Massachusetts teachers seek an alternative, faster route to Initial Licensure as emergency ‘grace period’ comes to an end

Posted by Class Measures on Oct 19, 2021 3:26:01 PM

Holding an Initial License as a teacher in Massachusetts opens up your career prospects significantly, and is mandated after five years teaching on a Provisional License. Yet updating your license during the pandemic, like most aspects of teaching and learning, has been a challenge. It’s why the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) issued an emergency licensure order when teachers could not attend classes to earn the credits and fulfill the criteria they needed to advance. Having been extended once, from June 2021 to June 2022, the ‘grace period’ is now coming to an end, to ensure all teachers are appropriately licensed going forward.

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Topics: Blog, PRPIL

Assessing learning and learning gaps

Posted by Mat Kirby on Sep 17, 2021 5:09:40 PM

As US education gains momentum towards getting young people back into classrooms in-person, we note that districts at least, are really prioritizing learning recovery (for lack of a better term) right now. Although it’s encouraging to see things heading in the right direction, there's still a lot of unknowns.

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Topics: Blog, School Improvement, Class Measures Highlight, Observation Cycles, Effective Learning Observation, School review

Supporting all students in their transition to a post-COVID learning context: the role of quality school reviews in developing meaningful intervention plans and effective inclusion strategies.

Posted by Class Measures on Mar 19, 2021 12:08:39 PM

As more schools begin to transition from online and hybrid models to traditional in-person instruction, it is essential to understand the impact that months of online learning may have had on student learning and to plan effectively for equitable allocation of resources for the future.

Approximately $20 billion has been allocated in the American Rescue Plan to help schools and districts measure the impact of COVID-19 on learning. According to recent research by the Center for Reinventing Public Education, few of the 100 districts surveyed by the Center have provided details on how they will measure learning and provide supports to enhance student learning. According to the Center’s research, districts have focused on “learning model changes and health and safety standards over expectations for student learning.”

In a typical school year, student academic proficiency and growth are measured in the spring with the administration of standardized tests as part of the state’s education accountability system. This year, while standardized tests cannot be cancelled, they can be delayed or modified, which will likely defer the ability of schools and districts to use assessment data to measure learning and impedes the capacity of schools to achieve sustainable improvement. It is therefore very encouraging to see David Osborne, of the Progressive Policy Institute and author of Reinventing America’s Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System, championing the role of school quality review processes as a complement to standardized testing in his recent article, Test Scores Give Only a Partial Picture of How a School Is Doing. School Quality Reviews Can Help Fill the Gap.

School quality reviews (SQRs) provide an reliable mechanism for measuring how well students are learning and, as David Osborne noted, should be used to establish the quality of family involvement, student motivation and engagement, the need for social emotional and academic support programs for at risk students, and much more as factors that promote learning. The challenge to school districts will be to fully understand the impact of the learning context throughout the COVID pandemic and, at the same time, develop a foundation for urgent and sustainable support that ensures equity for all. The school quality review process is an approach to gaining a clear understanding of each unique context in order to build a roadmap of actionable, equitable and inclusive strategies to ensure that diverse needs are responded to effectively.

Over the past 20 years, Class Measures has provided quality review processes as a keystone to root cause analysis and sustainable improvement. We have been engaged by numerous state departments of education, schools, and school districts around the world and across the US to assess the quality of teaching and learning and support improvement planning and implementation. Since March 2020, our process have been effectively run in a remote context. An interview with Class Measures’ Vice President, Jo Cheadle, explains how reviews during this period have been adapted not only to continue to deliver value and impact, but also to expand on the benefits of the more traditional in-person reviews.

Many school districts engage in the SQR process to better understand school performance and develop case studies of best practice, increasing their capacity to improve. The process should simultaneously increase the capability of their school leaders when it comes to adapting action plans and improvement strategies. A case in point is St Cloud Area School District that looked to quality school reviews to tackle their priority and focus schools. The deployed evidence-based methodology identified and prioritized any programming and instructional gaps that needed to be addressed to improve school performance. The Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent found it an invaluable exercise and subsequently agreed to roll out the Class Measures quality school review approach for all Title 1 schools in the district to further develop and share best practice.

As schools and school districts develop their improvement plans for school year 2020-2022, the case is certainly gathering momentum to consider the role of school quality reviews as an invaluable part of the planning process.
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Topics: School Improvement, School review

How remote school reviews can still deliver value and impact in times of remote learning

Posted by Class Measures on Mar 3, 2021 2:46:25 PM

In conversation with Jo Cheadle: How remote school reviews can still deliver value and impact in times of remote learning.

We speak with Jo Cheadle, Vice President of Class Measures, as she shares her views and experiences of remote school reviewing. Jo reveals the new skills reviewers need to adopt, the benefits that schools can realise, how to avoid the pitfalls, how to assess the quality of learning taking place via remote review, and the importance of maintaining authenticity in order to conduct reviews that deliver impact.

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Topics: School Improvement, School review

Leveraging Instructional Coaching to support individualized staff growth plans, and impact instructional outcomes

Posted by Class Measures on Jan 19, 2021 3:19:47 PM

How Clover Park School District addressed the needs of their schools and leaders to prioritize the development of teachers to meet the needs of every student.

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Topics: School Improvement, Coaching

Understanding students’ specific learning styles

Posted by Liz Boyce on Jan 13, 2021 1:49:14 PM

When reading about different learning styles, I came across this study in the book, Special Populations in Gifted Education: Understanding Our Most Able Students From Diverse Backgrounds, edited by J.A. Castellano, A.D.Frazier. This study was fascinating to me as an educator and made me question how I plan lessons to maximize classroom learning and engagement.

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Topics: Schools & Early Years, Blog, School Improvement

Embracing remote methods in school observation cycles

Posted by Liz Boyce on Nov 18, 2020 1:52:48 PM

Schools are adapting quickly to embrace new approaches to observation cycles that improve their effectiveness, whilst also aligning with their current remote or hybrid delivery.

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Topics: Blog, School Improvement, Class Measures Highlight, Observation Cycles, Effective Learning Observation

Keeping teachers connected and collaborating during distance learning

Posted by Matthew Piwowarczyk on Nov 12, 2020 12:49:50 PM

“Teaching involves human connection, and I feel like that’s been taken away from me,” shared one teacher with The New York Times in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, educators, students, and parents alike have resiliently forged ahead to ensure learning continues despite the distance. They’ve mastered video conferences, learning management systems, and digital applications designed to make learning more interactive, but one thing remains a struggle: human connection.

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Topics: Blog, School Improvement

Why is Effective Learning Observation revolutionizing how schools assess and improve the quality of learning?

Posted by Class Measures on Nov 9, 2020 12:44:33 PM

The most common observational methods used in schools tend to focus on teaching rather than learning and so often fall short of measuring the impact of the teachers’ hard work. This article discusses the discipline of Effective Learning Observation (ELO), which is expanding in popularity and usage across the US as school leaders seek better ways to measure the quality of learning in their schools, and to inform more impactful improvement strategies.

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Topics: Blog, School Improvement

Addressing the Social Emotional Needs of the School Community

Posted by Class Measures on Oct 21, 2020 5:57:19 PM

As current school leaders, we have to be mindful of how we will create school cultures that will support the social emotional needs of our teachers and students and their families. Now more than ever, there is a need for people to share and understand as we seek to make sense of our world today. There is a need to begin emotional and psychological healing but that can only happen when we create safe spaces to share our anxieties and fears.

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Topics: Blog, School Improvement