GV BOCES School Improvement
June 2023 Newsletter
News You Can Use
Science: NYSED Provides Tentative Timeline for Relase of Guidance Materials
PLAN Pilot: Why Should Schools and Districts Consider Participating and What Can They Expect?
Research indicates that performance-based assessments can drive instruction and school culture in a way that may better prepare students for the kinds of tasks they will encounter after high school—both in college and in the workforce. The PLAN Pilot is a project that intends to help make this shift. By participating in this project, school districts will have the opportunity to:
Participate in a multi-school network,
Engage in high-quality professional learning experiences,
Learn from partners with expertise in performance-based assessment.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) envisions that high schools, middle schools, and regional BOCES will be selected to establish pilot sites. Participating schools will work together in networks to learn and support each other in successfully implementing performance-based learning and assessment in order to facilitate sustainable change(s) in school culture. Educators in pilot schools will receive direct training, professional development, coaching, and resources. This support is offered to reorient their instructional cultures and assessment practices in ways that are responsive and engaging to diverse learning communities.
The PLAN Pilot will be implemented using a phased, multi-year approach, which began with a planning year in 2021-22. NYSED will engage schools and educators across the state in professional-learning experiences and outreach in the early phases of work to build statewide, foundational knowledge of performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA), prior to launching an application process for schools interested in participating in the pilot. The pilot study will culminate with a report and policy recommendations in 2027.
Orientation Webinars for Administrators on the NYS Learning Standards for World Languages
Orientation Webinar for Administrators - Session I - This first session will provide an introduction to the revised NYS Learning Standards for World Languages (2021) beginning with a brief summary of the key shifts required to successfully enact the revised standards. We will then outline the implications of these shifts on planning, instruction, and assessment, with particular emphasis on creating standards-aligned learning objectives consistent with proficiency targets at each checkpoint. The session will conclude with actionable recommendations for how administrators can support teachers preparing to enact the revised learning standards and an orientation to the World Languages Administrator Reference Guide.
Orientation Webinar for Administrators - Session II - This second session will build on the foundational principles outlined in Session I to highlight ten observable lesson planning elements and fifteen observable lesson instruction elements that are specific to World Language instruction. Correlations with these elements to the widely used Danielson and Marzano rubrics are provided in the World Languages Administrator Reference Guide. This session will end with a brief tour of the many tools and resources already available on the OBEWL website to facilitate professional development for your teachers, along with lesson, unit, and curriculum planning aligned with the revised standards.
Presenters: Dr. Joanne O'Toole, Bill Heller, and Dr. Lori Langer de Ramirez
Continued Professional Learning
The School Improvement (SI) newsletter strives to continue providing professional learning for school administrators, teachers, and staff that fit your district's needs. This section of the newsletter will provide readers with timely and relevant learning aligned with evidence-based practices. If you would like more professional learning on topics outlined in the newsletter, please contact the SI department. Our contact information is located at the bottom of the newsletter. Enjoy!
MTSS-I: One District’s Shift to Improved Implementation
Historically districts have received guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) regarding the use of Academic Intervention Services (AIS) and Response to Intervention (RIT). Many districts continue to provide a RTI program, instead of, or in addition to, an AIS program to eligible students. However, when meeting the minimum requirements set forth by the NYSED many other aspects of the whole child are left unattended to. These aspects include behavior, social emotional learning, and mental health. All of these areas can have a significant impact on academic outcomes, and should be considered in an effort to best support the whole child. In an effort to strive for compliance and quality, utilizing the quality system such as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Integrated (MTSS-I). MTSS-I is an evidence-based framework that provides different levels of support to students based on their needs. The framework emphasizes the use of data to inform decisions and promote equity in education. According to Kent McIntosh, a professor of special education at the University of Oregon, MTSS has three levels of support. The first level is called Universal Tier, or Tier 1, which involves providing high-quality instruction to all students. The second level is called Targeted Tier, or Tier 2, which involves providing additional support to students who are struggling. The third level is called Intensive Tier, or Tier 3, which involves providing thorough support to students who need the most help.MTSS-I is designed to prevent academic and behavioral problems and promote positive outcomes for all students.
McIntosh (2017) argues that MTSS-I can be used to address academic and behavioral challenges for students. The framework involves a problem-solving approach that uses data to identify students who need additional support and to monitor their progress. The framework is also designed to promote collaboration between teachers, administrators, and other professionals to ensure that all students receive the support they need. McIntosh suggests that MTSS-I can be used to promote equity in education by providing targeted support to students who are at risk of falling behind. He also argues that MTSS-I can help schools create a positive and inclusive learning environment that promotes academic and social-emotional development for all students.
Supporting social-emotional learning, behavior, and mental health needs through an MTSS-I system can improve academic outcomes by creating a positive/safe learning environment, reduce disruptions in the classroom, and lessen anxiety/depression which often interfere with student ability to learn. For example, students who feel connected to their school and have positive relationships with teachers and peers are more likely to be motivated to learn and achieve academically (McIntosh, 2017). Furthermore, supporting social-emotional learning, behavior, and mental health needs through an MTSS-I system can improve academic outcomes by addressing barriers to learning and promoting a positive and inclusive learning environment.
Attica Central School District (CSD) is ready to make a shift to integrate behavior, social emotional learning and mental health into the AIS/RTI systems that are currently established. The first step in this process is to establish a foundation of understanding around what MTSS-I is and how it differs from the minimal requirements of AIS and RTI.
Attica CSD district leaders utilized a recent conference day to ensure that district stakeholders had a foundation and common vocabulary around a tiered approach to academics and behavior. The School Improvement Team followed with a subsequent audit of their current AIS plan to ensure compliance, but also investigated ways to enhance quality by aligning it more closely with MTSS-I. The audit was reviewed by AIS providers across the district, and the district is well on its way to generating an integrated system.
While launching a MTSS-I system is a heavy lift for many small schools, research has demonstrated the importance of effective implementation in districts. NSYED and the US Department of Education have released documents further supporting the role MTSS-I has in education systems. When implemented with fidelity, districts can expect an increase in academic outcomes as a result of addressing barriers to learning and promoting a positive, inclusive learning environment. This is a system that benefits not only students, but staff as well.
School Improvement Spotlights
Pacing Guides: One Giant Step Towards a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
Oakfield Alabama, in partnership with Genesee Valley BOCES School Improvement Team, recently spent time reviewing and vetting their developed pacing guides across the district for quality and consistency. The district’s ultimate goal is to have the pacing guides posted to their district website for school and community stakeholders to have access to and review. They are putting their stamp of what Oakfield Alabama believes all students should know and be able to do.
Developing a pacing guide is a crucial component in creating a guaranteed and viable curriculum (Ainsworth, 2010), whereas every grade-level teacher is instructing upon the same skills and/or concepts at approximately the same time within the school year. A pacing guide outlines this scope and sequence and highlights the priority standards and derived content to be taught within specific periods of time aligned by units of instruction. This documentation provides an essential roadmap for teachers to follow, in order to ensure that all the locally-determined, priority standards are covered efficiently within the allocated instructional year. Furthermore, a pacing guide provides enough structure for teachers to ensure that essential content is covered, but still affords teaching autonomy and methodological independence through choice of resource(s).
Key components of Oakfield Alabama’s pacing guide review centralized on the following developmental topics:
Ensure the pacing guide promotes vertical alignment, ensuring a coherent progression of skills and knowledge through grade levels as well as supporting horizontal alignment, ensuring consistency and continuity within the same grade level or subject area. According to Marzano and Kendall (2007), "Alignment provides the necessary connections across grade levels and courses that help ensure a coherent and purposeful educational experience for all students." Locally-creating pacing guides only enhance the idea that all students will have access to an equitable learning experience.
Facilitate collaborative planning among teachers, ensuring consistency across classrooms and grade levels. The pacing guides provide a common framework for discussing instructional strategies, resources, and assessments. Fullan (2007) highlights the importance of collaboration in curriculum development, stating that "Teachers working together are the primary source of curriculum and instruction."
Make certain that instructional time is distributed effectively, preventing content overload or insufficient coverage of important skills and topics. By setting realistic timelines for each unit or topic, teachers can allocate appropriate time for instruction, practice, and assessment. Consideration should also be given to addressing whether or not remediation or acceleration is needed within those timeframes.
In all, the pacing guide offers teachers a clear destination of where learning is headed, but still allows them to make the best instructional decisions for their specific students. As Wiggins and McTighe (2005) assert, "A well-articulated curriculum provides clarity about what students should know, understand, and be able to do." Throughout this process, Oakfield Alabama made great efforts to support collaboration and teacher clarity.
Upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities (PLOs)
Leadership Institute 2023: Registration and More!
Every year, the Genesee Valley BOCES Professional Learning Services, in conjunction with the Superintendent Instructional Sub-Committee (SISC), plan and design a regional leadership opportunity. The event, well-known as Leadership Institute, will take place at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY, on August 2nd and 3rd. Please click the link below to learn more about the registration process, keynote speaker, event agenda, team accommodations, and much more.
Follow School Improvement on Twitter
Don’t forget that you can follow the School Improvement Team (SIT) on Twitter. The team is often posting information about upcoming professional learning opportunities, educational resources, and strategies for the classroom. You can stay in tune with what is happening at Genesee Valley BOCES and the SIT by following #gvbocessit.
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