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Change Agent in Public Education

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Abby Vande Kieft

on 20 June 2014

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Transcript of Change Agent in Public Education

Change Agent for Excellence in Public Education
Teacher Learning and Career Advancement Systems
Response to Intervention (RTI)
The heart of any Response to Intervention (RTI) model lies in the use of tiered instruction. It represents a model in which the instruction delivered to students varies dependent upon each individual student's needs. Along with an effective RTI program is the need for changes to the traditional school day such as: after school programs for at-risk students for small group or one-to-one instructional assistance, homeroom teacher and peer mentoring, and adjustments to the school schedule to provide for reteaching opportunities during the school day.

A RTI program allows educators to effectively provide high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need by assessing individual student progress. Individual student progress is frequently monitored to make informed decisions about changes in instruction or goals. The RTI model is then applied to decisions in general education, remedial education, and special education. The goal is to create a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by individual student data to provide the necessary supports for success.

To implement a highly-effective Response to Intervention program, the key lies in the establishment of a workable schedule that maximizes school personnel resources and a high degree of collaboration among all members of the teaching force of a school. Proposed adjustments include the scheduling of band or vocal lessons during non-core class times as well as a “Success Period” at the end of the day that would provide additional time to seek assistance from general education teachers or support service staff for reteaching. During this time, all general education and special service staff would be available to provide assistance to students to answer questions and enhance their learning. For those students who experience little to no family or home support, an after school program would help to provide those students with the support and assistance they need to be successful.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC's)
In order to make progress towards excellence in public education, continual Professional Development opportunities and training are a necessity. Professional development and training should include Full Inclusion Practices that are focused on tiered instruction, technology implementation, and hands-on activities as well as enhancing communication within Professional Learning Communities. To effectively deliver tiered instruction focused on the education of all students, educators must be given the proper training and collaboration time to design and provide high-quality, engaging curriculum tiered for diverse student needs. With the development of Professional Learning Communities educators are able to meet their students' needs.

By implementing the TAP System, it provides school systems with a means to promote PLC’s within the district. The TAP System is based on the premise of working in cooperation with other educators to ensure that high-quality and rigorous instruction is challenging the students to construct their own learning in STEM subjects as well as reading and math. Likewise, the implementation of RTI and delivery of an effective tiered instructional model requires strong communication from all stakeholders. Teachers need to have clear and direct lines of communication with parents, administrators, special service staff (ELL, Special Education, and Talented And Gifted), and other professionals such as physicians, psychologists, and counselors.
Steps Moving Forward
We can no longer teach, test, and hope for
the best. We must change our mindset by not focusing on the pitfalls and struggles of the past, but focus our efforts on making a difference in the future. With the mindset that closing the achievement gap and success is attainable for every student, we are able to ensure that today's public schools will achieve excellence.

"People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet." Temple Grandin
Why has a once-dynamic educational system turned stagnant, or worse? (Peterson)
The American educational system turned stagnant due to multiple changes in public education that all seemed to transpire around the same time. For example, public school systems were originally designed to be an education system that was an extension of the home and community, but with the rise of governmental control and regulation, the local public school systems were dictated by politicians who had no idea what was best for each individual school and student. The shift in education came about with the inclusion of ELL, minority, and special education students who were now being tested with the majority of white, middle-class students. This influx of students that were diverse in culture, ability, and readiness levels played a major impact on the decline in test scores as these students had previously not been tested in American public school systems. Lastly, the family home structure in America was taking a drastic turn as many housewives and mothers were entering the workforce, divorce rates began to increase, and children were not receiving the level of family support that previous generations had experienced.
A Nation at Risk
"Good Ole Days"
Schools of Today
Report written by James Colman that detailed the decline in American education due to the lack of family background and culture
Led to the implementation of initiatives such as:
"Goals 2000"
"No Child Left Behind"

Steps to excellence in Public Education by 2025
What can I do to be an advocate for change and make a difference in reforming educational practices?

What can I do to guarantee a free, quality education for all types of learners?
Teacher Leveling and Career Advancement System
Implementation of Teacher and Student Advancement System (TAP System) for Career Advancement

Effective Evaluation Program
Response to Intervention
After school programs for At-Risk students

Homeroom Teacher and Peer Mentoring

School schedule adjustments for reteaching opportunities during school day
Professional Learning Communities (PLC's)
Professional Development opportunities for

Full Inclusion Practices
Tiered Instruction
Technology Implementation
Hands-on Activities
District Behavior Matrix with Retraining, Mentoring, and Counseling
Behavior Modification

Decision Making Skills

Bullying/Harassment Counseling
Community Service Projects
Community involvement

Building pride in local community

Public School restored as the heart of the community
What has gone wrong with American education?
Standardized Testing
Started due to No Child Left Behind

Major emphasis is placed on Reading and Math with individual state standards of Proficiency

States and Districts are using the scores as a means of accountability for educators and administration (Ravitch)

Districts are gaming the tests to show better results to avert governmental control/assistance

Unrealistic goals of 100% Proficiency by
2014 (Ravitch)

Curriculum Standards
Lack of strong curriculum for the arts, literature, history, civics, science, and foreign languages (Ravitch)

Lack of Rigor and Relevance in present curriculum

Emphasis is placed on Reading and Math in order to show proficiency on standardized tests (Ravitch)
Family Support
Disillusioned Teaching Staff
Lack of Professional Training and adequate support

Lack of time and resources
Many educators work over 65 hours per week

Low wages
62% of teachers need a second job

High burnout/attrition rate for new educators
46% of teachers quit teaching before
their 5th year
The Major Problems
According to the Colman Report a lack of family support has played a major impact in the drop in achievement (Peterson)

Since the 1950's there has been:
an increase in the number of women entering the work force
an increase in the number of divorces in American families
a decline in the number of marriages

Rise in the number of single parent
homes in America
Teacher and Student Advancement System (TAP System) was implemented to increase teacher effectiveness with an emphasis on finding new and innovative ways to attract and retain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teachers. This system is aimed to increase student achievement in these curricular areas with high-quality, authentic learning opportunities. Educators are able to draw on the experience from Master and Mentor teachers through effective evaluations to ensure that students are exposed to rigorous and relevant STEM instruction. The TAP system provides for collaboration and continual learning for educators with focus on advancement, support, and compensation. By implementing the TAP System, districts are able to develop and retain effective teachers that are committed to excellence with a focused and rigorous curriculum. Due to the opportunity for advancement and leadership positions, educators are enticed to remain in the teaching profession because of higher wages and greater levels of collaboration, support, and necessary resources.
TAP System in Iowa
District Behavior Matrix
with Retraining, Mentoring, & Counseling
Community Service Projects
In order to make a change, we must change the way that we view education. Our own mindset must shift from the "Good Ole Days" to accommodate for the changes in society, family structure, and the increasing achievement gap of today.

“If teachers and principals believe the impetus for student learning remains outside their sphere of influence and that there is nothing they can do to overcome these variables, the idea of school improvement will undoubtedly seem futile, if not downright ridiculous.” (DuFour)

Steps for Success to achieve Excellence in Public Education
How do we address the disillusioned teaching staff and the need for curriculum standards in areas other than just reading and math?
How do we ensure that all students are being challenged and reaching proficiency with a lack of family support?
What if we don't know how to implement RTI's and how do we find the time?
“…the most promising strategy for substantive school improvement is developing the capacity for school personnel to function as a professional learning community (PLC).” (DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker)

"If you want it, teach it " (APL Associates)
By implementing a behavioral matrix within the district, respectful and acceptable behavior becomes the expectation for all students. A behavioral matrix is a grid that identifies specific positive behaviors for each behavioral expectation within a specific setting or situation. The intent behind using positive terms, the behavior you want to see, is to make a simple and clear list of what behaviors students should be engaging in. With brief and clear descriptions that are observable and measurable, students are able to see and hear what respectful and acceptable behavior is. Each expected behavior should be taught to provide instruction of middle class values for students living in poverty. Retraining inappropriate behavior or choices allows all students to learn values that will allow them to be successful citizens.

With the rise in bullying and harassment in schools via various technological and impersonal media, districts could benefit by implementing teacher and peer mentoring groups. This practice would provide students with an adult or peer that they feel comfortable confiding in when faced with adversity. When students who have experienced bullying or harassment are identified, they are met with support from their teacher(s), peers, and the guidance counselor. During counseling sessions, the victim of bullying is provided with resources to protect them in the future from subsequent harassment. On the other hand, the student(s) that are the perpetrators of bullying or harassment also need to be identified and provided with counseling services to uncover the reason for the confrontational behavior. Quite often, the perpetrators are given a consequence for their behavior or choices, but little consideration is given to the underlying cause for the harassment. By providing counseling to these students, districts are able to take a proactive approach to bullying and provide a safe, caring environment for all students to learn.

“. . . RTI has the potential to help transform schools if the educators within them embrace the big ideas of a professional learning community: a commitment to high levels of learning for all students, a commitment to a collaborative culture, and a commitment to using results to foster continuous improvement.” (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Karhanek)
How do we effectively manage our classrooms while trying to assess each student's progress and how do we reach the really difficult students?
How can we instill a sense of pride in our local public schools?
School based Community Service Projects are a means to promote community involvement with students, staff, and local families. Completed Community Service Projects foster pride in the local community, and the public school is provided with opportunities to regain its place as the heart of the community. By implementing a school based Community Service Projects, districts are able to instill a sense of compassion, pride, and citizenry in its students as well as a vast range of leadership and social skills that will benefit them in society.
We, as educators together, are the magic bullet. It is our time to make a difference in education. (Vande Kieft)
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