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  • Support Teachers with What They Need to Grow | Teaching Matters
    55 percent had left by the end of three years After five years more than two thirds of new teachers in high poverty schools had left compared with roughly half of those in low poverty schools Such turnover constantly leaves high poverty schools with a disproportionate share of novice teachers So then it becomes this critical mass of folks who may become great teachers but they re not there yet Hall said And if they re all clustered in a particular school then that really disadvantages the student Strengthening Teachers Professional development is critical to reversing this trend whether it takes the form of ongoing learning mentoring by experienced teachers or peer feedback All three are staples of high achieving education systems like those in Singapore and Shanghai Teaching Matters Teaching for Impact model hinges upon Professional Learning Communities PLCs that use a team approach to improve teaching practice This process means that teams develop a common set of expectations and analyze student data results on everything from homework to tests together modifying their methods as needed By bringing together groups of teachers and identifying peer leaders the isolation and uncertainty that plagues many teachers is alleviated What are essentials a principal s commitment clear learning goals a student centered learning focus and the allocation of sufficient time for group work Just this summer Jodie Cohen a first year principal was awarded the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters What was this rookie principal s secret for success She s instituted a deeply collaborative model at her school with regular group sessions visiting each other s classrooms and the establishment of model practices Beginning and experienced teachers clamor for support says Landa McLaurin former principal of a Baltimore magnet school who has also served as a leadership coach

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/502 (2016-02-13)
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  • Educating New Teachers More Effectively | Teaching Matters
    are characterized by low academic entrance standards a failure to incorporate research based instruction and certify that graduates have mastered their content areas and an overall inability to prepare graduates for the challenges of classrooms Those shortcomings stand out because first year and novice teachers are often assigned to students with the highest needs and because teachers are key to the success of the more rigorous Common Core State Standards It starts with making sure that teachers are being well prepared for the actual demands of the classroom including managing their classrooms and serving a wide range of students among them students with disabilities and English language learners said Daria Hall Director of K 12 Education Policy at the Education Trust in Washington D C They re figuring it out on the job when these students only have one year in that classroom she said In June 2013 the National Council for Teacher Quality released the results of its review of 2 420 elementary and secondary education teacher preparation programs at 1 130 colleges and universities Among its findings The most frequent GPA for programs was 2 5 70 percent of elementary programs were not adequately preparing effective reading instructors 78 percent of elementary programs did not adequately prepare candidates to reach struggling readers 93 percent fail to ensure a high quality student teaching experience 77 percent give little or no feedback on classroom management strategies For New York Just 24 percent of New York programs fully screened teacher candidates for academic caliber only 5 percent fully trained candidates to teach reading in accordance with state student learning standards and 3 percent met the standard for training candidates to teach math in line with state requirements A novice teacher may have gotten a lot of preparation on how to develop a lesson plan but she didn t get preparation of how to differentiate that lesson plan when she has some students who are coming in above grade level some students who are on grade level and some students who are far below grade level Hall said So all of a sudden this great lesson plan is falling apart in practice because she was not well prepared for the realities of the classroom In January NCTQ released its seventh annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook a biennial report assessing states progress in meeting policy goals This year s report found states improving in terms of graduating well prepared teachers More states are requiring elementary teachers to pass a multiple subjects test that separates scores by subject area and more are requiring an academic proficiency test for teacher program applicants Efforts to ensure that teacher candidates are trained in science based reading instruction and demonstrate mastery of mathematics content are also on the rise according to NCTQ There s actually a body of science and evidence that we should be relying on and it does not need to stifle individual teacher creativity Hall said If we know something we ought to be using

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/500 (2016-02-13)
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  • All Together Now: Common Core and the Necessity of Professional Learning Communities | Teaching Matters
    Core aligned curriculum and assessments teachers will need new skills to teach to and assess the higher order skills embedded in the new standards and ensure consistent levels of rigor school wide In most schools this will require redefinition of staff roles and responsibilities In order to meet the challenge of the task ahead schools will need a new model where teachers work collaboratively to push their students and their practice The efficacy of educators will be less about the competencies of individual teachers and more about maximizing the shared knowledge resources and skills of the collective In Leaders of Learning How District School and Classroom Leaders Improve Student Achievement Richard Dufour and Robert J Marzano provide a framework for building collective capacity using professional learning communities PLCs The establishment of PLCs necessitates a shift in culture from the individual teacher working in isolation to purposefully grouped teams of teachers working collaboratively to achieve shared goals Dufour and Marzano define a PLC as an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job embedded learning for educators It is not enough to randomly group teachers and require them to meet on a weekly basis A properly developed PLC has a shared vocabulary group norms and specific goals focused on the issues that will have the greatest impact on professional practice and student achievement In addition school leaders committed to the successful implementation of PLCs must provide teachers with the time guidance and support structures necessary to meet their objective The key to maintaining an effective PLC is to focus on the right work and to ask the right questions Dufour and Marzano offer the following four questions as a starting point for any PLC What is it we want our students to know How will we know if they are learning How will we respond when individual students do not learn How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who are proficient After implementing last year s Common Core pilot program the Department of Education concluded the importance of structures like teacher teams common planning time as well as support from school leadership are integral to a school s ability to make significant shifts in their everyday classroom practice Many principals intuitively know that teacher teams done poorly without leadership support clear goals and an outcome driven focus are a questionable investment of scarce educational resources It is critical that principals develop strong distributed leadership with specific goals tied to measurable outcomes In some schools it may be best to start with a few groups facilitated by strong teacher leaders and grow from there What successes have you seen as a result of collaboration among teachers What challenges does the PLC model present for traditional schools What concrete or practical suggestions do you have

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/236 (2016-02-13)
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  • Teaching Matters’ Common Core Summer Series | Teaching Matters
    of higher order skills It s easy to know whether a student has correctly identified parts of a speech Comparatively speaking it s more difficult to identify whether a student has sufficiently demonstrated knowledge of synthesis How will teachers come to a common understanding of what is needed to assess these higher order skills And what kinds of structures can leaders put in place to ensure their teaching staff is prepared to meet the challenge of the Common Core While schools are not expected to fully implement the standards until 2014 school leaders know that experimenting early and often will ease the instructional transition During the 2010 2011 school year 100 New York City Schools participated in a Common Core pilot program With the support of national education experts teams of teachers and administrators developed Common Core aligned curricula including college ready performance based tasks and assessments Samples of tasks student work and related instructional supports can be found on the Department of Education website The DOE has also posted citywide instructional expectations for the 2011 2012 school year during which all schools will be expected to engage students in at least two Common Core aligned tasks one in literacy and one in math and look at student work in teacher teams Over the next few weeks Teaching Matters Common Core Summer Series will examine the implications the new standards will have on teacher practice We ll also explore how professional learning communities PLCs and teacher teams can support school implementation of the new standards Finally we ll examine a few technologies that enable teachers collective capacity supporting collaboration around Common Core outcomes and improving teacher effectiveness We hope you ll join the conversation by sharing your ideas and experiences If you would like to subscribe to our Summer Series

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/235 (2016-02-13)
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  • Why Norm? It’s Good Form! | Teaching Matters
    make the best use of these assessments Whether or not they are rigorous about norming can make a very big difference Many years ago I was an open ended response scorer for the New Jersey State High School Proficiency Exam a test students had to pass in order to graduate My fellow scorers and I were trained on and given a qualifying exam for each question we scored The exam consisted of twenty sample responses to that question If we gave nineteen of them the correct score we were cleared to work on that question Once on the job responses would show up on a computer screen with no names so it would be blind to gender and ethnicity and we would type the numerical score on our keypads Each response was graded by two scorers independently If the two disagreed it would get bumped up to a supervisor We were evaluated by volume and by how few times we were overturned It was an incredibly efficient and reliable system Compare this process to the way the writing sections are currently scored on the New York State English Language Arts ELA Exam Different sections of the state have different norming procedures which means the state as a whole has none I ve talked with many New York City teachers who have scored the exam and they report that there was very little effort to norm Different scorers had wildly different standards for interpreting the rubric and even the same scorer could become more lenient as the days went on The final scores then were as much of a function of geography timing and luck as they were of student performance How can we possibly make use of this data to reliably identify student learning problems let alone make high stakes

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/231 (2016-02-13)
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  • NYC Students Take a Stand on Social Issues | Teaching Matters
    s Constitutional right to own a gun Next week as part of Teaching Matters citywide Voices and Choices culminating events hundreds of middle school students will convene at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum and Pace University to take a stand and voice their opinions on these questions and many more The week begins with a Civil Rights Student Summit at Pace University on Monday May 16 at 9 00AM Eighth grade students from middle schools across the city will present Citizen Media Campaigns drawing attention to today s most pressing civil rights issues including environmental injustices gay marriage and racial profiling Students will then present their campaigns to a panel of NYC community activists and representatives from Sustainable Flatbush African Refuge Do Something the law firm Proskauer Rose the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Center at New York University New York City Council Member Robert Jackson will be the keynote speaker On Thursday May 19 at 9 00 AM over 200 seventh grade students will gather at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum for the Voices and Choices Constitution Today Town Hall meeting Student groups will present persuasive arguments and multimedia presentations on a range of Constitutional issues including the Death Penalty Student Searches and Immigration and Citizenship Guest panelists include former DOE teacher and lawyer Charles Saperstein Deputy Director of the New York City Council Scott Crowley and lawyer Sidney Baumgarten Michael Best General Counsel to NYC School Chancellor Dennis Walcott will be the guest speaker Voices and Choices Civil Rights is a six week instructional unit designed to empower students with media literacy skills and offer them a wider set of perspectives on issues and events that have shaped the struggle for civil rights in the US Voices and Choices Constitution Today is a

    Original URL path: http://www.teachingmatters.org/node/210 (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/node/300 (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/node/297 (2016-02-13)
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