Step 1: Decision Making Process
Student performance is the overall interest of every school and learning institution. Therefore, a school will never hesitate to use available resources to initiate changes that will help students in improving the areas they are facing challenges. To determine the areas of need, one needs to review students’ grades and performance over some time. On the areas where poor results are found, then an appropriate curriculum initiative sought that will help not only the student in the learning process but also the trainers’ inefficient delivery of their services. However, for the entire process to be approved by stakeholders, especially the district leaders, one must involve them in every move and step they make, as they all desire similar results and that is to see a student performance improvement (McLachlan, Fleer, & Edwards, 2018). One way of involving them include using the FSA results in collaboration with the stakeholders to help in identifying the areas of need (Florida Standards Assessment Reporting System, 2018). This is followed by the process of selecting the best curriculum initiative that will address the areas of need identified.
In this case, the results obtained from Florida Standards Assessment (FSA), and other assessing bodies like I-Ready and Science Progress Monitoring Assessment (PMA) and Windemere Elementary results shows that between the year 2017 and 2018 and in other previous years, English Language Arts (ELA) had been experiencing difficulties with a series of subsequent drops. For instance, in 2017-2018, ELA Learning Gains overall from the data is 54%, which differed for ESE students in ELA with their gain being 59% while for English Language Learners gains were 71%. For the lowest 25% of students, instead of gaining, they experienced a loss from 66% to 49% (Orange County Public Schools, 2018). All the above shows that there is a need in the English language arts for all type of students from grade three up to five. After reviewing the above data with stakeholders, they will be able to help in initiating curriculum change that will help in improving the English language.
School-Wide Need Is Being Addressed
The curriculum initiative will work to increase English Language Arts performance for all the students. While writing is addressed in the ELA block, there is not enough time for a continuous block of writing instruction without interruption. The current writing curriculum is not effectively teaching a text-based writing process. Therefore, the new curriculum will target the 25% who dropped in their performance, and it will also seek to improve the gains for the remaining 75 % of the students whose gains were not as impressive as the case in other subjects (Florida Standards Assessment Reporting System, 2018). In the new initiative, it will address the diverse needs of learners in the following ways, the ELA Reading will be addressed through morning tutoring for the lowest 25% of the students, it will also focus on ESE and ELL pull-out support, an in school targeted tutoring, and a 45 minute daily differentiated intervention (Darling-Hammond, HyleR and Gardner, 2017). All four programs will ensure that every student need is addressed in a special. However, for the ELL, ESE, and the lowest 25% of students need additional time to practice their writing skills. Since many of these students have accommodations for extra time, small group setting, and frequent breaks which are hard to meet in a regular classroom, the Saturday session will be used to cover most parts of the curriculum.
Professional Development of Staff
In order for the initiative to run smoothly and efficiently, all the instructional staff must implement the initiative with fidelity. One way of achieving this is through proper training of the staff, to ensure that they understand their roles well. Therefore, OCPS Professional Learning Staff will be used to provide training for CRT/Instructional Coach on how to use WriteScore and No Red Ink assessment tools, FSA writing rubrics, writing test specification and elements of effective professional development. The School will then provide staff training for 4 hours, which will be delivered by CRT. The CRT will focus on the use of Write score and No Red Ink, how to use FSA writing rubrics and FSA writing test specs.
Standards-Based Assessment Systems
As mentioned above, two assessments tools will be used to gauge the gains of the initiative. The first one is No Red Ink which is a digital writing program that focuses mainly on grammar and the technical aspects of writing. It offers differentiated, adapted practice with high-interest content that meets students at their level of learning (NoRedInk, 2019). Authentic assessments provided for students provide data, growth reports and grade books for teachers. Onboarding of classes and students is easy and quick for teachers. The research group WestEd found that “37% of students grew by 200% of expected annual growth or more” (NoRedInk, 2019) when they use the tool.
The second tool is the Write Score which offers three components to the writing program. The first component is hand-scored, text-based assessments fully aligned to Florida Standards. These assessments are available for informational/explanatory writing as well as opinion/argument (Write Score, 2018). The second component contains detailed writing data that is easily accessible at all levels – student, class, school, and district. The third, and most important, part consists of instructional materials that are available after assessments that target specific aspects of text-based writing.
Use of Data in Informing Internal and External Audiences about the Effectiveness of the Curricular Initiative
FSA data from the current school year will be compared to the previous year in order to analyze program effectiveness. For instance, Write Score will be used to provide a mock FSA setting for students to show what they know by providing a prompt for students to respond to accompanied by 2-3 reading passages. Two assessments will be administered during the program. Once students have completed their essays, the essays are sent off for grading. This data will be used to monitor the progress for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.
Action Plan and the timeline with a Step-By-Step Process for Implementation of the Initiative
Since the school principal and other stakeholders agreed to the program and its importance to improving learners in English language arts, the following is an 8-9 months action plan with the timelines. In November, the final decision was made to roll out the curriculum initiative targeting different categories of students depending on their needs as shown by FSA results. In December, the District team will evaluate on materials needed for the implementation of the program, and send necessary materials to respective schools. After materials are delivered, in late December and early days of January, schools will be required to provide training to their staff for four hours which will be delivered by CRT. Areas of training will be on how to use web-based assessment tools like Write score and No Red Ink. They will also be trained on how to use FSA writing rubrics and FSA writing test specs. Still in this timeline schools will be required to finalize on student lists and submit them to my office. From January to March the actual Implementation of the Saturday Writing School program will be going on in all the affected schools. See Saturday Writing School Schedule. After the three month exercise, in the fourth month that April, Schools will send their Saturday Writing Assessment data to the district for review and further recommendations. Still, in April, the Coordinator of Saturday School along with teachers will hold a Culminating Event that depicts the progress and effectiveness of the program using data from NoRedInk and Write Score. In July to August, the District Curriculum Team will then complete the continuous improvement cycle, Review program data and FSA scores and give recommendations for future implementation projects to improve the outcomes. This will be followed by a Question and Answer Panel that is teachers and Coordinator discussions to assess the progress of the curriculum initiative (Florida Department of Education, 2011). In August, there will be a Meeting with the board members to compare FSA Data from 2018 and 2019. The last month in the action plan is September whereby Schools will share FSA data with the School Advisory Council and all shareholders.
Costs Associated with the Professional Development Needed to Support the Program
The materials to be used in the program are online based, with the cost being manageable by respective principals. The students will provide other requirements. The real costs will be on professional development and salaries for trainers. Basing the cost of 60 students, there will be 4 teachers of whom one will be an ESE teacher with each teacher representing 15 students per class. Each Scholl will also require one program coordinator/trainer (CRT, Instructional Coach) and one paraprofessional. Their costs, including, salaries, upkeep and other allowances and materials they will need for training and implementation of the program are as shown in the table below.
Apart from the two assessment tools which are available online, there will be no other necessary materials needed to create or customize the programs to meet the needs of each school. However, additional fiscal and human resources will be needed to attend to the creation and monitoring of standards-based assessment data from various schools. Two schools will need one assessor who will be paid at the same rates with the paraprofessional costing 600 dollars at the end of the implementation process.
The Role of the Principal in Collaborating with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Determining Curricular Programming Needs for the School
As a principal, I intend to work closely with the director of curriculum and instruction in determining curricular programming needs of my school. First, when it comes to giving the list of students, I will ensure that students are grouped based on their results and needs. This way, everyone will get to benefit. On training, I will ensure that my teachers get the best training from the district officials. This will ensure that they have a clear understanding of what the new curriculum entails and will also ensure that they understand how to use the assessment tools (Glatthorn et al. 2018). I will also collaborate with the district officials to get results from other schools and the implementation process that have been proved effective. On assessors, I will request for more so that the program assessment occurs frequently.
Individualization and Customization
The individualization or customization that may be required may be by special needs students, especially those may be unavailable on Saturdays. This may necessitate having an extra program on Sundays to cater to their needs.
Supporting the Staff with Professional Development and Resources
For my staff, I will support them throughout the process to help them attain full-scale professional development. First, I will ensure that the required assessment tools are available on time. When the CRT trainers come, I will provide them with ample time, environment and resources they need in training my staff. During the training, snacks will be provided as a motivation to the teachers (Florida Department of Education, 2011). I will participate in the program to lead them by example. Any requests they will make in the course of their training will be availed to them in time. Those who will be unwilling to continue with the program will be allowed to quit so as not to compromise the entire process. With all the support I believe that my team training will be successful ad they will be able to deliver on results as expected.
How I Will Manage the Standards-Based Assessment Processes
During the training, as said earlier, I will also join the training. My aim will be to learn of how the new curriculum works. I will also be interested in the assessment tools and how they are used to improve the results. Once I am fully accomplished with the entire initiative, I will be in a position to monitor the progress. Above that, I will work closely with the district assessor sent to assess the implementation process. The aim will be to understand things that he/she is interested in. This way, I can be doing some of the work when he is away.
The rollout will be in harmony with the district action plan. However, I will first start by preparing the students psychologically as early as September. This will ensure that they develop a positive attitude towards the program so that it will be able to benefit them. I will also bring the parents on board in October to prepare them in advance to allow their children to come to school on Saturdays once the program is rolled out. In December, I will prepare the places and storage for the materials sent from the district center. The rest of the time will be compliance with the action plan by submitting reports on time and attending the various meetings when called upon by the district education board and school education committees.
Ideas for Cultivating Support for the Program and Addressing Resistors among Staff and Parents
Parents and staff members will be updated on the initiative regularly. Those who are not satisfied will be allowed to give their views. Where applicable, changes will be done in the process to give room for divergent opinions. However, the majority will prevail, even though the minority will be hard. However, everything humanly possible will be done to ensure that everyone understands the importance of the curriculum initiative.
Ensuring That the Program Meets the Needs of a Diverse Population of Learners
For the learners, they will be grouped according to their abilities as reflected in their results and their nature, that if they are learning English as the second language or they are new beginners. The 25% who dropped in their results will be given more attention together with the ESE and ELL.
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Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M., Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from, https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/teacher-prof-dev
Florida Standards Assessment Reporting System, 2018. [Data file]. Available from Florida Standards Assessment Web site, https://www.fsassessments.org
Glatthorn, A. A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B. M., & Boschee, B. F. (2018). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. SAGE publications.
McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2018). Early childhood curriculum: Planning, assessment and implementation. Cambridge University Press.
NoRedInk Corporation. (2019). https://www.noredink.com. San Francisco, CA. Write Score, LLC. (2018). https://www.writescore.com DeBary, FL
Florida Department of Education (2011). Florida principal leadership standards. Tallahassee, FL.