I’m not new to goals. As a Special Education major, I was well trained in writing SMART goals. In my general education program, at a time of increasing accountability, I could write lesson goals in my sleep.
I felt confident when starting the TPEP goal writing process. I was mistaken. Here are a few of my struggles:
- While writing a goal in isolation is easy; writing with a team is much trickier. Everyone on the team has a valid opinion. Each person has his or her own definition of ‘measurable’ or ‘attainable’. It is a struggle to set a goal everyone can get behind and support.
- TPEP goal setting is high stakes. It stresses people out. In the groups at my building, people were stressed about the timeline, the language, and the requirements for the new process. It bought some to tears. This sure inhibits the collaboration process.
- My principal challenged me to think of the students I didn’t address in a goal. My original goal was:
Criterion 8: (2nd grade) By the end of the year 2015 we will decrease the number of students in Tier 3 from 32% to 15% (7/13 students) and increase the number of students in Tier 1 from 51% to 65% (10/15 students)
My principal asked: What will you do with the other 5 students? Are you thinking they won’t make growth? Yikes. As a person who considers myself sensitive to minority group and students often overlooked, this convicted me: I need to write a group that addresses all students.
Here are some things that went well:
- Our building adopted a universal screener. It allows us to have building wide data in math and reading. It permits us to find groups of students who are on track to meeting standard, and those who will need additional help. Finding these tiers made goal writing easier. When looking at the students I serve, I could easily write my sub group goal. I found students who were well below benchmark (Tier 3), and I wrote a goal for that group. This universal screener will also give us easy to read data at the end of the process. This will tell us if we met our goals.
- I work at a building with a supportive administrative team. After my first draft, I asked the assistant principal to read my goals and give me some feedback. She gave me great ideas and my goals are now stronger. My principal and evaluator will also give me feedback before I officially submit my goals to the online tool.
- Teachers are collaborating. I’ve had the honor to work with several grade levels. The teachers are looking at data, talking about students, thinking of strategies they can use to show growth. It’s invigorating to see such professionalism and collegiality.
For the record, here’s the current draft of my goals:
Criteria 3 (sub group)
Criteria 6 (whole group)
PLC/Grade Level Team
|By the end of the year, 7/7 Tier 3 students in my RTI will increase by at least 30 words correct per minute and still have 97% or higher accuracy.||By the end of the year 100% of the students in my RTI group (see data above) will increase to 97% accuracy as measured by the AIMS OR.||By the end of the year, 85 students will be at Tier 1 (80% of 2nd grade), 16 at Tier 2 (15% of 2nd grade), 5 at Tier 3, (5% of 2nd grade) as measured by the AIMS OR. Students not increasing to a higher Tier will increase by at least 30 words correct per minute.|
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