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  • 8th Grade Students Use Civil Rights Curricular Program as Path for Growth and Mastery | Teaching Matters
    with civil rights issues in a penetrating way Our past experiences have been heartening Young people become passionate about their own stake in policy and politics when they learn how the system works and hone in on specific issues They feel informed in the know and more powerful That sentiment can spur educational growth and even launch a career It is crucial to aim high and that s what the Common Core is all about Voices and Choices has as its hallmark critical thinking the marshaling of evidence and the ability to make a case Student involvement in Voices and Choices culminates at the Annual Civil Rights Student Summit which epitomizes the promise of the Common Core Standards Throughout the six week unit students focus on worthy texts including the U S Constitution and federal legislation They not only engage in critical thinking and analysis as emphasized in the standards but also apply these skills to understanding current civil rights issues and taking next steps raising public awareness and promoting action Back in 2008 three eighth grade students from Queens focused on female soldiers in their presentation Shouldn t Women in the Military Have Rights Protecting Them Now one of them has become an advocate in a civil rights organization As a current college student who was engaged in Common Core level work in 8th grade she is again providing us with a glimpse of what the future has in store much like she did in advocating for women in the military four years before we saw the recent change in the law to allow women in combat Day after day classrooms are exposed to civil rights and constitutional issues in the news The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School encouraged questions in the gun control debate the death of

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/8th-grade-students-use-civil-rights-curricular-program-path-growth-and-mastery (2016-02-13)
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  • Cooking Up Curricula: Not Always Best From Scratch | Teaching Matters
    students We have found that a well designed rigorous curriculum developed externally but adopted and adapted by teachers to meet their students needs best serves some urban schools How does a principal decide whether to buy or to build And now that we are moving to Common Core standards requiring every teacher to fundamentally redesign their instructional plans what should a principal do Should teachers develop or upgrade units from scratch Here are some specific questions to ponder Does your school have many new teachers who are still struggling with instructional basics Is there a lot of teacher turnover Do new teachers lack access to curriculum guides developed by prior teachers and strike out on their own because they must Are the expectations implicit in the lessons developed by teachers who have gone solo insufficiently rigorous Do teachers need strong examples of Common Core in practice Are teachers asking you for a common curriculum When the answer to most of these questions is yes adopt and adapt And make sure teachers are included every step along the way Once the decision has been made to adopt and adapt creative modification is not only warranted but vital An outside curriculum can be the cause of some of the most uninspired teaching imaginable Have you ever seen teachers going through the motions of scripted curricula without injecting their own personalities spin and excitement That s not the kind of bland diet we want to feed our children What to do We have found that when you combine strong quality common curricula common student tasks and assessments and most importantly professional learning communities something powerful happens First of all research done in urban schools shows students learn more Second we have found that teachers experience an increase in their sense of satisfaction and

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/cooking-curricula-not-always-best-scratch (2016-02-13)
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  • Great Principals Know Teaching Matters - and We Recognize Them | Teaching Matters
    core that teaching matters Great principals are not always the building s classic instructional leader But if they re not they have one or more great instructional leaders at and on their side The most effective principals almost always set up systems to ensure that teachers are working in collaborative ways Sometimes the collaboration is subtle and sometimes as we saw in our last two Rohatyn Prize Winners teacher collaboration and continuous improvement are built into the school s DNA Collaboration is not an end in and of itself It s about developing trust Trust in schools makes it possible for people to grow How Trust allows teachers to admit when they need help acknowledge challenges and pain points share ideas and take advantage of opportunities to improve In those places where there is trust among teachers and the honesty necessary to push each other s practice you will most likely find children reaching their potential A principal like a teacher in her classroom is the key to creating a climate of trust The Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters feels particularly timely this year With the demise of the teacher evaluation deal there was conflict between teachers and

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/great-principals-know-teaching-matters-and-we-recognize-them (2016-02-13)
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  • Rohatyn Prize | Teaching Matters
    committee Tottenham a 22 year special education veteran who rose through the ranks of teaching and administration became a principal in 2011 She was thrilled to receive the award The Rohatyn Prize will allow us to deepen some very powerful teacher work that is strengthening our school culture and profoundly impacting the lives of our students It s about creating real opportunities for leadership and professional growth she said I can t begin to explain how important this award is to taking teacher effectiveness to a new level at the Brooklyn Transition Center Tottenham added Read Full Press Release Past Winners 2014 Winner Ms Jodie Cohen James Madison High School Brooklyn NY James Madison High School believes that collaboration across the disciplines is key to enriching student access to the instructional program Through the meeting of instructionally focused teacher teams models for effective teaching and classroom environments that promote rigor and a culture of learning have been established The outgrowth of our model classroom initiative has been the creation of a professional development calendar and drop box for sharing electronic resources Funding has supported further professional development teacher release time and the purchase of electronic equipment to aid communication 2013 Winner Dr Salvador Fernandez of JHS052 Inwood Manhattan NY Inwood Intermediate School 52 located in upper Manhattan has committed itself to collaboratively developing conducting and participating in professional development that refines and strengthens instructional design and delivery The Rohatyn Prize offered the opportunity to pursue these efforts through a two part process 1 Curriculum Redesign and 2 Interclass Visitation Both parts connect as they allow staff to look closely at both planning of lessons and the delivery of instruction The Curriculum Redesign Process is a project that has afforded teams of teachers the chance to examine units of study in ELA looking specifically at alignment alignment to standards horizontal alignment within each grade and vertical alignment across grades The Interclass Visitation Process then allows teachers to see these units in practice by looking at what is happening within classrooms Teachers visit one another either one on one or in small groups taking low inference observation notes and looking at elements such as questioning discussion techniques instructional strategies and differentiation Teachers debrief and provide feedback to one another Feedback includes clear next steps and often informs professional development offerings within the school tailored to the needs of our teachers Both processes promote high expectations for all staff and students and provide support in reaching and maintaining quality practice 2012 Winner Ms Rose Kerr of Staten Island School of Civic Leadership R861 Staten Island NY The Triad Model is a teacher effectiveness initiative that puts three teachers in charge of comprehensive instruction for two classrooms This allows the team of teachers to own responsibility for everything from analyzing student performance data and developing interventions to scheduling The initiative elevates teacher teaming to a whole new level During her acceptance speech principal Kerr explained the powerful effects of the Triad Model Ask any

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/Rohatyn_Prize (2016-02-13)
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  • Moving Forward After a Deal’s Demise | Teaching Matters
    treating them as an element of multiple sources of evidence render a much more reliable system of evaluation And the other sources of evidence suggested by the Gates report were valuable not only because they increased evaluation reliability These evaluation tools of peer observation and student feedback offer critical opportunities to change the culture and the conversation in schools so as to deeply benefit the teaching profession As we regroup and consider where we go from here our premise is that evaluation and feedback processes are useful and also will require a significant influx of time and resources to do well To be most productive they shouldn t be formulated and valued as a tool for firing bad teachers Instead they must be oriented toward setting and supporting a high standard for instruction The parties are being urged back to the table and may reach an accord Even if new negotiations do result in a deal New York City is now lagging behind other jurisdictions All but four New York Counties reached evaluation agreements by the January 17th deadline We have lost or at least jeopardized a timely opportunity to have a common conversation about what really works But whatever gets done in the state s largest city that doesn t mean we can t glean lessons from the myriad different approaches that will be put into operation elsewhere We can and will look to the experience of other districts across New York as they strive to implement a strong rigorous system for teacher evaluation and feedback The information could prove very instructive As we move forward here are some of my questions about the evaluation landscape and how we can make the ground more fertile Can local measures help resolve the tremendous fear among teachers whose students are being tested on material multiple grades ahead of where they are developmentally and content wise A non teacher can t easily understand the anxiety associated with teaching to a 10th grade test with students reading on a second to fourth grade reading level Is it possible to develop an evaluation system that would reward and offer incentives to those teachers Could local measures include items like relative movement in reading level Do student evaluations work consistently in actual practice Gates research showed when student evaluations of teachers were included as one measure of teaching effectiveness there was a significant increase in ratings reliably It turned out 30 students with 180 hours of exposure to a teacher were more reliable than a single adult observation But teachers are rightly skeptical of this idea on the ground What if you are teaching in a classroom or a school where the culture is broken down Will some students use this tool to further undermine teacher authority I personally think this might be a very meaningful way for teachers to get feedback and perhaps districts that embraced this measure will find that teachers ultimately consider it useful leading us to revisit the question What kinds

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/moving-forward-after-deal%E2%80%99s-demise (2016-02-13)
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  • Are you a smart consumer of data? | Teaching Matters
    together So the challenge becomes how to take diverse products from many different aisles and put them in the same shopping cart As with any complex problem sometimes simpler is better And there are some simple strategies for schools to use when incorporating student level data in their instructional decision making Just follow the same strategies you use when buying groceries Make a List Budget Grow Organic Shop Local First make a list of all the assessments and data sources that your school has and what the purpose of each of them is This means all sources from the high stakes tests all the way down to the classroom assessments goal setting databases and those parent and teacher surveys that are sent out Most schools will find a lot of overlap and perhaps unnecessary data sources Prioritize them make some difficult decisions about where you want to spend your effort everything on this list costs time effort and adds to a complex situation It s okay to start simple Next you want to grow organic Gathering data sources creating common assessments norming on how to score and then using that data to inform instruction is not something a school can do all at once With all good change practice it is best to grow from the bottom up and support from the top down Allow those subject areas or grade levels that are ready to self select give them the time to meet throughout the year to work out the kinks and set up the monitoring and support to ensure they are supported Most importantly don t give up when things aren t working smoothly Organic produce tends to have more blemishes but it is ultimately better for your long term health Finally shop for your technology solution locally Because

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/are-you-smart-consumer-data (2016-02-13)
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  • How 60 Kids, 3 Teachers, and 1 Innovative Principal are Improving Teacher Effectiveness | Teaching Matters
    This allows the team of teachers to own responsibility for everything from analyzing student performance data and developing interventions to scheduling The initiative elevates teacher teaming to a whole new level During her acceptance speech principal Kerr explained the powerful effects of the Triad Model She emphasized that it didn t necessitate additional funding to implement but simply required reorganizing existing resources Ask any child in our building who their teacher is and it becomes plainly obvious they have not one but three teachers accountable for their continued success said Ms Kerr The goal of the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters is to recognize leaders that create schools designed to promote teacher effectiveness Of course every teacher should be a highly qualified professional but we need to get beyond the idea of the hero teacher says Lynette Guastaferro Executive Director of Teaching Matters Effective school leaders run schools that look like modern organizations where culture incentives and technology can enable groups of teachers to perform beyond the sum of their individual abilities The prize may be used to support expansion and replication of the innovation Ms Kerr was one of five finalists selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of education leaders and a student representative The other finalists included principal Evelyn Finn of the Lavelle Preparatory Charter School in Staten Island NY principal Cynthia Fowlkes of the Academy of Innovative Technology High School in Brooklyn NY principal Christopher Lehmann of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia PA and principal Shimon Waronker of the New American Academy in Brooklyn NY Elizabeth Rohatyn is a champion of education and innovation Driven by the belief that teachers are the most important school related factor in raising student achievement Mrs Rohatyn joined forces with former teachers principals and technology

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/how-60-kids-3-teachers-and-1-innovative-principal-are-improving-teacher-effectiveness (2016-02-13)
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  • Five Principals of Schools Where Teaching Matters | Teaching Matters
    Teachers regularly observe peers and make recommendations related to practice Rose Kerr Staten Island School of Civic Leadership Staten Island NY Triad Model a teacher effectiveness initiative puts three teachers in charge of comprehensive instruction of two classes allowing them to share responsibility to analyze student performance develop interventions and create learning opportunities Christopher Lehmann Science Leadership Academy Philadelphia PA Inquiry driven and project based approach using tech tools to allow all members of the school community to learn students teachers parents Shimon Waronker New American Academy Brooklyn NY Unique human capital model that incorporates a career ladder for teachers anddaily collaboration in teams led by a master teacher The public began voting June 13th for a principal from the New York metropolitan area that could win the 2012 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters The voting narrowed down the list of ten Semi finalists down to five and in the coming weeks the impartial selection committee will select the final winner The winner will be announced at the 2012 Summer Forum for Principals with Paul Vallas If you would like to register for this event please click here Leading principals understand that effective teaching is the lynchpin to closing the achievement gap said Lynette Guastaferro Executive Director of Teaching Matters a nonprofit educational organization that sponsors the prize They are rethinking time creating effective teaming strategies and positioning effective teachers to lead the charge These leaders deserve recognition and they need more flexibility The projects launched by the finalists include creating a career ladder where teachers advance from novice to master level reorganizing the school day so teachers have time to collaborate and helping teachers film their classroom instruction so that they can improve their teaching strategies Participating in the discussion of innovation in New York schools

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/blog/voting-has-closed-2012-elizabeth-rohatyn-prize (2016-02-13)
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