Director of Learning Report

Instruction, Curriculum, and Assessment
Asha Riley, Director of Learning
October Update

November 1, 2010

TO:                 Michael Green, Superintendent
Asha Riley
Instruction, Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Development Monthly Update

Professional Development Leadership Team

To review, we determined that four questions will be the framework for the work we do in professional development. For each question we have a goal and programs and initiatives we implement will be driven with a focus on answering these key questions to achieve these goals. At our next meeting we will review the work each building has done toward these goals and begin to plan what our next steps are to achieving our goals.

The questions and goals are:

1.      What do we want students to know?

  • Students will have a seamless K-12 standards based experience to develop the knowledge, skills, and self-worth necessary to become a responsible contributing citizen.

2.      How will we teach them?

  • Students will be exposed to the kinds of instruction that will promote academic excellence

3.      How will we know they learned it?

  • Implementation of assessments that both inform instruction and indicate student achievement in a timely fashion.

4.      How will we respond if they come in already knowing, or don't achieve the expected learning?

  • Students will be provided timely and effective interventions and support to learn and succeed in areas where they struggle and excel.

Below I have outlined how we've used these questions to guide our work in areas of curriculum, professional development, assessment, and instruction over the past month.

What do we want students to know?

Answer: The value of education, citizenship, diversity and personal purpose. Students will achieve academic success.

Action Step: GLAD Science Unit development (October 26-28)

As you are aware, about a third of our Primary teachers participated in a GLAD training last spring. As a follow up to these trainings we provided a single day of release time for these teachers to plan how to incorporate these instructional practices into their science instruction. While GLAD strategies are effective in all content areas we intentionally chose science for two reasons. First, we want to incorporate GLAD into science is to increase access of our English Language Learner population to science content. Often ELL students struggle in science because they have not been exposed to much of the academic vocabulary involved in science. GLAD strategies have been particularly effective in helping students understand the vocabulary and concepts necessary to be successful in science. The other reason we targeted science instruction was due to the adoption of new science standards by the state last year. Many of the units/lessons we have previously taught K-4 needed to be refocused on the new standards, it made sense for us to both revise how we address the new science standards and the instructional practices we use to achieve them. We look forward to continuing this work by providing two more release days over the course of the year.

How will we teach them?

Answer:  Students will be exposed to the kinds of instruction that will promote academic excellence

Action Step: MS and HS teachers' participation in the Southwest Math Consortium Integrated 1 and 2 trainings. (October 21)

This month teachers who instruct Integrated Math 1 and Integrated Math 2 courses spent a day in training with staff from three other districts. Together they reviewed curriculum, discussed lesson design and reflected on how implementation of Units 1 and 2 went. During that conversation it was noted that implementation of lessons and instructional practices were varied across classrooms. This is primarily because during trainings the team only has an enough time to reflect on previous instruction- time runs out and planning together cut short. As we value collaboration and seek consistency in our practice we will structure more time for the Woodland MS and HS math department to meet again in November to plan implementation of Units 3 and 4 together. As a plan for the future, we will dedicate time after each training for the math department to meet with the purpose of planning implementation of the curriculum and lessons.

How will we know they learned?

Answer: Students will demonstrate achievement of standards.

Action Step: Prepare to implement new state Math End of Course Assessments.

During October both principals and staff have participated in a webinar training regarding the new Math End of Course Assessments (EOCs) that the state will implement in lieu of the Math HSPE this Spring. As we plan for these assessments we recognize we will need to inform students and parents of the following:

  • To earn a diploma students in the class of 2013 and beyond must pass the Mathematics End of Course Assessments.
  • Students in the classes of 2011 and 2012 can still meet the math graduation requirement if they have already passed the HSPE OR by earning two math credits
  • If current 10th grader (class of 2012) did not pass the math HSPE they can meet the graduation requirement by passing either the EOCs in Integrated 1 or Integrated 2 (they need to pass only one exam to meet the graduation requirement).
  • Each EOC exam is given over the course of three consecutive days (50 minutes allotted each day).
  • Results will be reported to districts in August 2011.

How will we respond if they come in already knowing, or don't achieve the expected learning?

Answer: Students will be provided timely and effective interventions and support to learn and succeed in areas where they struggle and excel.

Action Step: Center for Teaching and Learning Conference (October 26-27)

A team of staff members including literacy coaches, school psychologists, and teachers attended a conference put on by the University of Oregon that focused on moving research into the practice. At this conference we learned about recent research and how we can use it to improve student learning in the areas of, math, literacy, and behavior. Overall the trainings were very affirming as we are and have been implementing much of what they recommended. For instance, developing a comprehensive assessment system to inform us is a critical first step that we have already begun.

During the conference I specifically attended a series of workshops that focused on how to implement systemic improvement in mathematics. An important learning I would share with you is that research in teaching a learning literacy has overshadowed the math research 14:1 over the years. As a result, while many researchers know what kids need to learn in math and when they should learn it, there is still much research to be done on how to teach students math.  Initial findings reveal that much of how we structure reading success parallels how we can support math success for students. The first step is having a sound assessment system which we are presently implementing. As I continue to research our next steps in this area I will share them.