GV BOCES School Improvement
January 2023 Newsletter
News You Can Use
Upcoming GV BOCES Featured Speakers
Dr. Lauren Lieberman
Dr. Lauren Lieberman is a Distinguished Service Professor at SUNY Brockport. She began her time at SUNY Brockport in 1995. Dr. Lieberman is a sign language specialist and has a particular focus on the area of Adapted Physical Education, and Universal Design in Physical Education. One of her specialties is working with children with sensory impairments. She also strives to assist schools by providing students with inclusive physical education opportunities.
Dr. Lieberman has written 23 books and published over 210 peer-reviewed articles. She was recently awarded a Global Fulbright Scholarship to start a new Camp Abilities in Ghana, Ireland, and in Brazil in the Fall of 2019. She was awarded the Herb Segal Visionary Award from the Olmsted Center in Buffalo. Her interests include hiking, camping, kayaking, mountain biking, guitar, ultimate frisbee, & pickleball.
Title of Session: Adapted Physical Education: Developing Quality Programming
Perry CSD & Genesee Valley BOCES will host Dr. Lauren Lieberman in an effort to support local school districts with ensuring the least restrictive environment and inclusive physical education (PE) opportunities. Dr. Lieberman will discuss how to create a robust Adapted PE program, curriculum development for Adapted PE, and how to work specifically with students with Autism in Adapted PE.
Date: January 30, 2023
Perry CSD Elementary School Auditorium
33 Watkins Avenue, Perry, NY 14530
Intended Audience: PreK - 12 Physical Education Teachers & Administrators
2024 Regents Examination Periods and the Elementary and Intermediate Testing Schedule
New York State Graduation Measures Discussion
Two New Arts Standards Resources
An Arts Assessment Think document which provides Arts educators with a series of questions and resources for developing and considering formative assessment strategies and experiences with their students.
An Arts teacher Need to Know document on the Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education Framework. This document presents the four principles of the Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education Framework with questions for consideration by Arts educators.
Continued Professional Learning
Dr. Paul Riccomini: Scaffolding Mathematical Reasoning
The Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice represent a significant level of achievement in mathematics. Mathematically proficient students are asked to make sense of quantities and their relationships in problem situations. Students should explain to themselves the meaning of a problem and look for entry points to its solution. They need to justify and communicate their conclusions and respond to the arguments of others. Tasks requiring deep reasoning and conceptual understanding are especially challenging for students. Given these difficulties, it is essential that teachers use practices and strategies designed to support this sort of mathematical learning. Developing mathematical reasoning skills helps students organize their knowledge, enabling them to learn new concepts by connecting them to what they already know.
Dr. Paul Riccomini, Associate Professor of Education at Penn State University, joined Genesee Valley (GV) mathematics teachers and provided his third and final professional learning opportunity this year in the GV region. Riccomini’s High-Intensity Instructional Techniques (HIIT-4-Math) focus on instructional strategies designed to help students of all skill levels achieve success in mathematics. HIIT strategies are used to intensify instruction and strengthen and enhance any core math curriculum. They address limitations in working memory and further develop mathematical language and reasoning that often hinder student learning.
For many teachers, the pedagogy expected by the new standards differs from how they have taught in the past as well as how they have experienced learning themselves when they were students (Short & Hirsh, 2023). Therefore, Dr. Riccomini facilitated the professional learning session by asking participants to take on the learner perspective and experience the HIIT strategies for themselves. Riccomini immersed teachers in a mathematical task, prompting them: “We have been learning about fractions. WRITE down everything we learned about fractions.” Participants’ responses were sparse as they described fractions mostly by using pictures and/or diagrams while using few words including vocabulary like “part” and “whole.” Dr. Riccomini then revised the task, but this time he provided key vocabulary terms that participants needed to include in their description of fractions. The prompt read, “Write about the term FRACTION using the following vocabulary: number, whole, numerator, denominator, and ruler.” The difference between the first and second prompts was that the first did not include any scaffolds. By definition, scaffolded supports “provide temporary assistance to students so they can complete tasks that they cannot yet do independently and with a high rate of success” (McLeskey et al., as cited in Riccomini, 2019). As the use of mathematical language continues to become an emphasis in the development of mathematical proficiency, there is no question about the importance of spending instructional time to teach and practice using appropriate content vocabulary. The responses from participants were much more rich, including language that supported a more accurate description of fractions and their meaning. Dr. Riccomini’s Scaffolded Reasoning Task (SRT) provided terms in order to help students access and engage with the content. Poor vocabulary can often act as a barrier to both verbal and written reasoning. The SRT provides access to the mathematical reasoning through written and oral expression by providing keywords as a scaffold.
10-15 minute Scaffolding Reasoning Task (SRT)
Step 1: Develop a math reasoning task and decide whether a verbal or written response is required.
Step 2: Carefully select 2-5 essential terms to guide the reasoning that students must include with their responses.
Step 3: Schedule SRTs regularly.
Developing mathematical vocabulary is essential for students to become actively engaged in mathematics. Educators are responsible for providing students with instruction that best supports learning and meaning-making in mathematics. Explicit mathematical vocabulary instruction and the use of this evidence-supported instructional strategy can help teachers accomplish this responsibility.
Riccomini, P. J., & Morano, S. (2019). Guided practice for complex, multistep procedures in algebra: Scaffolding through worked solutions. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 51(6), 445–454. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040059919848737
Short, J. B., & Hirsh, S. (2023). Transforming teaching through curriculum-based Professional Learning: The Elements. Corwin.
Learning Forward Conference 2022
This past December, Nashville, Tennessee welcomed the return of the Learning Forward Conference - in person! The event gathered national education leaders and policymakers to learn and share expertise focused on creating and sustaining equitable learning and excellence in teaching.
This year’s theme was to reimagine education and in doing so, addressed questions such as:
How can we reinvent professional learning in 2022?
How can we help students and adults grow and develop skills for a world not yet known?
How can we build equitable learning communities that will help us reach deeper engagement and learning for all?
Among these guiding questions, the broad conference intentions strived to assist educators in making professional connections and returning with contemporary tools and strategies to effectively implement professional learning in classrooms, schools, and larger systems. To promote this course, Learning Forward elicited two dynamic keynote presenters as well as leaders across the nation.
The first keynote presenter was Jessyca Mathews, Michigan’s Region 5 Teacher of the Year in 2019-20, who presented her address entitled: Placing Ourselves on the Mountaintop. Mathews works as a language arts teacher at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint, Michigan, and actively intertwines criticality to address environmental and institutional racism and social justice, as well as civic readiness. Mathews has developed a voice - or, more appropriately, removed herself from being in the way of her students’ voices to promote agents of change in multiple areas of education.
The subsequent keynote address was provided by neuroscientist Tracey Tokuhama-Espionsa, entitled: How Time and Tools have Changed Forever in Education. In response to the impact of COVID-19 on education, Tokuhama-Espinosa now teaches Neuroscience of Learning: An Introduction to Mind, Brain, Health and Education at the Harvard University Extension School in addition to being the associate editor of Science of Learning and co-founder of Connections: The Learning Sciences Platform (www. thelearningsciences.com). Currently, her work is at the forefront of providing evidence-based support for teachers in over 40 countries. Her most recent books, as well as her address, worked to debunk false ideas about the brain and offer a reimagined approach to learning. Her message - to maximize this [post-COVID] moment and heavily revise our traditional approaches resonated profoundly with Angie Manor Hickman, Literacy Coordinator of County Schools, Centerville, position that:
“To reimagine education is to accept the opportunity to rethink, reassess, and reframe the best ways to reach and teach each student we serve. [This is] An amazing responsibility and an exciting challenge!”
Genesee Valley BOCES’s School Improvement Team was delighted to have the opportunity to attend this event in an ongoing effort to lead collaboratively in creating quality solutions to emerging educational challenges. We are here to assist districts with endeavors, support districts with the most up-to-date and accurate research and trends, and most importantly support district leadership abilities in reimagining the best possible learning for your students! Please continue to check this newsletter as well as current and future catalog offerings as our learning will develop into available professional learning opportunities for the region.
School Improvement Spotlights
Dansville CSD Leverages Teacher Leaders for Continuous Improvement
The Teacher Leader position has a critical role in the continuous-improvement system that fundamentally exists in many school districts. Building administrators at Dansville CSD knew that empowering Teacher Leaders could impact teacher practice and in turn, influence student learning.
Dansville CSD began their initiative by surveying Teacher Leaders, like many improvement efforts, to understand their needs and ensure that they are equipped to take on their important leadership roles. In order to support continuous improvement, it was determined that Teacher Leaders needed professional learning on how to develop a positive/safe culture, use data to drive practice, set rigorous goals linked to baseline data, and progress monitor teacher practice and student outcomes.
The School Improvement Team at Genesee Valley BOCES offered to assist each building at Dansville CSD with a differentiated approach to preparing Teacher Leaders. This approach also aligned with administrators’ beliefs in building the capacity of all teachers to learn and grow and creating “optimal conditions that build a true learning culture in which everyone is a learner, everyone is learning how to share, to fail, to reflect, to persevere and to celebrate success” (Bloombwerg and Pitchford, 2017).
The System for Continuous Improvement
The Teacher Leaders at Dansville CSD first needed to understand their role in a systematic process of improvement, often referred to as Plan-Do-Study-Act. This process is a four-stage, problem-solving iterative model, used for improving a process or carrying out change. This model is inherent in many of the systems that already exist in schools.
Teacher Leaders discussed the importance of developing grade-level and department goals that aligned with building-level goals as well as how building-level goals connect to the Board of Education Goals.
Developing a Positive/Safe Culture for Continuous Improvement
Another effort for Teacher Leaders at Dansville CSD was to ensure they knew what constitutes effective teaming. This includes how to develop common goals, share and value other beliefs, validate strengths, delegate roles and responsibilities, foster an experimental mindset, facilitate feedback from each other, and monitor progress collaboratively. The development of these attributes will ultimately establish a positive and safe culture for continuous improvement. Bloombwerg and Pitchford, authors of Leading Impact Teams (2017), propose that improvement work is “a process that is anchored in creating a learning culture in which teachers and students become confident in their capacity to learn and to succeed- in other words, [this] process build[s] a culture of efficacy” (p. 1).
Evidence of Continuous Improvement
Thus far, Teachers Leaders and School Improvement have collaboratively reviewed the grade-level/department goals to ensure they are rigorous and measurable. Significant collaborative review ensured that outcome evidence will be able to be collected for instructional guidance. The next phase of support will involve progress monitoring the selected shifts in teacher practice to see if student learning outcomes have changed. At this point, using that data, monitoring goal setting, and continuing progress monitoring are the focal points for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year.
The Teacher Leaders are excited to know their impact as a crucial component of their improvement efforts! This work could potentially serve as an onboarding model for new and future Teacher Leaders at Dansville CSD as well as other regional school districts. If you are interested in developing an onboarding process or evaluation process for Teacher Leaders please contact the Genesee Valley BOCES School Improvement Team.
The Science of Reading Is Back!
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.
Location: 80 Munson Street, Le Roy, NY, USA