Friday, September 20, 2013

Late start proposal.

2013-2014 Late Start Proposal

·         All teachers will have the same designated time for PLC work on Wednesday at 8:00AM-8:50AM. 
·         Classes in grades K-12 will begin at 9:00AM.
·         Develop consistency and equity in PLC time across all areas.
·         Allow for teacher teams to address the following areas.
o   Curriculum (What do we want all students to know and be able to do?)
§  Current Curriculum overload =“The goal is to teach 35 things briefly not 10 things well”
o   Assessments (Develop quality formative assessments – that take a snapshot of the learning as they progress to the goal)
§  Move away from the autopsy and move toward the physical as a means of assessment.
o   Instruction - Research best practice
·         Vertical alignment of curriculum and instruction
·         To develop systematic approach to learning and lack of learning
·         Develop communication systems across grade levels, subject areas, and buildings.
·         Establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum
o   Guaranteed – Assures us that specific content and skills are taught in specific courses and at specific grade levels
o   Viable – Indicates that there is enough instructional time available to actually teach the content identified as important.
·         Transition from Ely Elementary to the High School
·         The work is guided by the  four essential questions

What do we want students to know and be able to do? (Working on 2012-13 school year)
o   How will we know if they are learning?
o   How will we respond when they are not learning?
o   What will we do if they already know the material?
·         Para-professionals will oversee the students that must arrive early.
·         If students must come early – we will designate a place and supervise these areas with non-teaching staff
·         Buses will drop off 20 minutes later on Wednesday – cleared with Hartley’s
·         Once a month – vertical team meetings (Ex. Grades 9-12 meet, Grades 5-8 teachers meet, Grades K-4 meet, ) – via Skype/Google Hangout to fix transportation problems.
·         No meetings will take place on Wednesday’s from 8:00AM to 9:00AM

Method of communicating to public
·         Series of articles establishing the why in the newspaper.
·         Series of meetings held in the community at various times to discuss why we need this change.

·         This will be roughly 9-10 total hours of time over the course of the year.
·         DPI stated that we will not have to make up time due to changes in seat time rules.
·         Parents – we will work with parents to alleviate any issues with the change of the school day. 
o   Parents will be allowed to drop students off if they have to at both schools.
·         36 weeks x 50 minutes = 30 hours or almost 4 days of quality ongoing PD for teachers that happens during the school day.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grittiness greater than talent?

I have seen first hand how important grittiness is in predicting future success for students. I am very interested in understanding how some students make it against all odds.  What is it that allows these students with every "at risk" (poverty, divorce, drug use, alcoholism, abuse, and etc.) factor to succeed? 

There have been multiple studies that have sought to understand why some kids make it and others falter in the face of adversity.  Angela Lee Duckworth points to resiliency as the single most important trait in predicting success in students.  
"Grit predicts success over and beyond talent." - Duckworth
It isn't talent that causes success, although it does help.  It is resiliency that is the greatest predictor of success for kids.  How many of us know people that were the most talented people in the world, but falter in life?  I could name at least ten people that I know of.  

Duckworth studied the relationship between grit and high achievement at West Point Military Academy.  She compared the Whole Candidate Score which included the SAT, class rank, leadership ability and physical aptitude to their short questionnaire on grit.  They found that the Whole Candidate Score which was the Army's predictor of success had no relation on whether a candidate would complete the program.  You see it wasn't about test scores, it was about how resilient the person was.  
"Of all the variables measured, grit was the best predictor of which cadets would stick around through that first difficult summer." - Duckworth
The same could be said about ACT scores and GPA's.  These are not always the greatest predictor of success for students either.  I have had students that scored in the 30's on the ACT and struggled greatly in college.  Everything came easy and once they hit failure they buckled.

As parents and educators we need to instill the attitude of "I can get better if I try harder" in our kids.  Encourage them to be resilient and help them to understand that failure is not the end of the world.  Failure is an option, and helps us to become resilient.  

For more information regarding resilience check out the latest issue of educational leadership.