and work stations.

There need to be clear connections between anecdotal notes/student work/assessment data and classroom work stations. Think of the effort it takes to get all of that great student data. Following up on those student needs in the work stations is the difference between meaningful student work and just an activity.

from Bret...

Our Focus and OTIS school principals have been doing some wonderful work with students they have targeted to receive supplemental intervention (either Below Basic Students or Underserved Students). Attached is a sample spreadsheet many are using to document students’ progress that you might want to “tweak” for your site. Some tips they have shared with me as I have talked to them about their plans:

  • 1. All students have a BOY and MOY iReady data point. Additionally, they will have a few progress monitoring data points. Use this battery of scores to drill down to specific literacy issues students might be encountering.
  • 2. In regards to the progress monitoring tool, make sure students do their best. Some reported students were trying to complete this too quickly to move onto other things. Encourage their best effort.
  • 3. Many have pulled intervention students’ attendance data too. Some principals continue to focus on those students right below 90% attendance. They have been framing their conversations with parents/guardians in the positive, telling them they “are so proud of them because they are almost at 90% attendance. Keep being here every day, ON TIME.”
  • 4. Work with staff to analyze the data you receive. For students making gains, ask questions such as, “What are we doing that made the difference?” and “Are these appropriate gains?” For students not making gains ask, “What can we do differently to impact these students?”
  • 5. Be sure to keep looking at your identified intervention group students throughout the year. Of course, some will move. Some will make the gains needed, and you might no longer need to provide extra services. And, some existing or new students may need to be added in.
  • 6. Focus and OTIS buildings are targeting underserved students. Their most at-risk students are being served using Title resources. However, you will likely want to focus on and monitor your students that have the most need. Remember, it could be as simple as identifying the students, talking with teachers, and deciding to provide an extra guided reading conference per week with these students.

Please click here to find a sample Intervention Spreadsheet in the December 2014 Job Alike file. If you have questions about this, get in touch Brian or me.

Also, thank you for your input on where we should go in the Spring 2015 in regards to Guided Reading.  Your collective input can also be found in the December 2014 Job Alike file on Canvas.

J's thought...Teacher involvement in change-

With the district restructure, some of us may have thought about any associated impact it may have within and upon our sites. Be cautious in allowing whatever restructure is going on at the district level to be a distraction to the changes you know need to happen in your school to support the best student learning.   Consider the article below and how it impacts your roles in meaningful change.

In this Teachers College Record article, Susan Moore Johnson, Stefanie Reinhorn, and Monica Ng (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Megin Charner-Laird (Salem State University), and Matthew Kraft and John Papay (Brown University) report on their study of teachers’ leadership roles in six high-poverty urban schools that were required to implement improvement plans.

Johnson and her colleagues begin with a blunt statement about the loosely-coupled nature of K-12 schools: “Whatever decisions principals make or mandates they issue, teachers remain the ‘street-level bureaucrats’ who independently decide what their students’ true potential and problems are, which of the principals’ initiatives deserve their support, and what they think might improve the school.” It’s virtually impossible, say the researchers, “for principals to closely monitor and direct what teachers do.” This means that any schoolwide reforms will rise or fall based on the degree to which teachers believe in and support them.

In all six schools, teachers recognized the urgency of the work they faced, knew that it couldn’t be accomplished by working in isolation, were deeply concerned about their students’ current well-being and future life chances, and feared the sanctions their school faced if significant improvements weren’t made. In other words, teachers weren’t hunkered down in their classrooms: they were ready to work with their principals on schoolwide change. Among the challenges: improving classroom instruction, ensuring order and discipline, expanding support services for students, increasing learning, and raising test scores.

Teachers looked to their principals to set the general direction for change and deferred to their positional authority and access to a broad array of information and resources. At the same time, teachers wanted a chance to initiate and contribute to change, rather than being expected to implement the principal’s plan. “Their continuing investment in the principal’s agenda,” say Johnson et al., “depended on whether they thought a proposed strategy was sound and whether the principal took an inclusive or instrumental approach to the teachers’ contributions.”

The researchers found that when a principal took an “instrumental,” top-down approach, marginalized teachers’ contributions, and asked for superficial buy-in, teachers were resentful, withdrew to their classrooms, and considered leaving the school – and the school improvement plan was rejected or was implemented in a perfunctory manner. In one school whose principal took this approach, teachers complained about consultants who were brought in to implement an improvement program, micromanagement of team meetings, and administrators’ “snoopervision” visits to classrooms. “Formal authority can only go so far in changing day-to-day practice,” say Johnson et al.

In another school, the principal took an inclusive approach and teachers actively invested in schoolwide reforms. “When teachers believe the proposed changes are sound and that the principal has taken their views, suggestions, needs, and interests into account,” say the researchers, “they are more likely to lend their support and encourage colleagues to do so as well.” A veteran teacher in one of the schools with this approach said of the principal, “He’s the driving force behind the school, but the teachers are sort of pushing behind him. He’s not like pulling us through.”

“One of the most interesting puzzles raised by this study,” conclude Johnson et al., “is how individuals (such as teachers) who have less formal authority in the organization can lead others (such as principals) who hold more authority. Under what circumstances within schools do principals become followers and teachers become leaders as they exercise organizational leadership? Is it simply a matter of interpersonal influence, for example, when a teacher is unusually articulate or persuasive? Is it the calculated political response of a principal confronting a strong alliance of teachers who disagree with him? Or does active leadership by teachers arise because the principal deliberately seeks their perspective on the problems of the school and how they might be addressed? … Principals must recognize the leadership that runs throughout their organization and ensure support for teachers who are prepared to take the lead on school improvement beyond their classroom. In doing so, they will see that this does not mean that they have lost authority but rather that they have increased influence and effectiveness as they authorize others to lead on behalf of the school.”

“Ready to Lead, but How? Teachers’ Experiences in High-Poverty Urban Schools” by Susan Moore Johnson, Stefanie Reinhorn, Monica Ng, Megin Charner-Laird, Matthew Kraft, and John Papay in Teachers College Record, October 2014 (Vol. 116, #10, p. 1-50),

http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/mkraft/files/ready_to_lead_080513.pdf; Johnson can be reached at susan_moore_johnson@harvard.edu.

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