Cluster Connections

Roosevelt Cluster and Benson HS - The Rise Continues!

Welcome Back!

We are excited to start another school year! I am so looking forward to working with you and your schools as we work to close the achievement gap and create equitable outcomes for students.

Getting Started

I will see you next week at leadership academy. A few things to needed in the coming days/weeks.

Leadership Academy

We are using a "Flipped Classroom" Model for Leadership. Stay tuned for pre-work for Leadership to ensure you are prepared to fully participate in the sessions.


Please let me know if you are having any challenges completing your training. We are working to provide you time to work with your colleagues on completing some of the modules. Our aim is to calibrate our evaluation practice with each other and to ensure we are in compliance with state requirements for teacher and principal evaluation.

Click this link to learn more about the ODE teacher evaluation matrix:

State Report Card Reminder:

Dear Principals,

As you know from last year, the new State Report Card format has areas where the school submits supplemental information about the school as well as an introduction from the principals.

Last year we provided a generic introduction and bullet points for most schools. This year, however, I need you to submit the following to me:

Because all submissions must also be translated into Spanish (R&E will take care of that) and we need some time to review all submissions, please return responses to the following to me no later than August 22 (if nothing is submitted or we are unable to get items translated on time the published report card will indicate there was no information submitted by the school for these sections – bullets below provide samples items for each area).

I have attached a blank version of a sample report card (elementary and high school versions) so that you can see where each of these sections is located. Please be attentive to space limitations when you submit information to me. You may use the attached template (Word Doc) if you wish or you can delete the bullets below (leave the headers in place) and reply via e-mail.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Joseph Suggs

Research & Evaluation

Pulling It All Together - Comprehensive Achievement Plan

The Indistar program will be central to our discussions in our one-on-ones and our cluster meetings. This is the Comprehensive Achievement Plan or (CAP) that replaces what we called our School Improvement Plan (SIP). For those of you who are new to the cluster or if you still need the information on how to set up or access your CAP in the indistar system:

INDISTAR Instructions

INDISTAR – school improvement plan software employed by ODE

· Select LOGIN and enter your login and password.

· Select Comprehensive Achievement Indicators


1. Select ASSESS

2. Choose one of the following sections:

· District & School Structure & Culture

· Family & Community Involvement

· Technical & Adaptive Leadership

· Educator Effectiveness

· Teaching & Learning

3. Click on desired indicator

4. Complete the assessment questions based on your current situation:

· Level of implementation

· Ranking

· Priority Score (How important is it?)

· Opportunity Score (How easily can it be addressed?)

· Describe current level of development

WRITING THE CAP (Comprehensive Achievement Plan)

1. Select CREATE

2. Identify 5-6 objectives that are of most importance (in blue).

· Select one of these objectives.

· Assign a team member as the lead.

· Describe how the objective will look at your school when fully implemented.

· Set a date for completion.

· Create a series of tasks that will lead to full implementation.

3. Save and move to the next objective


1. Select MONITOR

2. This screen allows you to monitor the progress of your teams on the completion of their tasks. You can edit tasks and change completion dates from this screen.

Implementation Calendar

· May Cluster Meeting Principals introduced to Indistar

· June 2014 District Self-Assessment completed

· August 2014 District SIP drafted by August 2014, shared at Leadership

Schools begin Self-Assessment

· Winter Break 2014 School Self-Assessments completed

· Spring Break 2015 School CAPS drafted

· 2015-16 and onward School & District CAPS used as the basis for PD and to

inform central office decision making

Indistar Computer Training

Contact Joe LaFountaine if you need or would like more training

Comprehensive Achievement Plan (CAP) Process

1. Form a team at your school to focus on the CAP

2. The team completes a self-assessment by ranking each of 34 indicators

3. Indistar ranks the indicators based on current level of implementation, importance, and ease of implementation.

4. Write your CAP based on the top 5-6 indicators identified by Indistar.

· The goals of your CAP should be reflected in your budget.

5. Use the tools in the CAP to drive your planning.

· Team lead

· Completion of tasks associated with specific indicators


· Review the self-assessment with your team

· Focus on 5-6 indicators with the goal of reaching full implementation

· Adjust your CAP as needed

· Maintain your budget to reflect the goals of your CAP

Stay Connected!

Do not hesitate to contact me on my cell or by email. Please make sure I have your cell information as well.

Take care of yourselves and I will see you soon.

Charlene Williams

Senior Director

Roosevelt Cluster and Benson High School

From the Marshall Memo

4. Closing the Racial Gap by Using Data from Frequent Assessments

A study of 32 K-8 urban and suburban California schools found that half of them were successful at narrowing the racial achievement gap (judged by state achievement test scores) over a four-year period. The gap-closing schools had certain common characteristics, among them: they tested their students frequently and used the results to make changes in their instructional programs. The successful schools made a point of:

- Giving teacher time to discuss assessment results;

- Providing teachers with weekly or monthly training on linking assessment data to instructional strategies;

- Calling in experts and coaches to help teachers alter what they did in their classrooms based on the data.

Two-thirds of the teachers in gap-closing schools used test and other data several times a month, sometimes several times a week, to understand their students’ skill gaps. This was true of less than a quarter of the teachers in gap-widening schools.

“So much of the debate in California and at the national level is on high-stakes tests and prepping kids for it,” said Kiley Walsh Symonds, author of the study. “We hope we can contribute to a shift in the debate from before the test to after the test.”

The study also found that the gap-closing schools tackled questions of race head-on. One school, for example, took a hard look at the data on higher suspension and expulsion rates for African-American students and acted on what they found.

“Achievement-Gap Study Emphasizes Better Use of Data” by Debra Viadero, Education Week, January 21, 2004 (Vol. XXIII, #19, p. 9) . The full study, “After the Test: How Schools Are Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap,” by Kiley Walsh Symonds is available at

5. Teaching Students to View Intelligence as Malleable

A new study of Texas seventh graders found that the way students think about intelligence makes a big difference in how well they do on tests. The theory behind this study was that gender and racial achievement gaps can be traced to anxiety-producing stereotypes (e.g., girls aren’t good at math, African-American students score lower in reading). The researchers found that arming students with the means to overcome their anxiety reduced gender and racial disparities. “One of the biggest pictures our research tells is that performance is so much more psychological than anything else,” said Joshua Aronson, one of the researchers.

In the study, college mentors encouraged some students to view intelligence as a faculty that could be developed, while others were told that their academic struggles were inevitable in their new junior high school environment. At the end of the year, the researchers compared students’ performance on statewide math and reading tests. Girls who were taught that intelligence develops over time scored significantly higher on the math test, and minority and low-income students who were told that they could overcome challenges and achieve academic success scored significantly higher on the reading test.

The findings suggest that if students get positive messages about their ability to learn and succeed academically, they are less likely to conform to stereotypes they believe others have of them when taking standardized tests. This suggests that educators can successfully stem the spiral of self-blame, anxiety, and under-performance that many adolescents experience in school.

“In Fighting Stereotypes, Students Lift Test Scores” by Melissa McNamara, New York Times, January 20, 2004

The original study (by NYU psychologists Catherine Good, Joshua Aronson, and Michael Inzlicht) appeared in the December 2004 Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

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