HSE’s Department Chairs, Principals and Assistant Principals at the secondary level are participating in three days with Schauna Findlay, a state and national expert on standards, curriculum, assessment, and instruction. The experience is reinforcing the realization that the Indiana College and Career Readiness Standards, or IN CCR, call on us to make a number of shifts as instructional leaders. Here are a few key points from day one:
· We need to use the words of the standards in our explanations to students so that they understand and apply the terminology.
· We need to fortify our identification of high quality texts in all subjects. We need to leverage text complexity variance to support appropriate options for student choice.
· We need to analyze our current assessment practices and retool where necessary to give students practice at complex problem solving.
· We need to value quality over quantity and trust that students will perform better on tests if they are accustomed to persevering through multi-layered challenges.
· In terms of academic matters, we need to encourage teachers to engage in creative approaches and risk taking beyond compliance.
· We need to leverage opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
· We need to reinforce acceptance that good curriculum is iterative and responsive. We are never “done getting ready”.
· We need to assure that our assessments measure appropriate performance expectations so that we can address the sense of entitlement to “A’s”.
· We need all teachers to appreciate the importance of teaching literacy skills in the context of their respective subject areas.
Improving instructional practice is a continuous journey. Regardless of how the State defines the mark, we are in an excellent position to take advantage of our advantage.
Submitted by Dr. Dawn McGrath, Director of Secondary Curriculum