ACE Weekly Newsletter

October 12, 2015

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In This Week's Issue:

Note from Executive Director

Announcements

  • Parent Teacher Conference
  • Fair Days
  • Dallas Mavs discounted tickets

Celebrating Excellence

  • Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Sanchez, Mills

Articles of the Week:

  • Instruction between Assessments
  • Summary of Driven By Data
  • Summary of Teach Like A Champion
  • Summary of Leaders of Learning

Video Spotlight

  • Design of STAAR
  • TEKS Scaffold
  • SE Diagramming

Upcoming Events

  • Carnegie Learning Mathematics Academy: ACE Saturdays & Staff Development days

Resources

  • ACE Site
  • School Calendars
  • HUB

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NOTE FROM YOUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Dear ACE Team,

Happy fall! I hope you each had some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and cooler temperatures. With this great opportunity before us to make a difference in schools that need the most, I find myself constantly researching school turnaround/transformation ideas. Research seems to consistently point in the same direction: effective, aligned instruction, heavy focus on reading, writing and critical thinking, use of data and high expectations. Today, I found a few reminders in an article entitled The Big U-Turn, worth considering. As you reflect, think about the small wins you can celebrate. Think about the things not working;, how long does it take for you to analyze and move to another plan? How do you embrace change as a constant and use data to lead the way? The following six key actions recur in story after story of successful turnarounds.


6 STEPS for School Turn Around:

1. Focus on a Few Early Wins: Successful turnaround schools choose a few high-priority goals with visible payoffs and use early success to gain momentum. While these “wins” are limited in scope, they are high-priority, not peripheral, elements of organization performance. Early wins are critical for motivating staff (and students).

2. Break Organization Norms: In a failing organization, existing practices contribute to failure. Successful turnaround leaders break rules and norms. Deviating to achieve early wins shows that new action gets new results.

3. Push Rapid-Fire Experimentation: Turnaround leaders press a fast cycle of trying new tactics, discarding failed tactics, and investing more in what works. They resist touting mere progress as ultimate success. For example, new interim assessment data would provide feedback about what schools, grades, and student subgroups are meeting goals. Slow progress would be a trigger to do some problem solving.

4. Get the Right Staff, Right the Remainder: Successful turnaround schools typically replace some key leaders who help organize and drive change. For remaining staff, change is mandatory, not optional.

5. Drive Decisions with Open-Air Data: Successful turnaround schools are focused, fearlessly data. They choose their initial goals based on rigorous analysis. They report key staff results visibly and often. All staff who participate in decision-making are required to share periodic results in open-air sessions, shifting discussions from excuse making and blaming to problem solving.

6. Lead a Turnaround Campaign: Successful turnaround pioneers know that change of any kind is hard and that people resist it for many reasons unrelated to success. Leaders use a consistent combination of motivating and maneuvering tactics that include communicating a positive vision of success and problem-solving.


Again, thank you for your commitment and persistence! Best wishes for an awesome second six weeks,

Jolee Healey


Adapted from:Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel, codirectors of Public Impact, a national education policy and management firm based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Backwards Planning

A “guaranteed and viable curriculum” is ranked as the first factor, having the most impact on student achievement. Marzano, 2003

Click here for a powerpoint that takes you step by step through the backwards planning process!

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Announcements

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CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE

Teacher Spotlight

Mr. Sanchez

Meet Mr. Sanchez! He is a 2nd grade bilingual teacher at Mills Elementary. For his goals this year, Mr. Sanchez says, "I want to build a community of readers. I want to make them understand that reading is important and enjoyable. I want them to love reading and have fun reading. If they enjoy it, they will want to grow more."


Mr. Sanchez describes his biggest success so far this year is the implementation of small reading groups. He says, "I could finally test the students and know their reading levels. Now, I can give them their targeted instruction on their level. By knowing each child and knowing what students need, I know who needs the most help. The hardest part is getting a system in place, once you have a system in place you can do so many things. Students need to become accustomed to the stations and what they will be doing. I had to model for students in the beginning, but now they know how to rotate and work independently. I see my lowest group every single day and I see my high group every other day. I use IStation and DRA for data on students. What is nice is that both systems are aligned…the low students from DRA are also the lowest students from IStation."


Here are Mr. Sanchez's thoughts on building relationships, "This is established in the first few weeks…the first six weeks are so important. It is important for them to feel safe and once they feel safe, they will learn and grow. I also use Dojo for motivation that is instantaneous. Since I started using it, it has helped greatly."


You are a rock star Mr. Sanchez and your students are lucky to have you!

Literacy Celebrations

This week K-2 teachers learned more about phonemic awareness, its role in developing early literacy skills, and methods of integrating phonemic awareness during the balanced literacy block.


In both the intermediate and middle school grades, teachers and students are writing daily during Writer's Workshop. Pictured below, fourth graders at Pease Elementary are composing paragraphs about a scary moment. Using rubrics, students generated descriptive essays and read their work to their peers and RLA CIC, Ms. Astra Smith, for feedback.

More ACE Celebrations

We want to hear from you!

Do you have a celebration you want to share with the ACE family? Did a team member get a Donors Choose funded? Was there a school event that was a huge success? Was your school highlighted in the media? Do you want to highlight something from your school that showcases how your team is "accelerating" excellence?


Great! Let's celebrate excellence together by showcasing each other and ourselves! Click here to submit a summary and any pictures you would like highlighted in next week's newsletter.

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ARTICLES FOR THE WEEK

Read this week's article to learn more about what happens between assessments:
Increasing the use of performance assessments in and of itself will not significantly improve student performance, however. To borrow the old farm adage: “You don't fatten the cattle by weighing them.” If we expect students to improve their performance...we need to engage in “performance-based instruction” on a regular basis.


Be sure to read this week's article to learn 7 key steps to take between assessments! Click Here

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BONUS: An overview of DDI, click here to review a summary of Paul Bambrick’s book Driven by Data. For a summary of Doug Lemov's book Teach Like a Champion, click here. For a summary of Leaders of Learning by Rick Dufour Click Here

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VIDEO SPOTLIGHT

Videos from Last Week

Differentiating Instruction, 6-12, Part II: Tiered Assignments and Flexible Grouping

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COMING UP...

7th Grade Writing Academy

Thursday, Oct. 15th, 3pm

408 North Haskell Avenue

Dallas, TX

7th Grade Writing Academy

Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

1st floor conference room

408 North Haskell

CIC Meeting 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

(before Writing Academy, same location)

ACE Carnegie Learning Mathematics Academy

Saturday, Oct. 17th, 8:30am-12:30pm

408 North Haskell Avenue

Dallas, TX

Activity codes will be forwarded next week. Registration is still open. The venue, originally scheduled for Buckner, has been changed to Haskell.

Carnegie Learning Academy-Staff Development Days for 5th and 8th Grade Teachers

Monday, Oct. 19th, 8:30am

2909 North Buckner Boulevard

Dallas, TX

The Carnegie Learning Math Academy Focusing on Student Success are ideal for any fifth and 8th grade educator who wants to gain a better understanding of the connection between early math concepts and algebraic thinking by studying the best practices in math instruction framed by the Texas Essential of Knowledge and Skills and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Carnegie Learning Math Academy Focusing on Student Success will deepen the participants understanding of math content, pedagogy, and student learning through state standard-aligned workshops.


Math Academy Workshops focus on three key outcomes: 1. Understand and analyze grade-appropriate content and tasks. 2. Facilitate problem solving in a learner-centered environment. 3. Heighten awareness of teacher practices


To register for and attend these sessions, you must have your principal’s approval. This is a three-part series for 5th grade math teachers; each session is 3 hours in length. The trainings are offered throughout the year on the district-wide professional development days: October 19th, November 9th and January 5th. Teachers must register on Schoolnet and may sign up for one, two, or all three sessions. It is highly recommended that a participant attend all three sessions for a holistic understanding of the content.



October 19, 2015 ~ 8:30-11:30 a.m. OR 1:00 – 4:00 p.m

Schoolnet code: 1000002305

Click here for flyer!

4th Grade Writing Academy

Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 3pm

408 North Haskell Avenue

Dallas, TX

4th Grade Writing Academy

Thursday, October 22, 2015

3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

1st floor conference room

408 North Haskell

CIC Meeting 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

(before Writing Academy, same location)

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INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

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