|Race To The Top|
Ohio, Massachusetts Select Thinkgate to Provide Online Learning and Data System For Educators
COLUMBUS – Ohio’s schools will have access to a state-of-the-art system that lets teachers analyze student achievement and select the best learning resources under a contract awarded today.
Thinkgate, LLC has been selected to provide an instructional improvement system (IIS) for schools in Ohio and Massachusetts. Both states’ education agencies agreed to create powerful online learning platforms as part of their federal Race to the Top grants and teamed up to conduct a competitive procurement.
Dr. Schmiesing and Vivian Garfunkel viewed the webinar and are processing information.
We are starting a new column entitled, “Leadership NEWS”. The purpose behind the new column is to introduce various leadership teams and their members as they describe what they have been working on so far this year. Please submit a short summary of your accomplishments via email to either Vivian Garfunkel or Elizabeth Hicks. This week meet Dove Dym!
The Committee for Blended Learning Improvement Program, C.B.L.I.P. led by Mr. Dov Dym, has been formed and includes Mr. Dennis Mendelson and Ms. Alia Lahoud.
We have been meeting regularly to find ways to improve Blended Learning and are discussing various ways to increase attendance and academic improvement.
To this end, a regular and consistent communication program with parents and guardians of our students has begun. We are also beginning to work on a Behavioral Contract tailored to the Blended Learning Program; this is based on the Behavioral Expectations created by Ms. Monske’s Behavioral Committee Team.
Focused IEP behavioral and academic work is being implemented to target the specific needs of our IEP students; we are also building ongoing portfolios for every student. In addition, we are working on helping students fill out job applications and create real authentic resumes they will use as they transition into adulthood.
Race to the Top (Rttt) Highlights of Leadership Accomplishments
Accelerated Reader-Kristina Glusauskas
Virtual Schoolhouse has integrated the Accelerated Reader Program into Language Arts classes throughout Elementary and Middle School. This program proves to be a successful reading program and we're happy to make it available for all our students to use. Each student is given a unique username and password to access Accelerated Reader, take online quizzes, and keep track of their scores. Accelerated Reader is essentially a three step program. Students first read a book (fiction or nonfiction), magazine, textbook, etc. Students may read individually, as a whole group, or in small group settings. Students then individually take the quiz that corresponds with what they just read. Points are earned based upon their quiz results.
Accelerated Reader Teams team meets once every month and is currently in the process of reviewing students’ progress reports. Our goal is to improve students’ reading fluency and comprehension. To accomplish this goal, we will continue to use Accelerated Reader.
Committee for Blended Learning Improvement Program- Dove Dym, Leader
The C.B.L.I.P. is working on implementing Targeted Work in order to meet the specific IEP goals of each special education student. We are also doing a lot of individual one-on-one work with our students that assist us in meeting those goals. The committee meets regularly regarding IAT status of students who may need IAT recommendation. We have done a good job in increasing our attendance as the committee members have been calling parents and students who were absent the day before and did not work from home. This has helped improve both attendance and our student’s overall academic progress. We are vigilant about calling our students to take the OGTs and will also contact those students who need to take any make-up tests. In addition, we have been building ongoing student portfolios of class work and are currently working on creating Resume/Transitional Portfolios for the Portfolio Exhibition.
Community Outreach Liaison-Jill Leyser, Leader
In my leadership position for community outreach, I have been in charge of collecting additional materials for colleague’s brothers who are stationed with the military overseas. Students have made cards and art projects; created poems and attempted to make brownies as well. I have also had each classroom bake cookies that will be donated to local AA groups and homeless shelters. I am currently working on getting Target to add VSH to the list of schools that money can be donated to when purchasing something at their store . I am also in the process of calling local free clinics and day cares to see if we can provide them with flyers about our school as well as maybe recruit some new students for enrollment into kindergarten and first grade! Other projects we are working on thus far include working on a reading program where students receive free coupons from McDonald’s when they complete a book.
Curriculum Team Leader-Josh Sowers
Curriculum Team has been working together to follow the FIP model to unpack the standards into learning targets. There have been weekly presentations from our staff about how to manage data, and how to increase attendance. Currently we have been working to implement a PBIS behavior tracking system as well as select a reading curriculum. Weekly staff meetings are being used as a professional development tool as it a valuable way to share information from various other happenings around the school, i.e. FIP, Behavior committee, and BLT.
Girl Scout School Coordinator, Leader-Elizabeth Hicks
Grant Writer Leader -Elizabeth Hicks
FIP Leader -Lower Elementary- Caitlin Blaine
Introduction of FIP and its expectations was presented to the teachers. We have viewed and discussed the modules and formulated teachers opinions on points they believe could help them or others in achieving their goals. Some teachers have decided that they wanted to match the standards with learning targets and will meet after break to discuss how to accomplish these goals.
Parent Advisory Team-Josh Sowers
Attendance continues to be the main focus for Parent Advisory Board. We have made phone calls for approximately an hour with a parent volunteer and another teacher. Together we called almost all of the elementary students’ parents regarding attendance at the Parent Advisory Board Meetings. One new parent has attended from these calls. Next Advisory Board Meeting will incorporate a “movie night” so parents can bring their kids, and the movie will keep them entertained while we meet.
Reading Ambassador-Kristen Day
Family literacy night events have been held this school year giving parents the opportunity to become involved in their child’s education. The next event will be held in April. Secondly, we have incorporated the Secret Reader in the lower Elementary. Parents volunteer to come in and read to their child’s classroom. In addition to getting the parents involved in literacy, I have also conducted observations on our Fundations phonics program. This allows teachers to come up with more ideas to incorporate into their teaching through peer critique. Stay tuned for a few more events this school year!
Special Education -Nina Dorfman, Leader
In my role as Special Education Leader, I assess Special Education Teacher’s performance according to Teacher Performance Evaluation Rubrics. I also complete Special Education teachers’ formal observations and classroom walkthroughs as well as facilitate SPED meetings.
During weekly and biweekly meetings we discuss the following: Alternate Assessment, Lesson Plan expectations: Standards and Extended Standards (AA students); I also coordinate Formative Assessments; Differentiated Instructions and Student Engagement. I work with all staff regarding their Portfolios expectations and Schedules as well as Classroom Management and Team work.
I also provide support to Special Education Teachers and discuss practical strategies with them for helping students with special needs experience success with the Common Core Standards.
STEM Leader-Anna Caushaj
The STEM Conference Group has met to discuss and set a trajectory for the STEM disciplines within the Mid-to-Upper level courses of Virtual Schoolhouse. Our primary function is to streamline our efforts to assist students in the upcoming school Science Fair and generate a rough estimate of what supplies we would need. Recently, we have expanded to organize a common vision for the upcoming student portfolio exhibition and generate ideas for other projects students might be interested in pursuing in the future.
VSH Staff Climate- Michael Arrington, Leader
The Virtual Schoolhouse Staff Climate Committee has met and continued to contribute to the overall familiarity of the staff climate in daily sessions after school. In the after school sessions we discuss our days, challenges that arose, and help each other plan for the future. Current plans involve a staff filming of the Harlem Shake, a possible staff basketball game or talent show, and a casual visit to a local eatery where we can coexist outside of our common academic element.
WILSON COACHING Leader, Laura McManus
Wilson Reading System Coaches have met and discussed information on the following Wilson components in order to better understand the program: WADE, WRS lesson plan, and level 1 (red). We look forward to reading and discussing how to effectively coach others after the upcoming break.
The Committee for Blended Learning Improvement Program, C.B.L.I.P. led by Mr. Dov Dym, has been formed and includes Mr. Dennis Mendelson and Ms. Alia Lahoud.
They have been meeting regularly to find ways to improve Blended Learning and are discussing various ways to increase attendance and academic improvement.
To this end, a regular and consistent communication program with parents and guardians of our students has begun. Focused IEP behavioral and academic work is being implemented to target the specific needs of our IEP students; we are also building ongoing portfolios for every student. In addition, we are working on helping students fill out job applications and create real authentic resumes they will use as they transition into adulthood
All students participated in a series of math and language arts testing called “learning Links.” The language arts portion of the testing ranged from second grade to fifth grade. Students in higher grades than fifth also received the fifth grade test. The math portion of the testing ranged from second grade to eighth grade. Students higher then eighth grade received the eighth grade test.
Based on the test results, A+ lessons were prescribed to each student. The prescribed lessons represented portions of the tests that the tested students did not master. These prescribed lessons are integrated into the normal teaching routine. A follow-on test is scheduled for March of 2013.
Through the ODE OAA/OGT practice test site, a series of practice tests covering all subjects and all strands within each subject have been created, as well as individual student logins.
Eleven staff members are undergoing FIP training to become a FIP school. We have formed a myriad of committees and have assigned all staff members to join committees of choice and expertise. They will collaborate after school to address climate/behavior, accelerated reading, sped issues, aligning instruction to new core standards, using data to drive instruction, parent and community outreach, improving state test scores etc.
Based on Learning link tests individual scores, directed lessons were put on A plus for each student to address individual needs. Every staff member has signed up students for practice OAA /OGT testing using samples from different strands each week. After students practice tests are scored directed lessons will be taught addressing deficit areas.
We continue to post Rttt updates on our website for parents and stakeholders. Through the TIP grant, the teachers incentive plan is in place to reward great teachers. Staff is continuing to participate and utilize lessons in "Teach Like A Champion" as part of book talk. Walkthroughs are done on a daily basis and feedback is given to teachers.
Additional staff members have taken the Otes training. Staff members are attending workshops, trainings, webinars addressing Assurance Areas B,C,D. Entire staff is being coached in Teach like a Champion, differentiated Instruction, lesson planning including elements such as: rigor/relevance, Student engagement, formative assessment , etc. We felt that mid year three we are addressing our SOW in all areas. If you want a specific write up for Rttt newsletter, let me know.
One of the best benefits of RttT was creating teacher leaders. Each leader fills out a leadership reporting form every week. We will devote the next letter to update you on their myriad of accomplishments.
ABC’s of Differentiation
E is for Entry Points of Learning
When teaching a particularly complex topic, teachers can use different entry points in starting their lessons. Examples include introducing a topic with a story, a hands-on demonstration or a foundational discussion of a topic's philosophy and history. This method can be used in one-on-one discussions as well; a teacher could use different entry points to allow a student to understand specific points in a topic. By experiencing different entry points, a student learns how to process different forms of information.
The transformation team met to prepare for the Stoctake meeting. The team reviewed their accomplishments in the following assurance areas:
We have completed the budget for RttT and are in the process of writing the TIP (Teacher Incentive Plan) . Teachers incentives for RttT will be primarily based on student growth and attendance. The TIP grant will allow retention incentives for high performing staff members. We appreciate and heard staff input as to where incentive pay should be allocated. The categories are:
This week, members of our transformation team went to a RttT fall conference. There was a great emphasis on the importance of formative assessment. At VSH, we have signed up to be a FIP school and staff will be notified of subsequent trainings. We also received a model form for walkthroughs and have adapted it for VSH use. We will share the template with staff in the upcoming week. We also received confirmation that the TIP budget was approved! This offers six staff members leadership positions, student loan payment of up to $1000, as well as offering a teachers’ incentive to stay employed at VSH that matches the RttT incentive. Dr. S and I will be submitting a renewal grant mid October.
Deeming said, that when employees become facilitators, they take ownership and a team approach ensues.
At the "beginning" of the school year, I offered staff leadership opportunities through RttT and Tip grant. Those who have responded were awarded the opportunity to show leadership skills (pending final approval from the TIP folks). At our core meeting, the team decided on the following: Michelle Monske and Stephanie Gadjdzik will be doing Service Learning. Meg Oeder will be in charge of Data. They also will attend BLT meeting and be a liason to each of their departments. Ktisten Day will be the reading ambassador and Fran Polster the Library coordinator.
Michelle Monske and Mr. Anderson will be attending a mini RttT conference on September 24, and will bring back information on conducting effective walkthroughs, becoming a FIP school, evaluations and other pertinent topics.
Coaches submitted their coaching binders, which are in the process of being reviewed. This week on June 7, will be our final meeting, where transformation team will meet to view our accomplishments on assurance areas they chaired.
Administration attended Race to the Top conference on May 11, 2012. We revised our scope of work for year 3 of RttT and uploaded it into the collaboration center.
Dr. S and I met to revise the scope of Work to include specific measurement of student growth toward teacher incentive. We sent it to our regional director and are awaiting her response.
Assurance A: RttT News is on website for parents and stake holders.
Assurance B: All staff member submit exemplary lesson plan addressing core standards/ cross walks. Lessons are reviewed, feedback is given to make sure that there is student engagement, HOTS, Rigor/Relevance. ESC Coach completed rubrics after observing staff members. All teachers were found to be satisfactory or excellent. There were very few that need improvement. All teachers met with her for individual conference. BLT Team Meet weekly with teachers to guide in their department with formative assessment using data to drive instruction.
Staff report pd related to assurance:
• May 10 there is a regional meeting Educator Symposium
• Ms. Illie went to professional development on different ways to teach and it also discussed teacher evaluations.
• Ms. Anna viewed a webinar
• Staff will send best practices for weekly letter.
Assurance C: BLT Team report on round of data instructional and implications.
Assurance D; Great Teachers: rewrote goals for SOW to include improvement in performance using Learning Link, will review with team and liaison before entering into system.
Dr. S and Vivian have been working on revising the SOW, regarding incentive plan. We will be having our next meeting Tuesday April 3, and we will review it with the staff. Individual staff members have been going to workshops pertaining to the core standards in their areas of instruction. Elementary and Middle School have completed round 2 of Learning Links Assessment. High School should be finishing before spring break. The coaches are doing a fine job helping staff understand how data should drive instruction.
Dr. S and Vivian worked on revising the SOW for year 11-12, with regard to incentive plan and Student growth. We will keep you posted on our progress.
Below is a list of webinars that will help you to assess and understand the new standards. For those of you who wish to register please let me know and you will be compensated for your time:
RttT Team met Thursday February 23, 2011, Sally Leveign our Rttt Coach, and Nicki our CEO were both present. Topics discuses were the following;
At our monthly meeting we reviewed incentive plan with our coordinator Sally Levine. Dr.S and I have to revise information on our scope of work, to be more specific on the intricacies of our plan. The goal is to raise teachers performance. We also reviewed progress we have made in preparing our students for the state tests. We reviewed professional development that has been done internally and that other teachers have attended and the effort of the staff to present to teach with rigor and relevance. We are starting a new column called Best Teaching Strategies and we asked the staff to submit them as they learn about new strategies from their professional development that they attended.
Save the Date…
· January 30, Co teaching training for grade 4 and 5 staff, and high school.
· February 1, observation of exemplary lessons to fulfill SIG requirements for elementary k-4.
§ February 2, 5-9
§ February 6, High school
· February 1, Academic Award Banquet 5pm
· Professional Study on Common Core Literacy Standards for Literacy, history/ Social Study, Science, and Technical Subjects February 2, from 3:30-4:30 webinar. There is a stipend through Race to the Top after proof of attendance. This webinar is through INFOhio’s webinars.
December 14, 2011
Keep your fingers crossed; we will not get and answer until February
Board approved our incentive plan!!!!
Dr. S and I completed the monthly collaborative news that has to go on the ODE website for RttT. It is gratifying to see that we are addressing all the assurance areas. Please encourage parents, your students, stake holders and community members to go to our newly reorganized website. Click on news and events and parents will abe able access all RttT News, Great Happenings, as well as SIG News, 21st Century News, SPED News etc.
Following the RttT professional developement plan, teachers spent their professional development day on November 8, learning about Value Added of their students, learning different ways of using formative assessment, and learning to read group reports from Learning Links and how it will drive instruction. Teachers actually role played several formative assessments. They did a defining square, agree disagree chart, exit our tickets, and a scavenger hunt. By the end of the day they handed in a plan for using formative assessment which included the lesson standard and type of assessment they were going to use. Assessment is a huge component of education and they were shown methods how students can have fun while being assessed.
This Friday teachers did individual staff development using educational impact 360 to meet their professional development needs. During the professional development day teachers were also apprised of incentives and point system that will be used to add to their salary at the end of the school year.
This week Nina Dorfman and myself went to the Race to the Top annual conference in Columbus. The focus of the presentation was on data collection, formative assessment and addressing the content area. Here at VSH we are addressing those assurances. Tuesday November 8 is a professional development day for the entire staff which will specifically address value added formative assessment and data that drives instruction
If you add these points it equals up to 1900 points which gives staff lee way to perform since some items are not always within staff control. Staff has the ability to earn up to 1000 points which transfer into dollars. For ex; if one staff member earns 500 points at the end of the school year he/she will receive a $500.00 bonus, if a staff member earns 1200 point he/she will earn maximum of $1000.00.
Thanks RttT Team for coming up with this plan. We will bring it up to the board next week for approval.
This RttT Incentive plan was laudded by our RttT Supervisor.