Friday, January 22, 2016

Every Student Succeeds Act, a great opportunity.

A few months ago Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and shortly thereafter the bill was signed into law by the President. What does this mean for the students of Rugby? In a nutshell, federal control over our education system will be greatly diminished. This is a good thing. There will still be accountability, but not to the extent that we have become accustomed to. This new legislation is very exciting for educators. It replaces the unreachable provisions that were within No Child Left Behind. I believe ESSA provides flexibility while still holding schools accountable for their achievement levels.

ESSA requires that each state create an accountability plan. The accountability plan must include: rigorous standards, identification of schools in the bottom five percent, annual testing, separation of data by student subgroup, and intervention in schools with less than a 67% graduation rate. Over the next two years our state will begin the work of developing our own accountability plan. The initial ESSA draft will be delivered to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in June. There will be 60 days provided for input and public comment. The final rules will be completed by October 2016 and then the real work will begin.

There are many laws and policies that will need to be changed and adjusted to fit the provisions within ESSA. I have faith that we will develop a system of accountability that fits North Dakota. ESSA provides an excellent opportunity to shape our educational system into something we can be proud of.

Monday, January 4, 2016

PLC Progress Rubrics

I have been looking for a quality rubric to help our PLC teams and provide a clearer picture of the "right work" that should occur during our PLC meetings. I want to give credit to Matt Townsley for the document we modified below. 

As an admin team we are trying to maintain a tight and loose PLC culture. We want to get out of our teacher's way and allow them to collaborate freely. BUT, we understand that there should be some level of accountability. Rather than have them complete agendas and keep weekly minutes we have implemented what we call PLC Progress Meetings. Our administrative team will meet with each PLC during their hour of collaboration time that occurs once a week on Wednesdays. 

Using the document below, they will reflect, provide evidence, and decide what category their team falls in. We will collect these prior to the meeting, provide feedback, and next steps for each PLC team. 

Here are the four domains we want them to reflect on: 

Power Standard Development:
What do we want student to know and be able to do? We need to unpack the standards into student friendly terms. We call them "I Can Statements." Here is our district's elementary Power Standards.
Common Formative Assessment Development
How do we know they have learned it? The assessment guides our next decision and allows us to figure out who has mastered the material or skill. 
Data Analysis Development
Are we being deliberate in identifying those students that need extra help and also those that need enrichment?
Action Plan Development 
This is where the rubber meets the road. Are we taking action? Are we responding when a students struggles on a specific standard? Are we responding when a student already knows the material or has the skill?

You can access this file at my Dropbox if you are interested in using or modifying the document.