In terms of enhancing “never too late to learn” structures that are already in place, our site is in a transitional phase and not all teachers are onboard with re-conceptualizing or rethinking their grading policy. Our Instructional Leadership Team is starting to have conversations about the number of students on academic probation and whether this is partly the case because of teacher grading policies. Although structures and interventions that enhance a “never too late to learn” environment are being implemented, this is not school-wide. As the instructional leader, we need to provide professional development through our horizontal teams on our school-wide PD days and share results from teachers experimenting with alternative structures to make students successful in meeting competencies.
In my present sphere of influence, I can share personal experiences in terms of what has worked in my own classroom with colleagues and I can continue to implement interventions. In the last month in my regular 10th grade Modern World History sections, I have emphasized the idea of mastery and have provided opportunities for students to revise writing if students choose to do so and to turn-in assignments (up until a point) late. I also changed the way I provide feedback, for example, my choice of words, I revamped the types of homework assigned. What I discovered is that students who used to receive “D”s and “F”s for not turning in assignments are now getting their assignments in and are having discussions with me and with other students about their work. I have also provided more choices with assignment options during class time and it has afforded more time to work with individual students.
Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school increase learning opportunities:
- Consistent implementation of high-quality instruction. Share instructional strategies and interventions I have implemented with colleagues and with ILT, including emphasis on mastery and competence rather than compliance.
- Continue to develop organizing principles and continue to put these into action. For example, include an academic recovery plan such as the one described on page 115 of How to Create a Culture of Achievement for students in my own class that are not meeting competencies.
- Presume competence but not expertise. each students that mistakes are okay, that it is part of the learning process. This was a difficult concept for me to internalize when I was working on my 20 percent project. I almost didn’t move forward because I was worried I’d make a mistake and the jam I was making would be failure. Given that it was an on-going process and the grade was not based on how well the jam tasted but on the process involved, I became more committed to the process.
- Provide resources and support when students are showing gaps in performance.
- Assist in developing organizational principles for teachers to use for guidance and continue to work on developing strong relationships.
References:Fisher, Douglas, Nancy Frey, and Ian Pumpian. How to create a culture of achievement in your school and classroom. ASCD, 2012.