Thursday, July 31, 2008

Discussion Activity: Assessment, Professinal Development and Specials

The Curriculum Group focused on three issues for part of today's activities. These issues included assessment, professinal development and the role of "special" classes. All three topics are relevant in terms of implementation of curriculum. What follows is a summary of both the topic question that was asked as well as a brief synthesis of the responses of the teacher subgroups.

Topic 1: District Wide Assessment- one of the issues we need to address according to both QSAC and enacting the curriculum is the role of systemic, district wide assessment. Should this be done by marking period? Semester? End of Year? Should every school take the same test to assure uniformity? Who should make up such an assessment(s)? How should scores be reported? Should the scores be part of the students official grade for that marking period? Semester? Final grade? Who grades the assessment?

FINDINGS: Summative, formalized, cumulative? What kinds of asset. Do we have now.
.Need for common planning time
.What are we doing with all this Assessment information?
.How many times do we already test/ Is testing a form of evaluation?
.What is outcome/for failures
Moving away from end of year testing to subject area testing

Topic 2: Professional Development- one of the challenges the district faces once the curriculum is written is getting other teachers and administrators “up to speed” on what has been accomplished. How should this be accomplished? What should the role of outside professional development be? Internal professional development? How much time should be allocated? What potential challenges do you envision? What particular strengths do you feel we need to leverage?
FINDINGS: Professional Development: Groups 2-4-6
. Need for common planning
. Follow –up on PD
. Content specialists in each are: turn keying-during staff meetings
. Bring in own teachers to do P D
. Use of substantial /standard models
. Teacher s should be able to observe different class’s throuout the district
. Scheduling inconsistency-throughout district
. To much attention to testing (Is it meaningful or Required ?)
. Bring in PYP, even if not done yet
. No materials should just be turnkey with out follow up
. Themes for Pro. Dev. overtime? –Via. Surveys/ strategy

Topic 3: Specials- much of specific content/discipline delivery has been done by the use of “special” (for instance, having a “science” teacher that teachers science to all students in the school and/or grade band). Considering the 120 minutes regulation by the State, this is a challenge. Also, having such pull-outs and/or specials seems to take away from the flow of a typical classroom teacher. Nonetheless, considering “specials” are used very much in music, science, art, and other areas…how do we reconcile the 120 minutes a week criteria and the curriculum we are currently writing in terms of day to day delivery.

FINDINGS: K-5 -Incorporate all specialists into lesson plans. Provide opportunity and time for teachers to meet and confer. COMMON PLANNING w/specialists included
.Committee In charge of scheduling –unity for each school/ district
MYP -Schedules are very important
40. min. a day
120 min. a week
Each class would have to meet 3 times a week (specials )
2 X week into lesson plans. (Part of new Cir- for classroom teachers to introduce)
High School- Students get to take electives.