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