Creating a Climate for Success
- Battling the Hamster Wheel: Strategies for Making High School Reform Work - This workshop leads schools in the throes of change through a strategies for success session. The session recognizes and deals with the sometimes-debilitating cycle of school reform where educators are working as hard as they can but are not making the progress they seek. Throughout the session, metaphors, humor, wit, and insight are coupled with solid research and proven best practices that help uncover the truths of the hamster wheel, and more important how to get off!
- We Are All Leaders - Schools engaged in the process of continuous improvement recognize that every person in the school had a role in its success. District personnel, school principals and their administrative teams, classroom teachers, partners and consultants all have a leadership role and a leadership responsibility for creating professional communities and schools that meet high expectations for all students. This interactive workshop will focus on mission, communication, vision, use of time, and roles and responsibilities in the reform process.
- Professional Learning Communities: A community conversation - School systems continue to struggle to strike a balance between the challenges of increasing student achievement, developing college and career ready students, and creating a positive environment for teaching and learning. One of the most promising practices, and a defining feature of schools that are meeting with success, is the creation of professional learning communities where educators come together to examine their own practice and commit to a process of continuous improvement.
This three-hour session will start with the end in mind. We will "build" our ideal graduates and map the steps we would need to create them. We'll focus on collaborative planning, developing common assessments, looking at student work and teacher assignments, using data to guide instruction, and creating a supported professional development plan that guides and supports good teaching and learning. Participants will leave the session with goals and guidelines for creating these important community conversations in their own school settings.
- Team building and Evolution - A Cornerstone of Successful Reform: When teams/groups form they take on a unique personality and energy level. In this interactive workshop you will identify the strengths you bring into a team situation. In addition, learn the four stages teams go through in their development. For each stage, participants will learn typical team member characteristics, the key issues present, and what strategies team leaders can use to help teams move forward.
- Meeting (Re) Minders - Meetings are a fact of life. However, many of them can be poorly planned and unproductive. Learn how to improve the quality of meetings you attend either as the leader, or as a participant. Develop strategies and tools for planning meetings, handling meeting disrupters, and achieving the meeting objective
- Development and Design of SLC and Career Pathways - The small learning communities is one way to fix broken high schools that are too large and impersonal. This workshop is designed not only to teach the process of planning, designing, and implementing small learning communities, but also to assist school teams at various steps in these processes.
- Ninth Grade Academies, A Dozen Best Practices and Where to Find Them - The ninth grade is a major stumbling block for many students. The highest dropout rate occurs between grades nine and ten. Nationwide, ninth-graders are retained at an alarming percentage rate. The percentage of students held back at grade nine is four to six times higher than the average, and this same research indicates that students who are retained a grade are three times less likely to ever graduate from high school. Other research shows that during the ninth-grade transition: grades drop; participation in extracurricular activities declines; conflict with parents and families increases; and family involvement with schoolwork decreases. Discover how 9th-grade academies have reversed this trend and successfully addressed the achievement gap.
- Planning for High School Continuous Improvement Through Smaller Learning Communities - Since 1996, when the National Association of Secondary School Principals released "Breaking Ranks I" we have been in the process of re-evaluating and re-shaping our schools. Whether you are in the planning or implementation stages of high school reform, the real challenge comes not in writing a plan but in the bringing the reform to life. This session will focus on the critical elements of assessing and implementing a design that will work in your school. Participants will receive copies of tools from the internationally recognized Creating and Sustaining Small Learning Communities and the CD Rom Tool Kit, in addition to newly developed materials on data collection, leadership, and an 118 item "Punch List" so that nothing falls through the cracks!
- Scheduling: Getting it right from the start - The right schedule can make or break a faculty's ability to meet their improvement goals. This session reviews the various steps that need to be taken to structure into academies and teams. The goal is to provide rigorous curriculum and instruction, along with extra help, so that all students are provided with strong academic and career-based educational experiences. Participants will learn how to relocate personnel and rooms into academies and how to schedule linked MESS (math, English, science, and social studies) teams of teachers with common plan periods. Implementation of an advisor-advisee program, a Twilight School credit recovery program, and various formats for extra help will also be explained.
- Alternative Scheduling - An overview of alternative scheduling strategies that can be used to support smaller learning communities in deciding between scheduling options, as well as, specialized trouble shooting presentations for schools that have adopted a particular strategy.
- Creating Academy Ready Teachers - Your school is "going academy", you've just begun as an academy teacher, you've had staff turnover and now need to hire new teachers for the academy... what do you need them to know and be able to do to be effective teachers in an academy setting? This workshop will highlight the skills teachers need to work effectively in academies: teaming, flexibility, working with partners, and knowledge for the career-focus area.
- Creating and Sustaining Small Learning Communities and Career Academies - Beginning an SLC, academy, or a series of academies, is demanding work. Changes in school administration, funding, staffing and educational initiatives all tempt us to return to "school as usual", eroding the central elements of academy. This session will focus on overcoming the common pitfalls that face academies and on sustaining the interest and energy for not only keeping your academy going but also pushing it to increased expectations.
Data Driven Management
- Supporting Reform Through the Use of Data - A more focused look at the collection, analysis, and use (by teacher and administrative teams) of school and student level data. This workshops teaches a process for developing data models that inform decisions.
- Examining Student Work - Compelling evidence of the effect of teacher expertise on student achievement necessitates that we rely heavily on utilizing data to not only inform decisions but to sustain schools in continuous improvement. This course operates from the belief that the best evidence of effective teaching and learning is the work that students themselves produce. These artifacts become a valuable mirror that reflects classroom practice. Unlike a standardized test, student works speaks directly and revealingly of what teachers and students actually know and do. Through collaborative practice of examining student work (ESW), we will learn to translate information into informed action: changed perceptions of students; revised curricula and teaching strategies; new goals and a sense of direction for a faculty
- Advisories That Make a Difference - "An Advisor/Advisee Program is: an effective educational program designed to focus on the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, psychological, and ethical development of students; a program providing a structured time during which special activities are designed and implemented to help adolescents find ways to fulfill their identified needs; intended to provide consistent, caring, and continuous adult guidance at school through the organization of a supportive and stable peer group that meets regularly under the guidance of a teacher serving as advisor." (Forte & Schurr) This workshop will focus on the five key elements of advisory programs and how to make them effective.
- Creating Critical Friend Groups - A more focused look at the use of teacher 'Critical Friends Groups' (CFG) as an integral component of a professional development program designed to support comprehensive school reform. We are also able to provide NSRF endorsed CFG Coaches trainings (4-5 day commitments).
Curriculum and Instruction
- Cooperative Learning Produces Self-Regulating Teams - This session focuses on an overview of cooperative learning and the benefits and challenges in using it as a classroom management strategy. In addition, participants will learn how to establish classroom teams, teach social skills using cooperative learning, and incorporate simple cooperative learning strategies into the lesson plan.
- Taking Control of Time to Improve Instruction and Curriculum - Schools are reassessing their use of time and resources to implement changes that enhance learning and promote student-centered instruction. This workshop highlights various scheduling options and how to use time to help the at-risk student. In addition, methods will be discussed for integrating curriculum to make connections for students, and strategies for teaming and working in groups will be shared.
- Senior Capstone Projects - Based on a model developed for the Department of Education/Tech Prep in Ohio, this session will provide a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate a Capstone Project with a career academy theme into a Tech Prep or Academy classroom. The design of these projects builds strong partnerships with multiple post-secondary destinations and addresses both relevancy and rigor in a motivational format.
- Strategies for the Extended Class Period - Schools are extending the class period to allow more time on task so that students can be successful. For teachers this means adapting their lesson plans to provide variety in the lesson plan and actively engaging the student in their own learning. Participants will learn how to develop cooperative learning groups and incorporate their instructional practices and/or simple cooperative learning strategies into the longer period.
- Coaching Reluctant Learners - Constructivist Classrooms That Work! If you wanna teach 'em; you gotta reach 'em! Research on effective schools show that the single most important reform that can impact student achievement takes place after the bell rings and the door is shut. How do you help teachers embrace the concept of student-centered constructivist classrooms rather than "I teach it; they just don't get it."? Great teachers are fighting against the odds everyday in an effort to reach more students and higher levels. But even some of yesterday's best practices, don't seem to reach today's students. What does? Come hear what urban and rural 90/90/90 schools and the top teachers in those schools have shown will work now.
- Designing the 9th Grade Experience - A more focused look at 9th grade or 9th/10th grade academies (i.e. scheduling, extended instructional time, use of common planning, interdisciplinary curriculum, and autonomy of teacher teams.
- Failure is NOT an Option - What 90/90/90 Schools Know that We Don't ...YET: 90/90/90 schools are schools that were identified because they are at least 90% combined minority, at least 90% free or reduced lunch qualified students, and at least 90% successful on standardized assessments. These schools appear to be doing something unexpected that is leading to a high level of student achievement under challenging circumstances. The mission of 90/90/90 schools is simple: "We believe that all children can and will learn. Excuses by teachers or students for low academic performance based on socioeconomic or racial differences are unacceptable." Student learning is the goal, not student grading, and A/B/C/Not Yet is the accepted culture. Students know what high quality looks like and that they will be supported through time, new instructional strategies, and multiple opportunities to absolutely reach those standards. Come learn what 90/90/90 research proves works with even the most "reluctant" learner.
- Making Interdisciplinary Connections - Daily life is not separated into academic disciplines or divided into discrete time units. Teachers are constantly challenged to identify methods to make connections for students. This interactive workshop will provide participants with awareness and understanding of the what, why, and how to's of developing and implementing interdisciplinary units and interdisciplinary teamed instruction.
- Collaborative Curriculum: Using Partners and Colleagues to Enhance Instruction - We know that the best educational strategies call for a curriculum that is rigorous, relevant and builds relationships. The challenge for teachers is that their plates are already full and frequently there are not school supports that allow for common planning time. This session will provide teachers with a new definition for curriculum that is inclusive of state standards work-based experiences, and extra curricular activities. It will provide tools for working with teach teams. The result will be a new approach to infusing curriculum with multiple disciplines and career strategies.
- A Passion for Partnerships- Building Community Partnerships and Advisory Boards - Smaller Learning Communities thrive, in part, because of the rich and varied resources brought to schools when school, business, parents, associations, post-secondary institutions, and community partners establish true partnerships. This session will highlight the nature of partnerships, focus on matching needs, vision, and resources to commitments, and provide strategies for generating and sustaining partnerships and advisory boards
- Used and Useful Advice: Planting Seeds for Plentiful Partnerships - Active advice from the surrounding community can assist teachers and students in discovering strategies and opportunities to authentically integrate literacy and numeracy skills into Career Tech courses.
- Health Career Academies: Changing Whole Communities - While all academies are designed to enhance school climate and to have a positive impact on the whole community, it may be health academies that, by design, embrace community health issues and community outreach. This presentation will focus on key Federal government resources available to high schools that work at impacting the community through student service learning, developing student health certifications, enrolling students in available health insurance programs, conducting community health surveys, and establishing on-site clinics.
- Increasing Parent and Community Involvement - An introduction to strategies for increasing and supporting parent/community involvement in comprehensive school reform.
- Developing Student Work-based Experiences - For many students the defining experience of their SLC/academy years is the opportunity to develop and practice their employability skills in work-based settings with employers who agree to nurture them to success. This session will lay out a successful program of increasingly comprehensive school-based and work-based programs that have proven successful in the most challenging of the nation's high schools; a video placing the importance of the work-based experience in national focus, an alignment to standards, building links to the community; adding relevance to the curriculum; providing real-world learning, and a procedure for beginning and sustaining student work-based experiences will be discussed.