School Improvement: The Fundamentals and Framework

Session notes from “School Improvement: The Fundamentals and Framework,” presented by Tonya Goree.

What was the speaker’s main message?

Instructional Culture: How I can support you

What were the speaker’s best quotes?

  • “Schools tend to be programs rich, systems poor.”
  • “Planning is an opportunity, not a requirement.”
  • “Using data strategically and effectively allows leaders to leverage authentic opportunities that address students’ interests, strengths, and needs.”

What were the top ideas from the session?

  • Instructional Practice Assessment (work with Building Leadership Team): within first 30 days of school, identify and review all instructional programs, evaluate to determine impact (use data), all resources, and perfect alignment.
  • Common Instructional Components: student achievement, common curriculum (eliminates educational disparities in students), common planning (an opportunity to sit and discuss all the great things we will do for kids), and common assessments.
  • Building capacity for rigorous teaching: professional development; campus-specific instructional strategies, video coaching; instructional monitoring system; walk-throughs, not evaluative; and staff assignments.
  • Instructional coaching leadership team: coaching the coach (adopt effective, lasting leadership styles; build a toolkit of strategies to support teachers; set goals in measurable terms; apply elements of effective feedback to observation; and facilitate most effective coaching and conversations) and team collaboration (consistent message, continuous growth, aligned systems, and focused priorities.)
  • Leveraging the data to support decision making: campus data plan; define norm and process (set campus expectations and share data among team); align (content members commit to process and form own response plans); build capacity (train staff on what data meetings look like and strategies to reteach, clarify, and extend student learning); clear the path (provide teachers with ready-to-use student data to implement intervention plans); action plan (regularly scheduled schoolwide data meetings, use data action plan, monitor and adjust, and root cause analysis).
  • Accelerated Student Learning: High-dosage tutoring (intensive, 1:1 or no more than 3 students, at least 30 minutes, part of school day, daily or no less than 3 times/week; build prerequisite knowledge and skills while integrating new knowledge as part of grade-level curriculum; and scaffold academic content).

What is one strategy that you will implement immediately?

Pre-conference with teachers during the first four weeks of school on individual instructional goals then set-up formal walk-through cycles with feedback.

What is one idea that you want to learn more about?

How to quickly provide teachers with ready-to-use student data to implement intervention plans.

Notes by Tiffany Rehbein, principal, Bain Elementary School in Cheyenne, Wyoming.