I noticed that the following criteria matter:
- Teaching each standard with depth
- Student practice
- Targeted individual support and help
- Optimal class size
- Apt materials and resources
- Qualified support
- Good attendance
As I thought about these criteria, I thought about how I'll use this knowledge to impact this year's teaching/learning program.
First, I'll make sure that every child gets the practice they need--when students don't practice, they don't master the standards. This means I'll provide lots of in school and home study practice options and coach each student when it comes to supporting that practice with in-school help during the school day plus a couple of extra help support sessions each week. I'll also work with families, teaching assistants, and the team to support children's needed practice in multiple ways.
I'll also keep track of who is completing the assignments and how they are doing. I'll institute the use of learning menus and self-assessments to support student growth as well as multiple classroom lessons, projects, and problems to support their learning.
I'll specifically teach the curriculum standard by standard weaving in MCAS problems when appropriate as well as other learning options including vocabulary and problem solving. Further I'll use tools and resources that I know have been successful in the past and try out new tools that colleagues point to as successful.
And, I'll advocate for systemwide supports that make a difference. For example a friend of mine in a school system other than mine had thirty students in her class last year. Many were disadvantages in a number of ways. She had little to no support. I looked at the MCAS scores from her school and they were dismal. My friend worked around the clock, but no matter how gifted, talented, or dedicated she is, no one can service thirty students with care--class size matters, and we're fooling ourselves if we don't pay attention to this. There is an equity quotient too when it comes to class size, and that equity quotient depends on the complexity and needs of a class. If a class, no matter what size it is, has great complexity that will affect the learning and needs to be considered with regard to supports.
Further, staffing and scheduling matters with regard to achievement--it's imperative that staff is qualified for the teaching expected and that scheduling creates a positive pattern of learning.
While I work in a school system that has substantial support and very good achievement, I believe there's always more we can do to build greater success and worthy learning for each and every student. With that in mind, I'll work with the team to support that learning. Onward.