NY Superintendent Goals for 12-13


Believe it or not, we are into the third year of Race to the Top and the Regents Reform Agenda.  After two years of hearing about, toying with, coming to terms with, and negotiating just about every aspect of how we educate, we're live and online.  All the new initiatives are on the table at this point; it's time to check progress on what we've started or implement the last few things.

New York created a workbook earlier this summer to help guide your work through 2012-2013 and ensure your district is hitting this year's metrics. The workbook is designed for DSs, Network Teams, and you. It includes survey tools for you to measure how ready you are.  You can start with the bullets on pages two and three, and then you can use the planning templates to assist you in creating district plans for implementation. State Ed hasn't left you alone in this process.  They really are supplying what you need to get this work done.

I want to take a couple minutes to go through this year's metrics as described in the workbook.

CCSS Implementation

At this point all ELA and math instruction in grade P-8 should be fully aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Last year, each grade created two CCSS-aligned units to implement and get a feel for the CCSS.  This year, the NYSTP will reflect these Standards and all curriculum, instruction, and assessment should be fully aligned.

That leaves us with 9-12 ELA, 9-12 Math, and 6-12 Literacy in Social Studies, Science, and Technology. Each of these areas this year should create and implement two CC-aligned units.  Next year (13-14), the entire year should be aligned.

Six Instructional Shifts

Remember, we aren't just changing the content, but how we instruct it as well.  In ELA and Math, your teachers should be adopting the six Instructional Shifts

Look for these when you visit classrooms. Hold your principals accountable for looking for these.  They should show up during the evidence-based observations of performance (EBOP).  For example, if you are using Danielson, the shifts show up in Components 1a: Knowledge of Students and Pedagogy, 1e: Designing Student Assessments, 3b: Using Question and Discussion Techniques, 3c: Engaging Students in Learning, and 4e: Growing and Developing Professionally.

For your principals, if you are using the MPPR, the observation of the shifts in your principal's school will be evident in Domain Two: Culture and Instructional Program.

A word on your EBOP tools. These are coaching tools, not gotcha tools.  Use them to ensure that your district has a high-quality feedback loop.  Are your teachers reporting high-quality feedback from the principals? Are the principals held accountable for supplying high quality feedback?  Are your principals trained to give high-quality feedback and have you ensured inter-rater reliability?

Data-Driven Instruction

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo calls this a "super-lever."  If you have to choose one thing to improve the performance of your students, you should implement DDI.  For great guidance see Driven by Data and his follow up Leverage Leadership.

Let's keep this simple here. With all teachers using pre- and post/summative tests aligned to the NYS/CCS Standards and with all teachers and principals being evaluated on how well their students grow from Point A to Point B, using common, interim, aligned assessments is more important than ever.  The assessments need to be common to keep all parties working at the same level of rigor. They need to be interim so that we all have "dipstick" measures- are we on track for that post/summative?  And, aligned, well, no point giving interims if they aren't dipsticks.


So, are your secondary teachers ready for CC?

What Instructional Shifts are you seeing?

How well does your district use DDI?

Pre-Conference Questions

By using a short set of questions as a launching point for the discussion in your pre-observation conference,  you can really get a great feel for your teacher's planning/Domain One, as well as what you are going to see in Domains Two and Three. Let me take a couple minutes to go through the questions you should be asking and how they relate back to the subcomponents in Danielson. To give credit where credit is due, these questions come courtesy of ASCD iObservation.

A couple notes on the management of these.  They should run between 10 and 30 minutes averaging about 15 minutes tops.  Also, I don't see why some of this (most?) couldn't be done on paper.  If your teacher could answer these questions before you even met with her, that would speed up the actual meeting even more.

So, on to the Pre-Observation Conference...

1.  Briefly describe the students in the class. I know it sounds like a really basic start, but it will let you get at Component 1b.  Let the teacher describe the abilities and special needs of her students.

2. What are your goals/objectives/learning outcomes for your students? How will
You communicate the objective(s) to your students? Remember the important question is not, "What did you teach?" but rather, "What will they learn?"  What is your priority content? What Standards will this lesson address.  This is the teacher's rationale. Posting an Essential Question should ring a bell. This will address 1c.

3. In what ways are the goals/objectives suitable for this group? You can use this question to address to different subcomponents.  Both 1b and 1e are touched on.  Your teacher is not explaining a knowledge of students but should rub up against how this instruction will be design around this particular group.

4. What challenges do students typically experience in this area and how do you plan to anticipate and address these? Again 1b and 1c.

5. What will you do to cognitively engage these students? What will the students be doing? What will you be doing? First let's stress the importance of cognitive engagement. Students who are busy with a worksheet are not necessarily cognitively engaged.  As well, students who are deep into the conversation might be off-topic as well.  You are looking at 1e here and it will give you some insight into what you will observe in Domains Two and Three when you are in the classroom. I also like the 2nd and 3rd questions here.  When you script the observation, you are recording objective evidence. What did the teacher/student do and what did the teacher/student say.

6. How does your grouping support student needs and the desired outcomes for the lesson? This questions hits on 1b and 1e and should reflect what you'll observe in Domains Two and Three.

7. What materials and/or resources will the students be using? Easy enough- 1d.

8. How do you plan to assess student progress toward the objective(s)? What formal/informal procedures will you use? Attach any tests or performance tasks with rubrics and scoring guides. In the DDI era of pre, post, and interim assessments, this is key. No more "teach, test, and hope for the best." You want to see evidence of those dipsticks- the checks along the way.

9. How do you plan to use the results of the assessment? This really goes directly to Domain Three.

10. Is there anything else you would like me to specifically observe during the lesson? 

One small aside: it's worth noting how nicely Domain One hangs together narratively from 1a to 1f.  You have to know your content and then know your students.  Next you have to set your outcomes- what are my goal (UbD anyone?).  Ok, you have your goals, so what resources are at your disposal to accomplish them. With content, students, goals, and resources in mind, what is the instruction going to look like and how will I assess learning?