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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 30, 2012

The Global Search for Education: What Did You Learn Today?
"Children do not always learn what we teach. That is why the most important assessment does not happen at the end of the learning, it happens during the learning." 
-- Dylan Wiliam

This piece has some pretty interesting comments from Dylan Wiliam -- comments that serve as important reminders of what feedback and assessment need to look like in the classroom.  As we have been talking about for months, feedback always includes a recipe for future action; assessment is ongoing and informs instruction to ensure learning and prevent failure.  Is this what feedback and assessment look like in the classrooms you're visiting?

QR What?
Back in August at our initial Pre K - 12 Administrative meeting, we introduced The Connected Leader blog with the following picture:

As you may know, this is an example of a QR (Quick Response) code, and they seem to be popping up everywhere.  My selection this week provides Administrators, Teachers, and Students with a variety of ways in which QR codes can be utilized in the classroom and throughout the school.  Of particular note interest, check out the link titled 43 Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom.

Redefining Instruction With Technology: Five Essential Steps
As we move forward to developing 21st Century skills in our students at Hilliard, we know it involves more than simply bringing a new technology tool into the classroom.   In the following article, one teacher shares her thinking about the need to change her instructional design and practice when using technology devices.  This article might be useful to share with your teachers.  

What You (Really) Need to Know
Colleges and universities define what secondary schools teach and establish a framework for what it means to be an educated citizen.  We have been particularly conscious of this with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the emphasis placed on our graduates being "college and career ready".  While public schooling has been focused on preparing students for future demands, undergraduate education at the college level has changed remarkably little over time.  The lecture is "alive and well" with the professor standing in front of the class, and blue books still being used to assess student understanding.
Lawrence H. Summers, former President of Harvard University, wrote this interesting essay about how our colleges/universities will have to reform so that they can reflect the needs of 21st century learners.  The Hilliard City School District is well on the way toward making the shift.  Of particular significance is #6 which says that "courses of study will place much more emphasis on the analysis of data."  Imagine adding probability, statistics, and data analysis to every course that we offer!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 23, 2012

The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: 

Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

A recent New York Times article reports on a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research in which the data of one million students were analyzed to determine the impact that teachers have on students’ futures.  Specifically, the study looked at value added data and how effective this data was at evaluating teacher effectiveness and predicting the impact on student success.

The major findings of the study were: (1) some teachers consistently got value-added gains in their students’ test scores; (2) effective teachers had a lasting impact on their students’ futures, including achievement in school, a reduced chance of teen pregnancy, higher college matriculation, living in better neighborhoods, saving more for retirement, and higher lifetime income.

It’s a pretty interesting study – and provides another important insight on just how impactful effective teaching practices are on the lives of students.  Click the link below to get to the study; be sure to read the “executive summary” once you get to the study by clicking the link on the left side of the main page.

Tame the Beast: Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics
“Gives and Receives Feedback” has been an extremely popular focus area for a number of our buildings throughout this school year.  In looking at the four look-for’s of this  Highly Effective Teaching Strategy, one that has sparked numerous conversations is the third look for centered around the use of targeted “look fors” and rubrics.   As you know, rubrics are proven to be an extremely useful tool in providing feedback to our students.  In my selection this week, I have chosen an article that provides teachers with six tips for designing and using effective rubrics.

Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Chicago
As you know, the state of Ohio and Hilliard Schools is embarking on a new and controversial endeavor: development of a new teacher evaluation system in which at least 50% of the rating is based on student growth.  All of us want a highly effective teacher for every student because we recognize the long-term impact.  However, there are many questions that need to be answered as the new system is created.  
This research report captured my interest as it allows the reader to learn lessons from others that have successfully implemented a similar system.  You might be interested in the brief executive summary and chapter two in which the link is made between classroom observations and teacher value-added effect.  

Five Key Skills for Effective School Principals
In one of our Administrative Book Talks a few years ago, we read Jim Collins' book Good to Great.  Collins wrote about leaders building capacity by creating leaders from within the organization.  The profile of effective school leaders in an age of standards and accountability closely resembles the Level 5 Leadership model from the business world described by Collins.  The 21st century principal has to be a leader of learning, one who develops effective teacher leaders and creates teams who deliver high quality instruction.
My article this week identifies and elaborates on five "key functions" that effective principals must have.  There is a link in the article to the Wallace Foundation Report entitled "The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning".  These five key skills identified by the Wallace research are: Shaping a vision of academic success for all students, Creating a climate hospitable to education, Cultivating leadership in others, Improving instruction, and Managing people, data, and processes to foster school improvement.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 16, 2012

Five Big Trends for Education in 2012-2013

My pick this week is an interesting read making some predictions about educational trends in the year to come.  These predictions are featured in an educational blog,  and come from Marian Salzman <http://mariansalzman.com/> , CEO of global integrated marketing communications agency Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Some predictions are no surprise, but others are intriguing:  “…if you believe that, in the age of globalization, the concept of an Ivy League of educational superiority will remain a uniquely American offering, think again.”

Indeed, this piece is just another reminder that things are changing . . . . 

12 Most Useful Ways Kids Can Learn With Cell Phones
My selection this week centers around the idea of integrating Cell Phones in to the classroom instruction.  As we all know, more and more of our students are coming to schools with cell phones, and they want to be constantly “connected.”  As our teachers are looking for new ways to hook our students in, the use of Cell Phones proves to be an extremely popular route to take.  
As the article states, “In order for adults to connect with our kids and students, we need to mobilize.”

Eight Steps to Meaningful Grading
In Hilliard Schools, we are engaging our teachers in discussion around grading and homework practices during Late Start time.  Administrators and teachers alike are wrestling with our beliefs   about the role of practicing skills for a score.  Should students be graded on their practice?  I am personally glad that my first driver's license was not based on the number of times I needed to develop proficiency in parallel parking.
The article "Eight Steps to Meaningful Grading" gives teachers' tips for transitioning to standards-based grading.  

4 Lessons The Classroom Can Learn from the Design Studio
"Designers collaborate across disciplines, give and take criticism, and embrace failure in the process of solving problems.  Wouldn't children benefit from the same skills in school?"  Lifelong learning for both students and teachers must contain the elements of rigor, critical collaboration and public exhibition.  We should think of teaching as a design studio for curious minds, and as such, teachers will need to respond creatively as they plan learning experiences that will challenge today's student. 
Lesson design came to my mind as I was reading this article.  Intentional design which embraces "best practices" and 21st century practices has to be carefully planned.  It takes time, as well as review and revision.  The data team is an excellent forum for this process to take place.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Webinar: Establishing Purpose for Learning

Webinar #7: Establishing Purpose for Learning

We’ve been discussing “Knows and Applies Best Practice” all school year.  We’ve also been studying Doug Fisher’s “gradual release” model for successful instruction.  This webinar begins to dig even deeper into both with a focus on establishing purpose and exactly how and when we should do it in the classroom.

Establishing Purpose (2011-2012) from Hilliard City Schools on Vimeo.