Analyzing Data and Driving Instruction & Student Engagement

Data-Analysis-Model_Complete_large2nd Qtr assessments are in and there’s some data to go through. What I’m looking for here are trends in student performance and item analysis. Conversations with teachers are centered on What instructional strategies were being used and what do we need to do differently to get better results. The district is pushing the research-based strategy of Summarizing to improve literacy. Our 4th grade teachers have been trained, and I am monitoring it’s implementation. There’s also information about focusing on the “Tested 7”. Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?
1. Activating background knowledge to make connections between new and known information. In many classrooms, this instruction is divided into three categories of connection as defined by Colleen Buddy – text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world (Buddy quoted in Keene and Zimmerman, 2007).

2. Questioning the text. Proficient readers are always asking questions while they read. Sticky notes (post-its) have become ubiquitous in classrooms in part because they are such a useful tool for teaching students to stop, mark text, and note questions as they read.

3. Drawing inferences. Proficient readers use their prior knowledge about a topic and the information they have gleaned in the text thus far to make predictions about what might happen next. When teachers demonstrate or model their reading processes for students through think-alouds, they often stop and predict what will happen next to show how inferring is essential for comprehending text.

4. Determining importance. In the sea of words that is any text, readers must continually sort through and prioritize information. Teachers often assist readers in analyzing everything from text features in nonfiction text like bullets and headings, to verbal cues in novels like strong verbs. Looking for these clues can help readers sift through the relative value of different bits of information in texts.

5. Creating mental images. Readers are constantly creating mind pictures as they read, visualizing action, characters, or themes. Teachers are using picture books with students of all ages, not necessarily because they are easy to read, but because the lush and sophisticated art in these books can be a great bridge for helping students see how words and images connect in meaning-making.

6. Repairing understanding when meaning breaks down. Proficient readers don’t just plow ahead through text when it doesn’t make sense – they stop and use “fix-up” strategies to restore their understanding. One of the most important fix-up tools is rereading, with teachers demonstrating to students a variety of ways to reread text in order to repair meaning.

7. Synthesizing information. Synthesis is the most sophisticated of the comprehension strategies, combining elements of connecting, questioning, and inferring. With this strategy, students move from making meaning of the text, to integrating their new understanding into their lives and world view.

Goal Achieved 80+ % Proficiency!

Our 4th qtr end of grading testing results indicate 80+ % of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are proficient. That may not be a big deal to some school leaders, but it is to us. We are a urban magnet school with 80+ percent of our student receiving free or reduced lunch. What we just accomplished kills the notion that poor students cannot learn. What it took was innovative teaching & learning combined with focused leadership, dedication and high expectations for all. Now we begin a new quest, The Common Core. I am excited as this will include more rigor and relevance. We will also implement a heavy dose of tech integration, to promote and demonstrate those higher order thinking skills. Sorry for the delay in post, but I will try to update more frequently. A lot going on, you know I’m sure. Feel free to leave a comment!

Halfway Pt. Yr. 2 Sch Admin-“What I’ve Learned so Far”

Halfway point of my 2nd yr. as a school admin, what have I learned so far?

1.Say what you mean, mean what you say and follow through with what you expect.
This is for managing & coaching teachers and staff, communicate up front your expectations, get buy in and have accountability with implementation and outcomes.
2. Update staff regularly on routine polices and procedures. One slip up or mistake can be costly.
3. Students need authentic, engaging instruction. Continuous PD with teachers will help achieve this goal
4. Have a set of Non-negotiables, everyday in relation to instruction, teaching and learning. Research-based strategies that are proven to increase student learning and achievement.
5. Celebrate & acknowledge your staff’s & student’s successes daily. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work & effort.
Our goal is 80% or higher proficiency and high growth for our students. Halfway point data dig in next post!

Preliminary Results….

We received our preliminary results last week , and we are right at 77.8 % proficiency. Our goal was 80 % , and we are hopeful for a few more percentage points. Out of 28 elementary schools we rank 3rd highest in proficiency. We also made High Growth ( 60% of students making a year’s growth). Quite an accomplishment for two rookie admins, as this was Ms. Pugh’s first year as principal, and my first year as assistant principal. Also to mention we are 85% Free & reduced lunch, and a Title I school. Who said economically-disadvantaged students can’t perform academically. I know these standardized exams don’t mean that students have learned anything, but this is the measure we are being held to. Until they change the rules of the game, we are playing this game to win! Next up figuring out what worked well this year , and planning for next school year.

Test results are in…My first war room experience

We received our initial end of grade test results yesterday, and it sure was an eye opener! We had set an ambitious goal of 80% proficiency with 10% growth. Well let’s say we were a little below that, so students are allowed retakes if they are not at proficiency after the first test administration. We have a week to plan and implement remediation, then students who didn’t pass the first time take it again. These retakes count towards our overall proficiency and growth data. We analyzed the data from each class, looking at how close students were to passing. We looked at students who were within 10 or less percentage point from passing and grouped accordingly. The teachers chosen for remediation are our strongest educators. Numbers were crunched and we have a plan in place to achieve our goal, if we re mediate 70 students, 35 in reading 35 in math our goal is within reach. I will keep you posted and let you know our final results in two weeks.
peaceHigh Stakes Testing

4th Qtr Push…

Our last benchmark scores were encouraging, rumor has it our school is leading the district in proficiency! Our remediation plans are in place and we start today. 5 weeks left before testing, the race is on. Our goal is 80% or higher. We have regrouped students, issued double doses of curriculum where our students have shown weaknesses. Study Island, Accelerated Reader, Google docs and plain old fashion teaching with practice and repetition should do the trick. We have several observations to do to finish out the year, in addition to a core knowledge fair next month. Will keep you posted!