GV BOCES School Improvement
July 2023 Newsletter
Upcoming Featured Speakers
Really Great Reading
Educators will leave the workshop with:
- An understanding of why students struggle with decoding and the impact this has on comprehension
- Tools and background knowledge needed to effectively diagnose decoding issues in students of all ages
- Resources needed to group students for instruction that will yield the greatest improvements
- Functional teaching strategies to provide effective, age/grade-appropriate decoding instruction in grades 1-12
Time: 8:30 - 3:30
Location: 80 Munson Street, LeRoy NY 14482
Intended Audience: Grades 1-6 Classroom Teachers, 1-6 Special Education Teachers, Reading Specialists, Interventionalist, AND Middle/High School Interventionists
John SanGiovanni is a nationally recognized leader in mathematics education. John works as the Coordinator of Mathematics in Howard County, Maryland leading mathematics curriculum design, professional learning, assessment, and digital learning. He also works to develop new mathematics leaders at McDaniel College in Maryland. John is the author of more than two dozen books about teaching and learning mathematics and consults nationally for curriculum development and professional learning. He is active in professional organizations recently serving on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and currently on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics.
Big Ideas about Fluency • August 16, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fluency goes beyond basic facts and algorithms. But what is it exactly? And, for that matter, what isn’t fluency? This session spotlights the big ideas of fluency, myths and facts, significant strategies, and effective assessment. It sets the stage for follow-up sessions throughout the fall. Classroom-ready resources will be shared.
Intended Audience: K-8 General Education, Special Education & Intervention Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Administrators
**Check Frontline for more sessions by John SanGiovanni**
News You Can Use
Summer Online Book Study: The Art & Science of Teaching Primary Reading
Reading is the cornerstone of education, opening doors to knowledge, imagination, and personal growth. As educators, we understand the importance of equipping our students with the essential skills and strategies to become confident readers. So come join School Improvement for a six-week, online book study to explore and discuss the text: The Art & Science of Teaching Primary Reading, by Christopher Such. Participants will explore the technical and practical aspects of how children learn to read and learn how significant research can be interpreted in different teaching contexts to maximize reading outcomes. This book study will include intervaled reading and discussion sections to address key topics including: phonics, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and strategies that encourage independent reading.
Participants can also expect to…
1. Gain Expert Insights: Christopher Such, a renowned education expert, brings years of experience and expertise to his work. His book offers invaluable insights into the art and science of teaching primary reading, providing you with practical strategies and evidence-based approaches to enhance your instructional practices.
2. Enhance Student Outcomes: By participating in this book study, you'll discover proven techniques that can significantly impact your students' reading abilities. You'll delve into topics such as phonics instruction, comprehension strategies, vocabulary development, and much more, equipping you with the tools you need to foster reading success in your classroom.
3. Collaborative Learning Community: Engaging in a book study provides a unique opportunity for collaboration and professional growth. By joining this study, you'll connect with like-minded educators, administrators, and literacy specialists who share your passion for teaching. Through vibrant discussions, sharing best practices, and exchanging ideas, you'll build a strong network of colleagues dedicated to enhancing primary reading instruction.
4. Personal and Professional Growth: As educators, we know the importance of continuous learning and growth. Participating in this book study will broaden your knowledge base and expand your instructional repertoire. The concepts and strategies explored will empower you to refine your teaching practices, adapt to the diverse needs of your students, and enhance your overall effectiveness as an educator.
5. Empower Your School: By embracing this book study, you'll contribute to a culture of professional learning within your school community. As you implement new strategies and share your insights with your colleagues, you'll inspire a ripple effect of positive change, ultimately benefitting your entire school and its students.
So, are you ready to embark on an enriching journey that will transform your approach to teaching primary reading? With The Art & Science of Teaching Primary Reading, Christopher Such presents a comprehensive and research-based framework designed specifically for primary reading instruction!
Course Launch Date: Monday, July 10, 2023
Course Close Date: Sunday, August 18, 2023
Dignity for All Students: NYSED’s Continued Guidance
On June 12, 2023, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released an updated framework for creating safe, supportive, and affirming environments for transgender and gender expansive students. This framework builds on the 2015 Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe, and Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students and includes legal updates and best practices that are compliant with New York State Human Rights Law and federal laws about bullying, harassment, discrimination, and student privacy. The updated framework provides definitions for terminology, strategies for supporting students in a variety of situations, alternative language to use when addressing students, directions for how to change a name on school records, and a number of resources districts can access to support students. It clarifies student privacy and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act as it relates to student records. The updated framework includes national and state data on transgender and gender expansive students’ experiences as well as anecdotes shared directly from New York State students.
Regional APPR Opportunities from the JMT
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: Tier 1 As A First Response
Multi-Tiered System of Supports Integrated (MTSS-I) is an educational framework designed to provide targeted and comprehensive interventions to support the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of all students. Within the context of Tier 1, MTSS-I refers to the foundational level of universal support provided to all students in a school or district. This tier focuses on implementing evidence-based practices and strategies that promote learning and positive behavior for the entire student population. MTSS-I at Tier 1 aims to create a strong foundation for student success by implementing a range of supports and interventions that benefit the majority of students.
According to experts in the field of MTSS-I, Tier 1 represents the universal or primary level of support within the framework. In their book Implementing RTI/MTSS to Improve Student Learning, authors Austin Buffum, Mike Mattos, and Chris Weber highlight the importance of Tier 1 in meeting the diverse needs of students. They state, "the foundation of any multi-tiered system is high-quality instruction in the general-education classroom" (Buffum, Mattos, & Weber, 2018). This emphasizes the role of Tier 1 to ensure that effective teaching practices are in place for all students. Buffum, Mattos, and Weber continue with the idea that high-quality instruction forms the bedrock of Tier 1 support and emphasize the significance of implementing evidence-based core instruction that caters to diverse learners (2018). This involves utilizing differentiated teaching methods, such as flexible grouping and individualized instruction, to address students' varying needs. In addition to providing instruction to meet diverse needs, other tried and true methods of instruction are explicit and systematic instruction, student engagement, and frequent formative assessment with feedback. By implementing these practices, Tier 1 of MTSS-I aims to prevent academic and behavioral difficulties before they become more significant challenges.
In addition, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie stress the importance of Tier 1 interventions in addressing the needs of all students in their book Visible Learning for Literacy, Grades K-12. They emphasize that, "effective Tier 1 instruction is the key to preventing learning difficulties" (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie, 2016). This highlights the proactive nature of Tier 1, within MTSS-I, where educators work to create a supportive learning environment that meets the diverse needs of students, minimizing the need for more intensive interventions later on. Building upon this idea, Jim Wright suggests that teachers can do this by having access to a bank of academic and behavioral intervention ideas, and establish data collection methods (Lecture, 2022). Instructors that document and record the Tier 1 classroom interventions that have been supported by research will be most effective; this process is most successful when teachers are able to collect baseline data, goal set with students in specific terms, and monitor student progress (Wright, 2022).
Overall, MTSS-I at Tier 1 is a critical component of the framework ensuring that all students receive high-quality instruction and support within the general education classroom. It involves implementing evidence-based practices, differentiated instruction, and a positive classroom climate to meet the diverse needs of learners. By focusing on proactive strategies at Tier 1, educators can effectively prevent and address potential academic and behavioral difficulties, setting the stage for student success.
School Improvement Spotlights
Livonia - Further Instructional Clarity through Understanding by Design (UbD)
Genesee Valley BOCES School Improvement Team has been engaged with ongoing and embedded work in the Livonia Middle/High School math, science, and ELA departments. The work involved taking a deeper dive into the New York State and Next Generation Learning Standards. Teachers collaborated towards developing further clarity in preparation for the full implementation of the new standards. Teacher Clarity encompasses a teacher's ability to effectively convey information and concepts, provide explicit and concise explanations, and ensure that students understand what is expected of them. Pre-instructional clarity is the process through which instructors select and align learning objectives, instructional strategies, and assessments (Blumberg, 2009 as cited in Titsworth & Mazur, 2014).
Through multiple sessions, the Livonia teachers came together to analyze the standards and to determine what students need to know and be able to do per discipline. The groups participated in an “all hands on deck” approach to prioritizing the standards. They engaged in a variety of processing activities, such as unpacking the three dimensions of the NYS Science Learning Standards and analyzing disciplinary core ideas relevant to their content/grade level. With all of the course and grade levels present, the teams were also able to establish vertical alignment for the middle school and high school performance expectations. Finally, each discipline worked to refine or develop pacing guides to reflect the new standards and determine how much time would be spent on each unit in their locally-developed curriculum.
Figure 1 (aside) depicts the importance of teachers having positive relationships with students that are systematically developed as a part of their teaching practice. Students who have a positive and supportive relationship with their teachers will attain higher levels of student engagement, achievement and success. Similarly, a teacher’s content knowledge can also have an effect on the learning process. As seen in the diagram, the overlap between the content and teacher happens when the teacher has in-depth knowledge about a particular subject, and can effectively communicate the intentions for learning to the students, hence providing clarity. Teacher clarity is perhaps one of the most promising links between teacher behaviors and student learning (Titsworth & Mazer, 2015). The third overlap between the content and the student circles happens when the content is relevant for the students. The teacher’s instruction should take the student from his/her previous knowledge level and understanding, and build new(er) bridges of understanding on top of that. The process then culminates with an audit of current assessments, ensuring that those assessments were reflective of their previous discussions regarding the standards and pacing guides.
Having the teachers all together contributed to rich conversations as they shared their experiences, challenges, and successes in developing clarity in their teaching. Collaborative problem-solving and sharing of best practices supports continuous improvement. If you would like to begin a curriculum and/or assessment review of your local curriculum, contact the GV BOCES School Improvement Team.
Titsworth, S., Mazer, J. P., Goodboy, A. K., Bolkan, S., & Myers, S. A. (2015). Two meta-analyses exploring the relationship between teacher clarity and student learning. Communication Education, 64(4), 385–418. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2015.1041998.
What is teacher clarity? Corwin Canada. (2022, November 6). https://ca.corwin.com/en-gb/nam/what-is-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.
Location: 80 Munson Street, Le Roy, NY, USA