Week 10 (March 22-28) Chapter 7: Changing the System: Assuring Quality of Program Components (Part 2)

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  • 01 Apr 2013 1:23 PM
    Reply # 1256313 on 1250423
    Wayne Dorr
    Our greatest challenge is probably a clear plan for monitoring programs - we seldom have asked, does this program produce the results we expect?  Although our individual buildings have made pretty good use of data, i.e. NWEA, NECAP, etc. for instructional modifications, we haven't taken a more global look or analysis of whole program success, especially at the high school.  This takes on a much more relevant purpose as we seek to fully implement the CCSS.
    Our greatest success, I would judge, has been the administrative support provided to teaching staff, in advocating for PD that is building/curriculum specific, trying to get more budget resources available for RTI supports, and solid discussions with staff, through the PLC model, around instructional strengthening. 
    The component I would want to enhance is better understanding, and use of, formative assessments in order to help with leveling and re-grouping of mathematics instruction.  This is taking on a very significant role as more systems develop Personal Learning Plans, as encouraged by current literature and practice in delivering 21st century students to the competitive world.
  • 01 Apr 2013 8:53 PM
    Reply # 1256668 on 1250423
    Kate St.Denis
    Our greatest challenge and success are most likely the same. We've worked on monitoring programs and intervention and student support to such an extent that we are both proud of how far we've come and aware of how far we need to go. 

  • 04 Apr 2013 3:50 PM
    Reply # 1260014 on 1250423
    Karen Morton

    The components listed in this last section are all ones we’re working on.  There really isn’t an adequate amount of resources allocated to math. Unfortunately, that situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon, so we’re going to have to do the best we can with what we have. 

    I’m fortunate to work full time in the math arena in a K-5 school.  Many schools in Portland don’t have that position, but Title I funds provide funding for my position. However, my job description entails being both an Interventionist and a Coach.  Both of these could really be a full time job.  So managing priorities is important.  I also wish there were more opportunities for math resource people to work together to improve our coaching skills.  The model that Steve suggests for Math TLC’s working together every Friday sounds a little unrealistic in our district, but opportunities to further develop our skills would trickle down to improved coaching for teachers and better math instruction for students.  Our literacy coaches have had the opportunity to train with the Teacher College leaders in reading and writing and it definitely has made a difference in student performance in those areas.

    We are making inroads in professional interaction as we work towards developing common curriculum for each grade level.  We are beginning to talk about creating common formative and summative assessments.  After we collect and examine this data we’ll be able to make more informed decisions about whether or not the program is working for all students. I don’t think people are ready yet to begin teaching in front of each other, but it’s a future goal for professional development.

    Providing intervention to students needing support is a challenge.  Because we don’t have any extra people to provide it we are going to have to become more creative about how we do this.  I have worked in other places where classroom teachers worked together to creatively group students to provide extra support in areas of need (literacy or mathematics).  We will need to have to have those conversations as a building if we are going to be able to provide intervention.  One small thing we have done is allow students to use the computer lab before school to practice using IXL.  It isn’t direct instructional time, but the ed tech who supervises the lab works hard to steer children to areas where extra practice would be beneficial.  We first are targeting students who don’t have opportunities to practice at home.

    So many of these components are on our radar screen, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

  • 08 Apr 2013 6:16 AM
    Reply # 1262909 on 1250423
    Sally Bennett
    Sorry to be so behind...
    We are lucky in our school to have a group of dedicated math professionals.  My colleagues are their own math coaches and we all do what we can to monitor and improve instruction.  This process is very informal as we have many other demands on our time.  In a perfect world, we would have a legitimate well-trained creative math coach...

    A concern of mine (and it has been for a number of years) is how we provide the necessary challenge for students who legitimately need it.  We have two accelerated math classes per grade but as the program evolves, the composition of these classes has been more determined by the number of seats available rather than inherent student ability.  The selection process largely happens between grades 5 and 6 by mostly non-math teachers who do not see the full spectrum of the students in the grade.  And, once in, there is no clear exit strategy for students who may not be up to the challenge when mathematics becomes more than procedural fluency and a strong work ethic is an advantage.
  • 09 Apr 2013 8:40 PM
    Reply # 1264610 on 1250423
    Evelyn Krahn
    I think the greatest challenge in my school is that we don’t have enough intervention support for our at risk students. As is the case in most of the schools in my district we have several literacy interventionist  but only one math interventionist per school.

    The greatest success and the component that still needs to be strengthen is articulation and alignment. More opportunities need to be available where grade level teachers are given the time to align the curriculum around the CCSS.

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