NIUSI ACCREDITATION STANDARDS: A BLUEPRINT FOR INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS

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1 1 NIUSI ACCREDITATION STANDARDS: A BLUEPRINT FOR INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS Elizabeth B. Kozleski 1 Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins Deidre Magee Anne Smith Jim Lundstrom About Us The National Institute for Urban School Improvement (NIUSI) is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. The mission of NIUSI is to support the building of capacity in urban schools and school districts so that ALL students are engaged in high quality curriculum and learning experiences that improve their ability to succeed in school and in post-school opportunities. NIUSI works to develop powerful networks of urban local education agencies and schools that embrace and implement a data-based, continuous improvement approach for inclusive practices. Embedded within this approach is a commitment to evidence based practice in early intervening in general education, universal designs for learning, literacy and positive social and behavioral outcomes for all students. NIUSI links existing general and special education networks to build robust, effective schools that work for each and every student. A critical feature of this work is the development of accreditation standards that guide effective school practice. These standards synthesize existing research and effective practice into a comprehensive picture of what schools can be: culturally responsive, inclusive school communities that create high quality learning experiences and outcomes for every student. 1 Authors reflect the individuals who have made substantial, written contributions to this document. 1

2 2 Rationale Standards help us reflect on our practice, ensure that what we value is manifested in our practice both in how we create community with families and their children and how practitioners work together to ensure that curriculum and instruction meet the highest standards: they ensure that every student has access and opportunity to learn and that students can and do achieve at the highest levels. Inclusive standards guide our practice. They represent agreed-upon, valued stances with regard to services to students and families. Inclusive Schools Inclusive schools value the individual contributions that each student makes to his or her learning community. In inclusive schools, students with diverse backgrounds, capabilities and support requirements participate in general education settings as full members of the learning community. Necessary services and instructional assistance for the students and teacher are provided within the classroom. Classroom teachers, in collaboration with support professionals, assume responsibility and accountability for designing meaningful learning experiences that maximize learner strengths and assure the success of all children in achieving curricular learning goals that meet high standards (Dorow, 1999). Inclusive teachers set and maintain high expectations and standards for all their students. Students are not held back from complex and demanding curriculum to get remediated. Instead, students are encouraged and engaged in complex problem solving that require access to high quality resources and knowledge bases in order to meet and exceed the state learning standards. Creating Inclusive Schools Systemic school change is a complex and difficult task. The challenge is great, but educators throughout our nation and around the globe are actively engaging the opportunity to transform education and how we go about the work of teaching and learning in our schools. Students bring diversity to schools in many forms. It is critical that schools are prepared to educate all students to the highest standards, building on the cultural and linguistic assets that every student transports to school on a daily basis. Schools that are successful at meeting this challenge are schools where teachers and other practitioners have built their practice on universal designs for learning that create access and opportunities to learn for each student. This kind of work is akin to the work of great architects who build buildings that accommodate differences in mobility, aesthetics, and use. Yet, over generations of rapid change, great architecture continues to provide public spaces that bring people from diverse perspectives together to enjoy art, the theater, literature or practice government, justice, and education. Similarly, great schools create learning opportunities that offer multiple avenues for accessing and engaging the curriculum and building complex and evolving understanding of the world we all inhabit. NIUSI s work is based on specific elements that distinguish great schools. Great schools Produce high achieving students. Construct education for social justice, access and equity. Expand students life opportunities, available choices and community contributions. Build on the extraordinary resources that urban communities provide for life-long learning. 2

3 3 Use the valuable knowledge and experience that children and their families bring to school learning. Need individuals, family organizations and communities to work together to create future generations of possibility. Practice scholarship by creating partnerships for action-based research and inquiry. Shape their practice based on evidence of what results in successful learning of each student. Foster relationships based on care, respect and responsibility. Produce high achieving students. Understand that people learn in different ways throughout their lives Respond with learning opportunities that work. Great schools that engage their families and students in this sustained effort provide inclusive environments that welcome, engage, and support the unique heritages of their students and families while pushing the boundaries of knowledge access, understanding, and generation. Why is accreditation important? Since the turn of the twentieth century, accreditation has had a major impact on the field of education in the United States. Accreditation responds to the need of every democracy for well educated citizens who consider the challenges of their communities to be the responsibility of every community member, working together for the common good. Strong public schools, committed to continuous improvement, produce a citizenry capable of solving the complex economic, social, and political issues of an increasingly global society. Accreditation is a process that ensures that schools are accountable for high quality teaching and learning that produces high quality results for all its students. Benefits to Students Increased performance. Accreditation focuses a school on improving learning for all students. Accredited, inclusive schools produce results for all their students Transportability. Families and their students can locate accredited, inclusive schools as they move from community to community, assuring continuity in school culture and outcomes. Benefits to Parents Accredited, inclusive schools focus on high quality education that leads to high student performance, ensures that students have access to a rich and varied learning environment, and that teachers and other practitioners provide a social and academic environment that focuses on service to the community and academic excellence. Benefits to Schools The accreditation process educates the schools and faculties who participate in a variety of ways. Accredited schools join a network of accomplished schools that share resources, best practices, and professional knowledge. Educators in accredited schools benefit from multiple resources (publications, manuals, software, professional development, and conferences), all of which assist them in school improvement. Through the accreditation process and resources, educators improve their ability to compile, 3

4 4 organize, and analyze data to inform teaching and learning in their schools. While No Child Left Behind sets minimum standards for all schools, the accreditation process recognizes that educational excellence for all students means moving beyond the minimum standards. Benefits to School Boards and the Community Accreditation provides school boards with independent, non-governmental validation that the schools they oversee are effectively using public funds to deliver quality education services to their students. Accreditation is a cost-effective way to engage all of the schools in a district in a coherent school improvement process and align local, state, and federal requirements. What does NIUSI accreditation mean? Accreditation means that educational programs, services, staff meet or exceed essential standards of educational quality. A review of the student body reveals that the school enrolls students regardless of their race, gender, ability, or language proficiencies. Student academic success is evident across the diverse range of students. All students are assessed and their assessment results are used to improve student academic outcomes as well as student life. This quality is validated by both a self-study and an on-site team of evaluators, reviewed by a commission of educators, and is recognized by other educational institutions. What are elements of a NIUSI accredited, inclusive school? We need a common framework for understanding the change work that we do. The framework must be grounded in the system that we seek to change: public education. NIUSI has used the Systemic Change Framework to guide its practice in schools (see Figure 1). It helps our district, school, family and practitioner partners understand what part of the system a particular strategy may target. It reminds us all that the core of our work must be successful learning results for students. Since school systems are products of the communities and the families that live there, family and community involvement are embedded actions at the district, school and professional levels. Each element of the framework defines the arenas in which leadership needs to emerge at that level. For instance, districts need to ensure that policies are developed and implemented that help individual schools make the best use of all the resources in a particular building. Schools need to be organized in ways that create space for teachers to have time to plan and learn together. Professionals need to understand and implement robust processes for assessing and teaching their students. Different types of activities and different roles people are highlighted in each of the levels of the framework. Such complex contexts require that strategies are differentiated, complementary, and coherent in order to leverage continuous change and improvement. Comprehensive and thoughtful school renewal and improvement occurs when educators, reformers, community members, and students understand systemic reform as the key for sustainable change. The following standards recognize this process and are essential for achieving results for ALL students. 4

5 5 Inclusive School Standards These standards represent 15 years of international work in building systems of education that are designed to create access, opportunity and connection to high quality curricula and educational outcomes for ALL students enrolled in public education systems. The standards are organized the levels of the Systemic Change Framework (http://www.urbanschools.org/pdf/transformedschools.pdf?v_document_name=transformed%20schools). Standard 1: Student Outcomes The school prepares graduates who display dispositions, use knowledge, and conduct research inclusively in four areas: service to the community and one another, pursuit of knowledge, democratic citizenship, and careers. Sample Indicators: Graduates understand and appreciate their own and others cultural identities. Graduates engage and sustain community service activities. Graduates are lifelong learners who actively pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth. Graduates are prepared to pursue post-secondary educational and vocational goals. Graduates understand and participate in democratic governance in their neighborhoods, local, state, and national communities. Previously non-achieving students enjoy learning with excellent achievement. Standard 2. Learning Standards. The school helps students achieve a broad knowledge base with depth of understanding in subjects aligned with state standards and annual assessment. The whole school community annually examines comprehensive data and sets learning goals and standards together. Sample Indicators: Learning goals and standards address the whole person and support post-graduation success. Professional development is embedded in the daily life of the school and supports ongoing improvement of practice tied to the targeted learning goals and standards of both students and adults. Students and adults assume responsibility for mentoring, supporting, and sanctioning conduct. Students collaborate with faculty and with each other during the learning process. Faculty work with local teachers, administrators, parents, and community groups in the design and delivery of educational opportunities. Students study an organized set of courses in the liberal arts and sciences. Students engage in advanced study in selected fields of liberal arts and sciences. Students develop skills and dispositions that will enable them to become lifelong learners. Standard 3. Learning Assessment Assessments are designed and developed in an equitable and fair manner that eliminates sources of bias or distortion and support personalized instruction for all learners. Sample Indicators: Students and teacher conduct self-assessments to continuously improve performance. Improvements in student achievement are evident and clearly caused by teachers and students understandings of individual student learning Student achievement is linked to appropriate and effective instructional and assessment strategies. A continuum of learning is evident and no student fails to achieve. 5

6 6 Innovative instructional changes are made in response to student learning data to improve student achievement. Teachers and support practitioners share information systems to improve their instruction and curriculum. Standard 4. Teaching Design & Practice Practitioners continuously assess, reflect and improve their practices in response to student and community needs both individually and collectively. Sample Indicators: Good to excellent achievement is evident with each and every student. Practitioners teaching designs and activities are differentiated, and include multiple measures of student performance based on both individual and collaborative processes. Student learning regularly takes place beyond the school walls. Professional development programs for staff focus directly on the knowledge and skills required to fulfill the performance expectations of their roles and to contribute to the achievement of the goals for improvement. Standard 5. Group Practice & Professional Learning Collaborative networks are in place that support and create a coherent, differentiated academic program for ALL students. Sample Indicators: Faculty is actively engaged in professional activities and research related to inclusion. A teaching as inquiry stance is evident across the school and community wide conversations focus on student and learning. Teachers engage each other in thoughtful, reflective dialogue and planning about student achievement. All support services staff are an integral part of the planning process among teams and their expertise is honored and valued. Structures are in place to orient and mentor new faculty, staff and related services practitioners into the school and its conceptual framework Faculty co-teach courses Standard 6. Inclusive Conceptual Framework The school has a conceptual framework that contains a strong inclusive focus and allows for professional and community growth in values, knowledge, and practices to educate ALL students. Sample Indicators: The framework has clear ties to current research and innovative practice The framework is evident in all classes through curriculum, syllabi, learning activities, and assessments The framework is reflected in faculty beliefs and practices as evidenced by classroom practices, faculty leadership in mentoring and curriculum development. Faculty commit time to the development of community relationships, particularly those that demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity. Faculty actively participate in local, state, and national initiatives to implement and improve inclusive practices. The framework is implemented and articulated across all grade levels and used to collaborate with feeder schools. 6

7 7 A climate exists in which students and adults feel valued, belong to the school community and are able to take both academic and social risks. School and community work seamlessly together to endure that the needs of each and every student are met. Community businesses and homes become common places for student learning, while school becomes a place where parents come for further education. Standard 7. Governance and Leadership The school s governance processes and leadership provide a structure for continuous, information-rich decision-making that focuses on improving outcomes for ALL students. Sample Indicators: A school leadership team composed of building administrators, faculty, family, and student members provides ongoing, information-based, leadership for school improvement focused on student accomplishments, learning, and achievement. Leadership team has systematic, participatory involvement with district administrators, teachers, parents, community, and students to keep the school on course for improvement. Leadership and staff continuously improve all aspects of the school structure through an innovative and comprehensive continuous improvement process that prevents student failures. Professional development is appropriate for the implementing the vision, supportive, collegial, effective, systemic, and ongoing. Summative, annual teacher evaluations are part of a continuum of professional learning that includes classroom coaching, inquiry, and student work analysis focused on student learning standards. Standard 8. Resource Allocation and Development The school is served by full-time, qualified teachers who are committed to inclusive practices and who work to deliver, sustain, and advance inclusive education. Faculty, staff, and community expertise is used effectively to enhance student learning. Resources are stewarded in such a way that they support the work of schools and practitioners, and are effectively leveraged to support student learning. Sample Indicators: Majority of program faculty are full time. Time and support are regularly provided to the faculty for professional and programmatic development Program evaluation is planned, purposeful, and integral to the program Time and resources are committed to the follow up of the experiences and performances of the graduates of the program School schedules and assignments ensure effective use of school personnel and time in order to maximize student learning. A systematic communication structure exists among and between faculty and students The school is effectively organized to maximize teacher collaboration across grade levels and feeder schools. Planning and reflection time are incorporated into the workday and focus on the improvement of student and adult learning. Community, parent, and business partnerships become integrated across all student groupings. Staff turnover is low. The institution is open to designing agreements and resolving challenges related to inter-institutional partnerships The institution provides time, money, personnel, and space for a quality collaborative program 7

8 8 Institutional administrators encourage and support faculty development of initiatives and grants designed to provide the resources and materials for a quality inclusive program. Standard 9. Physical Environment and Facilities. The physical environment is aesthetically pleasing and organized to enhance student learning for ALL students. A safe atmosphere exists within the school, in terms of both physical structures and personal safety. This safe atmosphere is protected and evaluated continuously as a necessary component of improving the school. School pride is evident among staff, students, and community, who work together to maintain physical cleanliness and school attractiveness. Authentic examples of student work are appropriately displayed on a regular basis. Institutional facilities are accessible The institution provides accommodations for students with diverse learning needs District Standards Standard 14. Culture of Renewal & Improvements A culture exists that supports growth and development personally, professionally, and organizationally across the system. Risk-taking and failure are seen as opportunities for growth. A pervasive, relentless focus on student learning and student outcomes drives inquiry and decisionmaking. Continual investment in and improvement of adult learning is a vital strategy for achieving student learning goals Teaching is a public enterprise that thrives on the continuous networking of professionals and community for the purpose of improving the outcomes for each and every student. The district s mission and vision are context-based, compelling and implemented so that the following are evident across the system: o The public purpose of schools to educate citizens who participate actively in democratic processes. o o The vital role of the family and community in educating the community s children. The role that schools play in helping communities achieve social, economic, and political equity for all members of the community. Standard 10. Infrastructure & Organizational Supports The district has an administrative structure that is cross functional in decision sharing, working arrangements, flexible teams, and individual and collective reflection on effective practices. Each building has a district level administrator who mentors the building to coordinate and support technical assistance and professional development. Ongoing collaboration among district, schools, unions, and community provides for strong policies and procedures for retaining quality staff and removing unsatisfactory staff. A shared understanding exists among all stakeholders about the nature of schooling; diversity is valued for its contributions to the school environment, culture, and teaching practices. Standard 11. Resource Development & Allocation The district is service-oriented, serving to reach all students in the district--public, charter, and, and choice- -resulting in equitable distribution of resources for all schools. 8

9 9 Resources from externally funded projects and initiatives are leveraged with other resources. The district has developed and implemented efficient, effective strategies for supporting and sustaining the requests of schools for services. Standard 12. Student Services A coherent system supports and promotes school renewal and improvement through: a primary focus on student needs; proactive rather than reactive response to schools; in time responses to changing school needs. Seamless services to schools are provided through horizontal and cross-departmental teaming of all specialists, including special education and related services, language and literacy services, athletics, and the arts as well as the curriculum and instruction professionals. Standard 13. District/Community Relationships The community engages in an ongoing assets mapping process that involves the faith, business, education, commerce, and non-profit communities, resulting in productive and sustainable partnerships. Schools use assets mapping within their communities to strengthen community ties and enhance what the school does for students. Standard 15. Inquiry on School & Schooling The District website houses a set of inquiry and data collection tools as well as longitudinal data that are available to buildings for inquiry purposes. Schools are recognized for tracking and using data on student climate, family involvement, student achievement, et. to make thoughtful, systemic and programmatic improvement to their work, resulting in improved outcomes for each and every student. 9

10 10 Overview of the Accreditation Process Accreditation is awarded in one year terms, approved every (July) Schools may have multiple banners Step Steps in the Process District Responsibilities Building Responsibilities NIUSI Responsibilities 1 Application for Complete Application Participation in the completion Provide application District Accreditation of the application pre-assessment 2 Preliminary Training District site liaison attends NIUSI retreat Building level representatives attend workshop as district Provide orientation to Systems Thinking determines 3 NIUSI appoints a None None Coach and chair are trained coach and review chair 4 Preparation for baseline assessment visit Create profile Provide information for the district profile Identify assessment team ( use site liaisons to serve on team) 5 Preliminary baseline systems assessment District hosts 2 day assessment School hosts 2 day assessment Build and establish leadership team Review, align and implement vision, mission and beliefs Review report of assessment team Provide staff and/or building visit as require by the assessment team Build and establish school leadership team Review, align and implement Mission, Goals and beliefs Identify needs and align goals with the district Assessment team members receive training Provide materials to support the steps NIUSI materials developed and provided 6 Strategic and Improvement planning Identify needs and establish priorities and goals Identify assessments for evaluation of programs and systems Create or modify strategic planning Identify needed professional development 7 Coaching Provide coach with preliminary plan and access to leadership team Provide for review of plans with external feedback and review for each building in the district Create plan to address the identified needs at the building, department and classroom level Identify assessments for evaluation of the plan Coordinate professional development needs with the district Provide coach with preliminary plans and access to building leadership teams if requested Provide materials to support the steps Provide trainers to support the steps Coach provides external review of the goals and plans at the district level Review and offer feedback to the district on how it is providing the building with review and 10

11 11 Step Steps in the Process District Responsibilities Building Responsibilities NIUSI Responsibilities external feedback 8 Implementation Strategic plan implemented and/or modified as a result of newly identified priorities and goals Improvement plan implemented and/or modified as a result of newly identified priorities and goals Coach provides ongoing assistance as requested by the district wit h at least one contact per year 9 Monitoring and Documentation 10 Documentation Team Visit ( Original baseline assessment team and coach) Systems Assessment, review of results, and validation criteria Formative monitoring and adjustments made in the strategic plan Document results and prepares a progress report Provide documentation reports to the Documentation Team Host a 2 day on site post systems assessment Formative monitoring and adjustments made in the improvement plan Document results and prepare s summary building level report of results for the district Host a minimum of ½ day valid visit by an external team member Confirm implementation of plan Confirm building level results Validate NIUSI selected accreditation criteria Provide requirements and template for progress reports Provide district with written assessment results and next steps from the team report Determine if the district is functioning at an exemplary recognition level 11 Accreditation None None Complete review and accreditation process 12 Continuous Begin new cycle Begin new cycle NIUSI determines if Improvement any requirements are different for second cycle 11

12 12 Accreditation Policies and Procedures How is accreditation decisions made? Using the information that the school submits and the results from the audit visits, NIUSI will make a recommendation regarding accreditation to the NIUSI Committee on Accreditation and School Improvement. Three possible recommendations include: 1. Recommendation for accreditation The school has no violations of the NIUSI standard and criteria or has very few violations for which they have plans to correct those deficiencies within the next two years. 2. Recommendation for candidacy The school has more than three violations of the NIUSI standard and criteria and has a plan to meet and correct those deficiencies within two years. A candidate school has three years to move into accredited status. 3. Recommendation that the school withdraw its application At this time the school cannot meet the accreditation standard and criteria. Schools are encouraged to apply again when they are ready. 12

13 13 What does your systemic framework look like? Use a green highlighter to indicate elements that you are at or above standard Use a yellow highlighter to indicate elements that you are developing Use a red highlighter to indicate elements that you are beginning Once you color your systemic framework, consider these questions: 1. How robust are efforts at all levels of the system? 2. Is there a particular level that seems noticeably stronger than others? 3. Are there areas that seem critical to continued growth? 4. What kinds of assets currently exist? 5. What assets will you need to improve? 13

14 14 Overview of Your Results District Element Resources Development & Allocation District/Community Partnership Inquiry on School & Schooling Student Services Cultural Renewal & Improvement Systemic Infrastructure & Organizational Support School Element School/Community Relations Structure & Use of Time Governance & Leadership Culture of Change and Improvement Physical Environment & Facilities Resource Development & Allocation Professional Element Learning Standards Learning Assessment Teaching Design & Practices Group Practice & Professional Development Family Participation in Teaching & Learning 14

15 15 Your Path Reflect on your assessment results by answering the following questions. Make sure that you give everyone a chance to offer their perspectives as you discuss your answers. What other contexts are important for understanding where you are and where you want to be? Who benefits by the way things are? Who is disadvantaged by the way that things are? Who should be present as you make plans for the future? Where do you want your school to be in three years? Where do you want to be in two years? Where do you want to be by this time next year? What steps do you need to take in the next three months to reach your goals? Who do you need to enlist? Use the picture on the following page to map your path. 15

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17 APPENDIX A: Vignettes from Inclusive Schools and Systems Professional Effort Learning Standards: Learning Standards are critical to the learning environment and support student effort in providing students with the knowledge of what it is we need to know and be able to do in the classroom and in schools. At Standard Primary Grades Every class focuses on higher order thinking skills through reciprocal teaching approach. Teachers revise report cards to address new standards. Grades 3-5 Every literacy standard is matched to a set of approaches to literacy teaching that are adopted and universally used across grades. Grades 6-9 Learning standards are posted in every classroom. Students complete quarterly evaluations of their teachers in relationship to accomplishing specific literacy standards. Grades Teams meet to work out the requirements of graduation i.e. academic vs. non academic diploma Learning Assessment: Learning assessment helps teachers understand the knowledge and skills of each student while defining goals for learning. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Teachers meet to devise accommodations for state testing materials Teachers use running records to assess literacy and math progress on a student by student basis. Teachers meet to assess student work products on a weekly basis Teachers use assessment to inform instruction Departments develop accommodations and adaptations to standards tests Assessment is formative, embedded and summative Grades Students grades are earned by standard, not by course A variety of assessment formats are used to meet the needs of learners Teaching Design & Practice: Practitioners thrive and are better able to innovate, support student effort and outcomes when their organization supports and encourages their creativity and professionalism. At Standard Primary Grades Classrooms focus on the writing process 1/3 of the day spent in small group activities 1/3 of the day spent in large group activities 1/3 spent in active learning activities Cross-age tutoring Thematic Units Use of co-teaching models for inclusion Grades 3-5 Coaching used to follow-up differentiated instruction inservice Co-teaching and scheduling are used to foster inclusive practices Grades 6-9 The language teacher handed out the rubric for performance standards so that students could pre-assess their competencies before direct teaching began. Students determined what they already knew and what they had to learn to receive the highest performance grade Grades Vertical teaming to share practices Interdisciplinary teams are used to connect student learning Group Practice & Professional Development: The literature on effective and inclusive schools, in addition to identifying specific educator practices, also highlights the need for collaboration among and between general and special 17

18 educators. School professionals need support, training, and coaching in order to implement high quality, inclusionary practices effectively. At Standard Primary Grades Staff study of learning styles and how they affect children. Self-study on student motivation to learn. A group of 2nd grade teachers met regularly to coach and support their work. Grades 3-5 Vertical teaming to align instruction and teaching. Grade level teams collaboratively develop into learning communities Grades 6-9 The speech language teacher teaches language lessons to the whole class using the content of whatever the teacher is teaching that day i.e., medieval history might be a vocabulary matching game played in cooperative groups. Teachers teamed with TCs to use inquiry to understand gender equity issues. Grades House teams integrate curricula across content areas of English, social studies, math and science. Students with disabilities meet with core teachers to identify specific accommodations and modifications that need to be used to accomplish each quarter s standards. Family Participation in Teaching & Learning: Urban schools need families not only to support school efforts outside of school, but more importantly, to contribute to the ongoing mission and operations of the school. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Parents are invited to actively participate in student learning in and out of school. Teachers meet to devise accommodations for state testing materials. Teachers use running records to assess literacy and math progress on a student by student basis. Teachers meet to assess student work products on a weekly basis Teachers provide parents with strategies to facilitate home learning. Parents are apprised of state and district requirements for academic progress. Parents are actively involved in school improvement planning process. Departments develop accommodations and adaptations to standards tests Grades Students grades are earned by standard, not by course School/Community Relationships: Close school/community relationships are at the heart of successful, comprehensive, and inclusive urban schools. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 PTA organized services night. Brought in community services people. Partnership established with local businesses Transition days in the spring of each year for 5 th graders and 8 th graders After school tutoring and activity program Grades Family nights with food prepared by high school students for each house each quarter. Resource Development & Allocation: In a transformed, inclusive school learning and other educational supports are organized to meet the needs of all students rather than historical conventions or the way the rooms are arranged in the building. At Standard Primary All Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Grades Reallocation of textbook money to purchase trade books for teachers The hiring team states it inclusion philosophy and asks candidates to discuss their approach to inclusion of students with disabilities. Pay for performance. On-going professional development is available to keep staff abreast of strategies for more inclusive instruction. Aligned with school improvement plan to support goals Principal releases teachers for coaching. Separate administrators for each house Teacher candidates in this partner school release teachers for planning and coaching time Separate administrators and special services teams for each house 18

19 Involvement of counselors in class-based self-determination groups Active recruitment of teacher candidates from local partner schools Structure & Use of Time: Without time during the work day to meet, discuss, and challenge one another s ideas and activities, it is difficult to imagine many educators achieving the quality of dialogue and inquiry necessary for sustained, whole school improvement. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Use of parent volunteers to host reader s and writer s workshops All students in the general education classroom. Each grade level has a support person who works directly in the classroom. This person may be the speech/language therapist, the special educator, the Title 1 specialist or the child advocate. Early release day once a week. All students in the general education classroom. Special educators serve as in-class technical assistance support and co-teachers. Common prep time. All students assigned to home room in general education. Each team has a learning specialist who teaches a fourth class--the learning specialist supports a full class load of diverse learners like all the other classes. Grades Common prep and governance time for each house. Common advising time for all students. Governance & Leadership: The most challenging students require the combined expertise of many individuals including administrators, teachers, mental health personnel, community advocates, and students themselves. The use of building-level leadership teams creates the opportunity for shared decision-making resulting in important benefits to students with and without disabilities. At Standard Primary Grades Staff involvement in inquiry group. Professional development focused on school-centered making. School improvement plan is a working document that is used by all teachers to guide work. Grades 3-5 BLT targeted improved CSAP--developed plan that supports timely use of assessments. Grades 6-9 Three grade-level schools within schools. Building Leadership Team developed plan for improved communication and feedback loops across the building. Grades School within school vertical cohorts of students. House-based leadership teams. Physical Environment & Facilities: By using the space and equipment thoughtfully, school professionals can reduce the amount of talking they do to manage the group and increase the time students spend learning the explicit curriculum. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Classrooms have a variety of age appropriate tables, chairs, desks, floor mats. Students art work is displayed throughout building. Science classes develop projects that target beautifying the school grounds. Classrooms located in the same area of the school. All students are engaged in service projects to enhance the building s appearance. Computer, science and math classrooms include appropriate furniture. Grades Culture of Change & Improvement: A school must provide the intellectual and emotional climate to support sustained improvement of practice. Teachers and other practitioners must use the information that students provide about their learning progress to inform curriculum and teaching decisions. At Standard Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Grades Professional development in the form of coaching, inquiry teams, visitations to other schools. Practitioners use grade level planning and co-teaching to enhance student learning. Practitioners host team reflective work group meeting. Use of portraiture to examine strengths and barriers. 19

20 District Effort & Support Infrastructure & Organizational Supports: The functions of central administration must be organized in such a way that efficiency and individualization are accommodated. Thoughtful supports provide coherent, continuous opportunities for improved practices. Primary Grades Grades 3-5 Grades 6-9 Grades All Grade Levels At Standard Literacy and math coaches assigned to each school as a part of staff. Monthly meetings of literacy and math coaches to disseminate information and instructional strategies to be used in schools. Literacy and math coaches assigned to each school as a part of staff. Monthly meetings of literacy and math coaches to disseminate information and strategies to be used in schools. Content area team leaders selected by school administrator to act as team leaders. District supported monthly meetings to disseminate information and instructional strategies to be used in schools. Content area team leaders selected by school administrator to act as team leaders. District supported monthly meetings to disseminate information and instructional strategies to be used in schools. Professional development at the district is driven by school improvement targets; building teams are networked; a focus is placed on the development of skill at the building level. Each building has a district level administrator who is assigned to the building to coordinate and support technical assistance and professional development. All schools are linked via and the Web. ust In Time Feedback Cycles Data on student achievement are received by building in May so that leadership teams can target school improvement goals and professional development efforts for the next year. The District web-site houses a set of inquiry and data collection tools that are available to buildings for inquiry purposes. District personnel provide rapid turn around for data analysis. Resource Development & Allocation: Districts strategically and flexibly develop and allocate resources to support the work of schools. At Standard All Grade Levels Scaling Up & Down to maximize Resources Technical assistance and professional development opportunities are made available on the basis of need for improvement on a school by school basis. Schools are rewarded for tracking and using data on student climate, family involvement, student achievement to make thoughtful, systemic and programmatic improvements to their work. nvesting in School-Individualized Ongoing Professional Development Resources for professional development are focused on school improvement strategies and target professional development delivery models that have demonstrated high levels of practitioner change such as classroom coaching, peer coaching, and practice-based inquiry. Student Services: A range of services are available to students and families that involve practitioners other than teachers that are designed to realize all students potential. At Standard 20

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