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Examining Student Work

Leadership Perspective on Implementing a High School Writing Initiative

City on a Hill Charter Public School, Roxbury, MA

The principal describes the school's writing initiative and shares what it took to focus the whole staff on developing high school students into college-ready writers.

English I–IV Writing Rubrics

City on a Hill Charter Public School, Roxbury, MA

English teachers and other teachers at City on a Hill use these writing rubrics to norm and grade student work. The rubrics are aligned across grade levels and demonstrate the increasingly rigorous expectations for students' mastery of writing as they move from one grade level to the next.

Building a Structured Format for Data Talks

Monarch Academy (Charter), Aspire Public Schools, Oakland, CA

Lead teacher conducting 3rd-grade Data Talk provides glimpse into protocols and pre- and post-meeting expectations. Teachers participate in an in-depth analysis and discussion about students' performance on diagnostic assessment on fractions.

Elementary

Collect and Chart Data Worksheet

Steck Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Data-collection template for recording the names and percentage of students who are proficient or higher, close to or far away from proficiency, or in need of intervention and extensive support in a select focus or skill. Teachers use the chart when formulating SMART goals that predict increases in the number of students who will achieve proficiency.

Elementary

Conducting Individual Writing Conferences

Shannon Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

A teacher conducts a weekly writing conference with a student. After discussing the peer feedback the student has received on a current piece of writing, the teacher and student reflect on strengths and areas for growth based on formal and informal writing assessments and then discuss the student's goals and strategies for improving her writing.

Elementary

Creating Structures and Protocols for Focused Data Talks

Monarch Academy (Charter), Aspire Public Schools, Oakland, CA

Explores how a principal implements "Data Talks," a systemized, schoolwide protocol for ensuring teachers know how to use data to drive instruction. Highlights how she developed the roles of "lead teachers" to support their grade-level peers in honing their instruction.

Elementary

Developing Strong Writers in Small-Guided Writing Groups

Shannon Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

Students in a small guided writing group analyze a paragraph written by the teacher and identify elements that make it a strong piece of writing. The teacher monitors and confers with individual students as they write their own paragraphs incorporating these elements. Students share and provide feedback on their completed paragraphs.

Elementary

Drilling Down the Data Template

Friendship Public Charter School, Southeast Elementary Academy, Washington, DC

Template provides a protocol to complete unit analysis of formative assessments at an elementary charter school. Teachers use the template to identify skills and standards connected to incorrect responses, analyze why students missed specific questions, identify teaching strategies for each standard, and list students who need additional support.

Elementary

Improving Schoolwide Mathematics Achievement

Harriet Tubman Elementary School (Washington DC Schools)

Videos highlight the leadership moves and structures created to support a schoolwide initiative to improve mathematics achievement and include classroom examples of the whole-group instruction, small-group guided practice, and independent work components of a 90-minute math block.

Elementary

Leading Data Analysis of Math Assessments and Instructional Action-Planning

Harriet Tubman Elementary School (Washington DC Schools)

Principal leads a short-cycle data analysis meeting. A math team conducts an item-level analysis and diagnoses student errors. Finding that most errors stemmed from students' inability to understand word problems and select the appropriate operation, the team brainstorms strategies to help students develop word-problem comprehension skills.

Elementary

Looking at Student Work Self-Reflection and Protocol

Friendship Public Charter School, Southeast Elementary Academy, Washington, DC

Worksheets and meeting protocol to guide teachers as they conduct structured discussions on modifying instructional strategies based on examples of student work. Teachers complete a self-reflection worksheet before meeting in teams, which follow structured protocols for discussion, and then detail how they plan to modify instruction based on feedback.

Elementary

Multiple Strategies for Engaging Students in the Writing Process

Shannon Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

Videos include a complete third-grade writing workshop on informational writing, a fifth-grade modeled writing minilesson, a small-group guided writing lesson, a peer-feedback session, and an individual writing conference.

Elementary

Principal Walkthroughs: Collecting and Using Observational Data

Beach Court Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Principal conducts walkthrough observation. He describes how and why he examines the environmental print in room and converses with students, asking questions to gauge their capacity to function as independent learners. He also explains his use of walkthrough data to provide feedback to teachers and plan professional development.

Elementary

Rigorous Scoring Guides Raise Teacher Expectations

Goldrick Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Teacher teams create rubrics to determine what students need to know at the end of the year in math and literacy. A process for refining the scoring guides and creating student-friendly versions raises teachers' expectations for students and builds schoolwide alignment for what students should know and be able to do in each grade.

Elementary

Scoring Assessments and Providing Consistent Feedback

Goldrick Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Three literacy coaches administer and score all diagnostic assessments at an elementary school with a high ELL population, an approach designed to improve reliability in scoring and provide more consistent feedback on language development to classroom teachers.

Elementary

Scoring Guide to Assess Student Data-Analysis Skills

Goldrick Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Tool for assessing student mastery of math data-analysis skills. Organized as rubric describing four levels of performance based on students' use of graphical representation, inferences, numerical expressions, and other discrete skills. Used by teachers to score weekly assessments of students on math power standards.

Elementary

SMART Goals Tools for Writing Instruction

Lincoln Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Protocol and template for drafting SMART goals based on 6-Traits writing process. Details steps for teacher teams to follow in examining student work, identifying weaknesses, creating common goals, and planning instruction. Includes example of teacher team's completed goal form and meeting minutes from the same team assessing progress of their students.

Elementary

State Standards Broken Down by Discrete Skills

Goldrick Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Breakdown of six Colorado math standards into component skills and content areas. Covers number sense, algebraic methods, data analysis, geometric concepts, measurement, and math concepts. Illustrates how elementary school "unpacked" state standards into discrete skills around which teachers built scoring guides to use in assessing student work.

Elementary

Student Self-Scoring Guide on Summarization

Goldrick Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Tool for students in grades 3–5 to assess their own use of summarization skills in writing. Organized as a rubric describing evidence of specific skills associated with four levels of performance. Tool's language is meant to be "kid-friendly."

Elementary

Targeting Math Instruction as a Response to Grade-Level Analysis

Monarch Academy (Charter), Aspire Public Schools, Oakland, CA

Teachers at 3rd-grade data-team meeting share strategies and activities to teach fraction equivalency and use assessment results to determine which concepts need reteaching. Principal and teachers reflect on how Data Talks focus instructional plans. One teacher leads lesson on concept indentified at data-team meeting.

Elementary

Third Grade Writing Workshop: Informational Writing

Shannon Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

The teacher begins a writing workshop lesson by reading a book about desert animals. In a minilesson, she models how to write a factual paragraph about an animal that includes a main idea and supporting details. Students critique her writing using a writing rubric and then work in cooperative groups to write and critique their own reports on desert animals.

Elementary

Tools and Protocols That Drive Rigor in Data Cycles

Friendship Public Charter School, Southeast Elementary Academy, Washington, DC

A charter elementary school uses tools and protocols to ensure rigorous analysis and planning during its nine-week data cycle, which includes specific objectives and deliverables for each week of the cycle, teacher responsibility for data analysis, explicit protocols for structured team discussions, and the creation of detailed action plans.

Elementary

Tools for Improving Writing Instruction

Lincoln Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

A principal employs planning tools around the 6-Traits writing process to align teachers in their expectations for improving students' writing skills. Templates and protocols for evaluating students' writing needs and providing instruction, as well as tools for tailoring professional development on writing instruction to teachers' needs, are included.

Elementary

Using Common Weekly Assessments to Monitor Teaching and Reteaching Strategies

Levi Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

School leaders use common weekly assessments to monitor teaching practices and identify reteaching strategies at each grade level at an elementary school.

Elementary

Writing Rubrics for Organization: Teacher and Student Versions

Lincoln Elementary School (Denver Public Schools)

Teacher-created rubrics for assessing student writing on organization, as part of school's adoption of 6-Traits writing process. Describes four levels of proficiency. Student version on second page puts the teacher rubric into first person to help students assess their own writing.

Elementary

Writing Workshop Peer-Feedback Routines

Shannon Elementary School (Memphis City Schools)

A fifth grade teacher opens a peer-feedback session with a small group of students by briefly reviewing the essential elements for a narrative piece of writing. As a routine step in a weekly writing process, students read each other's papers and provide feedback for revision in preparation for an individual writing conference with their teacher.

Elementary

Analyzing Benchmark Data to Identify Student Misconceptions

Community Day Charter Public School, Lawrence, MA

A 6th-grade math team analyzes benchmark assessment data to identify common student misconceptions. They use a series of itemized data reports and templates to discover that students struggle with Lowest Common Multiple (LCM). They hypothesize that second language issues are contributing to this struggle for some English Language Learners.

Elementary/Middle

Assessing the Outcomes of the Brief Constructed Response Work

Raymond Education Campus (Washington DC Schools)

Principal and teachers discuss positive impact brief constructed response work has on student test performance and reading comprehension skills. Teachers comment on how teacher collaboration around raising student performance on BCRs has improved professional dialogue.

Elementary/Middle

Benchmark Analysis and Action Plan

Community Day Charter Public School, Lawrence, MA

Includes plans for spiral-reviewing standards and sub-standards into homework assignments, Do Nows, mini-lessons, quizzes, and tests. Identifies whole-class vs. small-group teaching needed to address students' needs, and lists students of significant concern and instructional strategies designed to attend to their needs.

Elementary/Middle

Collaborative Planning to Refine Writing Instruction

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (Harvard Site), Los Angeles, CA

Two second-grade teachers work together during a weekly collaborative-planning meeting to refine a letter-writing unit. After reviewing students' performance on a diagnostic cold-write, the teachers revise unit goals and objectives to meet their students' needs. The teachers share strategies and resources to align and improve their instructional practices.

Elementary/Middle

Engaging an Experienced Staff in Focused Professional Dialogue

Raymond Education Campus (Washington DC Schools)

Analyzes strategies for facilitating data-driven professional dialogue and engaging adults in collaborative instructional decision-making. Focuses on how staff analyzes student data to identify an area of need, collectively implements a focused instructional response, and collaboratively examines student work to monitor the effectiveness of instruction.

Elementary/Middle

Facilitating Professional Dialogue Around Student Understanding

Raymond Education Campus (Washington DC Schools)

Participants in 3rd-grade team meeting analyze student's understanding of geometry concept based on brief constructed responses, as well as discuss instructional strategies. Participants include principal, assistant principals, 3rd-grade teachers, math and literacy professional developers, and school psychologist.

Elementary/Middle

Itemized Data-Analysis EduSoft Report

Community Day Charter Public School, Lawrence, MA

Administrators and teachers use this itemized data report to identify students' common misconceptions so they can target and shift their instruction to address students' needs. The director of assessment and accountability uses the EduSoft software to generate this report by scanning in students' answers on the multiple-choice questions on each benchmark...

Elementary/Middle

Math Benchmark Assessment Rubric: Grade 6–8

Capital City Public Charter School, Washington, DC

Descriptors of four levels of math competency stressing mathematical reasoning. Focus is on understanding concepts, use of math strategies, and communication. Used by teachers to assess students responses to assessments of essential math skills in each grade.

Elementary/Middle

Student Open-Response Template

Community Day Charter Public School, Lawrence, MA

Template that administrators and teachers use to record students' scores and errors on open-response questions on the benchmark assessments. Also used to capture general observations and trends based on students' results.

Elementary/Middle

Supporting Collaborative Problem-Solving by Looking at Student Work

Raymond Education Campus (Washington DC Schools)

Principal and teachers examine student writing and score work against districtwide rubric in weekly, grade-level team meeting. Principal and teacher describe how meetings are used to discuss instructional implications, share strategies, and develop collaborative practices. Fourth-grade teacher comments on meetings' impact on improving student achievement.

Elementary/Middle

Using a Common Approach to Writing Across Content Areas

Neighborhood House Charter School, Dorchester, MA

A director of literacy at a charter middle school leads an initiative to integrate writing instruction across the curriculum. PD is provided to establish schoolwide expectations and ensure that teachers across all subject areas use consistent structures and tools for holding students accountable for high-quality writing.

Elementary/Middle

Using Data to Define a Focused Instructional Goal

Raymond Education Campus (Washington DC Schools)

Principal discusses creating data team and how using data helped to identify writing skills as common area of student need. ELL teacher explains how team learned to break down standards into activities targeted toward achievable goals and raising proficiency. Includes glimpse into data-team meeting.

Elementary/Middle

Aligning a Math Department Around Common Instructional Priorities

Skinner Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

A middle school sees math gains while using a rigorous structure for teacher meetings. Principal aligns math teachers through year-long goals established by the department, clear meeting agendas, and tools for analysis of data and student work.

Middle

Collaborative Planning Around Cross-Curricular Writing Instruction

Morey Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

Administrative team and elective arts teachers meet to discuss the trends and tendencies in students' writing, debrief observations made in the language arts classes, and brainstorm strategies for integrating writing instruction into their courses. Principal also reflects on leadership's evolving role in collaborative planning meetings.

Middle

Examining Student Work Protocol

Skinner Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

Process to guide teacher teams in reviewing student work for evidence of understanding. Detailed steps for presentation of work by one teacher, followed by group discussion and analysis, and then planning of instructional next steps.

Middle

Integrating Writing Across the Curriculum

Morey Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

A middle school integrates writing instruction across the curriculum to address a persistent lack of student growth in this area. Nonlanguage arts teachers acquire the skills and confidence to teach writing through cross-curricular data analysis work, classroom observations in language arts classrooms, and collaborative planning opportunities.

Middle

Leadership Insights on Implementing Writing Across the Curriculum

Morey Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

Principal reflects on the leadership decisions and moves she believes have been key to the success of a schoolwide focus on writing and offers advice to others who may be embarking on similar initiatives.

Middle

Leading One-on-One Data-Analysis Meetings with Teachers

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Roxbury, MA

Video highlights how a charter school principal supports a teacher in an item-level data-analysis meeting and the probing questions she uses to prompt the teacher to identify student misconceptions, reflect on her instruction, and plan strategic next steps.

Middle

Math Department Meeting Agenda Aligned to Year-Long Goals

Skinner Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

Agenda for middle school math team to analyze student work for thinking strategies. Shows meeting aim, year-long goals, guiding questions for examining student work, and follow-up activities for teachers. Designed to focus team meetings on schoolwide improvement goals while giving teachers practical strategies to use in the classroom.

Middle

Teacher and Principal Item-Level Analysis of Reading Assessment

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Roxbury, MA

A principal meets with a reading teacher to review formative assessment results and discuss what the data reveal about students' reading comprehension skills and mastery of important vocabulary words, as well as instructional and exam-design improvement.

Middle

Using Assessments to Determine What Skills and Content to Teach

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Roxbury, MA

Veteran teacher reviews exam with new teacher to analyze test and make changes that will better measure students' mastery of open-response questions. Co-director of curriculum and instruction also discusses how teachers study formative assessments with colleagues to ensure they know what constitutes a strong exam that advances student achievement.

Middle

Using Assessments to Shape Curriculum

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Roxbury, MA

Videos spotlight the way a school prepares and supports teachers for the development of instructional practices that are intentional and based on students' needs. Teachers "unwrap" state standards to create more discrete school standards that serve as the basis for curriculum-planning.

Middle

Using Data Analysis to Create Urgency Around Writing Instruction

Morey Middle School (Denver Public Schools)

Content-area and electives teams meet to score interim writing assessments administered in content-area classes. Teams norm their scores, identify trends and tendencies, and present findings to their language arts colleagues. Together they brainstorm instructional strategies that the content-area and electives teachers can use to address student needs.

Middle

Developing Higher-Order Reasoning and Communication Skills Through Problem-Based Secondary Math Instruction

Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, Cambridge, MA

A high school uses rigorous problem-based learning activities to help students develop the college-readiness skills of higher-order mathematical reasoning, problem-solving, and writing. Teachers provide step-by-step guidelines, tools, and feedback opportunities to scaffold POU work.

K–12

Developing Teacher Capacity for Using Data (1–Hour Webinar for Principals and Aspiring Principals)

Reflect on role of principal to drive faculty's instructional conversations using data. Workshop includes two videos, prework to rate indicators of data-driven instruction at one's school, and participant poll. (Developed for Chicago New Leaders, fall 2009)

K–12

Facilitating Effective Data Teams (2–Hour Workshop for Aspiring Principals)

Identify and analyze key processes that enable effective facilitation of data-team meetings. Workshop includes two videos. Participants engage in small-group and whole-group discussions, as well as reflect on their own capacity to lead or support data teams. (Developed for New Leaders Summer Foundations, 2009)

K–12

Facilitating Standard- and Item-Level Data Analysis (3½–Hour Workshop for Assistant Principals)

Facilitate a data-analysis meeting that results in teachers identifying the causes of student misconceptions and developing reteaching strategies. Workshop includes video, role-play activities, and postwork. (Developed for a 6-session Leadership Development Pilot for Memphis City Schools, fall 2010)

K–12

Honing Facilitation Skills (2–Hour Workshop for Principals)

Examine how role and skill of facilitator shape faculty's capacity to build a sense of shared purpose. Also explore structures necessary to lead meetings that produce results. Workshop includes two videos. Individual work and group share-outs on action plans to advance literacy goals. (Developed for Perspectives Charter School Pilot, fall 2009)

K–12

Leading Corrective-Instruction Action-Planning and Planning for a Full Data Cycle (3½–Hour Workshop for Assistant Principals)

Identify effective strategies for corrective instruction in preparation for leading data-driven action-planning for teachers. Establish a cycle of data analysis and action-planning to plan more efficiently for data meetings. Workshop includes video, sample action-planning, and postwork. (Developed for a 6-session Leadership Development Pilot for Memphis City...

K–12

Meeting Protocols and Agendas (1–Hour Webinar for Principals and Aspiring Principals)

Identify critical elements to successful meetings. Workshop includes two videos, prework, participant polls, and group discussion on value of directive facilitation versus giving teachers autonomy for meetings. (Developed for Chicago New Leaders, fall 2010)

K–12

Standards- and Item-Level Data Analysis and Action Planning (3–Hour Workshop for Assistant Principals)

Use standards-level data analysis to identify focus standards andhypothesize common student misconceptions through item-level analysis. Workshop includes two videos, facilitated discussion, and action-planning. Postwork includes videotaping data analysis during data-team meeting. (Developed for a 6-session Leadership Development Pilot for Memphis City...

K–12