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Summer Workshop Agenda

submitter: Reaching Every Teacher: A Systemic Approach to Increased Student Achievement K-12
published: 07/23/1998
posted to site: 07/23/1998
As part of the second year of the Waltham LSCI, Reaching Every Teacher, a summer institute was held for liasion teachers. The project is three years in total: during the first year, all teachers of mathematics in the district, K-12, came to seminars together in cross-grades groups to immerse themselves in some of the "big ideas" in mathematics. These seminars were developed and led by staff from Education Development Center (EDC). During the second year, teachers examined new NSF curricula at each grade level in light of these big ideas and tried out sample lessons in their classes. At the end of this year, teachers were asked to indicate their preferences (there were 3 curricula at each grade level to choose from) and the final decision was made by a group of teacher liaisons from each of the grades, and the Director of Mathematics. During the third year of the project (1998-1999), these liaisons have the responsibility for leading the professional development program for teachers, all of whom will be piloting the new curricula in Waltham.

The week-long summer institute in late June of 1998 was designed to enable liaison teachers to make curricular decisions at each grade level given the input of their colleagues. (Each teacher was asked to fill out a Curriculum Analysis Questionnaire for each curriculum they examined. They were then asked to fill out a Preference Indicator Form after an afternoon meeting with their school-based colleagues where each curriculum was discussed.) It was also designed to help liaisons structure an implementation process, a professional development plan for the coming year, and introduce their selected curricula to their cross-grade counterparts.

The week's agenda that follows mirrors these objectives:

Day 1: Curriculum Selection (elementary, middle and high)

Liaisons used the result of a Curriculum Analysis Questionnaire developed at EDC and completed by each teacher, and their school-based results from a Preference Indicator Form (also developed at EDC). They also used three criteria documents (Criteria for a Good Curriculum, Criteria for a Good Fit with Waltham, and Criteria for Fit Across Grade Levels) in their deliberations. At each grade level (elementary, middle and high), liaisons narrowed their choices to two curricula, and came back as a group to describe their choices to the larger group. They then discussed how these curricula might fit across grades, and made their final decision.

Day 2: Selection of Units to Pilot for the 1998-99 school year.

Liaisons examined the document, Guidelines for Selection, before breaking into grade level groups. At each grade level, liaisons determined two units to be piloted from the newly selected curricula. Each teacher in the district would be piloting these units, and there was a discussion as to what these units should look like. The pilots were to last 6-8 weeks total.

A presentation was made by the K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Center to discuss the center's work in helping districts adopt NSF reform curricula.

Day 3: Implementation Plans for the Three Curricula (elementary, middle and high)

The second day focused on the different models of implementation, and what it means to look at the experience of students with each model. Liaisons examined two documents (Different Models for Implementation, and Student Experiences) in thinking about implementation issues. In grade-level groups, they considered the question, "What implementation plan do you favor for the curriculum you've selected at your grade level?" Each grade level presented their plan to the entire group, and a decision was made for a roll-out for the following three years at each level. Liaisons spent the remainder of the considering lessons learned from other implementation plans.

Day 4: Leadership and Communication Skills Training Since liaisons would be taking over the professional development with the teachers at their grade level during the 1998-99 school year, EDC brought in a consultant on leadership training to work with liaisons on skills they would need in dealing with the array of issues that might arise as teachers begin piloting the new units next year. The work on leadership involved dealing with a discussion of the meaning of leadership and their roles as liaisons, dealing with difficult conversations, and anticipating the problems that teachers might have in implementing new curricula.

Day 5: Doing Math from Selected Curricula/Overview of Liaison Responsibilities The final day of the institute involved liaison presentations of mathematics lessons from the new curricula so that their cross-grade counterparts could get a glimpse of some of the new materials. At the elementary level, a grade 3 lesson was presented from Trailblazers; at the middle school level, a grade 7 lesson was presented from MathScape, and at the high school level, a grade 10 lesson was presented from UCSMP. Liaisons selected lessons that would portray the characteristics of the programs they chose, as all teachers were engaged in the doing of the mathematics.