Volume 46 No. 1
On Instructional Improvement
NYSASCD aims to assist educators in the development and delivery of quality instructional programs and supervisory practices to maximize success for all learners.
Executive Board 2021-2022 President Dr. Mary Loesing STEM Chairperson, Connetquot CSD
President-Elect Dr. Mark Secaur Superintendent, Smithtown CSD
Mr. Brian Kesel Assistant Superintendent, West Genesee CSD
Immediate Past-President Dr. Ted Fulton Asst. Superintendent, Bayport-Blue Point CSD Vice President for Communications and Affiliate Relations Ms. Amanda Zullo Massena CSD
Mrs. Stefanie Olbrys Teacher, Windsor CSD
Dr. Matthew Younghans Principal, Clarkstown CSD Dr. Timothy Eagen Superintendent, Kings Park CSD Marcia Ranieri Admin. for World Language and ENL, Guilderland Central School District
Treasurer Dr. Deborah Hoeft Director of Special Eduation and Student Services Young Women’s College Prep
Gregory Borman NYC Department of Education
Secretary Dr. Martha Group Vernon-Verona -Sherrill CSD
Cindy Connors Orchard Park CSD
Ex-officio NYS Education Department Erik Sweet Curriculum & Instruction
LaQuita Outlaw Bay Shore UFSD
Lisa B. Brosnick North Collins CSD/SUNY Buffalo
Dominick A. Fantacone SUNY (Master Teacher Program)
Executive Director Mr. Eric Larison Solvay UFSD (retired) email@example.com newyorkstateascd.org
impact Published by: NYSASCD PO Box 282 Camillus, NY 13031 (518) 225-5020 Editor - IMPACT LaQuita Outlaw, Ed.D. firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Digital Publication: CatStone Press (434) 960-0036 email@example.com
On Instructional Improvement Summer 2021 Volume 46 No. 1
Foreward...........................................................................5 LaQuita Outlaw, Ed.D. Introduction.....................................................................7 LaQuita Outlaw, Ed.D. Can We Leverage Covid as Schooling’s Reckoning?........8 Pete Hall Building Resilience Through Shared Voices..................15 Andrea Honigsfeld, Maria G. Dove, Audrey Cohan, Carrie McDermott Goldman, Molloy College Professional Learning that Lasts....................................23 Jeanette Adams-Price, Giselle O. Martin-Kniep Looking Forward...................................................... 32 Amanda Zullo
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Introduction To say that we’ve had a challenging year would be an understatement. There is not one person who did not feel the impact of the pandemic on a personal or professional level. Whether you were confined to your home or limited in the number of interactions you had with others, life as we know it was not the same. Dr. LaQuita Outlaw has worked in school leadership for over a decade. Dr. Outlaw serves as a peer editor for Corwin Press and assists several local organizations with organizing professional development opportunities for educators across Long Island.
Fast forward to the year ahead and although there is still a lot of uncertainty around what will happen, we are able to reflect on the previous year with hope for the future. We’ve weathered the most difficult part of the challenge, and now it is time to examine past practices to see what we would keep, what we would reconsider, and what we would discard. The difficulties allowed everyone a chance to reflect on what was important to them and how to take that forward. Michelle
Ackers, regarded as one of the most famous female soccer players of all time, put it best when she expressed, “I think the challenge is to take difficult and painful times and turn them into something beneficial, something that makes you grow.” Over the next few months, jot down what you struggled with this past year. Next to that, list what you learned from it and how it helped you grow. From there, note what you’ll do with that growth in the future. We’ve been given a unique opportunity in the year ahead to push our thinking in ways that we never dreamed of; it’s a chance to make things better than they had ever been before! Don’t let that opportunity slip by. Make the most of what was, and cherish what you can now let be. 5
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Foreword You will enjoy this summer edition of the Impact Journal! With every page turned, you will take away a tip or idea that will help you as you make instructional plans for the year. From classroom-level to district-wide considerations, there’s something here for everyone. When thinking about lessons learned, you’ll find a goldmine Dr. LaQuita Outlaw has worked in school leadership for over a decade. Dr. Outlaw serves as a peer editor for Corwin Press and assists several local organizations with organizing professional development opportunities for educators across Long Island.
of ideas in Pete Hall’s article, “Can We Reckon COVID as Schooling’s Reckoning?” Hear from practitioners who share strategies to make the best of the difficulties that were brought about by this challenging year. From there, Andrea Honingsfeld and her co-authors talk about the support that teachers provided to ESL students, as these learners navigated through learning a new language and finding their way.
It’s clear how important the supports offered to students are in “Building Resilience Through Shared Voices.” You’ll finish the article with a plan about developing your program practices. Gisele Martin-Kniep touches upon a professional development approach that resulted in a lasting impact in the article “Professional Development that Lasts.” Participants talk about their experiences, and readers are provided with a list of questions that will help them think about their current practices. We end with a building-level principal, Amanda Zullilo, who worked closely with her staff to meet their needs as they all navigated through the unknown. In “Looking Forward!,” readers get a close look at the big-picture practices that keep staff working together toward a common goal. When you are met with a challenge, it is never easy to get to the other side—but it is possible. With the information shared in each of these articles, you will find comfort in knowing that you are not alone, along with some thoughts on how to move forward. It is possible! 7
Can We Leverage Covid as Schooling’s Reckoning? Pete Hall
Educators bristle at politicians’ and media’s current hyperfocus on “learning loss” and the implication that this cadre of “Covid kids” is irreparably damaged. While the global pandemic’s effect is long-lasting and far-reaching in a lot of ways Pete Hall is a capacity-builder. A former teacher and school principal, Pete now serves in the professional-development world as the Executive Director of EducationHall, LLC (www. EducationHall.com) and President of Strive Success Solutions (www. StriveSS.com). He has authored 11 books and lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. You can reach him via email at PeteHall@EducationHall. com or follow him on Twitter at @EducationHall.
(to wit: half a million dead in a highly politicized environment causing economic and lifestyle shutdowns on the backdrop of significant racial tensions and equity issues), we know better than to harp on what’s “lost” when we’ve got a veritable bounty of information on our Zoom-exhausted laptops showing us a much brighter, much more optimistic view. For decades—generations, even—we’ve lamented the shortcomings of the American education system (see A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and others for the scathing imperatives), so this perspective is not new. And now, on the eve of school reopenings as we prepare to welcome students back to the buildings, if we’re to listen to the cacophony of pontificating from those outside of education, we’d curse the virus and our inconsistent reactions to it, and we’d believe that there’s a monumental lack of learning because kids haven’t been able to attend the very schools that don’t do the job they’re purported to do in the first place. Hmm. 8
community. As a society, don’t we value the
Covid shutdowns and our collective quick-pivot to virtual/hybrid/distance
inherent wonder of human beings? Don’t we
learning have been a disruption. Disruptive
want responsible, civic-oriented neighbors?
forces tend to bring us back to our
Are we, as parents, more interested in raising
“mision”—a word I’ve coined that describes
healthy, happy, virtuous children than widgets
that enlightened intersection of our mission
with high test scores? I’d like to think so.
(why we do what we do) and our vision (the
In order to accomplish this lofty and
mental picture of what it looks like when we’re
reasonable goal, our schooling system needs a
accomplishing our goals). Disruptions also
fundamental disruption. A hard reset. With it,
embolden and activate the innovative, creative
let’s embolden and activate those innovative,
thinkers among us, enabling us to learn, to
creative thinkers—most of them educators,
grow, to change, to adapt, and to reimagine
coincidentally. If we take advantage of this
whatever’s been disrupted.
moment, in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime
So what’s been disrupted? Schooling. Not
opportunity, we can maximize learning and
learning, not education. Schooling.
education…by rethinking schooling.
Is a disruption to schooling unwelcome?
Now, it’s likely that we’ll fall back on our
Absolutely not. Unless the intended purpose
same-old, same-old practices in the kneejerk
of schooling is to exacerbate our society’s
reaction to get back to “normal” as quickly
inequitable structures by mass producing
as possible, in some ill-advised attempt to
drone-like workers in a factory model
believe the worst is behind us and we can
that ranks children and sorts them into
return to the way things were. It’ll make
caste-like tiers based on race, income, and
us feel better, slipping back into the ruts of
other factors, that is. If that’s our goal, our
our pre-pandemic warehouse of schooling
school systems have been remarkably—and
practices and routines. However, that mirage
is fleeting, and it’ll send us back into the jagged embrace of the “learning loss” rhetoric.
However, I’d like to believe our mision is more enlightened. Perhaps if we reframe our
Fortunately, over the course of the past
education system with a very clear, universally
year-plus, I’ve had the great fortune to meet
embraced goal it would help. Let’s try this:
(over Zoom, mostly, on an exhausted laptop)
To raise, educate, and prepare young people
and talk with thousands of educators. Some of
to be valuable, contributing members of an
the most innovative and creative have forged
ever-better, equitable, and peaceful global
ahead with education and learning, even 9
One of the key environmental shifts we can make is to ramp up our flexibility. with (and often because of) the disruption of
regulation tools—a timer, stress ball, piece
schooling. I’m hopeful that some of their ideas
of felt, and other tangible items. I sent them
will help us reimagine how we move forward
home with students when the school year
from this tipping point. Dare I suggest that
started so they’ve got a kit at home, too. The
we may have possibly found ways to become
students can self-select when they need to
better educators and provide a more impactful
utilize these tools in order to help them get
learning experience due to the pandemic?
back on track.”
Here’s a short list that might offer some
Helping students regulate their emotions
guidance as universally-applied best practices:
and activate the “learning” part of their brains
At the classroom level:
seems like, well, a no-brainer. Sometimes students need their teacher to help. “I make
If we truly believe in supporting the
sure that I welcome every student at the door
growth and learning of all our students, seeing
every day,” continues Analisa. “I connect with
them as young people in our community,
them throughout the class, and it’s not always
then we must prioritize the social-emotional
about academics. My students are children,
wellbeing of each and every child. Our
and they often need that human interaction.”
families have experienced a whole array of trauma over the past year and a half, and first
“Relationships are the cornerstone of
and foremost, students need to feel safe when
learning,” agrees teacher Adrian Bolado of
they come to school.
Point Isabel, Texas. “As teachers, we must show an abundance of empathy for our
“There are many ways to create that sense
colleagues, parents, staff, and especially our
of security,” says first-grade teacher Analisa
students.” We needn’t know exactly what’s
McCann of Spokane Valley, Washington.
stressing our students or what trauma they’re
“In addition to normalizing discussions of emotions in my classroom, I’ve built in some
experiencing to support them through tough
options for students to self-regulate when
times, either. If students are struggling, we
they’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or
don’t need to know why they’re struggling, we
upset. I have a break spot in my classroom
simply need to attune—or understand their
that students can access, and we’ve also
emotions and honor that reality—in order to
compiled individual break boxes that include
create a safe environment for them to thrive. 10
“Rather than dive right into rigorous
One of the key environmental shifts we can make is to ramp up our flexibility.
academic work, we start with a little recess,”
How do we do this? Offering student
Sara says. “Combining a bit of physical
choice in assignments, arranging fluidity
activity with some light socializing and a dose of vitamin D has created all sorts of positive
in deadlines, and utilizing a variety of
“Combining a bit of physical activity with some light socializing and a dose of vitamin D has created all sorts of positive results. In fact, it’s been magical!” assessment techniques to give our students
results. In fact, it’s been magical!” After
ample opportunity to grow, develop, and
some time in the fresh air, students enter the
demonstrate their learning. “Flexibility with
building and engage in a Morning Meeting—a
pretty much anything dealing with education
time for exchanging observations, thoughts, feelings, and stories—before digging into
is essential right now,” says Adrian. “Rigid,
all-or-nothing, inside-the-box structures will alienate a huge portion of our students.
And what about the call for rigorous
Bringing a flexible, personalized approach
bell-to-bell instruction, you ask? “We value
can only benefit them now and for the
our instructional minutes,” Sara responds. “In
fact, we value them so much that we’re willing to allocate time to help our students prepare
At the building level:
for learning, to do the things brain science has taught us about how students learn, before
Teaching social-emotional skills and self-
forcing them into it.” Intuitively, we believe
regulation approaches are essential, no matter
the best path to learning includes non-stop
what structures, policies, curriculum, or
teaching and learning activities. As Sara’s
schedules our schooling takes. Sara Holm, a
school has exposed, learning increases when
teacher in Incline Village, Nevada, works in a
students are ready to learn.
school that has employed what school officials refer to as a “rolling start.” As students arrive
Teachers, also, must be ready to teach,
on campus, even after the opening bell, they
according to school principal Ericka Hursey
gather on the campus grounds for exercise
of Richland, South Carolina. “We’ve begun
and some natural play.
prioritizing authentic self-care,” she says. 11
At the district level:
And for those of you whose experiences with self-care include trips to the spa, taking a
You might think that a standards-
day off, or eating away your stress, that’s not
based focus has taken a back seat during
what she’s referencing. “Authentic self-care
this pandemic. Au contraire! Raising and
means I’m actually taking care of myself on a
nurturing well-rounded, self-regulated,
regular basis,” Ericka shares. “I’m now back to
Gone are the days where we revere the first-to-arrive, lastto-leave crowd. Long hours, it turns out, rarely equate to improved performance and top-notch results. working out at least three days per week and
curious, engaged, and academically charged
eating better. I intentionally leave my work
students who reliably master key academic
computer at school, and I’ve scheduled a ‘get
benchmarks requires more than simply
going’ time so I reduce the number of hours
allocating more time-on-task. As you’ve read
I’m physically present in the building.”
already, it requires us to tap into the human element. Connections. Relationships. And,
What are the results? “By taking care
not surprisingly, a willingness to personalize
of myself, I can take better care of my staff,”
the learning experience.
continues Ericka. “Through my modeling and explicit direction, they can do the same for
This leads us to a couple of strategies
themselves, and it all trickles down to benefit
that districts are utilizing with great success.
our students.” Gone are the days where we
“If we’re going to expect teachers to offer
revere the first-to-arrive, last-to-leave crowd.
personalized learning, we’ve got to do the
Long hours, it turns out, rarely equate to
same with our professional development,”
improved performance and top-notch results.
says Mimi Guzman, a curriculum specialist in Point Isabel, Texas. “We used to lump all our
“We want healthy, stable human beings
PD together and expect every teacher to learn
in our schools,” Ericka says. “It doesn’t help anyone to have over-worked, stressed, frantic
the same things on the same pace as everyone
adults working here. By becoming more
else. With the advent of technology, a series of
strategic with our time, we can achieve a better
staff surveys, and targeted needs assessments,
sense of balance, and we can be more in-the-
we now offer a PD schedule that matches staff
moment with our students and our families.”
with their level of mastery.” 12
and planning puzzle. Because you can’t
No more one-size-fits-all? According to Mimi, “The cookie-cutter approach is gone.
have 20/20 vision in the midst of a once-
The content, the depth, the pace, the method
in-a-lifetime pandemic, it helps to collect
of delivery, the technology, and the coaching
information from as many sources as possible
we offer now takes into account the different
to guide our planning.”
goals teachers have set, the different needs
A final word
teachers have, the different ways they learn, and the different support they’ll need along the
The unfortunate and irresponsible
way. And because PD is such an integral part
promotion of “learning loss” messaging has
of a school district, we must individualize it in
obscured a couple of disarming realities of
order to get the biggest bang for the buck.”
our school systems. First, it’s that teaching is hard, complex, and demanding work, far
All the changes referenced so far—in daily routines, social-emotional check-ins,
outweighing the rigors that most education
self-care, and personalized PD—require
licensing programs would have us believe,
one consistent element: relationships. And
and well more grueling and arduous than you
in order to alter the trajectory of our young
might read while you’re doomscrolling online.
people on a grander scale, Tammy Campbell,
And second, it’s that our schooling practices
a superintendent in Federal Way, Washington,
and policies reflect the inherently inequitable
has fostered relationships throughout the
structures of our society writ large.
community in order to make informed,
Of the thousands of educators I’ve been
strategic decisions. “At the beginning of
honored to work with, learn from, talk to,
the pandemic when we first went to online
and read about over the past 18 months or
instruction, it wasn’t working too well,”
so, I don’t recall a single one who hasn’t felt
she admits. “And we know that because we
overwhelmed by the workload, exhausted
surveyed our scholars and families several
by the requirements, exasperated by the
times throughout the year to get their input.”
structural limitations, and disturbed by the
In addition, open forums, scholar
embedded racial, cultural, and community-
advisory groups, and other structures set
based inequities entrenched in systems across
the tone that stakeholder input isn’t just
the country. Unfortunately, each has also felt
requested, it’s listened to and acted upon.
rather alone in the charge to enact change.
“This is how we know what’s working and
So, while I’ve outlined some steps we
what’s not,” Tammy says. “And this 360 degree
can take at the classroom, schoolhouse,
feedback is a critical piece of our assessment 13
and district level to revamp our schooling
connections, opportunity, and assistance in
practices to benefit all our students, in
order to overhaul centuries of harm. This is
order for us to truly benefit and grow from
work we can do, and we must.
the pandemic’s disruption of our school
Let’s not lament what we lost or get
systems, we cannot force our teachers to
dragged into the doomsayers’ messaging.
fight these battles on their own. Addressing
Let’s learn. Let’s adapt. And let’s eschew the
issues of race and equity need to be part of a larger, community-centered series of
status quo, low expectations, the racially-
conversations and decisions. Districts must
imbalanced structures, and ineffective
work with urgency and purpose to confront
practices for a couple of enduring, equitable,
the inequitable access to resources, materials,
and educationally sound approaches. We
technology, and support. Systems must work
might not get another chance at a hard reset
in concert to build networks of services,
in this lifetime. If not now, when?
on Social Media
Please join us and follow along:
Building Resilience Through Shared Voices Andrea Honigsfeld, Maria G. Dove, Audrey Cohan, Carrie McDermottGoldman, Molloy College
Due to lack of experience, many students are having difficulties navigating the basic functions of school technology as they struggle with logistical tasks like navigating multiple tabs and accessing class video links. Additionally, students who are multi-language learners are contending with the added challenge Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld is Associate Dean and Director of the Doctoral Program (Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities) at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY. Before entering the field of teacher education, she was an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Hungary (grades 5-8 and adult), an English as a Second Language teacher in New York City (grades K-3 and adult), and taught Hungarian at New York University. A Fulbright Scholar and sought after national presenter, Andrea is the coauthor or coeditor of 20 books on education and numerous chapters and research articles related to the needs of diverse learners. Andrea is coauthor of the Core Instructional Routines books with Judy Dodge.
of learning in a new language. In this shift to remote learning, I am constantly having new experiences where students show me how to better support them. Nadia K-R, High School English Teacher, NYC DOE, Journal entry #1
Most students have returned to in-person learning, however Juan, who lives with vulnerable family members has chosen not to return. His first language is Spanish, and he often chooses to remain silent for the majority of the period. During our lesson today, students were working in small groups. One group worked with my special education co-teacher to close-read sections of our class novel. The independent group read and completed tasks that did not require additional teacher support beyond the embedded scaffolds. And a group of newcomers worked with the ENL teacher on acquiring key vocabulary that appear in the novel we are reading. Juan was working in my heterogenous online group on comprehension. The novel is written primarily in English but has a smattering of Spanish. Juan used our class 15
calendar to look ahead to what we were reading today. He pulled out all of the phrases in Spanish in advance and used them as anchors to guide his comprehension of the chapter. During the group’s read aloud, Juan demonstrated an incredible confidence that I had not seen him exhibit previously. Though he only correctly answered about half of the questions he attempted, his participation in the small group discussion was indicative of a fully engaged mind. When class was over, I asked Juan privately Maria G. Dove, EdD, is professor in the School of Education and Human Services at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York, where she teaches preservice and inservice teachers about the research and best practices for developing effective programs and school policies for English learners. Before entering the field of higher education, she worked for more than 30 years as an English-as-a-second language teacher in public school settings (grades K–12) and in adult English language programs in Nassau County, New York. In 2010, Dove received the Outstanding ESOL Educator Award from New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL).
what inspired him in our discussion today. He explained that being able to understand some of the text made him more interested in finding out more about the story. He found that the phrases throughout the chapter helped guide him, the same way context clues can guide readers to comprehend a sentence. Juan’s work today was a moment of true learning for me. I never thought about using a comprehension strategy I applied only to one sentence at a time, to the structure of an entire chapter. Moving forward, I plan on having him teach it to others to further increase collaboration and engagement in our class. Nadia K-R, High School English Teacher, NYC DOE, Journal entry #68
We have peeked into a high school English/English as a New Language (ENL) class in New York City through two reflective journal entries of a teacher, Nadia K-R, who recorded her thoughts during the pandemic. What moments do you recall that are outstanding in some way? Moving forward, what needs to be accomplished to best support students as they return to our classrooms? Nadia’s two journal entries and her portrayal of Juan’s experience in her class tell the story of the significant learning that continuously occurred and the resilience both teachers 16
and their students demonstrated throughout the pandemic. Teachers have been a lifeline for students both before and during the COVID-19 crisis and will continue supporting students once it passes. As educators, we need to find the value in and the purpose of our own strengths and others to provide safe spaces for students to remain resilient to succeed academically, as we all figure out a way forward. When we begin by looking at students’ strengths rather than deficiencies or perceived learning losses, we can learn from our students and have a more balanced view of their skills and abilities that we can complement and enhance. Then we all benefit. Why Build Resilience? We each experienced hardships in our home and school communities during the pandemic. Some communities were harder hit due to repeated or lengthy lockdowns, lack of or limited access to high quality healthcare, services, and available resources. To further magnify the disconnect, some students were separated from parents, guardians, family, friends, and others due to hospitalization and quarantine. Many families faced devastating losses—of work, living space, stability, their perceived sense of ‘normal’, independence, and in so many cases, a loved one. Immigrant youth and children of immigrants experienced many of these issues and found the complexity to be more acute and prevalent during the pandemic. Even as circumstances surrounding the pandemic improve, many students remained fearful of the future, wondering what’s next? Key Responses To support the academic achievement of our students, it is imperative that we focus on creating safe learning environments that foster high expectations and promote 17
Dr. Carrie L. McDermottGoldman is an Associate Professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York with concentrations in action research, cultural and linguistic diversity, ESOL methodology, theory, and language acquisition. Prior to entering the field of teacher education, she was an educator for over twelve years and previously worked in the business industry. Her areas of expertise include teaching English to students of other languages for grades K-12 and adults; elementary, middle, and secondary education; PBL; Science; Technology; Entrepreneurship; Response to Intervention; Curriculum Writing; New Teacher Mentoring; Learning Styles; and College and Career Readiness.
positive relationships with all members of the school community. Recognizing how crucial it is to sincerely connect with our students and their families and how important it is to build and maintain safe learning environments has never been more necessary than during or immediately following a time of crisis. Therefore, let’s commit to: • Examining our curriculum and instruction closely to Audrey Cohan, EdD, is senior dean for research and scholarship at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York. During her 25-year tenure at Molloy College, she has served as professor, chair of the Education Department, and interim dean for the Division of Natural Sciences. Cohan has taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs and is currently teaching critical issues at the doctoral level for the EdD Program. She began her career as a special education teacher in New York City, working with students with special needs in both self-contained and resource-room settings.
understand how Multi-Language (MLs) are represented and included in our classrooms. • Shaping the conditions that empower students to excel by setting high expectations and reinforcing their worth and well-being. • Creating a vibrant, affirming learning environment, be it online, in person or any sort of blended fashion where students are both supported and challenged. • Amplifying how MLs’ unique contributions add to the classroom culture. Creating safe and nurturing learning environments for students is certainly not a new concept. What is new, however, is the depth of trauma and loss that many of our students have faced. Our call to action is to create safe spaces for every child, every day. High School Students Sharing Their Voices
Using post-pandemic and equity lenses, it is important for students to be able to connect to global change. Using post-pandemic and equity lenses, it is important for students to be able to connect to global change. In response to a New York Times open call for college essays, Hartocollis (2021) identified, “This year perhaps more than 18
• How do you think the events of
ever before, the college essay has served as a canvas for high school seniors to reflect on a
2020-21 have impacted your journey
turbulent and, for many, sorrowful year” ( p.
as a student?
A21). She noted that when reading the over
• What did you learn that surprised you?
900 submitted essays there was a mirror to
• What were you able to learn
not only the pandemic but the “rise of a new
independently? Skill? Strategy?
civil rights movement.” The importance
of family, love, racial and social justice,
What books, articles, blogs,
and protest were key
websites kept you informed during
themes. Using these
essays as a springboard
Middle School Students
for classroom discussion
Sharing Their Voices
and relationship building (as well as models for
Middle school is an important
students’ own writing) is
time in a child’s development,
one key strategy for teachers
and social interaction is
to personally connect with
even more critical when
students in upper grades
students begin to form a
as well as nurture safe learning
greater sense of self. Tapping
into students’ understanding about their immediate worlds
Topics for Writing and
is one direct connection to their
Discussion for High School Students
personal histories and what Click to view on Amazon.
they are learning. To start the conversation and explore their
• Share a time when you or someone else experienced inequitable
pandemic experiences, we suggest reading Don
circumstances. How did this
Brown’s book, A Shot in the Arm!: Big Ideas
experience impact you or the people
that Changed the World #3. This is a graphic
novel recommended for ages 8-12. The book is narrated by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
• If there is one thing you could tell your
(1689-1762), who suffered from smallpox,
teacher about your experiences during
and focuses on how vaccines were developed
the pandemic, what would it be? 19
and introduces aspects of germ theory for
themselves outside their home and develop
children. As youngsters begin to adjust to new
relationships with their peers and others
school routines, teachers must support them by
throughout the school community. Making
providing ample opportunities to uncover and
connections is essential to help students build
overcome the possible emotional trauma caused
self-confidence as integral members of their
by the pandemic and engage in fulfilling, joyful
learning community and build or strengthen
learning with meaningful interactions between
relationships with those they interact with
them and their teachers and peers.
each day. Pivotal to their success, students learn to take risks based on how safe they feel
Topics for Writing and Discussion for
within their environment. Moving beyond the
pandemic, we want to focus on our students, their voices, and how we can empower them
• If you were going to narrate your
pandemic story, what big ideas and essential information would you include?
Topics for Writing and Discussion for Elementary Students
• How might your pandemic experience parallel Lady Mary’s, the narrator of
• Can you sketch your family or
the story? How does your experience
parallel that of a classmate?
• What are five words that best
• Compare how people felt about being
vaccinated for smallpox with how
• Can you write a journal entry or draw
people generally feel today about being
a portrait that shows how you feel
vaccinated for COVID-19. What is the
about being back in school?
same and what might be different?
• How did you feel being away from
• Why are vaccines critical to the health
your friends, or your family members,
and wellbeing of humans as well as
or your teachers during the pandemic?
animals? How might the world be
What do you want your peers and
different if there were no vaccines?
teachers to know?
Elementary Students Sharing Their Voices
• If you were the main character in a
Elementary school is a critical time
book about the pandemic, who would you be and why?
when students first begin to learn about 20
No matter what the age of your students (high school, middle school, or elementary school), we believe that the “pandemic stories” will be a topic of discussion for years to come. The lens with which our students reflect will depend upon their ability to process this unprecedented event. As teachers and students begin to reposition themselves for next year, their shared stories will matter! Therefore, parents and teachers need to encourage open dialogue, shared writing, and oral reflections to shine a spotlight on a difficult passage of time. Dramatic representations, artistic and creative depictions, journal writing, songs, memes and social media posts can all be expressions of students’ lives and part of the healing process that leads to resiliency as we collectively move to the other side of the global pandemic. The ways in which students are encouraged to process their experiences will impact the ways in which we register their “learning leaps.” Let’s move forward together and rebrand this time by encouraging student self-expression within safe learning spaces.
Brown, D. (2021). A shot in the arm! Big ideas that changed the world. Amulet Books. Garrett, C. (2021). Relevant curriculum is equitable curriculum. Educational Leadership, 78(6), 48-53. Hartocollis, A. (March 18, 2021). ‘When a normal life stopped’: College essays reflect a turbulent year. The New York Times, p. A21. https://www.nytimes. com/2021/03/17/us/covid-collegeadmissions.html?searchResultPosition=1 Zacarian, D., Alvarez-Ortiz, L., & Haynes, J. (2017). Teaching to strengths: Supporting students living with trauma, violence, and chronic stress. ASCD.
ASCD’s free webinar series brings experts in the field of education to a computer near you. Our webinars address timely and relevant topics like student engagement, the Common Core State Standards, and classroom technology. We archive each webinar, so you can get your professional development on-demand.
New York ASCD’s e-newsletter has become a valued source of information on national education issues with a New York focus. Topics like observation, evaluation, student achievement, standardized testing, educating the whole child, special education, and communication, STEM, CTE, new graduation requirements, etc. are of interest to everyone and much is written about all of it nationally. Our e-newsletter focuses on how they impact us here in New York State. Subscribing to our e-newsletter guarantees monthly insight into New York issues contributed by practitioners from across the state. Not only is it a place to gain information, we invite all subscribers to submit articles reflecting their thinking and experiences for consideration. The year ahead should be a dynamic one in our state with changes in evaluation again and a new commissioner, to name only two. Subscribe today to keep abreast of what is happening and what people are thinking about!
Professional Learning that Lasts Giselle O. Martin-Kniep, Jeanette Adams-Price
Over time, we gathered compelling evidence of ongoing, sustained and deep learning for participants that transferred to remote and hybrid learning environments. Dr. Giselle O. Martin-Kniep is President and Founder of Learner-Centered Initiatives, Ltd., in NYC, NY. She is a recognized author and international consultant in the areas of standardsbased assessment, systems thinking, professional learning communities, and program evaluation. Her current work focuses on the integration of learner-centered and culturally responsive practices. Follow her on Twitter at @GiselleLCI. We acknowledge the contributions from MAPpers Barry DeSain (video), Jude Dietz, Karen Finter, Molly Fuller, Linda Law, Lindsay Porter, Jennifer Vibber, and Tracy Wyant.
Have you ever attended a professional learning experience and wondered why you were there? Have you ever wondered how you would get enough support to implement what you were learning? We’ve all been there at some point in our careers, yet when done right it can lead to lasting improved teacher and student outcomes (Darling-Hammond, et al., 2017). When professional learning is structured as a concerted effort over time, wedding theory to practice and creating ownership of the experience because of the way it is personalized, it can be transformative. This was the case for the Monroe Assessment Project (M.A.P.), a five-year program focused on the curriculum-embedded use of formative assessments. Over time, we gathered compelling evidence of ongoing, sustained and deep learning for participants that transferred to remote and hybrid learning environments. When the lines of time, space, and distance were blurred due to COVID-19, teachers who participated in M.A.P. were more readily able to pivot to the hybrid and remote learning environments. Five components comprise an impactful professional learning 23
experience that enables teachers to transfer their learning to unfamiliar and challenging learning environments. Components of the M.A.P. Program M.A.P. was a multi-faceted program developed as a collaborative among 9 districts led by Jeanette Adams-Price, Professional Developer, from Monroe One BOCES in New York Jeanette Adams-Price is a professional developer at Monroe 1 BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) in Rochester, NY. She is a former elementary teacher and has been an instructional leader for almost twenty years. She currently leads initiatives on student-centered and formative assessment; standards-based learning, grading and reporting; and LGBTQ+ education. Follow her on Twitter @JAdamsPrice.
State and Dr. Giselle O. Martin-Kniep, President of LearnerCentered Initiatives, Ltd., in New York City. The design and facilitation of M.A.P. was a shared endeavor of these agencies and leaders. Additionally, three other professional development leaders with expertise in assessment design and technology served as program facilitators and coaches. The overall structure of the program included the following components: • Foundational shared blocks of learning for all participants and opportunities for personalized learning. • Ongoing interactions and feedback among participants and facilitators. • Classroom visitations with coaching (virtual or in-person). • Longevity (multi-year process with a new cohort participating every year) that fostered deep community ties and commitment. • Parallel learning experiences for leaders. The collective power of these components created the right environment for continuous learning and skill development while building the confidence of teachers in their assessment design and implementation. Pittsford CSD ELA teacher, Jude Dietz, described the impact that the structure of M.A.P. had on her learning: 24
“MAP professional learning
improve learning using formative assessment.
stuck. We were given time—time to
These examples not only provided evidence
learn, process independently, discuss
of their journey and progress but also
with others, play and practice, revise,
ameliorated concerns about doing it right.
implement, and revise some more.
Models helped participants envision what
The full-day sessions, in combination
success might look like for themselves. Less experienced MAPpers always had access to
with ongoing feedback, classroom
more experienced MAPpers for informal
observations, and the multi-year
peer support and coaching. Learning comes
commitment made it possible for real learning and growth to take place.”
from the continuous efforts of professionals
These components can be leveraged by
experience to experiment, appropriate and
on the same level but with differing levels of
district and school leaders.
share practices that made sense to them. Teachers became each other’s teachers and
What were the conditions that made
sources of inspiration.
The following were key questions asked:
When MAPpers began their inaugural
• How can we remind teachers that
learning journeys as members of a newly
learning is about experimenting and
formed cohort, they were worried about
trying and not about getting it right?
getting things right. As the program kicked off each summer, they pondered the power of
• How can we allow teachers the
embedded formative assessment and feedback
freedom to pursue their own lines of
practices. We invited them to consider the
what and why of potential changes in their
• How might we capture examples
practices as well as how their practices
of teachers’ learning so that more
affected student engagement. As facilitators,
teachers can use them as inspiration to
we did not expect them to incorporate
create new versions and examples?
anything in one specific way but rather encouraged them to maximize the practices
Conditions that made it possible, not only
of assessing for learning and assessment of
for this situation, but also to transfer to other
learning to best support students.
challenging learning environments were: • Participants grounding their design
Over time, participants interacted across
work in their inquiry.
cohorts to build more examples of ways to 25
• A laser-like focus on the role
years of teaching, it gets much easier.
of students as constructors of
While that is true to some extent, it is
meaning and owners of their
deceptive. Around the third or fourth
learning embodied by facilitators
year of teaching, content and confidence
and the processes used to support
come easier. So, essentially, the “what”
is more fluid. But in the effort to survive those first years, there’s no time for
• Opportunities for whole group, small
acknowledging, let alone addressing, the
group, and individualized learning
how or why.”
best practices, coupled with feedback and engagement with mentor texts.
Relevance and meaning helped define the entry points and design paths forward
• Participants sharing their learning
in M.A.P. Every participant was able to find
with others and learning from it (both formally and informally) in a
a relevant entry point for his/her design
community built on mutual trust and
work. Over 5 years, we learned to help
shared commitment to the work and
educators become proficient users and
to one another.
advocates of student-centered assessment
Magical things happened when participants examined their assumptions and practices, asked questions based on this examination, and pursued this inquiry supported by good coaching and feedback. Participant-driven inquiry
practices while honoring the many ways of demonstrating such proficiency. The products
Magical things happened when
of MAPpers were as unique and different as
participants examined their assumptions
the participants themselves. They included
and practices, asked questions based on
units, lessons, self-reflective processes and
this examination, and pursued this inquiry
protocols, assessment tools, grading schemes,
supported by good coaching and feedback.
portfolios, professional development modules,
Linda Law from Webster CSD states,
and observation protocols. Here’s an example
“MAP is a deep-dive. There’s a[n
of West Irondequoit CSD MAPper, Lindsay’s
assumption] that after the first few
Porter’s, year-long work. 26
A laser-like focus on the role of students
Inquiry is deeply enhanced when it is supported by the following components:
as constructors of meaning and owners of their learning
• Sound research grounded in best practice.
We modeled protocols (Peer Review process; Target Tracker) for engaging in
• Mentor texts (e.g., Embedding Formative Assessment by Dylan
learning, design processes, and subsequent
Wiliam; How to Create and Use Rubrics
reflective and analysis processes because if
for Formative Assessment and Grading
participants experienced these as learners,
by Susan Brookhart; and Grading from
they would be better equipped to apply
the Inside Out by Tom Schimmer), to
them in their work. Linda Law speaks to
guide the work throughout the year.
this directly, “Overall, what we experienced is what we want students to experience
• Assignments and reflective protocols
in the classroom: the feelings of being
completed online and discussed
heard, supported, challenged, and growing
during in-person sessions to unpack
individually as well as collectively.”
Throughout the program, educators
The texts selected illustrated exemplary
sought to create classrooms in which
embedded formative assessment and feedback practices, while the protocols supported a
students have greater autonomy over their
deep analysis of these practices, inquiry, and
learning. They articulated the most important
design work. As a result, participants became
outcomes for their students, reviewed and
confident enough to carry this work out
analyzed multiple student-driven examples,
beyond the scope of their classrooms.
discussed literature on best assessment 27
practices, and experimented with assessment
Feedback Form; Formative Assessment and
design elements that placed students at the
Feedback Continuum) from a program facilitator.
center of learning. Molly Fuller’s work, a
MAPpers experienced multiple rounds
second-grade teacher from Penfield CSD ,
of feedback from peers across cohorts as
shows how she enabled her students to track
well as program facilitators. Jennifer Vibber
their progress as readers.
of Penfield CSD reflected on the impact
We realized that enabling teachers to
of multiple feedback sources, “There’s a
articulate valued student outcomes and
prevailing idea that HS and Elementary grades
scaffolding their learning with powerful
can’t share ideas. The input of the other teachers
student-driven curriculum and assessment
in MAP had me reevaluating my ideas about
examples, along with modeling for teachers
students and teaching every time we met.”
what we were asking them to do with their students, accelerated the transfer of what they
We discovered that professional programs
learned into their own classrooms.
that center on teacher-driven inquiry demand differentiated and collaborative learning
Whole group, small group, and
experiences with their peers and with other
teachers, along with opportunities to learn in different settings and access to multiple
Each MAPper received two classroom visits
rounds of feedback.
with immediate feedback (Classroom Visit
A shared commitment to learning within a
created accountability in the
participants. It made us want to go back and share what we created or tried out
At the heart of MAP’s success was a
since the last meeting.”
community built on trust with a shared
Leaders played a central role in MAP. In
commitment to learning. “We’re in this together” is a mantra ingrained in being
addition to witnessing their teachers’ learning,
a MAPper. As teachers got to know one
they engaged in their own professional
another—as colleagues, friends, parents,
exploration about the role of formative
neighbors, and fellow citizens, their bond and
assessments in their own practice and in
commitment to one another strengthened.
developing robust school cultures. Karen
The norms established for discussion and
Finter, Administrator at West Irondequoit
feedback became a way of being, thinking,
CSD shared that,
questioning, and problem-solving. The
“As a school or district leader, it can
language we invented as “MAPpers,” the
be challenging to find ways to stretch and
milestones (Video of End of year MAP
grow professionally in a “safe space” and
Formative Assessment Forum) we celebrated,
in a manner that promotes the ultimate
the challenges that we faced, the MAP
growth of the system as a whole. MAP
stickers we granted after a full year or more of
opened that door and differentiated the
participation, the sayings we adopted such as
learning for administrators to move the
“once a MAPper, always a MApper,” became
aligned work of the system forward.”
a part of the lexicon of the program—they defined who we are as a community.
Considerations for leaders
Tracy Wyant of Webster Spry Middle
Here are some questions which could help
School summed up these sentiments well
leaders incorporate the attributes of lasting
when she said,
“MAP is designed the way I think
Building a school culture
all professional learning should be.
• How do you, as a leader, develop a culture
Multiple meetings throughout the school
of shared ownership and commitment?
year, over the years, created a sincere and trusting learning environment.
• What rituals and traditions are unique
Committing to attending multiple
to your setting that communicate a
meetings and completing assignments
shared identity? 29
• What rites of passage do the adults and
practice, understand the conditions
students in your setting aspire to meet?
of their work, and support their continued learning?
• How do you ensure that the culture you are creating is inclusive of every
• How might you strengthen the
adult and child in your setting?
alignment of new and prior professional learning in your school so that teachers
Keeping students at the center
experience that learning as an ongoing journey and not a series of events?
• How might you structure learnercentered PLCs so that participants
• What might you need to participate so
are learning by doing, discussing
that you can be a learner along with
ideas, pondering alternatives to
inform decision-making, or creating something together?
Promoting teachers’ agency
• How could you administer and analyze
• As a leader, what choices could
data from students and parents about
you offer teachers about what to
learn, where to learn, with whom to learn, and how to demonstrate their
• How might you work with groups
of teachers to develop strategies for addressing student learning gaps?
• Are there structures such as lunch and learns, book studies, asynchronous
• In what ways could you brainstorm
learning experiences that could
strategies with staff about embedding
provide teachers with meaningful and
SEL and CRP into teachers’ lessons
manageable learning opportunities?
• In what ways could you create
Cross-pollination of learning
structures that allow for the ongoing
• How might you encourage teachers’
provision of feedback to teachers by
learning beyond their grade level,
yourself and others?
school, or district so they can benefit
from a collective expertise?
One could argue that M.A.P. is an
• How could you develop processes and structures for visiting teachers’
initiative difficult to replicate, especially when
classrooms to learn about their
one considers its scope (129 teachers and 50 30
administrators from 9 districts across 5 cohorts)
We can turn this time of uncertainty into an
and duration (5 years). Yet we believe that
opportunity and provide safe and continuous
its components are transportable and useful,
spaces for adults to reflect upon, learn, and
especially as we consider the increased use
improve upon their practice. We can leverage
and reliance of remote and blended learning
the benefits that remote learning provides for
environments. COVID-19 put this to the test.
adults as well as children because of its ability
MAPpers agree and credit their participation
to transcend the limitations of physical access.
in M.A.P. to being better able to pivot to remote
Time will tell if we have the will to do so.
learning for three main reasons: REFERENCES
• Their experience in providing students with targeted, specific, and actionable
Bush, R.N. (1984). Effective staff development
feedback enabled their students in
in making schools more effective:
a remote environment to become
Proceedings of three state conferences. San
assessment-capable learners and use
Francisco, CA: Far West Laboratory.
feedback to grow.
Darling-Hammond, L., Chung Wei, R.,
• As MAPpers, they had already defined
Andree, A., & Richardson, N. (2009).
and articulated the most important
Professional learning in the learning
aspects of the what and why of their
profession: A status report on teacher
teaching, helping them prioritize
development in the United States and
remote learning outcomes.
abroad. Oxford, OH: National Staff
• Shifting grading practices to a standards-
based approach was natural and
The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About
welcomed as MAPpers were experienced in assessing for learning, which was
Our Quest for Teacher Development. TNTP.
emphasized remotely over the traditional
Heather C. Hill. September 30, 2015.
number and letter grades.
Yoon, K. S., Garet, M., Birman, B., & Jacobson, R. (2007). Examining the effects
M.A.P. has demonstrated that when adult learning experiences embody what
of mathematics and science professional
learning should look like in the classroom,
development on teachers’ instructional
and when teachers and leaders learn together,
practice: Using professional development
the outcome is increased student agency and
activity log. Washington, DC: Council of
engagement, which leads to enhanced learning.
Chief State School Officers 31
Looking Forward Amanda Zullo
The pandemic has impacted classroom instruction. Challenges exist for families that were never an issue, thereby impacting their children and adding more stress to educators. The platitudes are accurate. There are numerous crises on many different levels and in leadership, especially for novices. Amanda Zullo is the principal of J. William Leary Junior High School. She was previously in the classroom for 11 years teaching middle school science and chemistry. From her experience as an Associate at the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and on the NGSS Implementation team, she now actively supports policy and implementation efforts related to New York State’s P-12 Science Learning Standards and Computer Science and Digital Fluency standards. Amanda has been honored with numerous grants along with the 2020 Clarkson Woodstock Award, the 2018 Mayfield Wall of Dedication, the 2016 Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, and the 2016 ASCD Emerging Leader recognition.
These were new situations for everyone; circumstances that no administrator, principal, or teacher had previously experienced. But when all is considered, this pandemic simultaneously presents challenges and opportunities. Addressing the impact required a strong focus on sustaining the mental health of all individuals in the school because everyone experienced various levels of trauma. The work included both stabilizing/surviving during the pandemic and then rebuilding the internal school community to support everyone. The path to start was evident; the administration had to get to know the needs and strengths of the educators and the community. Only after developing that knowledge could the processes start. People My path forward was clear; it was critical to develop relationships with the faculty and staff. Fullan (2020) states, “It is actually the relationships that make the difference” (p. 63). My first words on my first day to the faculty and staff were 32
“My #1 goal is that my work supports your work.” In looking back at my career, regardless of the position, I had been more effective, happier, and worked harder when I knew the people I was working for. I started with an email outlining the first faculty meeting and a request to schedule a 15-minute meeting with each staff member to get to know people. I was shocked when my first day filled up with meetings 3 hours after sending the email. The quick sign-ups indicated that everyone sought to be heard and were willing to engage. Google Meet was the meeting platform due to a sudden rise in local COVID-19 cases and the need to adhere to local mandates. My goal was to listen and learn about everyone and the “know-how” that was present in the building (Bryk, p. 118, 2015). I had initially started with seven questions; after the first meeting, it was evident that three questions would be perfect: Tell me about yourself (personal and/or professional); how the year was going; and what I could do to support them. After 63 conversations, a theme emerged about the school’s emotional state and their established priorities (Donohoo, J.; Hattie, J.; Eells, R. 2018). It also became clear that continuing the connection and contact would be needed; these are amazing people! To maintain that connection, meaningful and personal conversations (beyond surface-level) are deliberately had at least every 2 to 3 weeks with each adult. People and Process In their book Turning High-Poverty Schools into HighPerforming Schools, Parrett and Budge (2020) share that “leadership-collaborative and distributed-served as the linchpin for success” (p.10). Two distinct groups were already in place to guide all decisions and processes within the 33
school. To compliment this work, two other
discussions around what would be best for
decision making groups were established:
our specific building to establish specific building goals and measures.
• Academic Leadership Team; 60 minutes every other week
For the collectively developed building
• Office staff; 60 minutes every other week
goals to be sustainable, enhance the
• Faculty; 60 minutes monthly
capability to ground, guide, and implement agreed-upon initiatives all while creating
• Building Departments/Teams; weekly
coherence between the initiatives, current
and previous (past three years) student data and staff surveys were used (Lawson
The Academic Leadership Team (ALT), is the “think tank” for the building. The 12
et al., 2017, Mayne 2015 and Honig and
members consisted of educators from all
Hatch, 2004). The group also engaged in a discussion around the 2021 schedule,
departments, across grade levels, teams,
gaining consensus around a drop-block,
and divisions within the building. Initially,
although a 42 minute period schedule
the members discussed general concerns
best fit the current and projected COVID
and items before shifting to the review of
academic data and student grades every 5 weeks, as well as reviewing student
The Office staff group consists of two
engagement and attendance data (graph
secretaries, two counselors, a school nurse,
in the Communication section). With an
a school psychologist, a dean of students, a
intense focus on the future, this group
support for Native students advisor and a
detailed what used to be awesome, what was
support services staff member. This group
awesome now, and what we needed to look
serves to support the general functioning of
at. The first few sets of the PLC+ framework
the building and connect to other initiatives.
specifically focused on sharing individual
As a natural outgrowth, the group integrates
identities and setting group norms/goals
social constructs that institutionalize the
(Corwin, 2020). Simultaneously, at the
activity, hopefully leading to its sustainability
district level, discussions about the strategic
(Honig and Hatch, 2004). The significant
plan were taking place. Three members
priority here has been coordinating daily
of ALT were members of that group.
student health screenings (guided by data
The members of both teams helped with
around who was completing the screening
ensuring alignment to district goals and
each day) and then ensuring accurate
priorities. The members also helped guide
student attendance/increasing student 34
attendance. Members of the office group are
chapter 6). As the building administrator,
also involved in ALT and join the faculty
I sit and observe the group conversations,
only contributing if necessary. The department chairs and academic leadership
The faculty group works with the
representatives compile composite
shared members of the ALT to regularly
information that they share with the broader
communicate at the monthly faculty
leadership team. By letting each department
meetings. Initial sharing was about practices
chair carry out the work, trust is developed
in the Google Classroom, with the second
that will serve as “social glue” during the
monthly meeting progressing towards
implementation of initiatives (Lawson,
sharing “Goals for today’s students to prepare
2017). For example, there was a discussion
them for tomorrow’s opportunities” (MCSD
in one department about their struggling
vision statement). These goals were shared
to meet the current students’ diverse needs.
at Academic Leadership, contributing to
Collaboratively, the department decided
the building-level goals created by ALT.
to structure the class differently through a
Subsequent faculty meetings will center
5-week pilot that continues to this day. When
around framing expectations of student
there was a discussion about finals, one
work and strategies other than finals (ALT
department shared a graded project that could
unanimously voted to get rid of final exams
supplement a quarter average and would be a
for 2021) for assessing what students know
better indicator of student achievement in the
and can do.
subject. Collectively the department proposed a project idea, rating rubric and shared the
The English, Math, Science, Social
documents with the leadership team.
Studies, and Special Education staff meet as department and/or grade groups for
grades 7 and 8 weekly. Foreign Language,
My predecessor sent a weekly
Music, Physical Education, and Technology meet P-12 weekly. Additionally, there are
Monday Morning Email that outlined
two grade 7 teams and two grade 8 teams
the meetings and general information for
that meet weekly. Within department and
everyone. Recognizing the importance of
team meetings, information from academic
communication helps insights and identify
leadership is shared and discussed, as is each
problems. Monday Morning Emails continue
department’s overall operations, supporting
as an effective communication tool (Fullan,
continuous, purposeful interaction that is
2020; Parrett and Budge, 2020). Through
both horizontal and vertical (Fullan, 2020,
the Monday Morning Emails a framework 35
for discussing student attendance and engagement was shared. This framework became the common language when discussing the 430 students the school serves. 25 Week Engagement vs. Attendance-note, 1 blue dot may overlap with additional dots
Generalizations about the types of students in each identified category included: • High Engagement and High Attendance: These kids were present/online and doing their work and ultimately performed well. The key was to continue challenging these students. • High Attendance and Low Engagement: These kids are probably the most at-risk in the graphic. These are kids that we have an opportunity to reach because they are here, but for whatever reason, they are not doing their work consistently (or at all). • Low Attendance and Low Engagement: These students are not connected for whatever reason. The concern is both behavioral and academic. • High Engagement and Low Attendance: These students are maddening as they don’t come to class as often as they should, but they are getting their work done, or another individual is completing their work. This group holds the potential to have distinct gaps for missing instruction and not having transferable knowledge. 36
In the earlier graph, the passing of the four
and to highlight the awesome work
core classes is the unit of analysis. All students
happening in classrooms.
take English Language Arts, Math, Science, and
Social Studies classes. Patterns on the restricted lists indicate for 95% of students that if they are
At this point, there have been four main
not passing a core class, they are not passing at
goals accomplished thus far:
least one other course.
• Increase in student attendance: 39.4% Fall attendance to 78% in the Spring.
Attendance trends have shifted from 60.4% chronic absenteeism in the Fall to ~22.0%
• The establishment of agreed-upon
chronic absenteeism. For the most severe
building goals. The goals brought
absenteeism cases (~30 children) collaboration
no faculty push back, and there is
with outside agencies has occurred.
concrete action in every classroom towards accomplishing them. The
Information shared through ALT or
goals have served as anchors as we
general overarching themes raised during
look forward toward 2021-2022.
the previous week is circled back within the
• The retraction of 2021 finals in each
emails. For example, after a survey was sent
course. Universally agreed upon by
out about Parent-Teacher Conferences, the
all educators, this has provided the
survey data was shared back to the group.
opportunity to think broadly about
The same circling back on data happens
how we gauge student learning and
after faculty meetings as faculty are asked to
the data we can collect to help guide
complete a survey following the meetings.
work forward. Throughout this
Several staff members have shared that the
conversation, great questions have
ongoing sharing has helped keep them “in the loop”; others have mentioned that they
been raised, shared, and answered.
“figured they would ask…” because they did
• The establishment of four main groups (Academic, Office, Faculty, and Building
not see it in an update.
Departments) bringing ongoing
Weekly updates are shared with
ideas, collaboration, innovations,
faculty and staff on Fridays and then out
conversations, and feedback.
to families on Saturday mornings through
This process is ongoing. The critical
email and the J.W.Leary JR High School News Facebook group. The purpose of the
focus, as time passes, will be to determine
updates are to share pertinent information
the best methods for managing the change 37
and continuing to adapt to the current ever-
changing conditions. I continue to focus
Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L. M., Grunow, A., &
on the mental health of staff and students
LeMahieu, P. G. (2015). Learning to
looking to provide ongoing support. Support
improve: How America’s schools can get
and management during the process will be
better at getting better. Cambridge, MA:
critical in moving from surviving to thriving.
Harvard Education Publishing.
Work thus far in the school building
Donohoo, J.; Hattie, J.; Eells, R. (2018). The
provides indication buy-in for the process,
Power of Collective Efficacy. Educational
practices are growing, and trust is being
Leadership. Volume 75, Number 6, p 40-44.
established. Communication containing questions and insights gained from the
Fullan, M. (2020). Leading in a Culture of Change.
conversations have been shared with
2nd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
supporters for the remainder of the school year. Weekly discussions are serving to align
Honig, M.I., and Hatch, T.C. (2004). Crafting
the work and foster all faculty/staff ’s inclusion
Coherence: How Schools Strategically
in planning and preparing for 2021-2022. It
Manage Multiple, External Demands.
is too early to predict the result, but there is
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much promise for a successful outcome at
Lawson, H., Durand, F.T., Cambell-Wilcox,
this stage in the process. The sustainability of
K., Gregory, K.M., Schiller, K.S.,
the processes and outcomes will depend on
Zuckerman, S.J. (2017). The Role of
confirming or correcting actions during the
District and School Leaders’ Trust and
start of the 2021-2022 school year. As Mayne
Communications in the Simultaneous
notes (2015), the theory of change and its
Implementation of Innovative Policies.
associated actions may adapt or evolve to meet
Journal of School Leadership, 27, p. 31-67.
the building’s changing needs, and the changes should only stay if they remain beneficial to
Mayne, J. (2015). Useful Theories of Change.
the children’s learning. My fingers are crossed
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for the calmer days ahead where this work
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serves to simultaneously support and catalyze everyone moving forward.
Parrett, W.H., Budge, K.M. (2020). Turning High-Poverty Schools Into High-Performing Schools. 2nd edition. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD. 38
FACTS about NYSASCD VISION STATEMENT
• Is a diverse organization with a strong, representative infrastructure and ties to other professional organizations
• Anticipates and responds to needs and issues in a timely manner
• Provides quality, personalized, accessible and affordable professional development services that support research-based programs and practices, particularly in high need areas
• Recognizes a responsibility to identify and communicate the views of members
• Promotes the renewal and recognition of educators
• Supports the development of teachers and leaders, with an emphasis of those new to the profession
• NYSASCD will provide research-based quality programs and resources that meet the needs of members
• NYSASCD will ensure that NY’s diverse community of learners is reflected in our programs, resources, membership and governance. Diversity will be reflected in the following ways: board members, association members and committees are diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, region of the state, professional position, and years within the position, with the intention of building the capacity of the organizations
• NYSASCD will influence educational policies, practices and resources in order to increase success for all learners
• NYSASCD will create and utilize structures/tools which enable us to be flexible in our actions and responsive to the changing climate and environment within education
• To improve educational programs and supervisory practices at all levels and in all curricular fields throughout New York State
• To help schools achieve balanced programs so that equal and quality educational opportunities are assured for all students
• To identify and disseminate successful practices in instruction, curriculum development and supervision
• To have a strong voice in the educational affairs of the state by working closely with the State Education Department and other educational groups across the state and nation.
• IMPACT-New York State ASCD’s professional journal provides in depth background on state and local issues facing New York State Educators
• ASCDevelopments-the newsletter, furnishes timely announcements on state and local events related to curriculum and instruction
• Institutes-two or three day institutes that bring together national experts and state recognized presenters with practitioners to share ideas and promising educational practices
• Regional Workshops-bring together recognized presenters with practitioners to share ideas and promising educational practices
• Diverse Professional Network-enables members to share state-of-the-art resources, face challenges together and explore new ideas
NYSASCD Over 60 Years of Service to New York State Educators 1941-2021 NYSASCD has provided over 60 years of service under the capable leadership of the following Presidents:
Lance Hunnicut Fred Ambellan Ethel Huggard Lillian Wilcox Ernest Weinrich Amy Christ William Bristow Bernard Kinsella Grace Gates Joseph Leese Charles Shapp Gerald Cleveland Mark Atkinson Ward Satterlee Lilian Brooks John Owens Dorthy Foley Anthony Deuilio Tim Melchoir Arlene Soifer
Mildred Whittaker Lawrence Finkel David Manly George Jeffers George McInerney Thomas Schottman Helen Rice Albert Eichel Conrad Toepher, Jr. Peter Incalacaterra Albert Eichel Robert Brellis James Beane Thomas Curtis Marcia Knoll Don Harkness Nick Vitalo Florence Seldin Donna Moss Lynn Richbart 40
John Glynn Robert Plaia Robert Schneider John Cooper Diane Kilfoile Diane Cornell Marilyn Zaretsky John Gangemi Sandra Voigt Mary Ellen Freeley Jan Hammond Linda Quinn James Collins Lynn Macan Judy Morgan John Bell Judy Morgan Brian Kesel Timothy Eagen Ted Fulton