3/31/2018

Konocti in April


We entered the world of education to "make a difference". In making that difference, we look not only to teach literacy and content knowledge, we also look to develop critical attributes in our students so they can thrive in their future and in their future endeavors.













                                                     Collaboration

Konocti designs it collaboration structure after the DuFour's inquiry model. The model has withstood the test of time. There are many inquiry approaches today. High functioning teams that embed inquiry cycles ensure student improvement by garnering a collaborative spirit, and by focusing on evidence of learning.
The collaborative conversation is grounded in evidence emphasizing student learning caused by identifying "quality" instructional strategies. The four questions also address what students did not learn and what "quality" instructional strategies the team can refine or add. Such a vulnerable yet rich conversation takes high relational trust and great confidence in one another.


You can watch a collaborative team using the inquiry model by viewing this video at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrPI-q6w72Y or this video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr7aUrra27w

You can read more about the attributes of effective collaborative teams at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may04/vol61/num08/What-Is-a-Professional-Learning-Community%C2%A2.aspx



Local Reading Results for K -7 as of March 2018


Over 50% of our students are on the trajectory to make over one year's growth this school year.  And with that we look to see at least a 5% increase in the % of students at or above grade level.









March Walk thru Results for the Whole of Konocti Unified

Nearly 40% of our classrooms displayed leveled success criteria. As a result, nearly 100% of our students could describe their learning and their progress. About 75% of the classrooms visited taught both the surface and deep levels of learning. In almost 100% of the classrooms, students were interacting with grade level work.


What does this mean? (1.) As we (the adults) make progress in understanding and in articulating what is expected in the key concepts and skills, students too can articulate how they are progressing in their learning. (2.) With the leveled success criteria, all students can demonstrate academic success and progress (based on their journey to the destination). (3.) Classroom teachers and students are demonstrating a balance of surface learning and deep learning.


What can be some next level work within the same action steps and goal? (1.) We can continue to learn and develop in unpacking the standards – the key concepts and skills – by leveling the success criteria. (2.) we can gain in consistency in all the ways we informally and formally assess/evaluate student progress towards the different success criteria. (3.) We can continue to include the students in their knowing what they learning, and how they are learn/are learning?

In conclusion, the work is hard. And as a collective team, we can continue to marshal well-being, civility, and academic achievement! Look all around us. It is happening.

3/04/2018

February Happenings on the Learning and Teaching Front in Konocti Unified


Knocking on Konocti's Doorstep are the 4Cs  and 1H: Clarity, Challenge, Climate,  Civility and Hope

What is the ripple effect we want to leave on students and adults in our school buildings? 

        

The Banks of the River at Konocti Unified School District in 2017-18:

What? Konocti looks to ensure students improve 1+ or more for their one year of school. This one year of improvement could be in academics, civility, and/or in well-being.

Why? Perfection and proficiency can be far-fetched and discouraging. Yet everyone - students and adults - can improve academically, socio-emotionally, and/or in civility. Such improvements lead to literate children - literate in reading and in content knowledge.

Why else? Learning also cultivates such skills as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking so students can succeed in their future endeavors and in the future.

How? Through teacher clarity as one river bank and knowing one's impact as the other river bank. Once we articulate the intended learning and establish what success looks like along the way, we can ferry back and forth, embedding other high-leverage tasks, activities and strategies to teach and develop the students. 
As far as the other river bank, knowing one's impact, we monitor students' learning every inch of the way as knowing the effectiveness of our instructional practice.

How else? Every student and every adult enters the world innately “good”. Students deserve and want at least one go-to adult during their academic career. Educators and educational leaders also merit having at least one advocate/champion during their career in education. As Manny Scott preaches, “even on your worst day, you can still be a student’s (and colleague’s) best hope.” What can this mean and look like? The subtle steps you are already taking and we can continue to take intentionally and cohesively. Having at least one specific student you champion. Having one fellow colleague you check in with, and they, in turn, check in on you. Showing up everyday, being that safe haven and consistent adult for students. Believing in the student when he or she might not yet believe in his or herself by recognizing their strengths, and then leveling up from that point. 


Current Literature

I know there is a healthy inquiry around the research Konocti Unified uses to guide the direction around what works best in education to cause learning at a one year rate or greater. People are welcome to read more about the utilization and implications of meta-analyse studies, why Hattie uses effect size to create his narrative, and how .4 effect size became known as the hinge point to represent one year's growth. The document also offers some current literature by renown researchers in the field of education, not an exhaustive list, regarding what works best in education. You can find the information  at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rtRiy6TQOS7APuONOVhv932WgRMg0FUmpAmoXsgIcqg/edit?usp=sharin
 

Local Reading Data Points 

In addition to current research, Konocti also looks to monitor student improvement through the effectiveness of our instructional practice by gathering multiple local measures. I shared a mid-year academic progress check to the school board in January. I used the results of one local reading standardized assessment  to track our progress and achievement. Below are the two charts showing a slice of our current reality in relation to where we are headed.







My discoveries and response to this one reading progress and achievement data point.
I analyzed the data point with the principals.
I listened to and read the notes of teachers interpreting and responding to the data point.
I continue to visit classrooms looking for clarity around the expected learning, depth to the learning, and instructional tasks/activities that involve reading, writing, talking.
 I video tape classrooms and transcribe the clips to use as demonstration clips for teacher trainings.
I look to provide specific feedback to teachers and principals in line with the success criteria connected to the action steps and goals of the district-wide strategic plan.
Occasionally, I step into a classroom where I can practice the instruction of reading and writing or math.
I plan and participate in site and district collaboration, with a deliberate focus on student learning and quality instructional practices.






2/04/2018

The Story of a Steadfast Konocti Student



                                                         A Story of a Steadfast Learner

Allysa and I shared an experience solving a math problem together on January 30th. Let me back up and explain how we met. Allysa entered the KEC after school while I was setting up for the all day staff development day. She was eyeing the bowl of candy. I said go ahead and pick one. She just could not decide between the butterscotch and the snickers. To help her decide, I asked her to define what kind of mood she was in. She said "happy."
"Great, I exclaimed. "Which type of candy best goes with happy?"
'Both," she shared. Allysa won me over with that answer. And yes she got both pieces of candy.

After this brief encounter, we started talking about her learning. She shared she was learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. She knew that she was strong in adding and subtracting. She was aware that she was still mastering the process of multiplying and dividing fractions. I asked her how does she improve on this? Allysa communicated that she practices or she reflects on the problem. And if she is still stuck, she will ask her mom, the teacher, or a classmate.

You can see the signs of an independent learner emerging as she knew where she was in her learning and how she is and was doing/going. She also spoke about her own learning strategies.

After the conversation, we moved to the chart paper where we spent over twenty minutes solving an addition problem with fractions (1/4 + 3/7 = ??). I prompted or cued her a few times. Otherwise the solution was all Allysa. She employed at least three different techniques to solve this problem.
7+7+7+7 to understand she needed to multiply the 7 by four to get 28.
She wrote 28 tallies and circles 7 sets of four to understand she needed to multiply the 4 by 7 to get 28.
She remembered her teacher said whatever you do to the denominator, she must do to the numerator to create new equivalent fractions.

Like I said, about twenty minutes later, and about four techniques later, she solved for 19/28. We even drew a model representation to understand why we the denominator remained the same.

I tell you this story for this reason, Allysa demonstrated energy and skills of that independent learner that we look to develop and harness. She employed critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as perseverance and determination. Go Allya!



Reinforcing the Superintendent's Heartfelt Message

What? Konocti looks to ensure students improve 1+ or more for their one year of school. This one year of improvement could be in academics, civility, and/or in well-being.

Why? Perfection and proficiency are too far-fetched and discouraging. Yet everyone - students and adults - can improve academically, socio-emotionally, and/or in civility. Such improvements lead to literate children - literate in reading and in content knowledge.

Why else? Learning also cultivates such skills as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking so students can succeed in their future endeavors and in the future.

How? Through teacher clarity as one river bank and knowing one's impact as the other river bank. Once we articulate the intended learning and establish what success looks like along the way, we can ferry back and forth, embedding all kinds of other tasks, activities and strategies to teach and develop the students. 
We monitor students' learning every inch of the way as knowing the effectiveness of our instructional practice.



From the superintendent's message and from the district direction, what do I want us to do:

1.) I want us to do whatever it takes particularly with in the banks of river, clear expectations, and know thy impact - monitoring student progress through the effectiveness of our practice
2.) I want us to do whatever it takes particularly within the banks of the river as we nourish that ever-present undercurrent, a place where people feel safe, feel welcomed, feel like they belong.



From the superintendent's message and from the district direction, what do I want us to feel?

1.) The work is unbelievably hard. Yet, I want us to feel that one year's growth or more is attainable for everyone.
2.) Teaching is a noble profession and a tough job. Yet I want us to feel the sense of urgency and shared responsibility to cause significant learning, well-being, and civility in our students.
3.) I want us to feel that the district direction is genuine.
4.) I want us to feel confident in oneself, in each other, in the students, and all of as one entity.


Current Literature

I know there is a healthy inquiry around the research Konocti Unified uses to guide the direction around what works best in education to cause learning at a one year rate or greater. People are welcome to read more about the utilization and implications of meta-analyse studies, why Hattie uses effect size to create his narrative, and how .4 effect size became known as the hinge point. The document also offers some current literature by renown researchers in the field of education, not an exhaustive list, regarding what works best in education. You can find the information  at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rtRiy6TQOS7APuONOVhv932WgRMg0FUmpAmoXsgIcqg/edit?usp=sharing

Local Data Point

In addition to current research, Konocti also looks to monitor student improvement through the effectiveness of our instructional practice by gathering multiple local measures. I shared a mid-year academic progress check to the school board in January. I used the results of one local reading standardized assessment  to track our progress and achievement. Below are the two charts showing a slice of our current reality in relation to where we are headed.





Support Beams to Ensure Improvement in both Ourselves, and in the Students

     One important support beam to continue to advance our thinking, knowledge, and skill-set is professional development. Professional development is aligned to the district direction. Professional development topics are designed based want and need determined through teacher feedback, principal feedback, and based on Konocti's academic results.

     In a continued effort to continue to design relevant (current research and  practical application) professional development, please take a few minutes to complete the survey on the January 31 Professional Development at  https://goo.gl/forms/fRP0jG4G2n8JMDni2. We will use this information as we plan professional development for the 2018-19 school year. Thank you









12/27/2017

January 2018 - The goal = Ensure 1+


"Success is all around us in our schools. We need to identify this existing success, celebrate it and replicate it."

 A Sincere Happy New Year to All. I hope this blog finds everyone healthy, happy, and rejuvenated!

I will quickly share a glimmer of my winter break. The dogs and I spent a couple days near the beach as we headed to Southern California to see my parents.  The dogs and I ran up and down the beach making our temporary footprints in the sand until the water washed ashore. The sun reflected off the ocean of blue, and the noise of the crashing waves roared against the cliff side.

     In that time, I was able to both reflect and gear up for the six months. You can read below the blog to see the details of my 2017-18 SMART Goal, some results, my analysis of the results, and my next steps


My Message 
What? Konocti looks to ensure students improve 1+ or more for their one year of school. This one year of improvement could be in academics, civility, and/or in well-being.
Why? Perfection and proficiency are too far-fetched and discouraging. Yet everyone - students and adults - can improve academically, socio-emotionally, and/or in civility. Such improvements lead to literate children - literate in reading and in content knowledge. 
Why else? Learning also cultivates such skills as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking so students can succeed in their future endeavors and in the future.
How? Through teacher clarity as one river bank and knowing one's impact as the other river bank. Once we articulate the intended learning and establish what success looks like along the way, we can ferry back and forth, embedding all kinds of other tasks, activities and strategies to teach and develop the students. 
We monitor students' learning every inch of the way, ensuring impact and ensuring progress.





Here is what I want to convey:

     I want to convey a collaborative spirit around this common endeavor. The work is hard. The direction is genuine. It will truly take every single one of us to receive the message, continue to gain knowledge, and continue to hone our craft, improving ourselves, to in turn, develop and advance our students.


Here is what I want us to do:
    As we rally behind the endeavor, looking to ensure 1+ for each adult and each student, I want us to believe: believe in oneself, believe in each other, believe in the students.


____________________________________________________________________________

My SMART Goal Setting

Step 1.  Write down your goal in as few words as possible.
My goal is to  “make learning visible” for all students (measured by the growth of students at a .4 effect size or higher).

Step 2.  HOW will you reach this goal?  List at least 3 SPECIFIC action steps you’ll take.

1.      Effective execution of instructional practices (all grounded in teacher clarity) such as checking for understanding, metacognitive, and providing effective feedback

2.      Clearly communicate the instructional vision

3.      Strong presence at the school sites and in PD and at collaboration throughout the school year

4.      Regularly monitor my impact with various data points

Step 3.  Make your goal MEASURABLE.  Add details, measurements, and tracking details.
I will measure/track my progress toward my goal by using the following methods: 
Attendance at the sites, PD and collaboration……..student responses in district walk-thrus…………….teacher and principal responses in the focus –group interviews, and in collaborations, and at PD………….student reading data (growth and achievement)

I will know I have reached my goal when we make incremental growth each trimester in our students reading results, progressing closer toward the end-of-the year academic goal. I will also know as there is a steady increase in the number of kids that can articulate their learning, how they are going in their learning, and where to next?
(Rdg data, cumulative responses to the 3 questions, my calendar, teacher/administrative responses)
I will also know by my follow through to visit school sites regularly, and to regularly attend collaboration and PD


Step 4.  Make your goal ATTAINABLE.  What additional resources do you need for success?
Items I need to achieve this goal: Calendar the collaboration, the school visits, professional development, data analysis.

How I’ll find the time:  schedule walk-thrus each quarter, schedule quarterly professional development, schedule collaboration time to analyze district data, schedule time to provide the feedback, schedule the time to prepare for PD and collaboration, schedule time to aggregate the data.

Things I need to learn more about: Leading and facilitating the strengths and improvement of large organizations around one common vision

People I can talk to for support:  teachers, site administration, superintendent, professional networks, other C&I directors

Step 5:  Make your goal RELEVANT
List some reasons why you want to reach this goal. I am here for the sake of the students.  I want to do everything in my power to ensure our students graduate at grade level reading, writing, and thinking or beyond.


Step 6:  Make your goal TIMELY
I will reach my goal by:  06/05/2018

My halfway measurement will be the walk-thru data and the reading data in January 2018

Additional dates and milestones I’ll aim for: November 2017, and March 2018

MY DATA HALFWAY Through the School Year.

A.) The walk through results as of January:
Teacher Clarity visibly posted
Student Clarity: What are you learning?
Student Clarity: Where are you at in your learning? Or How are you going/doing in your learning?
Student Clarity: Where to next in your learning?
Instruction time devoted to Math and/or Literacy
Depth of Learning
Konocti
78%
70%
66%
24%
73%
56%

B.) The local reading results as of January:
 K -2 at 20%
3rd – 7th at 10%
8th and 11th at 35% and 40%

C.) My calendar:
I visited schools at least every month. I participated at every collaboration and at every professional development.
You can ask to view it more closely. Just ask me.

D.) Some administrative and teacher responses:
You know your impact.
You believe in collaboration.
 You should stay if you believe in this work and in the kids.
I do not think the district direction/initiative is about learning.
I was not on board at first – I had to find my way.
Let’s stick with “this” for a while so we can get good at it.
I appreciate the district has a vision.
There could be something missing from the direction.
I am not sure I believe in John Hattie’s research
Clarity clears up a lot, lowering anxiety for students and for staff.
Clarity is usually at the crux.
I could use some more support in teacher clarity
There are more strategies besides teacher clarity.
I have seen success. It helped with student discipline too.
PD and collaboration allows for adults to understand what is expected

Some Possible Next Steps:

**Continue to stay current on research in our field of education
**Continue to use the structures and people in place to communicate, communicate the direction and vision – the what,
the why, and the how.
**Continue to lead the way by modeling it myself.
**Continue to look for progress over perfection
** Continue to provide support in any way that I can especially in professional development, collaboration, and workshops.
**Continue to visit classroom and schools, talk with teachers and students, and provide feedback
**Continue to develop a culture of respect and trust, confidence and cooperation.

**Share my plan and data with other collaborative teams and ask their input


12/02/2017

Learning made Visible here in Konocti Unified during the Month of December



We look to ensure 1+ years growth, or more, for our ourselves, and for our kiddos, academically, civilly, and social-emotionally.

1.) Teacher clarity (that causes student clarity , depth to their learning, and ownership over their own learning)

2.) Know thy impact (by regularly assessing student progress, formally and informally)

You are welcome to employ other practices in pursuit of ensuring 1+ year's growth in students, academically, civilly, and social-emotionally.
.






As we know, the teacher is one of the most influential factors on student's education. Students learn when the class and school culture is a peaceful and harmonious place. John Hattie calls this the inspirational and passionate teacher pillar (Hattie, 2009).



While we are focusing on high levels of learning, the positive school and class culture is an ever-present necessary and crucial factor. In talking with students, students mostly know they can count on their teacher as that consistent kind human being in their daily lives. Students know they can make a mistake in the process of learning. Students know they are cared for on an emotional and physical level.


Click on the links below to hear students talk about the power of teacher clarity and student clarity:
https://youtu.be/pIIUaIkmrwU
https://youtu.be/TF0Ge9eyKP0


Click on the link below to see an example of a classroom demonstrating visible instruction and visible learning right here in Konocti:
https://youtu.be/0crXnxitPwU and  https://youtu.be/Ns3YDhMcA5I


Here are some highlights regarding visible instruction and visible learning

...................as I continue to travel and visit the school sites as well as talk with students and with staff.


** Majority of the elementary classrooms visiting feel welcoming and inviting. The students demonstrate a high regard for the teacher and for their fellow classmates. Students are talking about their learning, excited about their learning, and knowledgeable in their learning for that particular day. Students gracefully supported each other in their learning.

** While not a must, a majority of elementary classrooms visibly posted the learning intention and success criteria for the day. A relevant step in tranfering the goals and expectations of learning to the students.

** In a majority of the elementary classrooms visited recently, class time was dedicated to grade level reading, talking, and writing, or the class time was devoted to math instruction.


Here are some model student response demonstrating clarity, depth, and ownership of their learning........on the trajectory to make one year's growth or more.


Where are you at in your learning? " Learning about point of view from the narrator perspective."
"The book is from a dog’s point of view."

How are you doing/going?  "I am understanding so far."

What do you do to support your learning?"I check for the evidence in the book. I check my answers with the answers on the board."
What is next? "After identifying the story elements from this story, we will write our own story using these elements."




District response/support
Continue to communicate the vision
Continue to provide professional development
Continue witch collaboration
Continue to give feedback especially around the students' understand of the intended learning, around their understanding about their progress in the intended learning, and to the level of depth to their learning.



November 1st and January 31st Staff Development Day

We got mixed reviews from staff regarding the value and usefulness of their specific professional development session on November 1.

I take that feedback seriously in working with the principals and the consultants to arrange a valuable and useful professional development day on January 31st.


Our core business is teaching and learning. As director of curriculum and instruction, collaboration, and professional development should align with our goals and expectations, as well as support the development of us as professional educators. As change agents and life-long learners ourselves, we, too, play an active role in gaining worthy and necessary knowledge from regular collaboration and professional development. 

My personal and professional mission is to inspire, educate, and empower people - myself, kids, and adults. I see collaboration and professional development as one viable way.