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Chapter 1: Overarching Themes

National Council of Supervisors of Mathe Solution Tree Press ePub


These are unique times in mathematics education. A high-quality set of common standards guide kindergarten through high school mathematics in most states, representing a long overdue, well-conceived internationally benchmarked curriculum. We have a much clearer sense of the instructional practices that raise achievement. Two state-led consortia, PARCC and SBAC, are developing technologically enhanced assessment systems explicitly aligned to the CCSSM. Teachers have unparalleled access to ideas and resources on the web that transfer to interactive whiteboards and other digital devices. Well-trained mathematics coaches are increasingly prevalent in schools. There is a much stronger research base to guide our actions than ever before. Thus, we have an emerging infrastructure that provides a stronger foundation for change and improvement than has previously existed.

But standards do not teach; teachers teach. It is the translation of standards into engaging tasks and powerful assessments in millions of classrooms that determines the quantity and quality of learning. It is how educators use available resources to provide an opportunity to learn that matters. Assessments are only valuable to the extent that the data are reliable and teachers use results to refine and improve instruction. Professional development that fails to provide opportunities for practice, feedback, and collaborative reflection has little real impact on teacher knowledge, teacher practice, or student achievement. All the research findings that fill our journals are of little use if they are not translated into practice. Most important of all, any honest interpretation of a broad array of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) outcomes reveals that rarely does mathematics work for more than half of the student population, leaving an unacceptably high proportion of the population for whom the system has failed.

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Medium 9781935542018

Three Universal Education for a Free Society

Ricardo L. Garcia Solution Tree Press ePub

Prior to the formation of the United States, and for a while afterward, education was a privilege for the wealthy who could afford to hire teachers to instruct their youth. Today publicly funded K–12 schooling is provided for all. Education is an absolute necessity for a democratic, free society, and a state-controlled public education is the epitome of a democracy. The citizens as a community pool their taxes and revenues to fund the schools. The citizens also elect the officials who manage the schools and set curriculum and teaching standards without intervention of the federal government, except in the instances when the state system is not in compliance with the U.S. Constitution, which government agencies must comply with to provide equal protection of the law to all citizens. (See chapter 6 for a discussion about the policy of equal educational opportunity). In broad strokes, this chapter explores the establishment of universal public education in the United States, its rationale, and its goals.

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Chapter 4 Planning Your Debut and Creating an Online Platform

Kitty Porterfield Solution Tree Press ePub


When we interviewed one superintendent about his district’s use of social media, he insisted that he ignored the message boards and blogs: “I don’t have time for that,” he said. However, the more we talked, the more we saw how social media had already affected his job:

  He had withdrawn a contract offered to a new teacher after he was alerted to a particular online conversation on the teacher’s Facebook page. By sharing intimate details of his partying habits and views toward women, the candidate had revealed a side of himself that would not be a good fit with the school community.

  A newly elected school board member conducted her campaign using social media.

  Parents at a recent school board meeting shared results from an online survey they conducted regarding a school closing.

In fact, he did have firsthand experience with social media; he avoided what might have been a bad personnel decision and he learned how the medium can be used to persuade an audience. Even rural communities, such as the one this superintendent leads, are not immune to the influence of social media. Indeed, even if you think you are not involved in the conversation, social media has probably already affected your life more than you realize. Its presence in all our lives underscores the importance for leaders to consider how they can use social media as a tool to benefit their leadership.

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Medium 9781934009338

Appendix Reproducibles

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub

Visit go.solution-tree.com/rti to download these reproducibles and other helpful information.

Recall the two fundamental assumptions undergirding a school’s mission to provide high levels of learning for all students: 1) Educators believe that all students are capable of high levels of learning, and 2) they assume the responsibility to make this outcome a reality for every child. This exercise offers a process to create a common mission of learning.

Step 1: Create Individual Mission Statements

Have staff members sit in teams. Ask each person to write a response in 8 to 12 words to the question, “What is the fundamental purpose (mission) of our school? In other words, why does our school exist?”

Step 2: Share Individual Mission Statements

Ask each person to share his or her answer and ask a team member to chart the responses. Once all team members have shared, have each team discuss how the responses are similar and how they are different. Then inquire, “How can we work collaboratively to help our students if we have different missions for our school?”

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Chapter 5: Changing the Process

Robin J. Fogarty Solution Tree Press ePub


Learning How Teachers Differentiate Learning Processes to
Meet Student Needs

This chapter is designed to parallel chapter 4 on changing the content. The ensuing discussion delineates the many ways teams within professional learning communities can modify, adjust, and change the processes students engage in, in order to learn the required content.

Changing the process of learning is one of Tomlinson’s (2005) stated strategies for differentiating instruction. As teachers seek ways to change the learning opportunities with challenge and choice, three areas offer fertile ground for substantive differentiation of the process: (1) changing the various aspects of direct instruction, (2) changing the structure of cooperative interactions, or (3) changing the mode of inquiry.

The following synopsis offers an introductory look at these three distinct learning processes. We then break down each process for PLCs to explore more fully. In fact, we designed chapters 4–6 to provide real fodder for collegial conversations that lead to purposeful and meaningful differentiated instruction. It is in these discussions, and the accompanying Action Options, that the ideas of the book come alive for authentic implementation purposes.

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