NCMSA10: Rigorous Schools and Classrooms

Ron Williamson – Eastern Michigan University

http://www.rigorineducation.com

Handout

MY THOUGHTS IN ALL CAPS…BY THE WAY RON AND I ARE NOT RELATED 🙂

Ron works with folks who are in School Leadership

People hold very different perspectives on what the word Rigor means…talking about rigor makes people feel like you are really challenging what they are currently doing IS THIS A BAD THING? I KNOW I ALWAYS WANT TO CHALLENGE AND PUSH MY THINKING

Midwest struggling with change from manufacturing economy to “something else” and schools aren’t sure how to make the shift

Agricultural industry in Oregon is having the same shift: no longer graduate high school and go work on a farm, farms are looking for folks with college degrees in business, agriculture, and chemistry.

“Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn t high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” –Barbara Blackburn, Rigor is NOT a Four Letter Word

COMPASS Model for Leading Change

  • Culture
  • Ownership and Shared Vision
  • Managing Data
  • Professional Development
  • Advocacy
  • Shared Accountability
  • Structures

Culture

  • Shapes norms and behaviors…unspoken rules about “the way we do things around here”
  • Visible through daily activities
  • Power of culture…new teachers develop “traditional practice” in less than 5 years in the classroom
  • Rituals/Ceremonies…one school had students walk across stage for grad. in order of GPA…many graduates refused to walk
  • Cultural Audit – List 5 adjectives that describe school’s culture, organize into common themes and discuss meaning
  • Walk the halls, what do you see? What is visible about student success? About the value of rigorous work?
  • Principal’s Lunch – Principal got cross section of students monthly during lunch asked them to “Tell me about your school.”

Ownership and Shared Vision

  • Involve stakeholders
  • Reduce isolation through collaborative work
  • Vision Letter – Ask teachers to write a letter describing how they will improve rigor in their classroom by end of school year…check back frequently
  • Hot Air Balloon – What would you see, hear, feel floating above school about rigor…what would it look like 5 years from now?
  • Challenge is getting people to agree on school’s vision
  • Fist to Five – tool for measuring consensus…fist=0, no support, 5=full support…many groups continue until everyone can hold up 3 fingers = broad level of support

Managing Data

  • Use multiple data collection tools
  • Don’t drown in data
  • 4 steps: Determine what you know, decide how to collect data, analyze data/results, set priorities and goals based on analysis
  • Student Shadow Study for data collection
  • Clear Expectations
  • Data Analysis

Professional Development

  • Job embedded
  • All day staff development is least effective
  • Develop shared language
  • Practical, hands-on activities
  • PRESS Forward Model: Purpose, Relationships/Connections, Expected Outcomes, Steps to Take, Support Needed, Forward
  • Follow-up on how to use the professional development in classroom…teacher to teacher works best

Advocacy

  • Build shared accountability
  • Planned public relations
  • Identify “movers and shakers” in building and in school community…How do you tap into them to support your schools?
  • Elevator talk…what would you say if you had 30 seconds to try and advocate for your school? READ THIS ONE IN PRESENTATION ZEN THE OTHER DAY
  • 1 Page Fact Sheet – single page advocacy document

Shared Accountability

  • Support teachers with change
  • Focus on results, not compliance with directives
  • Accountability through…everyday routines, supervisory practices, professional development, work with families and communities, students

Structures

  • Identify or create collaborative time
  • Schedules promote collaboration
  • Policy issues…grading, seat time, etc
  • Why do we put our bests kids with our best teachers and our kids who need more support with the newest teachers?
  • Schedule can be a very powerful tool…common planning time, shared classes, etc
  • Build in practices that promote ALL students to demonstrate their learning

GOOD INFORMATION FROM RON WILLIAMSON ABOUT HOW TO GET A SCHOOL CULTURE FOCUSED ON STUDENT SUCCESS AND RIGOROUS TASKS.  EXCELLENT INFORMATION IN THE HANDOUT. CHECK IT OUT AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

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