The Pennsylvania Department of Education has recently published a summary about the Common Core Standards that separates myth from reality. Take time to look over the summary of the Common Core Standards to gain a better understanding of how they effect education in Pennsylvania. At present the standards will be implemented in 2013-2014 and will become part of PSSA tests in 2014-2015. If you have further questions about the Common Core Standards please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the arrival of spring in three weeks comes the inevitable wave of standardized tests as
students break out their number two pencils and spend hours of class time taking math and
literacy tests. The PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) tests have been around
for a long time and is Pennsylvania’s answer to the 2002 federally mandated act known as “No
Child Left Behind” in which all states must test their students on specific academic standards.
The PSSA has been recently joined by another standardized test known as the Keystones that
will measure specific content knowledge in the areas of Algebra I, English and Biology and will
be a prerequisite for graduation for the class of 2017. Both tests will be impacted by the
introduction of the new Common Core Standards that will alter what standards the tests evaluate
in 2014-2015. The sheer volume of testing is evident when one looks at any school calendar and
finds that testing of some sort begins in December and doesn’t end until May. Although many
Pennsylvania schools have had success with the PSSA tests, there is growing concern whether or
not they are really improving student learning. Here are five reasons why standardized tests may
be missing the mark:
1. Teaching to the Test – Because so much emphasis is placed on standardized tests
results, many teachers feel obliged to set aside the regular curriculum for days and weeks
to assist students in learning test-taking skills and drill them on what they believe will be
asked on the test. Since so much classroom time is used for either preparing for tests or
taking tests, the possibility of learning anything new or important is diminished. For
example, No Child Left Behind Law only tests reading and math (science and writing are
also tested but are not given the same value); that means that other subjects such as social
studies, art, music and physical education, as well as other courses, are given less
attention. This is especially true in elementary schools where time is limited and one
teacher must teach all subject areas.
2. Creates a System of Have and Have-Nots – As well-known education writer and
commentator Alfie Kohn (2013) has noted, standardized tests by definition are an
elaborate sorting device that are not about helping children become better learners but
rather a way of creating winners and losers. Kohn elaborates that the whole standards
and accountability movement is based on the fact that there must be some students who
fail or the test would be deemed too easy or that the standards measured were too low.
3. Tests Measure Lower Level Skills – According to Stanford Professor, Linda Darling-
Hammond (2002), tests developed to comply with No Child Left Behind measure mostly
lower level skills such as recall and recognition of information. Particularly in lower
achieving schools these tests have led to a narrowing of the curriculum while higher
achieving schools have placed a glass ceiling over more advanced students who are
unable to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their abilities on such tests. Since tests
tend to influence what teachers teach, multiple choice tests have discouraged teachers
from having students conduct experiments, make oral presentations, write extensively
and do other intellectually challenging activities.
4. Top Performing Countries Do Not Rely on Standardized Tests – Many high
performing countries such as Canada, Singapore and Finland, who have outperformed the
United States when international test scores are compared, rarely use standardized tests.
For example, in 2009 the US ranking on the Programme for International Student
Assessment (PISA) in math went from 18th to 31st with a similar drop in science and no
change in reading. What these top performing countries do instead is organize their
curriculum around problem-solving and critical-thinking skills and test students through
performance assessments where students have an opportunity to show what they have
5. Standardized Tests Do Not Measure What is Educationally Meaningful – In 2009
China topped Finland in PISA rankings and based this success on moving away from
preparing students for standardized testing and focusing on more meaningful skills that
the tests did not measure such as critical thinking, creativity and curiosity. Other
educators have echoed similar sentiments that standardized tests fail to measure skills
students will need for the 21st Century such as problem-solving and collaboration.
It would seem that there must be a better way of assessing our students’ learning than standardized tests. Linda Darling Hammond (2009) suggests that instead of investing in standardized testing we invest in a more comprehensive teaching and learning system where curriculum is integrated with assessments developed and scored by the teachers using them.
To view the current proposed compacted schedule for elementary, middle school and high school, click here
Our second Town Hall Meeting was very well attended this past Wednesday evening. We had over 60 people at the meeting that listened and asked questions about options presented by the focus groups. By far, the focus group option of a compacted schedule garnered the most questions from participants. Please click on the links contained in this posting to view more information about the compacted schedule as well as the power point presentation and the questions asked by our audience. Please feel free to ask questions about any of this information, and I wlll respond to each. As I mentioned at the meeting the focus groups' work represents only some of the ideas that could impact the 2013-2014 budget.
It is my pleasure to welcome writing teacher Mark Overmeyer as our guest blogger for the month of October. Mark is currently literacy coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools near Denver, Colorado. He has taught in grades two through eight in Cherry Creek, and for one year in Suzhou, China as part of a teacher exchange program. Mark has worked in classrooms for twenty-one years in many roles as a teacher, learning disabilities specialist, and writing coach. He is author of the book "When Writing Workshop Isn't Working." Mark also presented a writing workshop for Twin Valley teachers last year to rave reviews and both his book and workshop continue to inspire our teachers and their approach to writing with our students. I posed five questions to Mark about writing. Enjoy his responses!
What should all teachers know about the writing process ?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the writing process is that it is, indeed, a process. Rubrics that focus completely on product considerations (e.g., organization, word choice, and mechanics) ignore the actual process the writer uses to get the words (or, in some cases like Kindergarten, the pictures and labels) on the page. The most effective writing teachers know their students as writers - they can picture them in the act of writing. They know Kevin needs a nudge to get started, Mallory needs to be redirected because she writes too quickly and sometimes loses meaning, and Alex can write independently during the early stages of a unit. Strategic writers and effective writing teachers know there is not one, singular writing process that works for everyone. Teachers can help writers to find a process that works for them by modeling various methods for brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. An effective writing workshop is a place where students are encouraged to develop their writing processes while creating increasingly stronger products.
What is really important when conferencing with students in writing ?
One of the most important things to remember as a teacher of writing is that I am there to support students. I often ask, “How can I support you as a writer today?” I always assume writers have intentions, even at the very early stages of their writing careers and during any part of the writing process. I assume all writers want to get better at what they are doing, so I offer support based on their own writing goals. Sometimes writers need to be redirected, but I find this happens less often if I just assume they have purpose for what they are doing. I ask questions and listen before I teach something. Here are some questions that may help you get started: What are you planning to do today as a writer? What has worked for you as a writer so far? What are your goals? What is your piece about? How do you decide what to write about?
What should teachers do about reluctant writers?
First, know your writers by trying to determine the reason for the reluctance: Do they feel you might judge them? Do they lack ideas? Have they had negative experiences with writing in the past? Are they reluctant during the current unit of study, or for every writing unit? Have they been provided with the right amount of choice? These questions lead to different responses. A few general tips:
1. Create time and space for both short “quick writes” and for longer units of study. This will help writers who resist long pieces to feel efficacious during the shorter writing experiences. Many teachers I know begin the day with a short, ten-minute quick write that allows students to practice both fluency and meaning. Often, resistant writers will produce text during these shorter time frames, particularly if humor is encouraged. Jeff Anderson’s new book 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know has some great tips for using quick writes.
2. Figure out very early in the year how to support resistant or reluctant writers to at least get some words on the page. Sometimes, I record their brainstorming ideas in their writer’s notebooks. I often write one or two sentences for students to get them started during my early conference work. I might say: “I’ll write a sentence, and then you write one,” or “I’ll write this part and you write the next.” Though this may appear to enable students, my first goal is to avoid the blank page. Typically, once reluctant writers produce a bit of text after I write the first part, they resist less.
3. Instead of modeling with your own writing ideas in front of the class, ask a resistant student to share his/her idea with the class. Then, encourage the class to support your actual writing of the piece by asking them to provide suggestions of how a piece might begin. You might say something like this: “Writers, John is going to write a piece about riding a scary roller coaster for the first time. Let’s think together: how might this kind of story go? How might we begin? John, give us some details about the roller coaster so we can all think together about how to begin a story like yours.”
4. Consider the role of choice in your workshop. During genre studies, can students choose their own topics, or do you limit choices? For example, during a research-based unit, are students limited to the point they lose enthusiasm for researching? During open choice studies, are some students daunted by too much choice? You will know if wide-open choices are a problem if many students keep changing their ideas and cannot land on a way to begin their work as writers.
How do you keep the writing momentum going during the writing block?
In order to build stamina, we must practice. Early in the year, I keep the workshop time the same as at the end of the year, but I just build in a few more breaks for some redirecting, re-teaching, sharing of partially completed work, or affirmations that things are going well during the writing time. As the year progresses, the entire block is the same amount of time but I just expect writing to be sustained for longer periods. Another way to keep momentum going is to periodically introduce shorter genre studies: between two longer units, for example, you might ask students to produce some poems or friendly letters. And, if those magical moments happen, don’t avoid them: I was visiting a first grade teacher during a unit of study on small moments and she had just read a pirate book by David Shannon. The students were so excited – one boy said: “Can we write pirate books today?” The teacher said yes, and the “pirate break” for three days produced some extraordinary writing and an increased enthusiasm that carried over into the rest of the personal narrative unit.
What is one way that parents can help their child become a better writer?
Parents can help their children to become better writers by encouraging them to write and to talk to them about their writing. In my experience, it is not particularly helpful for parents to edit children’s work. Instead, they can read their writing, praise what works, and ask questions for clarification. If a child wants a parent to “fix” the spelling or conventions, it might be best for a parent to ask a child to first do the best they can before trying to “help” by doing the writing for them. We want our writers to become more and more confident and independent, and any support parents provide should encourage this independence.
We are at a historic crossroads in education. With many school districts experiencing financial difficulties in an uncertain economy that may continue into the future the time is right to look at which classroom practices really matter for the future success of our students. Here are five classroom practices that should be considered as essential to school improvement and success: 1.Differentiated Instruction, 2. Authentic Real World Learning, 3. Challenging Literacy Experiences, 4. Developing Graduates that are Thinkers and Creators, and 5. Extensive Professional Development. Each is essential for the following reasons:
1. Differentiated Instruction - This is an essential instructional practice that we need to continue to develop in our classrooms today. The notion behind differentiated instruction is to individualize instruction for all students through the content taught, the process used when teaching it and the product students will create to show they have mastered the skill. Basically, differentiated instruction challenges teachers to get to know their students, their interests along with their competencies so that learning can be customized to meet their needs. Differentiated instruction disproves the idea that one teaching method or approach to learning can fit all students. As Carol Ann Tomlinson, one of differentiated instruction’s greatest proponents, has explained, "Differentiated Instruction means that one-size teaching does not fit all students".
2. Authentic Real World Learning - It is important that students understand the relevance of their learning and how it can be applied to real world situations or problems. For example in reading, this may mean experiencing the rich, complex vocabulary of the original Grimm's Fairy Tales rather than reading the canned versions in trendy commercial reading programs. In math it may mean that children investigate ways of dividing a pizza or cake, rather than working on the odd number fraction problems at the end of the chapter (Daniels, Zemelman, Hyde, 2005). In high school history it may mean that students keep an academic journal like a historian to record their observations and wonderings on current political issues. Scripted and commercial programs, worksheets, the rote memorization of facts and other unauthentic activities have no place in an authentic real world learning classroom. If we expect our children to be thinkers and creators then their learning must have value to them and have real world application.
3. Challenging Literacy Experiences - Many of you may have heard about the Common Core Standards that have been recently adopted in Pennsylvania. They are raising the bar for what students are expected to learn in the 21st Century especially in the areas of higher order thinking. When we talk about challenging literacy experiences we have to include many of the standards of the Common Core. For example, students will be asked to read from multiple sources of information and critically question the information and the authors' intent. So what does this look like in the classroom? First, teachers must provide rigorous reading materials but also ask students to do more with the materials. For example, a student may read a primary source document in social studies like a speech by Martin Luther King and then analyze it in regards to what they have read and learned about that time period in history and then evaluate it with what other noted historians have said about the speech.
4. Developing Graduates that are Thinkers and Creators - High schools need to be flexible organizations providing students with opportunities to learn and to explore their talents and passions. This can be accomplished in two ways. First high schools must have curriculum that emphasizes problem solving and active research. Second, structures must be developed that provide students, especially seniors, with career based opportunities. For example, a student who is interested in the medical field needs to have the opportunity to spend part of their time outside of school in that environment such as in a hospital or working with a doctor. A student interested in the law should have opportunities to work in a legal practice with attorneys or judges. Greater connections and partnerships with professions and universities outside of school will help students investigate their potential academic pursuits and possibly help them choose a career that they will both enjoy and find satisfying.
5. Professional Development - Although standardized testing (i.e. PSSA, Keystones), voucher systems and cyber schools have taken a front row seat in educational reform discussions these days, improving education is really not about any of them. Real improvment in education starts with the teacher and the investment we make in them as professionals. The practices that have been listed in this article are all dependent on ongoing professional devleopment and training of teachers. Research shows that the teacher, not methods or programs, is the most important factor in student success. It is unfortunate that this is one of the first areas cut in schools during difficult financial times. It is critical that professional devleopment not be cut but rather be increased if we are to improve our schools.
We are at a transformational time in education. There is no better time to look at practices that can improve our schools so I invite you to look at your school district and ask, “What essential practices do we believe in?”
To celebrate Literacy Month we are offering an evening of literacy on Wednesday, September 19 at the Twin Valley Middle School from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for all K to 6 parents. Literacy Night is designed to help you learn more about how your child receives literacy instruction during the school day and what you can do to enhance your child's literacy skills at home. Dinner will be served in the TVMS cafeteria from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. and child care will be available, for those who pre-register. Session times are 6:00 to 6:40 p.m., 6:45 to 7:25 p.m., and 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. So mark your calendar for September 19th for Literacy Night!
Since it is the month to talk about literacy I would like to introduce my guest blogger for September, Dr. Darlene Schoenly, Professor of Education at Kutztown University. I asked Dr. Schoenly five questions about literacy and reading specifically and this is what she said:
1. What should all teachers know about literacy to be effective in the classroom?
Teachers should be knowledgeable about the major theories for literacy acquisition. This fundamental understanding will be essential in guiding their decision making in instruction and will be essential in making decisions regarding materials and best practices in their teaching and in serving as leaders on school decision making teams. Also, teachers should be masters of assessment in literacy development in learners. Finally, teachers should be versed in an array of instructional interventions for meeting the needs of all literacy learners.
2. What are the essential components to good reading instruction?
Good reading instruction includes the implementation of a balanced literacy approach, which is in essence a gradual release model. The balanced literacy framework supports the Common Core Standards emphasis on learners' exposure to rigorous and complex text. During think aloud read alouds, the teacher models the comprehension strategy using complex, grade level materials. Then, in shared reading the teacher begins by modeling again, using complex, grade level materials and releases some of the responsibility to the learners. The learners engage in "turn and talking" to rehearse their thinking and sharing understandings. Having those two experiences with grade level texts, the teacher then plans small group guided reading sessions using materials that are responsive to the small group levels of competence. Finally, the independent reading time allows the learners to apply the focus strategy to their self-selected independent reading experience.
In addition, good reading instruction includes independent reading and individual reading conferencing. Increasing reading volume is critical to enhancing reading development. The reading conference time allows the teacher to engage in individualized reading instruction and to engage in ongoing assessment.
3. How do teachers support the wide array of learners in their classrooms in reading and writing?
Through the implementation of guided reading and independent reading the teacher is responding to the array of learner needs. In the area of writing, the balanced literacy writing component achieves the same responsiveness to literacy learners' needs.
4. What role does a college play in preparing teachers to be good literacy instructors?
The university's role is to present the research and best practices in literacy learning. The professors must promote contemporary thought and practice in teaching literacy to all learners. In many cases, the professors must challenge existing practice in the school. Current practices in the schools are not working. The university teacher preparation programs must offer alternatives to existing practices in the schools.
5. If you could change one thing in schools today, what would it be?
The one thing I would change in schools is the use of scripted and commercial programs. We must use authentic texts and authentic learning experiences in teaching literacy. This means eliminating worksheets and unauthentic activities promoted in commercial programs.
I want to thank Dr. Schoenly for being my guest blogger. I hope you enjoyed her answers!
Dear Parents and Students,
In just one week summer break will end and our new school year will begin...so welcome to the 2012-2013 school year! It has been both an exciting and busy summer in the District. Many of our teachers were trained to use Share Point technology to develop more effective websites and enhance their communication with parents. Our administrators have taken workshops on the Common Core Standards and guided reading to support teachers with classroom instruction. And schedules have been worked and reworked to make sure all our students' needs are met so the first day of school is a successful one! We are all very excited about the new school year and welcoming back our students! Here is what to expect as we begin the 2012-2013 school year:
- Thin Client technology will be installed during the school year in elementary and selected middle school classrooms to enhance students' computer experiences. Thin Client will help computers run more efficiently with less down time for the user.
- Students at the high school will be encouraged to "Bring Your Own Technology" again this year. The BYOT program started last year with 60 students who brought their own laptops, Kindles and other electronic devices to school to enhance their learning experiences.
- Writing will again be the focus for our students this year as we begin the 2nd year of implementation of our writing curriuclum. Be prepared to ask your child what they are writing about in their "writer's notebook."
- We are also running two pilots this year in our elementary schools. Selected teachers have been asked to pilot the Fountas and Pinelle Word Study resource as well as the new Common Core Everyday Math edition.
- Get ready to learn more about the Common Core Standards and the Keystone Exams. The Common Core Standards are new and schools will be responsible for meeting these standards by 2013-2014. Look on our website for updates on both the Common Core and the 2012 Keystones Esxams.
- Join us on August 25th for "Raise the Spirit" event at the high school stadium. Find more details on our website. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and benefits our sports boosters!
- Don't miss our annual Literacy Night on September 19th for Kindergarten to 5th grade parents and learn more about how you can support your child in reading and writing.
- A big welcome to our new high school principal, Janine Mathesz, who will replace Dr. Kate Long starting on August 27th!
This is just a sample of the many different things happening in our district this year! Enjoy your remaining days of summer as we look forwrd to seeing everyone on our first day of school, Monday August 27th...Go Raiders!
Our four focus groups have been meeting since March to study cost saving ideas as preparation for the 2013-2014 budget. All groups have met at least four times and have come up with some very interesting cost saving ideas. They will be presenting their ideas on Monday, June 18th at a special topic meeting for the Board's consideration. Each groups' ideas will be considered options and it will be up to the Board to determine if any of the options should be researched further and developed into action plans. This fall the district will hold several Community Forum meetings to give the community a chance to hear more about the options and give input on their development. Please let me know if you have any questions about the work of our focus groups and feel free to join us on Monday, June 18th when each group will report their findings.
Supt., Bob Pleis, Welcomes Guest Blogger, Dr. Richard Villa!
I would like to welcome Dr. Richard Villa as my guest blogger for March. Dr. Villa has worked with thousands of teachers and administrators throughout the world to develop and implement organizational and instructional support systems for educating all students within the general education setting. He has authored over 100 articles and book chapters regarding inclusive education, differentiated instruction and collaborative teaching and school restructuring. I had the opportunity recently to ask Dr. Villa five questions on his favorite topic, inclusion, and here is what he said:
What is inclusion?
Inclusive schooling can be defined as welcoming, valuing, empowering, and supporting the diverse academic, social, and language learning of all students in shared environments and experiences to facilitate the attainment of the goals of education.
An inclusive school has a philosophy and a vision that all children belong and can learn in the mainstream of school and community life. Inclusive schools rely upon two processes essential for successful inclusion -- processes for differentiating instruction and collaboration processes.
U.S. research findings to date overwhelmingly show that students with disabilities acquire greater mastery of academic and social content in inclusive settings. The United States federal legislation acknowledges this in the most recent 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) stating that “nearly 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by having high expectations and ensuring students’ access in the general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible… [and] providing appropriate special education and related services and aides and supports in the regular classroom to such children, whenever possible.” (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act, 2004).
How do schools make inclusion work with the resources we have?
Educators often ask for more resources to be able to successfully meet the needs of the diverse students in their classrooms. I acknowledge that disparity in human and fiscal resources exist and will continue to exist among schools, school districts, and nations. Yet, there is an often-overlooked resource that always will be available in every school on the planet - the children themselves.
Collaboration with students in decision-making and the design, delivery, and evaluation of instruction involves students working in cooperative learning groups, as tutors and partners in partner learning (e.g., reciprocal teaching), and as co-teachers with their teachers. Collaboration with students means involving students as decision makers and problem solvers, as designers of their own learning and being self-determined in planning for their own futures. Collaboration with students means engaging students as mediators of conflict and controversy and advocates for themselves and others. Collaboration with students means fostering self-discipline and student learning and use of responsible behavior.
How do you get special education teachers to see themselves as teachers of content like reading, writing and math?
Special education teachers have always been teachers of reading, writing, and math as these are the primary areas of eligibility for most students receiving special education services. With that said, some special education teachers, particularly at the secondary level, lack content mastery of core content being taught in general education classrooms. This acknowledgement should clarify the importance of giving students access to the general education curriculum with instructors who are “highly qualified” in the content they are teaching as that is the content we expect students to learn and the content in which they will be assessed. Placing students with “Masters of Curriculum”, however, in no way guarantees they will be successful. We can increase the likelihood of their success if we partner through co-teaching “Masters of Content” with “Masters of Access”. Special educators and other interventionists (Title I, ELL, TAG) are masters in facilitating access for diverse learners. Both members of a co-teaching team do not need to have the same level of content mastery but through an on-going exchange of skills, content area teachers acquire skills in differentiation and access strategies and interventionists develop greater content mastery.
Some critics say inclusion is important but overall too expensive to maintain. How would you address this?
Inclusive education does not necessarily cost more money than a pullout segregated approach to service delivery. The National Center for Special Education Finance has concluded that with the exception of costs associated with additional training in the initial years of implementation, the cost is basically the same.
Any discussion of cost should also include consideration of the cost to the student and society when we do not educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Ministers of Education and heads of delegation from 153 UNESCO Member States meeting in Geneva at the 48th session of the International Conference on Education noted that inclusive quality education is fundamental to achieving human, social, and economic development (November, 2008).
Meta-analyses of effective special education settings concluded, “special-needs students educated in regular classes do better academically and socially than comparable students in non-inclusive settings” (Baker et al., 1994: 34). This outcome held true regardless of the type of disability or grade level of the student. The U. S. Department of Education also has found that “across a number of analyses of post-school results (e.g., employment, happiness, friendship, self-esteem), the message was the same: those who spent more time in regular education experienced better results after high school” (1995: 87).
In a more recent large-scale study of over 11, 000 students with disabilities, Blackorby and colleagues (2005) found that students with disabilities who spent more time in general education classrooms had fewer absences, performed closer to grade level than peers in pullout settings, and had higher achievement test scores. This study confirmed that students with disabilities educated in inclusive general education settings outperformed their peers educated in separate settings on standards-based assessments.
What do building administrators need to know and do to successfully implement inclusion?
Administrative leadership and support is foundational to facilitating change and success with any best practice initiative, of which inclusive education is one such initiative. Administrative support has five dimensions – vision, skills, incentives, resources, and action planning. For an inclusive ethic and inclusive practices to take hold in a school community, the organizational leaders of the school organization – school principals, district central office administrators, grade-level team leaders, special education and related services directors, department chairs - must orchestrate attention to all five dimensions of change by doing the following:
(1) Building a vision for collaborative planning and problem solving to differentiate teaching
(2) Developing educators’ skills and confidence to collaboratively plan, problem-solve, and differentiate instruction for diverse learners.
(3) Creating and delivering meaningful incentives for people to take the risk to embark on a journey to educate diverse learners in mixed-ability groups in general education classrooms (e.g., building master schedules that provide common planning time)
(4) Reorganizing, scheduling, and coordinating human and other resources, and
(5) Developing and activating an action plan of specific activities and sequence of steps.
Nine specific administrative actions seem to be essential for change toward inclusion to occur. Each is listed here along with the dimension or dimensions of change to which it attends:
1. Vision: Publicly articulate the rationale for inclusive education.
2. Resource: Redefine staff roles (i.e., in the job description of classroom teachers and support personnel) so that all are expected to participate in collaborative planning, problem solving, and differentiated instruction.
3. Resources and Incentives: Assess the staff’s need for collaboration (e.g., With whom do I need to collaborate to successfully adapt instruction? From which colleagues can I acquire skills through modeling and coaching?)
4. Resources: Create a master schedule that allows for collaboration in planning and teaching (e.g., common prep and lunch periods).
5. Resources and Incentives: Periodically provide additional meeting time for personnel who collaboratively plan and teach (e.g., hire substitutes, use inservice time for collaborative planning, provide release time for planning). Regularly provide time for instructional personnel to meet by relieving them from non-instructional duties that other staff that are not collaboratively planning and teaching are required to perform.
6. Skills and Incentives: Establish professional support groups to help staff learn about and begin to practice problem solving, collaboration, and differentiation and to analyze data.
7. Skills and Vision: Institute staff development in order to create a common conceptual language and framework, a common skill set, and shared dispositions toward inclusive practice. Provide training in collaborative planning, problem-solving, high-yield instructional strategies, differentiated instruction, authentic assessment, legal rights and responsibilities, data-based decision-making, and the legal, philosophical, research, and data-based rationales for change in educational practices. (e.g., courses and workshops, mentoring and peer coaching systems, professional learning communities, book studies, job shadowing, clinical supervision, and the pairing of new teachers with veteran collaborators in planning and teaching).
8. Incentives: Educate school and community members about the successes of students who have been included.
9. Incentives: Provide incentives for collaboration in planning, problem solving, and teaching. For example, publically recognize the efforts and accomplishments of collaborators, offer additional training, provide release time to observe one another in action, support teams of teachers to attend conferences on inclusive practices, and arrange for teachers to deliver presentations about their accomplishments.