Instructionally, we have placed our focus on the newly implemented Go Math curriculum, Teacher’s College Writing, and preparing for new ELL regulations that make necessary strong co-teaching strategies. In order to accomplish this, District Administration has proactively rolled out well-received professional developers to assist and support staff through each phase. Each of these individuals have added depth to our knowledge and place a value on making things happen and/or change at the classroom level. This practical model has enabled building Principals and instructional teams to invest in a process that they want to have ownership over. Student work, student growth, and true differentiation have been at the center of this conversation the entire way. Most importantly, student growth can be seen and assessed (student writing, AIMS Web) in tangible ways.
We have thoroughly embraced the Teacher’s College approach to student writing. We have spent several years building up to our current levels of proficiency, which included resource accumulation, training, and procedural trial and error. With the support of the District Administration, this year has enabled us to fully focus our efforts with universally accepted expectations and accountability beneath the guidance of our professional developer Constance Foland. For the first time we have participated in a total of eight (8) on demand writing sessions (pre/mid/post narrative and informational—pre/post argumentative). Using TC checklists, rubrics, and EXCEL, we have been able to track our growth, with some grades increasing proficiency upwards of 50%. Additionally, this data has allowed us to look at sub areas of need so that our instructional planning is more effective. Most importantly, and harder to record, are the smiles on the faces of children who are ultimately proud of their hard work as writers.