Director of Learning Report

June 7, 2012

TO:         Michael Green, Superintendent
Asha Riley

RE: Instruction, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Development Monthly Update

Common Core Standards:

The past few weeks I have turned my attention toward the upcoming Common Core Standards. As you are aware Washington formally adopted these national standards and they will need to be fully implemented in classroom instruction by 2015. Last week I took a team of staff and administrators to the state conference to develop a three year implementation plan. As soon as I have the plan completed I intend to share it with you, principals, the school board and eventually the staff next fall. While this transition from Washington standards to these new Common Core Standards will be a major shift in our system I am encouraged with the amount of resources out there to support our transition. When the proposition of national standards was discussed years ago a major benefit hoped for was the alignment of resources and efforts around teaching and learning. I am thrilled to report that vision is becoming a reality. Already many states have organized resources and venues via technology for teachers to collaborate together around common learning goals for all students.

Teacher/Principal Evaluation Selection:  

ESSB 5895 is a broad education reform bill passed by the Washington State Legislature in the 2010 session. It calls for significant changes in principal and teacher evaluation systems, including the introduction of a four-level evaluation ranking (most school districts have only two: satisfactory and unsatisfactory). We have been given three models to choose from, the Danielson Framework, Marzano Framework, and a framework designed by University of Washington called CELs 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning. In order to successfully implement a new evaluation tool with the support of all stakeholders I have assembled a committee of both administrators and union leaders to review the three options. We will meet early next week to become generally familiar with each model, then we will spend some individual time over the summer working studying the models and rating them according to how well they address the 8 criteria outlined in the law and how well they align to our current understanding of teaching and learning. Then in August we will come together and discuss our recommendations and develop consensus on which model we will then recommend to you, the principals, and teachers to formally adopt in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.


As you are aware it's been a bumpy ride with state assessments this Spring. OSPI's limited staffing in the Assessment Department has made testing operations rough, that being said we have highly organized principals who have minimized the impact of these issues on student testing. I am beyond thrilled to report the last set of tests (the high school End of Course exams) will ship back to OSPI next Tuesday!

It is now a graduation requirement for students to pass 2 Math End of Course (EOC) state assessments. Therfore we are looking at how to ensure all high school students meet this requirement. For students who struggle to pass these tests one method of meeting this requirement is an option called a Collection of Evidence portfolio (COE). With this option the students collect evidences of their math skills and understandings throughout their learning, then if they do not pass the EOC test they can submit this portfolio of evidences to prove they have the necessary skills and understandings to graduate.

In order to prepare all high school teachers to provide this option to our students I have put together a training next week. At this time Debra Schnieder, an expert on how these portfolios are organized and scored, will train all high school math teachers.