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Kristen Campbell Wilcox Janet Ives Angelis Know Your Schools~for NY Kids School of Education University at Albany Lessons from Higher Performing Middle.

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Presentation on theme: "Kristen Campbell Wilcox Janet Ives Angelis Know Your Schools~for NY Kids School of Education University at Albany Lessons from Higher Performing Middle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kristen Campbell Wilcox Janet Ives Angelis Know Your Schools~for NY Kids School of Education University at Albany Lessons from Higher Performing Middle Schools: Putting Research Findings into School Improvement Practice National Middle School Association Annual Conference Baltimore November 4, 2010

2 Session Objectives To understand the best practice research findings-- where they came from and how the research was conducted To reflect on a school you care about and how practices there compare with schools in our study To know where to get other free resources to inform continuous school improvement efforts in the future

3 Agenda Overview of research method and key findings Examples of each finding followed by use of reflection tool Discussion and sharing of results of reflections in small groups Overview of on-line resources for your future use

4

5 Background Relies on achievement data (NY state assessments) over time Elementary schools Middle schools High schools Middle school science Critical Needs (ELL, Spec. Ed., Diversity) (2011)

6 Study Sample 10 consistently higher performing schools with 6 similar but consistently average performing schools, based on 3 years of state assessment data (Grade 8 Math & ELA) Favor poverty (F/RL) Urban, rural, suburban Open admissions State average per pupil expenditures

7 2-day site visits Semi-structured interview protocols with teachers and administrators Documentary evidence collection Analyzed and wrote case studies for each site Cross-case analysis to develop best practice framework and reports The data Methodology

8 10 Higher Performers

9 Urban “High” Needs Schools, Limited Resources Westbury - Westbury UFSD Port Chester - Port Chester-Rye UFSD John F Kennedy - Utica CSD West - Binghamton CSD Niagara - Niagara Falls CSD Urban “Average” Needs Schools J.T. Finley - Huntington UFSD A. Leonard - CSD of New Rochelle Rural “Average” Needs Schools Holland - Holland CSD Vernon-Verona-Sherrill - Sherrill CSD Suburban Queensbury - Queensbury UFSD For a case study of each school: The Schools

10 5 Key Elements

11 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1.Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

12 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1. Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

13 Relationships: What does your school look like? AB We have not made fostering trusting and respectful relationships between educators and between the school and community an explicit priority and so we do not consistently support this. We clearly define expectations regarding respect for others as well as consequences for behavior that is disrespectful; these expectations are consistently supported by all personnel across the school Respect and responsibility are part of our character education programs, but I’m not sure that we have connected them with day-to-day practice in classrooms, hallways, and faculty rooms. A top priority for all personnel is modeling respect and responsibility in our interactions with our students, each other, families, and other community members The processes and practices we have put in place to purposefully foster collaboration and community are “spotty” and tend to be peripheral in the activities at the school rather than spotlighted and ongoing. We have multiple processes and practices that purposefully foster collaboration and community, and we draw students into our community as active participants in tackling what is important. We tap into a variety of resources from outside the school. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

14 Relationships Lay the Foundation Trust and respect make possible… security and well-being for students and faculty; constant collaboration; honest evaluation of results and willingness to make adjustments; development and enactment of a shared vision Findings

15 Respect Respect for and from all Clear expectations of students Shared responsibility I feel totally comfortable to talk about concerns with the principal. When the principal comes into my classroom – we have strong support and trust. We can’t do it alone.... Parents are involved here.

16 Trust The single most important thing... is to build trust with your faculty. Deliberate “Family” Provides safety to disagree, to share challenges, even failures

17 Trust Working on safety and security Less sense of shared ownership for performance “I” > “we” Able to focus on instruction, not discipline Clear sense of shared responsibility for performance “We” > “I” Community building deliberate Free from fear of blame; can openly admit failures or weaknesses APHP

18 Relationships: A Case in Point K. Nickson, 2007, Queensbury MS: Best Practices Case Study 2006 Grade 8 ELA

19 Case in Point: Queensbury MS Relationships Total Enrollment: 945, gr. 6-8 QMS state Eligible for Free Lunch8%37% Eligible for Reduced Lunch5%8% Limited English Proficient0NA Student Ethnic/Racial Distribution African-American2%20% Hispanic/Latino2%20% White95%53% Other1%7% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 ELA72%49% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 Math88%54%

20 Not playing politics as usual Relationships I’m not a politician. Queensbury Superintendent

21 Focus on student learning and performance Relationships We’re never done; we have to go up the next step of the ladder. Queensbury Superintendent

22 Enact a culture of self-improvement Relationships We can say, ‘What’s a better way to do this?’ and not be penalized. Taking risks is okay. It is okay to talk about weaknesses, to put them out there, to make self-improvements. Queensbury Teacher

23 Be approachable and trustworthy Relationships I believe that the principal’s leadership has been a driving force in why that school is doing so well. Queensbury Assistant Superintendent

24 Relationships: What does your school look like? AB We have not made fostering trusting and respectful relationships between educators and between the school and community an explicit priority and so we do not consistently support this. We clearly define expectations regarding respect for others as well as consequences for behavior that is disrespectful; these expectations are consistently supported by all personnel across the school Respect and responsibility are part of our character education programs, but I’m not sure that we have connected them with day-to-day practice in classrooms, hallways, and faculty rooms. A top priority for all personnel is modeling respect and responsibility in our interactions with our students, each other, families, and other community members The processes and practices we have put in place to purposefully foster collaboration and community are “spotty” and tend to be peripheral in the activities at the school rather than spotlighted and ongoing. We have multiple processes and practices that purposefully foster collaboration and community, and we draw students into our community as active participants in tackling what is important. We tap into a variety of resources from outside the school. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

25 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1. Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

26 Emotional/Social: What does your school look like? AB If you talked with different people, you’d hear different visions of success; not all would include emotional/social well-being but would likely focus on external markers like test scores. Most people in our school see a direct connection between emotional/social well-being and higher academic performance. They include nurturing students’ emotional and social well-being in how they define success Before and after school activities and services are seen as primarily for students in need of academic intervention We provide a variety of academic supports and special activities for all students in before and after school programs We remediate problems once they present themselves.We have systems in place (special education, counseling, and Academic Intervention Services) to anticipate and prevent behavioral and academic problems. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

27 Emotional & Social Well-Being Its lack interferes with learning Connect with every student: teaming, looping, “guide rooms,” activities, social services; special attention for those at risk Transitions: ES – MS; MS – HS Safety, security, diversity We use social emotional learning to focus on what’s common among us and not on what is different.

28 Emotional/Social Less consistent communication and “enforcement” of expectations Less consistently part of shared vision Respond to problems Fewer ways to draw students into community Clear expectations – for respect, responsibility, how to work -- consistently articulated and upheld Part of shared vision Prevent problems Ensure a connection for every student and provide multiple ways to draw students into community APHP

29 Case in Point: Vernon-Verona-Sherrill MS Emotional/Social Total Enrollment: 387, gr. 7-8 V-V-S state Eligible for Free Lunch25%37% Eligible for Reduced Lunch10%8% Limited English Proficient0NA Student Ethnic/Racial Distribution African-American1%20% Hispanic/Latino020% White97%53% Other2%7% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 ELA58%49% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 Math79%54%

30 Emotional/Social Well-Being: A Case in Point Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (V-V-S) Middle School Staff Learning is social before it’s cognitive. V-V-S Superintendent, Principal, Teachers

31 From One of the nice things about this place is that it focuses strongly on the fact that kids have an outside life, which they cannot leave behind when they come to school. V-V-S social worker J. Marino, 2007, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill MS: Best Practices Case Study

32 “Family” Develop a culture, because learning is social before it’s cognitive. Develop that culture within your staff; develop a family atmosphere. Families fight, argue, battle, but they take care of family business inside – support each other. Make sure you hire people that fit your culture. It’s imperative. V-V-S MS Principal Be a person first, principal second. Sign on the Principal’s bulletin board

33 Emotional/Social: What does your school look like? AB If you talked with different people, you’d hear different visions of success; not all would include emotional/social well-being but would likely focus on external markers like test scores. Most people in our school see a direct connection between emotional/social well-being and higher academic performance. They include nurturing students’ emotional and social well-being in how they define success Before and after school activities and services are seen as primarily for students in need of academic intervention We provide a variety of academic supports and special activities for all students in before and after school programs We remediate problems once they present themselves.We have systems in place (special education, counseling, and Academic Intervention Services) to anticipate and prevent behavioral and academic problems. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

34 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1. Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

35 Collaboration: What does your school look like? AB We don’t have time to collaborate more than infrequently. Although it is hard to find the time, we manage to schedule common team and department meeting times so that collaboration can occur Teachers collaborate infrequently (less than once a week), and the topic of discussion may not be student progress. We have put in place formal and informal structures to encourage collaboration across grades and disciplines; collaboration focuses on essential matters of curriculum, instruction, and individual and collective student progress Teachers speak of the need for stronger reading and writing skills, but many do not know how to help students in those areas. Development of literacy skills takes place primarily in special education or AIS. Given the structures and expectations for working together, teachers integrate reading, writing, and literacy instruction across the curriculum We give new teachers time to acclimate before we expect them to play leadership roles. We mentor newer educators both formally and informally and expect them to do committee work and take on leadership roles from the beginning. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 4):

36 Collaborative Conversations Purpose: student learning & achievement - collectively, individually Consistent, expected, frequent Scheduled and unscheduled Teams, committees - within and across grades and subjects - within, across, outside of school We communicate from one grade to the next. We respect teachers in the grades below. V-V-S Teacher

37 Collaboration Catch as catch can Expectation not articulated or clear Intermittent discussions Less decision making Each teacher responsible for own subject area Teachers left to own devices Teachers handed a curriculum New teachers “wait their turn” Scheduled time Expected Ongoing discussion of C,I, A, and student performance Decision-making ability Teachers reinforce skills across subjects Coaching, PD, support provided Teachers build living curriculum New teachers expected to play active role APHP

38 Case in Point: Port Chester Middle School Eligible for Free Lunch43%37% Eligible for Reduced Lunch9%8% Limited English Proficient14%NA Student Ethnic/Racial Distribution African-American11%20% Hispanic/Latino68%20% White21%53% Other1%7% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 ELA66%49% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 Math73%54% Collaboration Total Enrollment: 790, gr. 6-8 PC MS state

39 Collaboration: A Case in Point Port Chester Middle School Classroom Every teacher is a teacher of literacy. Port Chester Principal

40 Grade 8 ELA results, 2006 You need to work as a team; there’s nothing a teacher can accomplish alone. Teacher We are all ELA teachers. Teachers J. Marino, 2007, Port Chester MS: Best Practices Case Study

41 Blue 7H123L567 MathTP77+7 High7AIS 7 bl SSTP7+ 77Prep ELATP7+777Prep ScienceTP777+ Prep PlusTPRR7 redMath 7+PrepMSSRdg 7 PlusTP7+PrepMSSRR6 orAIS Rdg PlusTP7+SS 7+Sci 7+ Duty SCPrepRdg 6-8ELA 6-8SS 6-8SciSSR 7 blue Sample Team Schedule, Port Chester MS

42 Rebuilding the Wheel You have to have staff involved in decision making. We have 8 or 9 new teachers coming in next year. We need to go back and rebuild the wheel to keep the wave going.... We need to constantly overhaul and do tune-ups. Port Chester MS Assistant Principal

43 Collaboration: What does your school look like? AB We don’t have time to collaborate more than infrequently. Although it is hard to find the time, we manage to schedule common team and department meeting times so that collaboration can occur Teachers collaborate infrequently (less than once a week), and the topic of discussion may not be student progress. We have put in place formal and informal structures to encourage collaboration across grades and disciplines; collaboration focuses on essential matters of curriculum, instruction, and individual and collective student progress Teachers speak of the need for stronger reading and writing skills, but many do not know how to help students in those areas. Development of literacy skills takes place primarily in special education or AIS. Given the structures and expectations for working together, teachers integrate reading, writing, and literacy instruction across the curriculum We give new teachers time to acclimate before we expect them to play leadership roles. We mentor newer educators both formally and informally and expect them to do committee work and take on leadership roles from the beginning. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 4):

44 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1. Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

45 Evidence: What does your school look like? AB We administer benchmarks once or twice a year, usually in ELA; otherwise we tend to rely on individual teacher developed assessments. We administer frequent benchmark tests in all core subject areas; these are coordinated with other middle school(s) in the district We rely on administrators and our data warehouse to analyze assessment data; we share those results with teachers annually. Both teachers and administrators collect, analyze, and use data to inform practice; this is central to our practice. We also provide data in usable formats to students and parents Formal observations and student test scores are the primary source of evidence to evaluate teachers’ performance. A variety of student performance data, observations, examples of teachers’ work, and self-reflections constitute the portfolio of data we use to evaluate teachers. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

46 Evidence-Based Decision Making Multiple sources - student performance data - teachers’, administrators’ anecdotal accounts - students, parents, and community input We invite students back after a semester or two at college and ask what was most helpful... [and not] so helpful. V-V-S Superintendent

47 Evidence-Based Decision Making Focus beyond the state assessments: standards and success in high school Data collected, analyzed, and acted upon consistently

48 Evidence Intermittent use Focus on state assessment data Benchmarks, if used, only 1ce or 2ce/year, only in ELA Diagnostic tests given only to students in need of services Less frequent sharing of data and less nuanced analysis of data Central to day-to-day activity State assessment data part of a larger data portfolio Frequent use of benchmarks in all core subjects Diagnostic tests in ELA and math for all to target resources where needed Use expertise and technology to identify patterns of performance AP HP

49 Evidence-Based Decision Making: A Case in Point West Middle School

50 Case in Point: West Middle School Evidence-Based Total Enrollment: 790, gr. 6-8 West state Eligible for Free Lunch48%37% Eligible for Reduced Lunch9%8% Limited English Proficient0NA Student Ethnic/Racial Distribution African-American19%20% Hispanic/Latino5%20% White72%53% Other3%7% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 ELA58%49% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 Math54%

51 Supporting high expectations I talked with key movers and shakers in the building. I asked what we should do, and from there we put it to a vote. Of the 80 or so people who voted on [the middle years and IB initiative], about 70 wanted it. - West Principal Evidence-Based

52 Identifying the gaps… The priority is to increase the performance of every student and subgroup. … It’s not about the standard. It’s about higher expectations for all. ” - West Assistant Superintendent Evidence-Based

53 Frequent use of a variety of assessments Evidence-Based We have frequent data huddles. West Principal L. Baker, Best Practices Case Study: West Middle School 2006 Grade 8 ELA

54 Evidence: What does your school look like? AB We administer benchmarks once or twice a year, usually in ELA; otherwise we tend to rely on individual teacher developed assessments. We administer frequent benchmark tests in all core subject areas; these are coordinated with other middle school(s) in the district We rely on administrators and our data warehouse to analyze assessment data; we share those results with teachers annually. Both teachers and administrators collect, analyze, and use data to inform practice; this is central to our practice. We also provide data in usable formats to students and parents Formal observations and student test scores are the primary source of evidence to evaluate teachers’ performance. A variety of student performance data, observations, examples of teachers’ work, and self-reflections constitute the portfolio of data we use to evaluate teachers. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

55 Higher- Performing Middle Schools 1. Trusting and respectful relationships 2.Emotional/Social well-being 3.Collaboration 4.Evidence-based decision making 5.Shared vision of mission and goals

56 Vision: What does your school look like? AB We recognize teachers and students for good performance, but we do not specifically tie awards to our mission and goals. We tie recognition and rewards for teachers and students directly to our mission and goals; for example, students might win a poster contest about good citizenship or receive an award for completing 100% of their homework over a five-week period Under pressure from the state, we are declassifying more of our students, but many of our teachers are unfamiliar or resistant to differentiating instruction and co-teaching. We include as many classified students as possible in a classroom with differentiated instruction and/or supportive services; special and regular educators often co-teach, and special educators know curriculum (by content and day) to be able to support students also served in a resource room Teachers generally work independently of each other; we occasionally experience tensions between parents, other community members, and school faculty, which get in the way of our vision of serving every student well. Our vision is centered on creating a successful learning environment for every student; the sense that “we” all share responsibility for achieving the mission is prevalent. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

57 Shared Vision Central: Raising learning and achievement for all students Built by all Clearly articulated Echoed from central office to classroom Never done You never arrive, you are always becoming. Niagara Falls Deputy Superintendent I believe that if it’s not broke – then break it and fix it – complacency bothers me. Queensbury MS Principal

58 Vision Less agreement on vision – may be “handed down” Rewards more general More students served in pull-out programs Co-developed and widely shared Rewards tied to vision More students included in mainstream classes APHP

59 Shared Vision: A Case in Point Westbury Middle School If a student wants to be at school, that is a form of success. WMS teacher

60 Case in Point: Westbury Middle School Total Enrollment: 849, gr. 6-8 WMS state Eligible for Free Lunch62%37% Eligible for Reduced Lunch12%8% Limited English Proficient14%NA Student Ethnic/Racial Distribution African-American46%20% Hispanic/Latino51%20% White1%53% Other2%7% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 ELA58%49% Meeting/Exceeding Standards, Gr. 8 Math52%54%

61 2006 Grade 8 ELA High student achievement is our number 1 goal. It’s ongoing every year. Westbury MS Principal Supporting students' academic, social and moral growth westburyschools.org

62 Sharing and Enacting the Vision Relationships – with parents, students, teachers; it’s a partnership. I pride myself in forming relationships. Westbury MS principal Individual departments (ELA, math, ELL) offer extensive workshops for parents. Westbury superintendent K. Nickson, Best Practices Case Study: Westbury Middle School The board is student centered. Westbury superintendent

63 Supporting the Vision Regular goal-setting, review, and reporting – in support of strategic plan Team expectations: student contracts and rewards Introducing accelerated math MARS (Maximum Achievement Results and Success) for at-risk students Be careful what you wish for

64 Vision: What does your school look like? AB We recognize teachers and students for good performance, but we do not specifically tie awards to our mission and goals. We tie recognition and rewards for teachers and students directly to our mission and goals; for example, students might win a poster contest about good citizenship or receive an award for completing 100% of their homework over a five-week period Under pressure from the state, we are declassifying more of our students, but many of our teachers are unfamiliar or resistant to differentiating instruction and co-teaching. We include as many classified students as possible in a classroom with differentiated instruction and/or supportive services; special and regular educators often co-teach, and special educators know curriculum (by content and day) to be able to support students also served in a resource room Teachers generally work independently of each other; we occasionally experience tensions between parents, other community members, and school faculty, which get in the way of our vision of serving every student well. Our vision is centered on creating a successful learning environment for every student; the sense that “we” all share responsibility for achieving the mission is prevalent. Average your total circled #s and place that number in the next column Total: Average (Total divided by 3):

65 Interpreting the Results Steps Step 1: Compare practices Step 2: Assess priorities Step 3: Select levers to improvement (“best ideas”) Step 4: Launch SMART goal process

66 Step 2: Determine Priorities AveragePriorityCase in Point RelationshipsQueensbury Emotional and Social Well-Being Vernon-Verona- Sherrill CollaborationPort Chester Evidence-Based Decision Making West Shared VisionWestbury

67 Cross-site reports Best Practice Frameworks Case studies Surveys Presentations Keyword Collections School Improvement Tools and Services

68 Surveys

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