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.
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?
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?