School Year 2016-2017

August - Oh the emotions surrounding the very first day of school!
 Summer collaboration

Bald eagle
at Anderson Marsh

Welcome back to all of Konocti! I hope everyone found the summer restful and rejuvenating; healthy and uplifting.

With early August approaching, the back-to-school commercials and displays can stir up a feeling of anticipation and/or a feeling of excitement for our first day of school, both for the adults and for the students. Remember when we were kids getting ready for our first day of school? We could hardly sleep the night before. We were excited to see our friends. We were anxious about meeting our new teachers; about fitting in with classmates. We may even have been excited by all the learnings and all the possibilities our school day and our school year had in store for us!

I invite you to tap into that childhood wonder and thrill as we prepare for our very day of school. I welcome you to bring that childhood wonder and excitement out in your students.

As the author of the blog, I get to be the first to share my summer and initial vision for Konocti.

In early July, I had the opportunity to make a road trip, with dogs in tow, to West Yellowstone in Montana to spend the week with my parents who are aging but who are healthy.
I spent the week in a rustic cabin along the Henry's Fork River. I spend the days either fly fishing with my dad or hiking with my mom.  

In the middle of July, I was able to continue exploring and uncovering the beauty of the Clearlake area by visiting various local restaurants, hiking on various trails and jumping in differing bodies of water. The swimming hole in Knoxville Recreation Area down Morgan Valley Road is one of my favorite.

Near the end of July, a team of site principals along with a few instructional coaches, and myself attended the annual Visible Learning Conference in Washington D.C., with John Hattie as the keynote speaker.

The term visible learning comes from the research of John Hattie, a director of Melbourne Education Center in Melbourne,Australia. John Hattie has spent over 25 years studying in the field of education. In his 1200 meta analyses, he has synthesized a wide array of education research. From this research he has ranked 195 factors that influence student achievement. This research is the most comprehensive and compelling research in the field of education to this day.

He learned that while most everything in education "works", (good news for education). Some factors have a greater effect size on student achievement than others. His research revealed that the factors with an effect size of .4  or more, equated to a return of a year's growth, or more, for a year of school. He coined this level of impact "Visible Learning".

You had see the ranking of these 195 influences by visiting this website at http://goo.gl/XJ9ev4

Remember this list is more than just a checklist. There are a set of criteria per factor describing the correlation between each factor and it's effect size or impact on student learning. Many of the factors in that list are also interwoven.

For example project based learning. By itself, as a stand alone, it only has a .15 effect size. When factors such as teacher clarity around the learning intentions and success criteria, and factors such as feedback are incorporated as part of project based learning, then the impact on student learning can have greater than one year of growth for one year of school.

With the echos of desiring meaningful data to analyze; with the reflective talk around "how do I know my students are learning?"; with the unsettling feelings around our student state results and reading levels, Konocti is looking to partner with John Hattie and Visible Learning this coming school year. What does that this mean and look like? 

It means we continue in our current effective way of operations; the data we anticipate using, the curriculum maps and units of study, the piloted materials, the site and district collaborations, the desired after school PD workshops; to name a few.

It means each school site continues with their specialty areas of focus, whether that be health, culinary, science and technology.

It means we will receive some professional development in John Hattie's research around visible learning to support us and build our capacity in our next steps in 2016 as we look to know our impact through more regular and frequent data analysis; the catalyst for our collaborative conversations; and our continued and next steps.

It means our teacher-leaders, administration, and instructional coaches will also receive some additional training in how to guide and support their grade level and/or department teams in analyzing and interpreting their student data. (some collaborations - not all of the collaborations) to then guide and inform our next instructional steps.

It means in addition to our district wide walk thrus, a district team will work with some visible learning folks in August to visit a representation of schools, and talk with focus groups - administers, teachers, and students -  to gather a baseline set of data in addition to other Konocti data. This district data will be analyzed by management, teacher-leaders, and instructional coaches to know our impact and to guide and inform our instructional work and next steps, both at the school level and at the district level. This analysis will be shared back at school sites to guide and inform our continued work.

From there, we simply continue in our scheduled structures of collaboration times, workshops, and implementation plans, with periodic data analysis opportunities to track our effectiveness, to track student progress, to dialogue in what we are teaching and what instructional strategies are working best, and how best to continue getting our desired academic results. (at least one year of growth for one year of school).

We are here to cause learning. We want to have a substantial impact on student learning. 
Here we go................

From Marshallll's Memo, this week's articles come from The Education Gadfly, Education Drive, Harvard Business Review, Mathematica Policy Research, Faculty Focus, Review of Educational Research, Inside Higher Ed, Reading Rockets, Education Week, and Institute of Education Sciences. The headlines:

- Five considerations when making ethical decisions

- The link between principals' evaluations and student achievement

- Priming the pump to improve the questions students ask

- The Goldilocks level of teacher support during inquiry learning

- Students who are afraid they won't be perfect

- Misconceptions about reading difficulty

- Myths about differentiation

- Research on effective K-12 mathematics practices

- When are people most likely to think about leaving their jobs?

- The downside of having a Plan B

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