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Adopt-A-School Professional Development Program Report 2019

Prepared by Tiffany A. Bain Education and Programs Consultant December 13, 2019

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Overview The outcomes of the Adopt-a-

the

initiative

faced

far

more

school program were geared toward

contextual hurdles than could have

improving

been foreseen.

measurable

learning, implementing

coaching

within

donations

instructional

schools,

and

student

As outlined in the

objectives of the Education Pillars,

soliciting

understanding the community context

school-based

is an essential step in the process of

resources which directly and indirectly

investing

improve student performance, and

facilitating

improving and facilitating private and

nationally. Having a perspective from

civic partnerships with schools.

the viewpoint of school faculty while

The

in,

supporting, education

latter two of these pursuits were re-

aiming

assigned to the School Shark Tank

performance

Program, which has the capacity to

integral to the process.

draw specific

requests and

were

directly tied to student learning goals.

to

Our

and reform

support

student

improvement

stakeholder

was

community

cluster and associated schools were

In alignment with long term

chosen and invited to participate in

goals for Partnership Schools, this

the instructional coaching program at

program was designed to facilitate

the beginning of the school year.

the

instructional

Follow-ups to invitations were made by

coaching culture as a paradigm shift

phone and in-person over the course

from

non-

the month of September. In early

culture

October, the Principal of Columbus

prevalent in local schools. In tandem,

Primary School expressed interest in

we also hoped to gain a deeper

the

understanding of the circumstances

opportunity for instructional coaching

and

to be “pitched� to each of the grade

introduction

of

individualistic

collaborative

context

school

and

professional

under

teachers

which public

work.

The

implementation and sustenance of

level

program

team

and

leaders

extended

–

the

preschool

through grade six.

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Program Implementation The second-grade team agreed to be the participating cohort.

Successful support sessions were

The

conducted with Ms. D. Bartlett and

team of four agreed to having support

Mrs. J. Johnson. The former, while self-

collectively; however, full participation

identifying as needing instructional

was only achieved by two of the

planning and delivery support in math,

teachers, half of the team. The team

classroom

leader,

who

identified as a preliminary area of

interest

in

improving

expressed receiving

student

her

own

support writing

in and

management

was

support. Mrs. Johnson sought support in

lesson

planning

for

the

composition, could not fit the initial

interdisciplinary unit- with focus on

class observation into her instructional

science outcomes. The teachers were

schedule.

were

supported for one lesson each week –

arranged and subsequently cancelled

Tuesday 11am and Thursday at 2pm.

by the teacher on three occasions.

Another four hours each week was

Appointments

dedicated to lesson debriefing and collaborative planning. The program ran from October 9th to November 15th, 2019, falling three weeks short of its eight-week goal due to school

assemblies, student fun days, teacher evaluation observations, and exam reviews arranged during previously scheduled times. Each

participating

teacher

completed an Intake Form and an Observation Form prior to the initial

classroom observation.

The forms

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outlined the teachers ’perspective on

support

their current instruction and classroom

management. Lessons were planned

goals.

initial

and modeled for each teacher; with

was

two lessons modeled for Ms. Bartlett

conducted to determine congruence

both on Odd and Even numbers. The

between teacher perceived needs

second lesson included our strategy

and observed needs. As previously

for implementing positive behavior

noted, the needs of one of the

intervention and supports (PBIS).

As

classroom

teachers

scheduled,

an

observation

required

a

area

of

classroom

preliminary

In Ms. Bartlett’s class, we were able to:

1. Implement

authentic

assessments

as

a

methodology

by

using

manipulatives for students to count out and pair pieces of colored paper

to identify even numbers (pairs) from odd numbers (not paired). 2. Easier identify and accommodate students needing support. There were two students who had trouble writing but could count independently. The questions were written for the students and they would input short responses.

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3. Maintain classroom control by allowing each student to work at his or own pace and remain constantly engaged, eliminating bored students who would become disruptive. This classroom improved from being chaotic to having full student engagement level of 60% (using an engagement level

rubric completed by both the observer and the teacher). 4. Meet the needs of accelerated students who were able to sort and count

larger numbers – up to 50. In Mrs. Johnson’s class, we were able to: 1. Identify intersections between writing, art, science and social studies

objectives. 2. Design a unit of learning on Animals in the Environment which could be

used in all four subjects. 3. Utilize a culturally responsive pedagogical approach, using examples of animals with which students were already familiar, and using characteristics for students to identify similar animals. 4. Create student-centered and inquiry-based lessons in which students could compare and contrast the characteristics of the five types of animals found in their environment. 5. Identify students requiring levels of learning support which need further intervention. Both teachers were actively engaged in the coaching support; however, several factors relative to their school and circumstance limited the full impact of

instructional coaching as an initiative which could positively impact student performance. 1.

School leadership, teachers, and vision

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a. Providing

access

to

instructional

coaching

for

teachers

depended very greatly on whether the principal, teachers, and other school leaders had any vision or value for such a program. If they did not, this would limit teacher impact at the very point of

access. There were some teachers who enquired about the work we were doing and were surprised to know that the support was available as it was not communicated by some of the team leaders to individual teachers. 2. The foreignness of teacher collaborative culture a. Grade level teams met monthly to discuss instructional topics, but teachers all planned their lessons individually and were not in the habit of working with others to achieve student goals. 3. Perception

of

feedback

as summative

rather

than

formative

professional development a. Feedback on teacher instruction is only given as a part of an evaluation process which impacts annual pay increments and

perception of employee professional value. Identified areas of growth are seen as failures, which is counter to the ideology of continuous growth. 4. Student learning support needs and data

a. There is no shared understanding of the diversity of student needs within a classroom. It was indicated that the grade two students were all given learning assessments, in the previous year, but that data was not shared with the teachers. There were students who

presented with needs requiring learning support and level of differentiated instruction which teachers were not always able to accommodate due to professional capacity and skill, class size, time constraints, or access resources.

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Recommendations and the Way Forward Historically, coaching, referred to as mentoring in the Ministry of Education’s schools, has only been used as a part of the on boarding process for new teachers; creating the idea that only new teachers need this kind of support. This stigma, combined with teacher evaluations which are summative and punitive, diminish the understanding or appreciation of the counter approach of feedback and support that is formative and fosters continuous growth. Coaching is for

players who are an established part of a team with a collective goal. While collaborative in methodology, coaching is still externally driven or pushed when teachers don’t have an intrinsically motivated push to participate. This seemed to be the case with the teachers in this cohort. Extra efforts would be made on my part to keep or reschedule meetings times or initiate the goals of our meetings,

making the process feel hierarchical rather than shared. Student

performance

improvement

through

teacher

professional

development as an overall outcome may be better impacted through an increase in teacher access to year-round professional development opportunities from which teachers can gain new skills and improve their craft. The Ministry of Education offer professional development and gives teachers the freedom to participate in programs of their own choosing, however, access to high quality

and affordable programs locally is limited.

Adapting the Adopt-A-School

program to become an Educator Professional Development Initiative could provide access to free and low-cost continuous learning opportunities for teachers. The program, having a broader impact and buy-in from all participants, could achieve the desired outcomes in the shorter term, with instructional

coaching later introduced to improve medium and long-term impact.

Adopt-A-School Budget Line item

Cost

Notes

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Adopt-A-School Budget Program Staffing Implementation and Administration and Professional Coaching Services

10,000.00

September 15th November 15th

Supplies and Resources

BSD 225.00

Printing, manipulatives, and lamination services

Administrative fees

1,022.50

11,247.50

Total

It is also essential to note that the challenges presented in the pilot implementation of Adopt-A-School strengthens the call for partnership schools which, given this knowledge, can create the culture and environment necessary to readily adapt to the support and success needs of its teachers and students.

In a Ministry of Education Stakeholder meeting which solicited Amendments to the Education Act, ORG was able to give a preliminary introduction to the Partnership School Legislation to the meeting body. Initial conversation stemmed around defining Charter and Partnership Schools and furthering diving into the precedence set by the Island School’s Memorandum of Understanding used in the acquisition of Deep Creek Primary School. As the nature of this arrange is a

school takeover and is the model most likely to be used in future Partnership and Charter MOUs, there are implications for taking on a staff who have had limited professional development opportunities. An Educator Professional Development Initiative would be the first step in securing access to highly qualified professionals with the Ministry of Education.

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