The Comstock Chronicle
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Next Week at JKC
Monday, November 16
- 7:15- 1:00- Pam off campus for Principal's Meeting
- Dena off campus for jury duty
Tuesday, November 17
- 8:15- 9:15- Christy Fiori here on campus
- Second Grade High Touch High Tech
- 3:20- CIT Meeting #2 in the library
- Raising Cane's Spirit Night- PTA
Wednesday, November 18
- PTA Hospitality day- Pie and treat bar
- 3:15- Staff Meeting- Classroom teachers, Specials, ESL, Dyslexia and SpEd teachers to attend
Thursday, November 19
- Pam off campus all day for training
Friday, November 20
- Class meetings- No JKC Live
- Pam off campus all day for training
- Angel Tree Gifts due
Save the Date!
11/23-11/27- Thanksgiving Break
12/1- ITL Meeting
12/2- Staff Meeting
12/3- Progress Reports go home
12/3- Brea out 10-12 for IC Meeting
12/4- Nana Puddin' PTA Program K-5 1:50 pm
12/4- Science Vertical Team meeting during JKC Live
12/10- Name and Need Meetings- 1st, K, 5th
12/11- Name and Need Meetings- 4th, 2nd, 3rd
12/11- JKC Christmas Party at Pam's at 4:30
12/15- Winter Concert for 3-5- Put on by Scoggins Middle School
12/16- Staff Meeting
12/16- Baby Shower for Ashley Pickett
12/17- Boosterthon classroom 10% money must be spent by today. PTA will be here to write reimbursement checks, so have your receipts ready.
12/18- Winter sing along K-5 1:00- 1:45
12/18- Class Holiday Parties 1:45- 2:45
12/21- 1/1- Winter Break
1/6- No staff meeting
1/6- Math vertical team meeting at 3:15
1/12- 1/14- First Grade Cogat Testing
1/13- Staff Meeting
1/21- Report Cards go home
1/22- COL #2
1/26- Comstock Night at Independence Basketball Game
1/28- Science Night
PLCs- Learning, DATA and Results
Richard DuFour on Effective Professional Learning Communities
(Originally titled “How PLCs Do Data Right”)
In this article in Educational Leadership, PLC guru Richard DuFour looks back ruefully on his rookie teaching years in the 1970s. He remembers giving unit tests on Friday, marking them over the weekend, and giving them back to students on Monday. “I had a sense of smug self-satisfaction,” he says, “because I believed that my challenging assessments, my willingness to devote hours to grading papers, and my commitment to returning tests promptly was proof positive that I was a great teacher.”
As students looked over their papers, DuFour would go over problem areas. He then gathered up the tests, clearly signaling that the unit was over, grades were final, and he was moving on. “It never even occurred to me to review the results with colleagues, to use this evidence of student learning to inform and improve my teaching, or to provide students with additional time and support to master the content.” The bell-shaped curve of grades was what it was. Students who performed well were a testament to his terrific teaching, and students who didn’t do well either lacked ability or hadn’t worked hard enough.
DuFour believes that over the last 40 years, we’ve made significant strides, shifting “from an era in which what was taught, how learning was assessed, what instructional materials were used, and how grades were assigned were all determined by the individual teacher to whom a student was randomly assigned. Now we’re asking teachers to work in collaborative teams to achieve common goals for which they are mutually accountable.” At the heart of the PLC process is teams analyzing the results of common interim assessments and asking themselves four questions:
• Which students were unable to demonstrate proficiency on this assessment? The team identifies these students by name and need and gets them into a “system of intervention” that is timely (immediately after the assessment), directive (students don’t have a choice), diagnostic (e.g., unable to subtract two-digit integers), and systematic (the school has a plan for additional time and help until all students reach proficiency).
• Which students are highly proficient and would benefit from extended or accelerated learning? Research has shown that these opportunities (as opposed to tracking) greatly improve learning. During the intervention/enrichment block in one school in Illinois, 3-5 additional teachers flood into the grade level to provide additional support and keep group sizes small.
• What can I learn from colleagues who got excellent results in an area where my students struggled? Transparency and candor are important at this point, making it possible for teachers to admit instructional failures and ask for help. The transfer of successful practices can take place through meetings, viewing videos, sharing lesson plans, or observing classes.
• What are we going to do about areas where none of us achieved the results we expected? Effective teams take a hard look at the data, reach out for ideas, set goals, and check back with subsequent assessments to see what’s working best.
DuFour is encouraged by the way PLCs are taking hold, but he’s concerned about one missing element. Many schools agree on appropriate curriculum goals, give common assessments, and give students additional time and support. “What they fail to do, however, is to use the evidence of student learning to improve instruction,” he says. “They are more prone to attribute students’ difficulties to the students themselves” – they need to study harder, do a better job on homework, or ask for help. “Rather than listing what students need to do to correct the problem,” says DuFour, “educators need to address what they can do better collectively.”
“How PLCs Do Data Right” by Richard DuFour in Educational Leadership, November 2015 (Vol. 73, #3, p. 22-26), available for purchase at http://bit.ly/1MttlYw; DuFour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.