This is a common question I hear from parents in the neighborhood. Kids are excited about a day off from school, while parents don’t have a sense of what we do on Staff Development Day.
A huge challenge for educators throughout the United States is collaborative time. Teachers need a time to sit down together, share ideas and best practices, and discuss ways of improving instruction and increasing student learning. Staff Development Days provide this opportunity.
This year, October 15 was the District’s first chance to get all 1,100 Las Virgenes employees together to focus on student learning and working together as a team. The day started by recognizing Thomas Beaton, the Certificated Employee of the Year; and Maria Petitfils, the Classified Employee of the Year. Tom has been a teacher for the past 36 years; he has taught mathematics at Agoura High School since 1992. Maria has been an Instructional Assistant in Special Education in LVUSD since 1987, with the last twenty years at Yerba Buena Elementary School.
In order to maximize the benefit to employees and the District, all presenters for Staff Development Day were from in-house. We have a tremendous amount of talent on our team and wanted to utilize and recognize that talent. The day focused on student learning and achievement, specifically the District’s mission to ensure that students are learning the 21st century skills needed to be successful in their higher education and careers.
The following District initiatives have been developed to support the Common Core State Standards that will be implemented in 2014:
• Rigor & Relevance
• Professional Learning Communities
• Response to Intervention
• Technology Integration
• Inverted Classrooms
• Service Learning
• Guiding Principles
Later in the afternoon, breakout sessions were held for kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers. We also had our English Language Development and Mariposa School staff meetings. Our middle school subject meetings, including English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, PE, Visual and Performing Arts, Foreign Language, and Career Technical Education all met as well.
The District is set to embark on a project to install robust wireless into every classroom of every school. This will be another powerful tool for our instructional staff as they embed technology into their teaching practices. Their energy, passion, dedication and expertise are inspirational. Our staff is moving Las Virgenes schools forward in exciting and cutting-edge ways.
Overview of LVUSD Educational Initiatives:
Common Core State Standards (Legal Mandate)
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in college and careers. The standards:
- “Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.”
Excerpt from http://www.corestandards.org/
21st Century Skills: (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS)
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed “a unified, collective vision for learning known as the Framework for 21st Century Learning. This Framework describes the skills, knowledge and expertise students must master to succeed in work and life; it is a blend of content knowledge, specific skills, expertise and literacies.”
The goal of the initiative is to get students more engaged in the learning process and graduate better prepared to thrive in today’s global economy.
More information available from http://www.p21.org/
Rigor & Relevance Framework & D Quadrant Classroom (meet Legal Mandate of CCSS)
The Rigor/Relevance Framework is a tool developed by the staff of the International Center for Leadership in Education to examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The Rigor/Relevance Framework is based on two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement. First, there is the “Knowledge Taxonomy,” a continuum based on the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, which describes the increasingly complex ways in which we think. The second continuum, known as the “Application Model,” is one of action. Its five levels describe putting knowledge to use. The Rigor/Relevance Framework has four quadrants. Each is labeled with a term that characterizes the learning or student performance at that level.
More information available from http://www.leadered.com/rrr.html
Professional Learning Communities (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS & RtI)
"An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators." –
From Learning by Doing, Second Edition; Dufour, Dufour, Eaker & Many
More information available at http://www.allthingsplc.info/
Response to Intervention (to meet Legal Mandate of IDEA)
“Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. It blends systematic and engaging assessment, instruction and school-classroom-parent communication to relentlessly improve student learning.”
Excerpted from www.cde.ca.gov
Technology Integration (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS)
Technology integration is the utilization of computers and other digital media devices in the classroom. Technology integration is most effective when it directly supports the curricular goals of the instruction. Among the benefits of technology integration are increased student engagement, increased collaboration, consistent feedback and opportunities to connect the classroom with the outside world.
More information available from edutopia.org/technology-integration
Inverted Classroom (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS)
The inverted or flipped classroom is a form of blended instruction in which students use the Internet outside of class hours to access resources, including teacher-produced videos and other tutorials about course content, in order to leverage the learning time in the classroom. There are numerous advantages, including the ability for students to revisit information they don’t understand or catch up following and absence. The inverted classroom is a very effective way for a teacher to spend more time interacting with students instead of delivering lecture.
More information available from http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/
Service Learning (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS & Daggett’s Guiding Principles)
“Through service-learning, young people—from kindergarteners to college students—use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. They not only learn the practical applications of their studies, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.”
Excerpted from www.servicelearning.org
Guiding Principles (to meet Legal Mandate of CCSS)
“A guiding principle is a positive, general principle that becomes an important foundation for the conduct of behavior, both individually and in relationships with others. Guiding principles are beliefs that most people would agree with because they are viewed as socially appropriate and inherently valuable, such as the idea to "be responsible." Guiding principles are qualities that are naturally viewed as leading to higher level functioning, creating positive relationships with others, and promoting a civil society.”
Excerpted from http://www.leadered.com/guiding_princ.html