Archive for the ‘
Teacher Effectiveness ’ Category
Tyler Nice has been teaching for over ten years in the Springfield School District. He started his career at Hamlin Middle School. Tyler is currently teaching economics, government and history in the Social Studies department at Thurston High School.
“I know that we haven’t always agreed on every issue thus far, and there are surely times in the future when we will part ways. But I also know that every American who is sitting here this evening loves this country, and wants it to succeed. That must be the starting point of every debate we have in the coming months, and where we return after those debates are done. That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground.”
- Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, Tuesday, February 4, 2009
I remember watching the State of the Union address in the late winter of 2009. A paragraph toward the tail end of the speech caught my attention. The message was poignant and powerful. I have thoughts of the sentiment often in the years since. The message is that we have competing visions for success. We can focus on the competing methods, or we can focus on the ultimate goal: a safe and prospering nation for all. (more…)
You can read these words because someone taught you how to read.
You can do your job because over the years, everyone from your kindergarten teacher to your college professor to your mentor taught you how.
We become the people we are, as Mr. Rogers said, because of the people who loved us into being. In schools—big and small, city and rural—across Oregon, the love and dedication of thousands of teachers help millions of students become the people they will be. Scientists. Mechanics. Engineers. Doctors. Farmers. Inventors. And yes, teachers.
Take a moment and think about one teacher who helped you become who you are.
Not to brag, but our new video predicts the future, and we’re pretty proud of it. Check it out below.
I know I have been in the teaching profession for a while because the pendulum is swinging back to where I started: the ‘90s. Just like a greatest hit, overplayed, buried and then resurrected, project-based learning (PBL) is seeing its resurrection. Project-based learning has been around for a while with a bulk of research done on its powers of motivation and higher level thinking done in the ‘80s. With the testing craze and research-based programs of the recent past, PBL was mostly shelved.
Unfortunately for today’s young people, PBL is what American kids needed all along. Recent technological innovations have made rote knowledge and the specific skill tasks demanded by our recent curricula almost obsolete. Now we can ask our phone what the capital of Delaware is or how many ounces are in a pound. What we can’t get from our phones are skills dished up in PBL.
PBL involves working with others to solve a relevant problem. There are skills to learn along the way, but the objective is a polished and presented product. Rolled into the project is the ability to work with others, discern what information is valid, and the critical thinking needed to solve a complex problem. (more…)
Dr. Hilda Rosselli was recently appointed by Governor Kitzhaber to serve as Oregon Deputy Director of Career and College Readiness for the Oregon Education Investment Board where she is working with Dr. Rudy Crew to address systems that maximize synergy within the state’s new PK-20 system to achieve Oregon’s Goal of an educated citizenry (40/40/20).
Every day over 28,000 teachers walk into Oregon’s public schools to teach, support, and guide over 560,000 K-12 students. They make hundreds of decisions each hour, determining how best to engage a student, reteach a concept, respond to a behavior, assess a child’s situation, and inspire learning. And when they drive home at night, many are still replaying the day, planning for tomorrow, and reflecting on what they can do to reach the day’s reluctant learners.
Teachers are doing this work during a time when they are expected to be skilled and nimble in the use of newly adopted Common Core State Standards in Language Arts and Math and soon in Science to present lessons requiring deeper levels of understanding and application from all students. They are applying language acquisition strategies to serve over 58,000 Limited English Proficient students. They are facing new national level assessments that are still being developed but will move beyond the use of the types of test items previously used on OAKs. They are doing this in a context in which students bring a myriad of personal challenges to school each day that demand personal connections with adults who notice them and care about them as individuals. (more…)
I teach students to set SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely; goals that challenge us yet can be reached; goals for which we can gauge success in relatively short periods of time. Our hope, of course, is that having SMART goals will spur us to take specific actions to achieve the goals.
When the legislature adopted achievement compacts for school districts about a year ago, my hope was that districts would set SMART goals and, more importantly, change practices with eyes toward meeting the goals.
So I was pleased when, at the start of our school year, my principal shared with our staff that our school was taking a number of steps to boost our graduation rate, including providing summer support to incoming freshmen who struggled academically in middle school, appointing an administrator to focus on freshmen attainment of credits, and strengthening relationships between freshmen and upper-class mentors. He suggested at the time that this partly was due to graduation rates being a primary factor in achievement compacts, and the state’s and the district’s focus on all students earning diplomas. (more…)
Education reform is well-meaning but does not always further teachers’ ability to teach. I would like to put forth a shopping list of teacher needs. Our primary need is to add back our lost funding, because our students are slipping through the cracks as programs are cut, and class sizes burst at the seams. Oregon teachers need to work in schools where the focus is not on cutting resources.
Secondarily, we need:
- Restore lost teaching days, and give us a longer school year. It’ll be interesting to see the results of Chicago’s experiment with a longer school year, but I bet more hours in school will mean greater learning gains.
- Limit the amount of time that we have to do administrative work like data entry. In Japan, teachers teach longer hours and have assistants who grade and do production work. We used to have instructional assistants that would handle some of this, but cuts to personnel and increased demands at the top for accountability through data collection has cut into our time to plan quality instruction. (more…)
Teachers know. They know who the best teachers are. As a teacher I watch an interesting phenomenon every spring. All of my teacher friends scramble to make sure their own children are placed in classes with the best teachers for the next year. They make the rounds to counselors’ and principals’ offices double-checking their child’s schedule. Ask any teacher, and they can tell you who the quality teachers are. It is common teacher talk. Recently, an elementary teacher in my district left the classroom for another educational position. As a teacher told me about the move, she said, “A lot of parents are going to be upset that she is no longer teaching. She is a dynamite teacher.” All students need the assurance they are going have a dynamite quality teacher next year.
Why is it important to have a dynamite teacher in every classroom?
In my last blog, I wrote about the “magic formula” for success with struggling learners and high achieving students alike. The largest component in that formula is to have a quality teacher in the classroom. Robert Marzano (2003) analyzed considerable research on what works in classrooms. All the research he studied concluded that the impact of the classroom teacher is far greater than any other factor in the child’s learning and achievement. The research is astounding. If a child begins school as average in math achievement—at the 50th percentile—and she has an average teacher for two years, she will remain at the 50th percentile. If she is in a classroom in a less effective school, and she also has a low-quality teacher, she actually drops to the 3rd percentile in math achievement. On the other hand, even if she is in a less effective school, but she has a high-quality teacher, two years later she leaves class in the 63rd percentile. She makes a 13 percent gain just by having a highly effective teacher. Quality teachers exert more influence on student learning than both socio economic status and family background. (more…)
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…)
The pinch in the state budget has made the teaching profession the subject of much criticism. I often hear about how my benefits, pay, and retirement are devastating state services. Recently, someone in business asked me if I was a Tier 1 PERS employee. She said she could ask me that because I “worked for her.” She also mentioned that I needed to realize that my summer vacation and my 8-3 job are courtesy of all the hard workers in the private sector. Ouch! I thought, if someone is willing to say that to my face, many others are probably thinking it.
I think this attitude is a product of the fact that many people think they know what a teacher does all day. After all, everyone went to school, many have kids in school and some even volunteer in schools. Some vocations are veiled in mystery. What is a day in the life of a market analyst like? What does an investment banker do? The mystique often seems to deflect questions about huge pay, bonuses and tax breaks. We all know what teachers do, and because it seems so straightforward, the profession is an easy target for those who think educators are overcompensated. (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.