January 14 PTA Meeting Full Plenary Deck

Report
January 14 PTA Meeting
Strategic Plan Update
Some Thanks…
Steering Committee:
– Staff: Amy Harding-Wright, Whitney Paxson and Sarah
Werstuik
– Parents: Nazanin Ash, Ben Feldman and Paul Sherman
WG Chairs
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WG1: Michael Crawford
WG2: Bridgette Garchek
WG3: Michael Jefferson
WG4: Amanda Catanzano
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Why This Strategic Plan Process?
Why?
How?
What?
Why- We believe that every student deserves and will receive the very
best educational experience while at Brent.
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What Is the Goal?
• Goal of the process is to articulate a clear set of
longer term goals for the school, and to identify
the corresponding actions, resources and
priorities to get us there.
• 80% of parents last spring indicated strong
support for Brent. This process is trying to
determine what can be done to get us to 100%!
• Essentially, I want to take this school from very
good to really great!
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Some Final Thoughts…
• “We start[ed] this journey from the right place, a high
quality school with an engaged school community that is
passionate about making Brent, and the Brent experience
the best it can be.”
-Letter from Beginning of Year
• “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it
turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and
discipline.”
-Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the
Leap...and Others Don't
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Working Group 1
Strengthening Brent’s
Foundational Approaches
Working Group 1 Scope
• Examine the effectiveness (strengths and weaknesses)
of Brent’s Foundational Approaches:
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Responsive Classroom
Reading and Writing Workshop
Math Investigations
Reggio-Inspired Early Childhood
• Consider best practices for closing gaps in
implementation, communication, and conceptualization
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Working Group 1 Findings
• Brent’s Foundational Approaches compliment each other
with a focus on social and academic skills,
communication, and student choice
• Tradeoffs for any approach are real, but choices have
been made thoughtfully and explicitly
• Brent’s Foundational Approaches are designed to work
and mostly do work for the majority of Brent students
• Teachers feel they have the training and resources to
implement the approaches, but not always the time to
give each approach what it needs
• Many perceived gaps are a result of poor communication
strategies, such as front-loading information at Back-toSchool Night and lack of information on the Brent
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website
Working Group 1
Recommendations
• Professional Development and Training
 Goal: increase % of teachers attending trainings aligned to foundational
approaches, support teachers to share their experiences
 Prioritize trainings for teachers who demonstrate challenges or lack of
confidence in implementation within an approach
• Time
 Use “Learning Communities” to maximize time for receiving professional
development and sharing best practices
 Consider ways to extend or reorganize the day to create more time for
implementing core and extra/supplemental instruction
• Communication
 Raise parent knowledge of foundations – at an initial and deeper levels
 Provide multiple avenues for all “types” of parents to receive information
about the approaches (such as: website, 1-pagers, videos, workshops)
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Working Group 2
Advancing the Potential
Of Every Student
WG#2 Objective and Scope
Objective: To be a highly effective, inclusive school
• Maximize the potential of every student through differentiated
instruction delivered largely in the classroom
– Differentiation is for students at, below and above grade level
– Pull-outs/specialists predominant use is to support students with the greatest
challenges
Scope: The working group was asked to
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Understand Brent’s current approaches to differentiated
instruction
Evaluate Brent’s current performance/results
Identify strengths, gaps, and areas for improvement
Examine best practices, including those at comparable schools
Develop options/recommendations, short- medium- and longterm actions, and resource needs
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WG#2 Findings
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Guiding Principles: Brent is an Inclusive School
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Brent Strengths
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High quality teachers and staff
Strong approaches to assess and identify needs for intervention (Brent knows its students very well)
A curricular approach that allows for differentiation
Steady academic progress: Brent’s school index score has and continues to rise yearly
Challenges
– Behavior: No staffing resources are dedicated to responding to acute behavioral challenges/crises; this
causes strain on students in need of behavioral support and classroom teachers, and affects classroom
dynamics
– Intervention: Brent’s support system for intervention is limited, especially when compared to high
performing schools
– Enrichment: No formal program exists to identify and serve advanced students; no staffing resources are
dedicated to enrichment
– Resources: Brent differentiated learning is significantly under resourced versus comparison schools
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Performance Results
– These resource challenges have made it difficult for Brent to turn plans into action and maximize its assets;
though we have made steady progress with a fraction of the resources of other schools, 23% of Brent
students are below grade level in reading and 24% are below grade level in math, compared to an average
of 13% in reading and 11% in math at our comparison schools, with similar demographics
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WG#2 Recommendations
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Behavior
– Hire a behavior tech immediately; seek DCPS resources to build a behavior
management team
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Intervention
– Expand Brent’s intervention support team and system: put a high-quality instructional
aide in every classroom
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Enrichment
– Pursue full participation in DCPS’ School-Wide Enrichment Model (SEM)
– Use flexible staffing resource (aides in every classroom) to increase individualized
attention in the classroom and maximize differentiation approaches in Brent’s
curriculum
• Resources
– Reprioritize existing resources to address differentiation gaps
– Pursue aggressive strategies for additional resources to support differentiated learning
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Working Group 3
Strengthening Brent’s Specials
Working Group 3 Scope
• Evaluate options to strengthen Brent’s flagship
“specials” program, including:
 Broadening art instruction
 Increasing physical education time
 Strengthen Language Program
 Identify strengths and foundations to build on, gaps
and areas for improvement
 Develop recommendations to increase frequency,
curricular and destination school integration
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Working Group 3 Findings
• Brent’s Specials teachers have unique, longitudinal perspective on
Brent students (know every student, work with them each year)
that should be fully utilized.
• Brent Specials Teachers time is fully booked—but significant
portion of time is spent performing other roles (cafeteria duty,
recess, RTI).
• Lack of formal and informal communication channels with
parents limit interaction, common understanding and partnering
opportunities.
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WG 3 Recommendations
• Communication and integration
 Find mechanisms to benefit from Specials teachers longitudinal exposure
to students and seize opportunities for curricular alignment
 Improve visibility of specials via presentations at general PTA meetings,
articles in Tues News, and back to school night open classrooms.
• Time
 Reduce the amount of time Specials teachers spend on RTI, lunch and
recess duty to create time for additional specials blocks
 Consider moving to 6-day week to reduce “Monday problem”
 Reorganize instructional blocks to create more time for specials
• Programmatic
 Consider shifting World Language to a 2nd-5th Grade program with 90
minutes of instruction per week, consistent with the FLES model and a
less intensive PS – 1st grade program.
 Increase priority given to PE class for use of multipurpose room,
playground and make use of outdoor space at X-park.
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Working Group 4
Becoming a Strong
Field Experience School
WG4: Becoming a Strong
Field Experience School
• WG4’s Key Question: How can Brent structure a field
experience program and develop partnerships
to strengthen its field experience?
• WG4’s Key Goal: Strengthen the overall Brent student
experience by designing a field experience program that
promotes student hands-on/minds-on learning through
outside of the classroom field experiences and through
bringing field experiences into Brent classrooms.
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Brent Field Experience:
A Good News Story
• Parents and teachers, in large numbers, value field trips and
field experience
– 80% of teachers say field trips are important or very
important to learning and 93% enjoy taking them
– 86% of parents say field experience is important or very
important and believe trips are well-planned and
organized
– 80% of parents say field experience are a source of
valuable learning
– Parents are involved -- over a third of parents have
chaperoned between 6-15 trips
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From Good to Great
• CONSISTENCY: How can Brent optimize the use of
field experience in all classrooms across all grades?
• CONTINUITY: How can field experience be a thread
that weaves through a student’s entire time at Brent?
• COMMUNICATION: How can field experience goals
and curricular links be best communicated to families?
How can chaperones be better prepared to supervise and
engage students during trips? How can parents be prepared
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to engage students after trips?
Draft Recommendations
General Recommendation:
Rebrand to “ A Field Experience School”
Consistency Recommendations:
• Establish formal partnerships with museums/community institutions
• Designate a “Field Experience” Coordinator, Grade-level Lead, and Parent (in
addition to room parent)
• Online database of destinations and parent connections
Continuity Recommendations:
• “Field Trip Journey” journal
• Leverage Institutional partnerships
• Regular field trip updates at teacher staff meetings.
Communication Recommendations:
• Between Principal Young and teachers
• Emails to parents to encourage field trip follow up
• Web-based calendar with field trips updated regularly across grades
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