9/08/2018

September Times in Konocti Unified



Life-long learners - Adults and Students


                






Konocti lays the groundwork with strong relationships amongst its staff and students.

In an inviting and welcoming environment, staff can, then, embark on several  fundamental practices and ignite that deep learning in students of one year's growth or more. (Knowing people use more than just these four practices) 




Konocti's Instructional Goal is to ensure 1+ for our students

Some fundamental action steps to cause this 1+:
1.)  Clarity - clear expectations through the learning intention and success criteria
2.) Always knowing one's impact based on student progress
3.) Other high leverage strategies within these two instructional pillars


One critical support that improves our instructional practices as a professional, and then advances students learning and well-being is collaboration.

The purpose of collaboration is just that = to improve our instructional practice and then directly impact student learning and well-being. 

When collaboration is "done well", we can achieve such an essential outcome.

The type of collaboration that serves this purpose is one where the conversation is deeply focused around evidence of student learning and the"effective" instructional practices (DuFour, 2004) :
(1.) Such a conversation is steeped in evidence of student progress and achievement,
(2.) The team members identify and share the instructional strategies that contributed to such progress and achievement - success -  sharing - Eureka!
(3.) The team taps into their collective wisdom and makes refinements to current strategies and/or adds new instructional strategies to the repertoire

Such a conversation both affirms and enhances our instructional practices to then implement, continuing the success with students already improving and achieving as well as reaching kids never before reached - the light bulb turns on; the caliber of work surpasses their own expectation; there is a new level of involvement and excitement.




Just as staff collaborate regularly on site and as a whole school district, the principals and I also collaborate two times a month. Once a month our collaborations also strategic in nature. The conversation is steeped in evidence of adult growth and student improvement. The principals and I evaluate our impact based on staff instructional success, and then based on students' academic and social emotional success = 1+ for all of us.





8/18/2018

Welcome Back Konocti




The First Days of School; Nervous yet Dancing on the Inside





      
With the the first few days of school, I invite you to tap into that childhood wonder and thrill as we prepare for our first few days of school (by time you read this, school may already be underway)

In the welcome back message, our superintendent, Donna Becnel shared that Konocti is here to ensure one year's growth or more. She shared personal guiding statement on we improve as an entire organization. We do so by implementing systems that yield a sustainable culture of innovation, collaborative community and high achievement through inquiry, impact, and continuous improvement.

I shared my guiding statement with staff at various platforms: P. U.R.P.O.S.E, meaning I look to education people universally, readying people for any opportunity and situation.

We each have our own guiding principle or purpose statements as we look to improve ourselves, our students, and our organization.

Under this light, Konocti Unified created the strategic plan premised on John Hattie's research which is the largest body of research in our field of education to-date.

Konocti lays the groundwork with strong relationships among-st staff and students.
In an inviting and welcoming environment, staff and students can embark on several  fundamental practices and ignite that deep learning. (Knowing people can use more these these four practices) of one year's growth or more.





The first few days back, led by the teacher academy, the welcome back staff collaborations and welcome back message, already set the precedence for our systems of inquiry and impact around the implementation of these fundamental instructional practices. For example, more and more people are connecting their purpose and beliefs to the district direction. We have high caliber people returning and we have high caliber people joining the Konocti family.

Furthermore, as I traveled around, I was thrilled when staff asked me to pop into their classrooms so they could show me some ways they were involving students in the learning journey: a special reading center of the room for students to sit and get lost in their favorite book; a display of writing exemplars for students to assess where they are at and know what they are striving for; a progression wall where students move their marker as they improve their reading score. These are just a few examples of the many sound ideas.

In winding down that day, two teachers shared how they were going to collaborate with each student in setting the weekly academic goals and the daily tasks so students and the teacher could track progress, make adjustments, and celebrate achievement regularly. They closed the conversation by saying, "This year is going to be magical". I couldn't agree more.


As we begin this magical year of quality instruction and deep learning, I want to share my plan so you are aware of how I plan to hold myself accountable to ensure that one year's growth or more, in myself and in others.


         

I look forward to the return of our students on Monday, August 20. I look forward to visiting schools on the first two days to see you and the kids! I also look forward to witnessing and feeling the special connections being initiated and the deep learning being launched by our inspiring and skilled staff. 












4/30/2018

Konocti in the Month of May


















Here are a few video links. Some high school students sharing what strategies support their learning and what strategies they employ to support their own learning. https://youtu.be/iOC3gYTK5Vs
Here are a couple of elementary students describing their learning and progress in math. https://youtu.be/Q2ZLPYQ9d6E












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.






Next level work for myself from April to May 31.
My action
Representative from the target group
My measure
How will I know on or before May 31

Facilitate the bi-monthly instructional coach team, working with each of them as they write a specific plan to enhance staffs craft and then improve student learning











Facilitate the monthly principal collaboration, working with the principals and superintendent as each writes a specific action around enhancing/developing their staffs craft and then improving their students’ academic





One coach from the coach team













One principal and the superintendent from the principal team

The walkthru form: The coach and teacher set outcomes. Then they each gathered evidence of student learning classroom. The teacher and coach asked the students' questions about their learning and debriefed at a later time.




The walkthru form: The principal and I will visit classrooms at her school. Evidence will be gathered by using the walk-thru form, when we ask students the 3 fundamental questions or so about their learning

Interview responses:
 Her interview results from checking in with principals to see if her impact worked
Progress of the tech plan

Based on the established outcomes, the coach will share results - patterns of student learning from the student response (the coach shares this information in confidence with me ie  no teacher names)





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.

Next level work for myself from April to May 31.
My action
Representative from the target group
My measure
How will I know on or before May 31

Facilitate the bi-monthly instructional coach team, working with each of them as they write a specific plan to enhance staffs craft and then improve student learning











Facilitate the monthly principal collaboration, working with the principals and superintendent as each writes a specific action around enhancing/developing their staffs craft and then improving their students’ academic





One coach from the coach team













One principal and the superintendent from the principal team

The walkthru form: The coach and teacher set outcomes. Then they each gathered evidence of student learning classroom. The teacher and coach asked the students' questions about their learning and debriefed at a later time.




The walkthru form: The principal and I will visit classrooms at her school. Evidence will be gathered by using the walk-thru form, when we ask students the 3 fundamental questions or so about their learning

Interview responses:
 Her interview results from checking in with principals to see if her impact worked
Progress of the tech plan

BasBased on their established outcomes, the coach will share results - patterns of student learning from the student response (the coach shares this information in confidence with me ie no teacher names)










The evidence of student learning from talking with students during the walk-thru. (using the walk-thru form).

Evidence of sharing the student learning and high-leverage instruction with the school and teaching staff.

Evidence of progress on the tech plan
Evidence from her principals’ responses from her interviews.ed on the established outcomes, the coach will share results - patterns of student learning from the student response (the coach shares this information in confidence with me i


















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