National Middle School Association 37 th Annual Conference Baltimore November 5, 2010 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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National Middle School Association 37 th Annual Conference Baltimore November 5, 2010
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National Middle School Association 37 th Annual Conference Baltimore November 5, 2010

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  1. Collaborative Conversation Essential for Middle-Level Success National Middle School Association 37th Annual Conference Baltimore November 5, 2010 Janet Angelis Kristen Wilcox Know Your Schools~for NY Kids

  2. Trust = 1 key to collaboration The single most important thing I would say is to build trust with your faculty. . . . You have to do a lot of listening. How many conversations do you have to listen to? … A lot. You have to make the person you are listening to more important than yourself. That’s huge. - Holland principal

  3. Collaborative Conversation Essential for Middle-Level Success • Share evidence of collaboration in middle schools with consistently higher-performing students • Structural and cultural support • Highlights from case study schools • Introduction to online resources • Opportunities to reflect on these practices in participants’ own settings.

  4. For each pair of statements (1-11), circle the one that better describes your own situation.

  5. We can do this together. • JFK Middle School Fire up the collaboration. Get department people to work across the curriculum. Pull out the data and use it as a magnifying glass to clarify what we are doing in the classroom. . . . Be reflective. - A.L. Leonard principal

  6. What we do well is the relationship between teachers and students and from teacher to teacher. . . . The whole school is one big family team. Kids see the team spirit and know that we have that kind of relationship with them also. - West educators

  7. /collaboration

  8. Findings Consistent with Other Research, Recommendations • Anfara • Bryk and Schneider • Fullan • Hargreaves • Lieberman • Dufours • This We Believe

  9. Background 2nd and 4th in a series of 5 studies • Elementary schools (2005) • Middle schools (2007) • High schools (2008) • Middle school science (2009) • Critical Needs (2011) Sample selection relies on achievement data (state assessments) over time

  10. Study Samples • 10 consistently higher-performing (HP) schools with 6 similar but consistently average-performing (AP) schools, based on state assessment data (Grade 8 Math & ELA). (MS Sci: 7 HP, 3 AP) • Favor poverty (F/RL) • Urban, rural, suburban • Open admissions • State average per pupil expenditures

  11. n = 17

  12. 2-day site visits Semi-structured interview protocols with teachers and administrators For science study, classroom observations Documentary evidence collection Analyzed and wrote case studies for each site Cross-case analysis to develop best practice frameworks and reports The data Methodology


  14. Collaboration: 3 Essential Components • A climate of respect and trust • Structures to support it • An expectation of collaboration Everyone is responsible for teaching all children. - Jefferson principal

  15. Collaboration, Trust, and Respect A self-reinforcing, positive cycle = getting to the sweet spot trust more collaboration formal/informal collaboration more trust

  16. Collaboration, Trust, and Respect It was a struggle. . . . At that point, I just asked myself, “Am I on an island here, or do I have somebody to help me that I believe in?” So that’s how we develop most everything. . . . We didn’t just change [things] for certain kids; we changed them across the board. Because if I was too wordy for her kids, guess what? I was too wordy for a third of my kids, too. - Oliver Winch science and special ed co-teaching team

  17. I can work with any faculty member in this school, which is a credit to the administration for picking the right people. • J.T. Finley teacher It’s hard to work in our structure if you want to work independently; you have to be collaborative. - Geneseo principal

  18. Trusting and Sharing: A Way to Work The collegiality amongst the five of us [subject area team], you can’t ask for much more. You really can’t. “I need this.” Cut, paste, bang, take. Take. Take. You change what you need to change. “Mr. X, I’m taking your name off this.” “I don’t really care.” Seriously: take, use, help, ask questions, come in, clarify. - Oliver Winch science teacher

  19. Collaboration and Respect: Looking for and Building on Strengths • Acknowledge what teachers and students do well • Look for strengths and build on them to fill gaps – including in state assessments • State assessments measure program > students • (Contrast deficit models) We communicate from one grade to the next. We respect teachers in the grades below. V-V-S teacher

  20. We believe that every child has a special gift. Our vision is to get that gift to come out. • Port Chester teacher Showing them they can do it no matter what. Don’t stress the disability. • West teacher

  21. Collaborative Structures: Who Meets? • Teams, Departments, Grades • Specialists – teachers (coteaching consulting) • SBDM/SDM, other school-community bodies • SSGs, SSSTs (teachers, specialists, families) • Committees: strategic planning, hiring, text selection, professional development • Leadership Teams Now we meet every other day for 42 minutes. . . . Before that we didn’t notice the kids as much – didn’t focus on them. The team time has allowed the school to focus on students. - Holland teacher

  22. Collaborative Structures: Schedules Typical meetings and schedules: • Teams/Clusters: several times/week; daily or more • Grade-level: several times/month (student focus) • Department: twice/month (curriculum focus) • Special ed – regular ed: daily • Daily opportunities for students to get help (AIS, tutorials, labs, etc.)

  23. Collaborative Structures: Teams • Responsible for instruction • First line of intervention • Bring in social services, parents, et al. as needed • Usually include special educators • More than core subject teams: PD, special projects, etc. Sharing information about a shared group of 120 students, we are never alone. - West teacher

  24. Sample Team Schedule, Port Chester MS

  25. Collaborative Structures, Schedules I meet once a week with my department, every day with the teams; we’re scheduled for it. The team meetsdaily. - Finley special educator Three out of five days, we have a scheduled period where the whole grade team meets. Special ed is included in that. We talk about all the kids who need help, across the curriculum, about the curriculum. . . . We can meet all five days if we want to. - Greene science teacher

  26. Each team has a team leader. Each department has a department head. . . . They teach. They have one less duty a day so they can . . . collaborate with teams and departments. Teachers meet informally at many times during the day, and many departments meet daily first thing in the morning. Departments meet at least once a month formally and teachers also meet on half days. - J.F. Kennedy principal

  27. Committees (school, community members) e.g., Hiring, Text Selection, Professional Development Team Members, Prof. Development Plan, Utica Teachers – 5 Parent - 1 Higher Ed – 1 UTA Pres – 1 TC Director – 1 Administrators – 5 Teaching Assist. – 1

  28. Collaborating with the Community • SDM not “Some Day Maybe” • Curriculum Councils • Strategic planning teams • Hiring committees The schools don’t stand separate and apart from the community. • Huntington administrator

  29. Community We can’t do it alone. . . . Parents are involved here. The faculty makes decisions collectively and the PTA is very involved. They want what is best for all the students, not just theirs. • Westbury principal

  30. Collaborative Opportunities for Students • Collaborative classrooms • Multiple opportunities to connect • Multiple opportunities for special attention – lunch, after school, tutorials • Opportunities to affect school policy • Recognition for more than academics and athletics I love to learn new things with students! - Port Chester teacher

  31. Students – Structures to Help Them Connect • Clubs and sports • Dedicated activity period • Identify the interest(s) of those most at risk • Recess for all • Keep up with changing demographic • Guide rooms We want to create enough niches to connect with students and parents in many difference ways. - V-V-S administrator

  32. Students -- Recognition • Lunch with the principal • Awards Focus on the high-achieving students. Call their names [on the PA], not the detention students. - Westbury teacher

  33. Collaborative Structures: Other Examples • Room assignments • Looping (“vertical teams”) • Instructional leaders We put classrooms and department offices in the same wings to increase communication. - J.F. Kennedy principal

  34. Our faculty meetings have turned into professional development; it’s very interesting. - Oliver Winch science teacher

  35. Collaboration Expectations: What Do They Talk About? • Student performance/needs – individually and collectively • Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction • School policy • Professional learning The center of the conversation is always how can we help kids do better. . . . Keep that focus all the time and it really helps direct where we need to go. - Johnson City principal

  36. Collaboration about Curriculum • Departments do own mapping – not handed down – and revisit it continually • Teams plan and do interdisciplinary units – all core subjects, some, with “encore,” etc. • Include special educators • May cross school levels – V-V-S Congruency meetings We’re always tweaking things [re the science curriculum]. - Armstrong (Wayne) science teacher

  37. Collaboration about Assessment • Daily, formative assessment by teachers • Some departmental assessments by district • Analyze state data; address program needs I’m constantly refining the unit as student needs appear; I do a lot of monitoring as students are working. Then I’ll meet with the group to talk about what I saw. - Niagara teacher

  38. When I think of our science program and how well they do, I do believe it’s because we have Core Groups. . . . We’re always looking at what each other is doing so that we make sure we’re covering the curriculum, we’re covering it in the right places, people are revisiting it, and the kids are getting everything they need so that they can be successful on those assessments. - Johnson City administrator

  39. Collaboration about Instruction • Literacy across the curriculum – with support • “Procedure/operations” terms • Know others’ standards but responsible for own We are all teachers of reading, so we always embed reading instruction in our science instruction. - Winch science teacher

  40. Collaboration about School Policy • Homework • Discipline • Hiring • Programs and texts We have a shared discipline philosophy. We share the way we do everything. Every one of my colleagues helps. Everyone knows the expectations for behavior [as well as] academics. - West teacher

  41. Collaboration = Professional Learning • Team time • Teacher Study Groups • Teachers Sharing New Skills - workshops Our teams are so small that they are always together and always talking. A big part of professional development comes from common planning time and common team time. - Holland teacher

  42. Collaboration: Expectations of Leaders From the Queensbury Administrator Interview Questionnaire: • Describe a time when you had strong convictions about a course of action but were then convinced to try another approach. How did it work out? • Describe your experience working as a team member – what makes you an effective team player? • How do you collaborate with colleagues? Please give examples.

  43. Even if we don’t all agree, what we are arguing over is what the best thing for kids is. • West teacher I have to say that the reason for those high scores is because we work collaboratively, professionally from 6th to 8th grade. - Oliver Winch science teacher

  44. Collaboration: A Case in Point Port Chester Middle School Classroom We are superstars at collaboration. Teacher Every teacher is a teacher of literacy. Principal

  45. Port Chester Middle School Total Enrollment: 790, gr. 6-8 2005-6PC MS state cf. 2009

  46. You need to work as a team; there’s nothing a teacher can accomplish alone. Teacher We are all ELA teachers. Teachers Grade 8 ELA results, 2006 J. Marino, 2007, Port Chester MS: Best Practices Case Study

  47. Rebuilding the Wheel You have to have staff involved in decision making. We have 8 or 9 new teachers coming in next year. We need to go back and rebuild the wheel to keep the wave going. . . . We need to constantly overhaul and do tune-ups. - Port Chester MS Assistant Principal

  48. Continuous Improvement Once you’re successful, getting that extra 5 or 10% is very, very difficult. But we’re not happy at 90%; we’re not happy at 95%. We’re not even going to be happy if we reach 100%. We’re always seeing ways that we can . . . improve. - Armstrong (Wayne) teacher

  49. Catch as catch can Expectation not articulated or clear Intermittent discussions Less decision making Each teacher responsible for own subject area Teachers left to own devices Teachers handed a curriculum New teachers “wait their turn” Scheduled time Expected Ongoing discussion of C,I, A, and student performance Decision-making ability Teachers reinforce skills across subjects Coaching, PD, support provided Teachers build living curriculum New teachers expected to play active role AP HP Collaboration

  50. So how many conversations do you have to listen to?