Archive for the ‘
Chalkboard Project ’ Category
As we get into the swing of the school year, parents and teachers have a lot on their minds. Parents want to make sure their students are getting the best education possible. Teachers will be concerned with a whole new class of students and how they can meet the array of student needs. What they probably are not spending much time thinking about is Oregon’s No Child Left Behind waiver.
When the waiver does rise to the level of interest, controversy is likely to be the cause. Unfortunately, issues that gain public attention as the result of controversy are often much more complicated than the sound bites and talking points capture. This is true of the use of student achievement data in educator performance evaluations—one change of many that will come as a result of the waiver.
One test score should never be used to rate and rank a teacher—no one seriously engaged in the education policy conversation believes that is a good idea. What most of us agree on is that being a successful educator means helping students succeed. Educators, like other professionals, deserve relevant feedback to help improve their craft. Where the controversy lies is in how student learning is measured and how that information gets used. (more…)
Kim has worked in the Lebanon Community School District since 1995. She is the Spanish – College Now Teacher at Lebanon High School and wears several hats in the administrative realm as well. She lives in Lebanon with her two youngest children. Her oldest daughters and their families (including two grand babies) live nearby as well. Kim was Vice President of the local Association for four years followed by eight years in the presidency. At the end of her tenure in the Association she helped to write the initial CLASS grant with the Chalkboard Project that has shaped the work of the school district ever since.
Education in the 21st Century requires a new set of skills, but not just for students. Teachers, education support professionals and administrators face daily a myriad of hurdles that slow or deter students from achieving at the highest levels. Mobility, socio-economic status, historically ineffective instructional strategies, the disintegration of family and solid home life, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and apathy can destroy the academic chances of children from as early as one year of age. So how do we cope? What can we do to combat these invisible enemies? (more…)
The Distinguished Educators Council (DEC), made up of 13 Oregon teachers recognized for their knowledge and accomplishments, has released its recommendations to ensure Oregon is a great place to teach. “As we work to create a seamless, high-quality system from birth through post-secondary education we know that teachers at all levels will be the real drivers of change in schools across the state. We should all be doing what we can to ensure that teachers’ voices are helping to drive these policy conversations,” reflected Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “I am glad to see this group of distinguished teachers offering their best thinking and using their expertise to benefit students inside and outside their own classrooms.”
The report outlines five top-line recommendations, each with specific actions policymakers and school leaders should take to improve teaching and learning.
Read the full report, “Making Oregon a Great Place to Teach: Recommendations from the Distinguished Educators Council.”
Read the news release.
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.