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No. 1

November, 2011

Spurring Conversations and Setting SMART Goals: Data Made Useful At Banner we use data from various sources to constantly evaluate our work and the progress our students are making academically. One of our greatest resources is Power School, our online data management system. Power School allows us to look at our work globally, ie: pass/fail rates, attendance rates, patterns in behavior incidents, etc. It also allows our teachers to see how their students are doing in all of their classes, which perfectly compliments our advisory program and inspires powerful discussions in our campus PLC meetings. In addition, our students and their parents are able to go online to access grades, attendance, and email teachers.

we use is Scantron online testing. The results of these tests afford us the opportunity to appropriately provide interventions for our students, as the test not only gives us a standard score, it also suggests individual learning objectives for our students, giving us an opportunity to fill the gaps in our students’ learning. We also use the data from these tests to allow our students to set SMART goals for themselves. We have seen that giving our students information about these scores gives them importance to our students. We are also able to celebrate the successes with our students when those scores improve!

Celebrate successes using Power School as a tool.

Literacy Tip: One way to help students become better writers is to make sure they have lots of extended time to read, in school and out.

Another major source of data

What Are Your Methods for Rational Detachment? Did you ever wonder why some faculty seem to get frustrated and burnt out more easily than others do? On the other hand, there are some who are able to stay calm and professional under almost any circumstance. Often, these people will tell you that they are not masking their feelings; they simply don't find themselves becoming impatient or angry in most situations. In all likelihood, it is because they have found ways to rationally detach.

Rational Detachment is the ability to stay calm, in control, and able to maintain professionalism even in a crisis moment. It means implementing everything you have learned to the best of your ability then NOT taking things personally, even when students seem unmotivated or they make button pushing comments that attack your appearance, personality, family, race, gender, or competence. It means engaging

Literacy Tip: Research says the easiest way to motivate students to read is by teaching students to choose books and other texts they understand and enjoy, then give them time to read them in school.

in stress free activities outside of work and keeping your mind and body healthy and relaxed. The ability to rationally detach is a key factor in setting effective limits with our students as well as with combative faculty. Without rational detachment, you are likely to respond to challenging, resistive, or aggressive behavior with your own defensiveness in full blast. This will usually come out wrong and you will more than likely act in an unprofessional manner. Rational Detachment helps you to de-personalize challenging behavior by allowing you to maintain a professional attitude and professional response during crisis moments or moments when you would have otherwise blown up.

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Learning More by Doing

Learning to teach well is a lifetime process and lifetime professional development is the key to best professional practice. Our students

Literacy Tip: Writing and reading are related. People who read a lot have a much easier time getting better at writing. In order to write a particular kind of text, it helps if the writer has read that kind of text. In order to take on a particular style of language, the writer needs to have read that language, to have heard it in her mind, so that she can hear it again in order to compose it. Writing helps people become better readers.

What happens when time is not used well?

Time spent in collaboration with colleagues is considered essential to success in most professions. Why not teachers? Educators are professionals, and they too benefit from the insights, expertise, and collective efforts of a team of colleagues. Collaboration is not a

frill: it is an essential element of professional practice. The Professional Learning Communities presently in an operational stage are productively sharing information and resources to benefit students in our care. Principals, teachers,

Collaboration is Key to Long Term Professional Development

and behavior support staff across the district are regularly sharing information to raise hope in students, transform behavior, build literacy, and increase academic success. Having recently moved from emerging to operational our professional learning communities are constantly learning by doing and quickly transforming into highly functional and making positive impacts on student achievement and behavior. We are without fail building the capacity of our administration, faculty

and support staff, creating effective school climates and classes to better serve the needs of our students. According to Tom Knorr, a leading expert on professional learning communities, “collaboration is a partnership of individuals, and/or organizations who, regardless of size, mission, bias or field of expertise, come together as equal partners to reach a common goal by cooperating with, assisting, and acting jointly in selfless dedication to each other and the goal, while at the same time preserving the unique and important identity of each of the part-

ners. Good collaborative effort results in an outcome which is greater and more effective than could have been achieved by the individual partners acting on their own.� As

it is intended, professional development should do more than merely provide educators with information about a topic or theme with handouts and resource materials that merely sit in folders on desks. Over time, professional development should be the change agent for which educators raises expectations for student achievement. It should provide op-


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Together Everyone Achieves More portunities for faculty to learn, unlearn, and relearn to promote shared and collaborative learning experiences within diverse groups. The effective professional learning community should create a climate where educators engage in the active and ongoing practice of learning in order to effectively

teach and transform students. American educators are often criticized because their students do not score as well as Asian students on international tests. The workweek of Japanese teachers is similar to American teachers in terms of the number of hours at work, but the time spent in front of students in

the classroom is considerably less. In Japan, it is understood and accepted that a teacher who is working with colleagues to perfect a lesson or review examples of student work is engaged in highly productive activities that have a positive impact upon student

Learning, Unlearning, & Relearning Together achievement. In this light, utilizing professional learning communities requires everyone involved in the education and management of students to work together in various forms of collaborative teams. In this way, all participants across the Banner Schools’ district are active in, and indeed responsible for, the learning of respective groups while ensuring the ongoing learning trickles down to empower students. As a result, students are highly impacted by the shared experiences of all adults they encounter across the culture of all Banner Schools. Diverse professional learn-

ing communities are successfully making collaborative efforts to strengthen interventions and strategies for the benefit of our students. As we attempt to increase literacy we have joined the ranks

tions, we are learning more by doing.

Research in support of collaboration is extensive both inside and outside of education. A collaborative team has been called the fundamental buildThe key to ing block of a learning productive collaboorganization. and the ration is to work link between a colless as individuals laborative culture and and more as memimproving schools is bers of a team. well established. No district should disregard the compelling of educators across the evidence that collabocountry engaging ration represents best themselves in profespractice as long as sional learning compeople demonstrate the munities to best supdiscipline to collaboport our youth. Utiliz- rate about the right ing the constructivism things. approach to collabora-

Literacy Tip: When writers actually write, they think of things that they did not have in mind before they began writing. The act of writing generates ideas. Writing is used to solve problems, to identify issues, to construct questions, to reconsider something one had already figured out, or to try out a half-baked idea. Writing creates critical thinkers.

Strengthening interventions and strategies to benefit students.

Literacy Tip: Are you building a classroom library? Published by Banner Schools Office of Professional Development & Accountability

Literacy Tip: High expectations may give rise to the "Pygmalion effect," a transformation in belief and behavior that can change a lowexpectations student (like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady) into a successful learner.

The Vision of Banner Schools is to: Build Achievement by creating

Mission Statement We at Banner Schools believe we control our destiny by setting and reaching goals. We make responsible choices and lead by example even when others do not. We stay focused and never give up. We are prepared to succeed in college, trade school, the military, or the work place. Success is my only option!

New Paths and Literacy Tip: A best practice in literacy includes a

New Opportunities by Encouraging each student to be a

strong vocabulary development component. This

Responsible person at all times.

permits readers the chance to expand and strengthen their grasp of the world.

Guess What’s Coming Soon to Banner School! Online learning is an important trend in the systemic

Get it done when you want, on your own time, 24 hours any day of the week. It’s coming soon!

reform and improvement of our nation’s schools. All universities, colleges, as well as both preservice and inservice professional development currently include virtual learning

into their programs. In countries, such as Singapore, every teacher is prepared to teach online. In order to meet the demands for qualified teachers to teach students in every subject, virtual schooling is an option that will help ease the inequity in distribution of teachers to students in all areas and bring innovation to all school models. Consequently, teachers are learning online in order to teach online. In the pre-stages, Banner Schools professional development is preparing to join others and take professional

learning to a new level. We will join others in the use of video to upload professional development that can be seen anytime from any computer. How convenient will that be? Several schools in our district use APEX as the virtual learning tool for credit recovery. Students are completing assignments using the diThe convenience of virtual learning is almost here! verse online capabilities. Isn’t it only appropriate that teachers join in virtual learning? It’s coming soon!

Journal of Professional Development - November 2011  

Banner Schools is joining the ranks of other professionals and enhancing professional development using various online resources. An E-news...

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