It is easy to feel overwhelmed with implementing two seemingly different educational reforms: TPEP and Common Core. Fortunately there are many resources to assist educators in viewing the standards for teaching and leading (TPEP) and standards for learning (Common Core) as two sides of the same coin.
The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL) is helping agencies such as Puget Sound ESD support districts in integrating multiple educator reforms concurrently in the context of Common Core State Standards implementation by providing customizable resources and tools. Specifically, these tools are designed to support district leaders and/or school leadership teams to ensure that their instructional frameworks are aligned with the kinds of teaching practices demanded by Common Core implementation and to help them review and plan for supportive professional learning activities.
“The Common Core set the destination, and teachers’ instruction is the chief means of getting students from here to there”, explains GTL. “Teacher performance standards for evaluation offer guideposts to teachers to reach that destination, providing direction along the way. The performance feedback during evaluation ideally helps teachers know whether they are on the right track— and, if they are not, how to get back on track. Meanwhile, professional learning supports can help teachers enhance their instruction so that they become faster and smarter about how to get their students where they need to go.”
Two GTL resources highlighted by John Hellwich, Director of Teaching and Learning in Sumner School District at the December Washington Educational Research Association (WERA) conference are the Core Instructional Practices and the Systems Review Worksheets. Core Instructional Practices, available for English Language Arts and Math, were developed by content experts and reviewed by practitioners to assist with systems alignment work. These content-specific teaching practices, if enacted by teachers or teams of teachers, should help all students attain mastery of the Common Core State Standards by the end of Grade 12.
Coupled with video of the core instructional practices in action, these tools help educators operationalize the shifts required by the Common Core. Websites such as Teaching Channel and The Reading Writing Project provide teachers and evaluators with videos of effective lessons which address the Core Instructional Practices. This video of a high school social studies class from Fisher and Frey’s YouTube Channel, demonstrates the following Core Instructional Practice:
Implement integrated, text- based instruction by doing all of the following:
- Assigning complex reading, listening, speaking, language, and writing tasks that engage students with increasingly complex literary and informational texts.
- Demonstrating close and critical reading strategies.
- Providing opportunities for scaffolded practice in analyses of text content, craft, and structure.
- Asking higher-order, text-dependent questions that require students to respond with precision and by using evidence from the text for increasingly complex text and cross-text analyses
One potential connecting protocol is to watch this video multiple times. Each time, participants view the video through the lens of a single component/sub-dimension from the instructional framework with implicit or explicit connections to the highlighted Core Instructional Practice. For instance, the Core Instructional Practice above connects with Danielson components 3a – Communicating with Students, 3b – Questioning and discussion, and 3c – Engaging students in learning. After viewing the video each time, participants discuss what they observed teachers and students doing and saying related to the focus component from the instructional framework. Participants gain a deeper understanding of both the practice and instructional framework when provided with the opportunity to view the video multiple times.
Aligning learning, evaluation, and support systems to support instruction for Common Core goals is vital work to ensure students can achieve new, more rigorous standards. Deep alignment requires thoughtful planning and time for deep learning. Puget Sound ESD is ready to partner with educators in the work ahead.
Here are the slides from the WERA presentation: WERA Presentation Creating Coherence-12-9.