Coordinator Staff Development
This professional development opportunity supports best teaching practices and the Framework for Effective Teaching Appraisal System, which provides strategies to engage students effectively in the learning process and increases student achievement.
The research illustrates that differentiation is rooted in educational theories. Applying differentiated instruction can help address the needs of academically diverse learners in today’s diverse classrooms. Implementing and sustaining systemic change within school structures can make significant increases in student achievement. The premise that instruction should be tailored to fit a student-centered, meaning-making approach to teaching and learning is aligned with our District’s mission.
The year’s professional development opportunity included two sessions that focused on developing a sound framework of understanding of differentiated and culturally responsive practices.
Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching
Definition: Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994.)
Overview: Culture is central to learning. It plays a role in communicating and receiving information, and shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures.
Characteristics of culturally responsive teaching are:
1. Positive perspectives on parents and families
2. Communication of high expectations
3. Learning within the context of culture
4. Student-centered instruction
5. Culturally mediated instruction
6. Reshaping the curriculum
7. Teacher as facilitator
A series of Elementary Classroom Management workshops were held to address the needs of teachers and students in elementary schools and in the Early Childhood program. The presenters for the classroom management sessions were external consultants and OPS staff.
The K-6 Classroom Management Workshop was offered as a three-part series.
• Session I: Developing, Implementing and Maintaining Rules and Expectations for Student Behavior - The presenter shared methods to proactively teach rules, procedures, consequences and skills and to develop a plan for implementation in their classroom/building.
• Session II: Encouraging Positive Behavior - Participants learned to differentiate between types of praise and how to use each. They explored the use of effective positive consequences to share a student’s behavior.
• Session III: Correcting Problem Behavior - Teachers explored various processes for correcting problem behavior along a continuum of correction, teaching alternative behaviors and using effective consequences.
The Early Childhood Classroom Management Workshop was offered as a three-part series.
• Session I: Supporting Children through Classroom Management- Teachers were provided strategies that help establish a positive social climate, suggested designs for appropriate physical environments, establish classroom rules and routines. The presenter discussed techniques for handling challenging behaviors.
• Session II: Addressing Challenging Behavior - Teachers were provided will ways to take a proactive approach by embedding social and emotional learning into daily routines.
• Session III: Meeting the Diverse Needs of the Early Childhood Classroom- Research, theory and practice designed to assist urban early childhood professionals in working within diverse classroom settings was shared with staff.
Another component to supporting the teachers was to provide classroom workshops for students. Student Community Services organized and conducted student workshops during the school day for 4th – 6th grade classrooms. The purpose of these sessions was to assist students with understanding the appropriate behavior during school. The topics for these workshops included:
• Peer Relationships
• Dealing with Anger
• Conflict Resolution
• Self-Esteem: Believing in Yourself
• Preparing for Your Future
Curriculum on the Wall is a district-wide program for secondary teachers to map curriculum and plan strategies for effective interdisciplinary instruction. Curriculum on the Wall allows every teacher in a school the opportunity to see what other teachers are teaching. It enables teachers to make connections and design curriculum and instructional programs collaboratively.
Block Scheduling is a concept that is defined and enacted differently in different school sites, but a general definition is offered by Cawelti as "at least part of the daily schedule organized into larger blocks of time (more than sixty minutes) to allow flexibility for a diversity of instructional activities." (1994). Several middle and high schools were part of extensive training on how to organize a master schedule to support improve student achievement. Sessions included:
• Steps in Creating the Schedule
• Introduction to Teaching Strategies for Flexible Scheduling
• Curriculum Conversion Chart
• Developing a Mini-Unit Plan
• Daily Plan Sheet
• Learning Styles
• Multiple Intelligences
• Hands-On/Active Involvement Activities for Extended Time Blocks
• Brain Research
• Differentiated Instruction
• Assessing and Evaluating Student Efforts
• Providing Structure: General Guidelines
• Small Learning Communities: Role and Function of a Teaching Team
• Responding to the Needs of Students
• Curriculum Integration
• Achieving Flexibility Within Structure
• Strategies for Effective Teaming
• Serve as a liaison to school leadership staff in the area of academic data
• Interpret and analyze student achievement and social indicator data as it pertains to the school’s EXCELS school improvement process
• Represent and present data findings to school leadership staff
• Participate in discussions with school leadership staff about the implications of data for teaching and learning
• Respond to staff requests for student achievement and social indicator data, both summative and formative
• Access school data through district data systems such as SASI
• Assist in the identification, collection and interpretation of formative data to further inform the teaching/learning process
• Attend regularly scheduled meetings provided by staff from the Department of Curriculum and Learning and the Research Office
• Participate in First Class Conference for information specific to Academic Data Representatives
• Consult state and national websites for assessment information, e.g. NDE, Education Commission of States, National Council for Educational Statistics (NCES), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)