April 2, 2010
TO: Michael Green, SuperintendentFROM: Asha RileyRE: Instruction, Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Development Monthly Update
Professional Development Leadership Team
As a point of review, we determined that four questions will be the framework we build our professional development work around. For each question we have goals and the initiatives we implement will be driven with a focus on answering these key questions to achieve these goals.
The questions and goals are:
1. What do we want students to know?
2. How will we teach them?
3. How will we know they learned it?
4. How will we respond if they come in already knowing, or don't achieve the expected learning?
Members of our Professional Development Team have, in the last few months, participated in Learning Walks in each building. The goal of these is to develop a common understanding of our response to the second question, how will we teach them? Using an instructional framework (the 4 Es) we have visited several classrooms in each building to observe, discuss, and assess instructional practices being used during daily instruction. We aim to make these learning walks a regular component of our professional development practices as they reinforce collaboration and reflection on how student learning is impacted by our instructional practices.
What do we want students to know?
Answer: Students will have a seamless K-12 standards-based education to develop the knowledge, skills, and self-worth necessary to become a responsible contributing citizen.
Action Step: 7-12 Math Supports and Interventions
This past month we have been working with staff, principals and a few outside consultants to consider some options to strengthen student achievement of mathematics in grades 7-12. We currently have significant numbers of students repeating the Integrated One Math course when moving from 8th to 9th grade, instead of proceeding into Integrated Two as they should. We believe that a major cause for this is the rapid pace of the course. The pace required in order to achieve all of the content in the course as well as the 8th grade standards they must also learn is too much for students to retain successfully. A couple of options are up for discussion. The most likely scenario with the resources we have in place is to provide a layered approach at 8th grade and a targeted approach at the 9th grade level. At the 8th grade level we are looking at using LAP funding to provide another math course in 8th grade that students would take alongside Integrated One Math. The LAP funded course would pre-teach the necessary skills and concepts underlying the content in Integrated One units as well as 8th grade standards. This will require quite a bit of collaboration between teachers in the math department and use of the assessment tools provided to them in order to achieve the intended goal. We are hopeful this approach will be a proactive support to 8th grade students so they can confidently engage in the content in Integrated One Math. The students going into 9th grade we intend to use our assessment data to determine weakest content knowledge and then target instruction to address those weaknesses rather than re-teach the whole course.
At the board meeting I will share our Instructional Framework and its purpose in our system with you. I have attached a copy of our working draft for your reference.