Highlights and Happenings in the month of January:

Walk throughs in many classrooms: This month I visited KEC: My goal is to visit every classroom before the end of the school year. Why? It helps me get a good pulse on the teaching and learning here in Konocti as the director of curriculum and instruction. It helps me learn more about each teacher and the students. It informs our next steps in the way of support and progress with instruction and curriculum. I look to refine my skills as an observer to be able to provide valuable feedback to support adult performance and student learning.

District-wide walk thrus at Burns Valley and at Lower Lake Elementary: Five district wide teams made up of instructional coaches, site administration and district administration visited various classrooms at both Burns Valley and at Lower Lake Elementary. The purpose wss to calibrate the student learning indicators and instructional strategies among-st all stakeholders. Teachers observed, received constructive and specific feedback to support student learning and to support their adult performance. This practice and calibration can extend to school sites to support student learning and to enhance adult performance. After the walk thrus, site administration will have an opportunity to share out some district-wide student learning patterns due to effective implementation around these district-wide instructional goals and strategies. Some patterns and next steps learned from our  classroom visits/walk-thrus were the following:
- Students making learning progress toward the learning objective(s) for the day; especially with a clearly articulated learning objective.
- Students demonstrating their abilities and knowledge with varying types of depth of knowledge questions and tasks; a range of recall questions/tasks complimented with DOK2 and DOK3 questions/tasks.
- Students engaged by having an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge through a variety of techniques like pair-shares, turn and talk, table share, and so on.

Professional Development for K -3 and for 4th - 8th by WestEd and Teresa Rensch:
Representative K -3 staff had the opportunity to take inventory on where we are going, where we are at, and where we are headed. The work tackled in the afternoon, was around adding foundation reading skills to our daily instruction and to our RTI instruction, including common ways to assess these foundation reading skills each trimester.
Representative staff 4th - 8th grade staff had the opportunity to take inventory on where we are going, where we are at, and where we are headed. In the second half of the day each grade level tackled their next level work in one of the following areas - revision of the scope and sequence, revision of the common unit assessments including development of common administration of the assessments.
In addition, K -3 made some agreements around revisiting and updating their classroom libraries; to make them current, easily accessible for students and leveled for students.

District collaboration day on January 28: Each team got to spend time in their grade level team on work that emerged from the inventory taken on the PD days.
K -3 focused on the scope and sequence around the instruction of the foundation skills, instructional strategies for these foundation reading skills, and the common assessment of these foundation skills.
4th -7th grade teams focused on their next level work; whether revisiting the scope and sequence, revisiting certain common assessments, developing common test administration steps, revising rubrics, sharing instructional strategies and resources.
8th - 12th grade took a look at how to incorporate differentiated instruction and assessing into their classrooms to meet the needs of all students; in particular to meet the accommodations and modifications of our special education students.
Huge strides per grade level were made and you can see that positive impact on student learning in the classroom!.

District Engaged Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting (ETLC): This committee is comprised of the instructional coaches, the grade level district teacher facilitators, high school department chairs (principals are welcome) and myself. It was a highlight just to have the opportunity to meet again. We get to share each grade level's progress with teaching and learning. We get to steal or borrow best practices from each other. We get to stay abreast to the continued steps or new steps being developed or implemented to support the district's instructional direction and vision. Time permitting, we get to coordinate a draft agenda for the next district wide collaboration time. The information and progress; ideas and insights, then, get shared to staff at staff meetings, site collaborations and district collaborations.
Our next meeting is scheduled for February 18.

Forward progress with the Math Pilot Process: December was our second meeting. Here we evaluated various supplemental math materials. Grades 1st - 5th and grades 6th -7th committed to using GoMath as the supplemental math material to pilot with their students in their classroom starting this January.
We use GoMath to support the instruction of these clusters of standards. We are also looking to use additional resources to thoroughly and comprehensively cover the cluster of standards to the appropriate depth, making it accessible and challenging for all students. We also committed to checking in each month, both on the piloted materials, and to revise/enhance the common core units and assessments.
February 2nd and February 4th was our last meeting. At this meeting, each grade level re evaluated the effectiveness of GoMath in these areas:
- the organization
- the alignment of GoMath to the Common Core Standards (including the skills, depth and rigor)
- universal access for all students
- other areas of strength or areas of concern
In our March meeting, we will bring student results from the February math grade level CCSS unit assessment.

This week inside Marshall's memo, you will find articles on these featured topics:

This week's articles come from The New Yorker, Kappa Delta Pi Record, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Literacy Today and Edutopia:

- Why texting is the ideal medium for teen crisis counseling

- Three key factors that nurture student resilience

- More on emphasizing altruism in the college admissions process

- Finding the right balance of talk, student voice, and technology

- Squelching shame in reading classes

- Effective use of exit tickets

- Digital tools to support effective literacy teaching

If you want an HTML version of this week's Memo, please click here: