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U-STARS ~ PLUS Using Science, Talents, and Abilities to Recognize Students ~ Promoting Learning for Underrepresented Students © 2011 CEC Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D., and Sneha Shah-Coltrane, M.A. Overview of U-STARS ~ PLUS Level 1: Introduction Module 1 (Time estimate 4-5 hours) Level 1: Introduction
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Science for the 21st Century Passionate educators with issue expertise can make all the difference, enabling hands-on learning that truly engages students — including girls and underrepresented minorities — and preparing them to tackle the grand challenges of the 21st century such as increasing energy independence, improving people’s health, protecting the environment, and strengthening national security. -President Barack Obama, January 6, 2010
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS is to support teachers in the early recognition and nurturing of potential in children from economically disadvantaged and/or culturally/linguistically diverse families and in children with disabilities in order to provide them with access to advanced educational opportunities and to improve their academic achievement. The purpose of U-STARS ~ PLUS
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Goals 1. Provide environments which nurture the intellectual and emotional well-being of young children (Grades K–3). 2. Recognize children with outstanding potential who may be overlooked due to poverty, cultural/linguistic differences, and/or disabilities. 3. Engage families in meaningful ways that support their child’s academic success. 4. Support the use of high-quality science instruction for young children (Grades K–3) as a platform to recognize and respond to their potential. 5. Respond to children’s strengths by providing appropriately challenging and advanced educational experiences (high-end learning).
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS To appropriately recognize potential in students, these three things must be in place: 1. A teacher must know what to look for. 2. Classroom responses should support high-end learning. 3. The classroom climate should be emotionally supportive, so children will show us their best.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS The Heart of U-STARS ~ PLUS Bringing Out the Best in Student Potential
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS A Nurturing Classroom Environment supports students intellectually and emotionally An emotionally nurturing environment is: Challenge (high expectations, appropriate complexity) Choice (child’s interests, self-determination) Changes (novelty, flexibility) Safe (respectful, understanding, validating, caring) Supportive (helpful, promotes positive “risk-taking”) Secure (child can be at ease) An intellectually nurturing environment provides:
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS “The Big Star”
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS The nation must ensure that all children, especially economically disadvantaged and minority children, have access to an early childhood education that develops potential. U.S. Department of Education. (1993). National excellence: A case for developing America’s talent. Washington, DC: Author.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS 1. All children deserve access to challenging and enriching learning opportunities. 2. All children deserve to be viewed as “at potential” versus “at risk.” 3. Science is a naturally interesting and engaging subject that captivates young children’s learning. 4. Family involvement is key to sustained support for children. 5. The support we provide to a child’s teacher is critical to the success of the child. U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Beliefs
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Belief All children deserve access to challenging and enriching learning opportunities.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS What is a “High-End Learning Environment”? Curriculum differentiation Dynamic assessment to inform classroom instruction Flexible grouping Classroom support materials
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS High-End Learning Environment Toolkit Curriculum compactingTiered activities Learning centers/stations Independent/small group contracts and projectsEffective questioning, higher order thinking (Strategies for differentiation in the general education classroom)
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Belief All children deserve to be viewed as “at potential” versus “at risk.”
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Systematic Teacher Observation TOPS (Teacher’s Observation of Potential in Students)
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS “Be careful how you view the world: It is that way.” (Johannes Kepler, ) = You get what you look for
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS 1.Learns easily 2.Shows advanced skills 3.Displays curiosity and creativity 4.Has strong interests 5.Shows advanced reasoning and problem solving 6.Displays spatial abilities 7.Shows motivation 8.Shows social perceptiveness 9.Displays leadership TOPS Nine Principal Domains
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS TOPS helps teachers to … Recognize students with outstanding potential Child’s characteristics that manifest over time in multiple settings; variety of behaviors“At potential” versus “at risk” opens eyes to all studentsTeacher-pleasing and non-teacher-pleasing behaviorsWhole class to individual observationsInvolves all children
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Belief Science is a naturally interesting and engaging subject that captivates young children’s learning.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Hands-On/Inquiry-Based Science Promotes thinking, achievement, and language development Captivates students’ interest through real- world setting and content integration Focuses on exploration and problem solving; not solely based on traditional expository methods/verbal skills
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Need for math and science education is clear and growing due to: Rapid pace of technology/global culture Everyday decision making National security Intrinsic value of math and science in understanding our world Key Ideas: Science is not being taught in early grades Teachers are not well prepared to teach science Science is becoming an “assessment” area Science education must start early Before it’s too late: A Report to the Nation from the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching in the 21st Century - The Glenn Commission, September 2000
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Is inquiry-based and hands-on, focuses on exploration and problem solving, and is not overly dependent on traditional expository (reading/writing) methods. Promotes higher-level thinking, creativity, and persistence. Is easy to integrate with other subject areas, such as reading, writing, math, and the arts. Facilitates language development and communication skills. Promotes student observation in an authentic setting, using a variety of assessments and activities. Speaks to the natural curiosity and interest of students; involves the real world. Is not based on pre-learned experiences or access to privileged experiences. Why Science Why Science? Science is an ideal platform to recognize and nurture outstanding potential in young children from underserved populations. The content area of science...
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS A student who is not taught that potential, meaning, and magic of mathematics and science is a student who is denied the opportunity of broader learning and exploration, whose dreams go unfulfilled, and whose future success is limited. -U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley (2000)
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Best Practices in Science Education When we walk into a classroom, we see … Inquiry-based learning. Students are asking questions and answering them. Conversation and reflection. Teachers facilitate learning. Hands-on, open-ended activities. Teachers design problems to be solved and engaging student work. (Start where the students are!) Rich science content and process skills. Study supports students’ curiosity and wonder, leading them to scientific reality. Real-world and authentic setting for learning. Students are engaged with their natural environment and a variety of materials. Science is integrated with other curriculum. This allows for better understanding, creates curricular efficiency, and provides more time for learning.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Science & Literature Connections Children’s books reflecting outstanding literature that connects with science themes and content Family Science Packets: Science-in-a-bag “take-home” activities that children complete with their parents U-STARS ~ PLUS Science Resource Materials (Based on National Science Education Standards)
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Book summaries (Grades K–3) Concept maps Discussion questions and activities based on Bloom’s Taxonomy Provides specific plans for using popular children’s literature (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Come On, Rain!, Make Way for Ducklings, and over 25 others!) U-STARS ~ PLUS Science & Literature Connections Bringing the interest of science to literacy studies
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Belief Family involvement is key to sustained support for children.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Family involvement programsEffective parent conferences and communicationFamily Science Packets Cultural understanding (impact of poverty, diversity, and social emotional needs) Family and School Partnerships
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Teacher information includes: Curriculum objectives Process skill objectives Materials needed Pre- and follow-up activities Student information, sent home in a 1-gallon-size plastic bag: Needed materials Family information and guide Observation record U-STARS ~ PLUS Family Science Packets Hands-on science activities intended to be used in conjunction with a unit of study
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS U-STARS ~ PLUS Core Belief The support we provide to a child’s teacher is critical to the success of the child.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Systemic Change Building leadership capacity at state, district, and school levels (professional development and policy) Fidelity of implementation (district, school, classroom)Accountability (district, school, classroom, child)
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS is the extent to which an intervention or approach is implemented as it was intended or designed. In our case, how U-STARS ~ PLUS is being implemented in a class/school/district. Fidelity of implementation
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Explore current needs.Plan for future support.Appropriately interpret research findings. What is the purpose of measuring fidelity of implementation? By establishing the level of implementation, you can:
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Classroom – expand the capacity of the teacher. School – support teachers as they work to meet children’s needs. District – support schools through resources, policies, and permission as they work to reach excellence. Fidelity of Implementation Guidelines/Rubrics
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS TOPS formsClassroom differentiationHands-on, inquiry-based scienceFamily involvement Classroom Fidelity Critical Components
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS TOPS Fidelity Indicators Supports “at-potential” view of all students Recognizes students with outstanding potential, particularly those from underserved populations Informs teachers about student behaviors/profile Informs classroom instruction and academic service options Used in a variety of settings, over time Used in conferencing with teachers, parents, and students Informs placement of students for the following year Supports sharing of student’s profile with others May lead to referrals for gifted and talented services Integrated with school policies and gifted and talented program
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Classroom Differentiation Fidelity Indicators Responds to needs of students Ongoing assessment to inform instruction, including self-assessment Differentiation strategies in the general education classroom: compacting, tiered activities, learning centers/stations, independent studies/group projects, questioning/higher order thinking skills Activities vary based on readiness, interest, and profile Student-centered, open-ended, product choice Variety of materials and resources for student use Flexible grouping Use of U-STARS ~ PLUS materials
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Hands-On, Inquiry-Based Science Fidelity Indicators Hands-on activities and explorations Inquiry-rich: students follow own questions and experiment Integration with other subject areas Authentic learning, using natural environments Variety of materials and resources available Response to students’ curiosity and interests Leads to scientific understanding and reality Long-term projects; data collections and analyses Student-centered/teacher-guided
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Family Involvement Fidelity Indicators Consideration of diversity of family backgrounds (race/ethnicity, socioeconomic, cultural/linguistic, and others) in all aspects, including communication, events, and academic issues Regular and varied forms of communication Variety of ways to involve families in the classroom, including academic, policy, social/emotional Opportunities for family-led initiatives
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Many children continue to have limited access to high-end nurturing opportunities in their schools. Often the very children who need these opportunities the most receive the fewest.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS The U-STARS ~ PLUS approach reduces disproportionality while increasing access and opportunity for all.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS We believe that address should not drive access. All children deserve the opportunity to learn at the highest level possible.
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Failure to help gifted children reach their potential is a societal tragedy, the extent of which is difficult to measure but is surely great. How can we measure the loss of the sonata unwritten, the curative drug undiscovered, the absence of political insight? They are the difference between what we are and what we could be as a society. -Gallagher, J. (2006). Driving changes in special education. Baltimore, MD: Brookes
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS To make and sustain improvements, we must be: Purposeful and Intentional In our schools In our classrooms With our students With our families In our overall programming
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Using Fidelity of Implementation to Become More Purposeful and Intentional Self assessment: “Where am I (are we) now?” Target areas of strength: “What do I (we) need to improve?” Set goals for improvement: “What do I (we) do well?” Map out a plan for improvement: “How will I (we) move toward improvement?”
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Fidelity of Implementation Next Steps Clarify goals Guide implementation and planning Review classrooms/schools/districts/for data purposes – end of the year
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Using Fidelity of Implementation to Document Success Establish baseline: “Where are we at the starting point?” Identify goals: “What do we want to accomplish?” Establish whether improvement plan was carried out: “Were we able to do the things we needed to do to support improvement?” Document outcomes: “Did we accomplish what we had hoped?” Identify unintended outcomes: “What were the positive outcomes (or negative ripple effects) of our efforts?”
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Things to Remember When Using Fidelity of Implementation Rubrics Rubrics are guidelines, not mandates. Things happen—both positive and negative—that impact our plans, so we need both intentionality and adaptability as we move forward. The most important thing is to focus on the needs of our children and how we can best help them learn!
© 2011 CEC Module 1 U-STARS ~ PLUS Can we create synergy between District-level initiatives and U-STARS ~ PLUS core beliefs? The more synergy we create, the more systemic and sustainable we will become!
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