Archive for the ‘
Chalkboard Project ’ Category
Hedy N. Chang directs Attendance Works, a national initiative aimed at advancing student success by addressing chronic absence. She co-authored the seminal report, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades and has written numerous other articles about student attendance.
In February, Oregon became one of the first states to take a thorough look at its school attendance data, and the results surprised many of us. Nearly a quarter of students missed 10 percent or more of school year, a level of absenteeism that put them at risk academically.
This is true across the state, affecting many schools and districts where daily attendance rates look just fine. The reality is that most schools only track average daily attendance (ADA) but this aggregate figure can mask large numbers of individual students missing so much school that they are at risk academically. (more…)
Last week, Dan and I had the pleasure of hosting a break-out session at REAP’s (Reaching and Empowering All People) Academy of Leadership Innovations.
The academy is an opportunity for 8th through 12th graders to practice their leadership skills and engage with community members around important issues facing the greater community.
We spent our session hearing from the students about great teaching. We started by asking the students to describe their best teachers. Over and over again we heard praise for teachers who care about their students, who know their subject matter, and who are willing to individualize their support.
We then had the students get into small groups and discuss questions related to assessing and supporting great teaching and student learning. There were engaged and animated conversations throughout the room, and when we had every group share out at the end of the session, thoughtful ideas were plentiful. Here are some of the highlights: (more…)
Read the full news release, program description and program highlights.
Today, the Chalkboard Project awarded grants totaling $180,000 to school district and university partnerships that will design innovative models to prepare the next generation of Oregon teachers. In total the grantees serve over a quarter of Oregon’s K-12 students and 65% of teacher candidates annually.
The grants are aimed at addressing a number of issues, including the lack of a diverse teaching force. Currently only 8% of Oregon’s teachers are of minority populations, while 34% of students are of minority populations. Partnerships will also address the placement of student teachers. In most programs there is a lack of coordination between school districts and universities to place student teachers with the most accomplished classroom teachers. (more…)
Check out our Facebook album, “2012 Labor Management Conference,” to see photos from the event.
Chalkboard is honored to have been invited by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to present at the second Labor Management Conference this week in Cincinnati. Teachers, administrators and a school board member are part of our team showcasing the CLASS Project.
The conference kicked-off with seven people signing a document, including top leaders of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Association of School Administrators, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National School Boards Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the U.S. Department of Education. In other words, all the major players in public education. (more…)
The US Department of Education has put out the draft priorities for the next round of the Teacher Incentive Fund and invited public feedback. The Teacher Incentive Fund provides grant dollars to school districts and partners that want to explore ways to recognize and reward effective teaching. More about TIF and the proposed priorities can be found here.
We have learned quite a bit from being part of a Teacher Incentive Fund grant along with six Oregon school districts. You can read our full feedback letter to the USDOE here. Here are the highlights:
Evaluations: Require a minimum of four, not three, categories for teaching proficiency
In the proposed selection criteria, the Department requires a Rigorous, Valid, and Reliable Educator Evaluation System that includes at least three performance levels. However, advice from respected national leaders, including Charlotte Danielson, indicates that a three-level proficiency system leads to “central tendency,” or the notion that most professionals will end up in the middle category because it is safer to mark and easier to defend. This provides less differentiation for informed practice and limits the distinctions needed for improvement. Additionally, we note that every respected national model has a minimum of four levels. We are not aware of any respected, research-based rubrics for teaching proficiency based upon a three level framework.
As a former teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, I know very well that educators can tend to have their own language that makes non-educators’ eyes glaze over. Differentiated instruction, common core, instructional rounds, etc. could all describe a range of activities that have nothing to do with teaching or learning.
Translating the education-ease for a public audience can be a tricky endeavor. We want the public to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the strategy or intervention, but we don’t want to oversimplify the work. Unfortunately, the term ‘educator evaluation’ suffers from an oversimplification. Whether or not the oversimplification is justified in many cases, it is important that we begin to redefine the term.
The term ‘evaluation’ often brings up images of an inspection or other high-pressure situations in which there is a black and white decision made: yes or no, thumbs up or thumbs down, raise or no raise, continuation of employment or lay-off. When the evaluation is put in the context of teaching, the assumption is made that teachers are being graded as good or bad. Evaluation can and should be something a lot more than a grade or ranking.
When Chalkboard applied for a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant after funding and implementing the CLASS Project privately for four years, we did so knowing that there would be certain strings that came along with federal funding.
Those strings, while limiting Chalkboard’s autonomy, have also allowed us, and our six partner school districts, to participate in the national conversation about education effectiveness. The ability to influence thinking beyond our state is especially important as the federal government looks to redesign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) and prioritizes spending on certain initiatives over others.
Chalkboard’s CLASS program established a solid foundation for our participation in TIF. CLASS is a comprehensive model for supporting the professional growth of educators. TIF adds emphasis to the compensation component of CLASS, but it does not do away with the other three components: educator evaluation systems, career paths, and professional development. We strongly believe that educators need comprehensive supports. Our TIF districts are meeting the federal requirements around incentives for educators while demonstrating the power of systemic, teacher-designed models. TIF does not require that teachers be deeply involved in the design and implementation of the models, but having teachers and administrators at the table together is a foundational component of the CLASS Project.
This article was originally published by the
Statesman Journal on March 14, 2012 and can be found here.
With the controversy surrounding value-added models, including the recent release of teacher rankings in New York, it could be easy to give up on the models altogether as too controversial, unreliable or volatile.
When we began CLASS as an initiative to empower educators and raise student achievement, we started with three districts and a limited pool of private funding. Now, we have engaged over 6,000 educators in 18 districts in the framework. The demand for educator-led transformation continues to grow. Chalkboard is committed to finding avenues to help every Oregon district ready to participate in CLASS-like efforts.
Funding the design and implementation of CLASS requires initial time and resources. Teacher-led design in performance evaluation, professional development, expanded career paths and new compensation models is a result of patient, sustained work over time. During this time of economic challenge, we see three separate opportunities for funding.
First, Chalkboard expects to award three new CLASS design grants in 2012. These smaller grants allow districts to bring a group of educators together to do initial design work around the components.
This afternoon we held the second webinar in our virtual brown bag series on value-added measures. The recorded presentation (audio + powerpoint) can be viewed or downloaded here.
The presentation and discussion include an explanation of what VAM is, how it is different than other measures of school performance, and a bit of national and local context around how it is being used in education. The webinar features talks from Kevin Booker from Mathetmatica Research, Andrew Dyke from ECONorthwest, and Kathleen Sundell from the Salem Keizer Education Association. Feel free to post questions for the experts in the comments section.
In the future, what topic would you like to learn more about?
Looking to keep you informed and keep your questions answered, we want to know what you think our next webinar topic should be. Post your ideas in the comments section or email them to email@example.com, and stay tuned for information about our next virtual brown bag webinar!