SSC Principal Report, January 13, 2011

Download Here: SSC Principal Report, January 13, 2011

School Site Council, January 13, 2011

Principal Report

Salient Issues

  1. Jobs Bill
  2. New Administrative Changes
  3. Attendance Rate and District/Site Goals
  4. State Budget Crisis, Superintendent Visit next SSC meeting 3/10/11
  5. HW Center Grant: “After School Math and Reading Clubs”

Single Plan for Student Achievement Update

  1. Leadership Team Analysis of 2009-10 goals and  2010-11 proposed goals
  2. Next Steps

Independent Study Contract Board Policy

The district is in the process of developing several policies that are in need of being put into place or updated, some of these are being discussed at SSC and staff meetings for input, i.e. the movie policy that went before the SSC at our last meeting.

One such policy is the “Independent Study Contract Policy”, which is going to the school board tonight for a first read. The district is looking for staff and parent input before it goes for board approval at a later date.

  1. This new policy is in response to lost ADA and to support students who are out of school for at least 5 days and up to 20 days, either out ill or other.
  2. Teams of teachers have developed study packet sets to equate to the hours and subjects missed to be used across the district, which are generic and grade level appropriate.
  3. Parents sign the contract, along with the site administrator; work must be completed and submitted within 5 days of returning to school. The district will receive ADA based on the work finished per the contract.

“GATE” and the Process for Supporting High Achieving Students

  1. GATE funding
    [Identification and Professional Development]
    Districts are no longer receiving specified GATE funding from the state; in the past funding was used to formally identify GATE kids, starting in Grade 3 to “participate” in grades 4 – 8; and to provide professional development for teachers in the area of differentiated instruction, which is the heart of the GATE program plan.
  2. In the past, 4th grade teachers developed a Personal Learning Plan (PLP) to formalize the identified GATE students’ differentiated instruction, signed by teacher, student, parent and principal.
  3. All teachers, K-4, use Differentiated Instruction (DI) to meet the individual needs of all students—those performing below grade levels as well as for those at higher achievement levels.
  4. We use the Student Study Team (SST) Process to develop action plans to meet the individual needs of any student that might be in need of  either more support or “something else” to meet their individual needs. This includes high performing students. If a teacher has a student whom she/he feels they need additional strategies to help meet the needs of these students they can call an SST and the team brainstorms ideas and develops a plan (see handout). We review the student’s strengths, gather all relevant information, identify the concern or need and present levels of performance; we list the current modifications or interventions currently being used, and then as a team make recommendations for additional strategies or ideas and who and when these ideas will be implemented—it is a team approach—all are responsible, including the teacher, the parent, the student, or any other staff member who is part of that plan.The strategies can vary and are unique to each student and situation, and would include differentiation instruction and/or curriculum. The plan might also include collaboration with other grade level teachers etc.The plan is put into place and then we reconvene in 6-8 weeks to review if the new strategies are working or if they need to be tweaked or revised, or new strategies added.Parents who have a concern that their child’s needs may not be being met in the regular classroom program can also call an SST through the school principal or request one be set up through the classroom teacher.
  5. Some examples of differentiated instruction that I have recently observed in my classroom observations in the last couple of weeks include:
    1. 1st grade literature circle (described)
    2. 3rd grade Every Day Math game (described)
    3. 4th grade mental math lesson, followed by learning a new strategy to add to their multiple ways of solving a multi-digit multiplication problem. (described)
    4. These are only 3 examples, but I see examples every day within my talks with teachers and in my classroom visits.
    5. DI is naturally embedded in reading and writing lessons; it is more of a challenge with mathematics, but the curriculum offers suggestions and different versions of games and activities based on different skill level.
  6. There is much to say about how teachers meet the needs of varying levels of student abilities, and I plan on writing about this more in my Principal’s Bulletins and posting to our webpage. We know that the best instruction happening in the classroom is not necessarily very clear to parents. Gone is the workbooks and worksheets of math that get graded and sent home; and the papers that do go home aren’t usually the best indicator of the classroom lesson or learning. Homework also is not always a very good indicator of what is happening in the classroom. Some of the deeper math instruction might be a cooperative learning activity, a math game or mathematics solved on individual white boards. It is my hope to help parents see some of these examples of exemplary classroom lessons that are differentiated and not only support students needing extra help, but to challenge and enrich our higher performing students as well.
  7. The goal of DI is not to “accelerate” students to the next grade level, but to go deeper or expand on their grade level learnings. Teachers use questioning techniques to differentiate instruction; they know who their students are, what their learning needs are, and adjust their questions accordingly, with students not even being aware of the differentiation.