Classroom WalkThrough Tools | Does your Leadership Team do their Job?

Classroom WalkThrough Tools | Does your Leadership Team do their Job?

Know thy Impact | Using a Classroom Walkthrough Tool as formative assessment to determine the effectiveness of your Leadership Team
Written By: Shannan Church

To reach total school improvement you want all arrows moving in the same direction. As instructional leaders in the building, it is our responsibility to set our building up for success.  How do we do that?  How do we intentionally and strategically align school improvement?  After we get them aligned, how do we explicitly communicate the alignment with our staff?

School improvement starts and ends with data.  We begin by analyzing universal screening data to write Tier 1 Core Improvement Plans. Then we use those plans to draft our school improvement plans.  These school improvement plans should outline the PD needed in order for the teachers to carry them out to fidelity.  We provide PD teachers need then we use our classroom walkthrough tool (CWT) to formatively assess and provide growth feedback that helps us determine the effectiveness of our Leadership Team’s support.  Check out this easy to read graphic that summarizes these alignments.

Questions Playmaker Leaders ask:

Are the Professional Development trainings provided making impact?  Do our PLCs produce highly effective teachers using high yield strategies in their classroom that in turn positively impact our data and student achievement/growth? 

Easy as 1 – 2 – 3 | Steps Strong Leaders Model

  1. Deep Data Analysis | Use this data to drive tier 1 core improvement plans.
  2. SIP Alignment | Use Tier 1 Plans to write SIP goals (look for trends).  Determine PD needed to carry out your plans.
  3. Plan to Action | Provide the PD that is needed over an appropriate period.  Use a CWT to measure what your teachers are implementing and where they still need support.

Indicator Categories to Consider:

These are several indicators that we know yield high growth.  Please note- only indicators that teachers have received PD on should be on your CWT.  This list is not exhaustive.

  • Learning targets, posted, and communicated (Do students know their goals and success criteria?)
  • Instruction is aligned with standards (Did the PLC collaboratively unpack their content?)
  • Data Representation (Grade, Class, Individual Data Notebooks)
  • Differentiated Instruction (Scaffolded, Flex Groups, Data Driven, Collaborative Groups)
  • Instructional Routines (Literacy and Math)
  • Active Student Engagement (Active or Passive learning)

What does a CWT look like, sound like, feel like?

Now that you understand the critical components and compelling why of CWTs you may be asking how do I actually complete these?  Here are some rules our team lives by.

  1. Walk with a purpose.  Are you observing instruction or behavior?  Figure out who is completing the CWTs.  If you are completing behavior walks, this should be completed/done by the administration and counselors in your school.  If you are completing instructional walks, this should be completed/done by the administration and coaches in your building.
  2. Inter-rater reliability matters. At the beginning of each you review your indicators as a leadership team.  Discuss quality measures and non-examples.  It’s a great idea to complete paired walks the first couple weeks.  This will create unbiased, equitable marks and feedback throughout the building.
  3. Frequency over duration.  Each member of your leadership team should complete a minimum of 5 walks per week.  These are quick shots.  Create a schedule for who is walking where each week.  Only stay in the classroom 3-5 minutes per walk.
  4. Feedback feeds back.  Teachers crave positive feedback and constructive feedback.  Create a system for yourself.  Every time you complete a walk pick out something positive and then grow your teacher with a “have you thought about” idea.  Check out the tear off notepads we use to leave our teachers love notes when we walk into their classrooms.
  5. PLCs are the lifeblood.  Leadership Teams should make a standing agenda item to discuss/review the classroom walk data during their weekly leadership PLC and collaboratively design PLC agendas that support and grow teachers based on CWT data.

Do you need help aligning school improvement at your school?  We are here to help – send us your needs info@i-leadr.com.

Do you need help designing your own classroom walkthrough tool on a limited budget?  We’ll help you make one for free that will collect your data and represent it in easy to use charts for your leadership PLCs and teacher PLCs.  Reach out to us at info@i-leadr.com.

Virtual Learning Playbook

Virtual Learning Playbook

Your Classroom is Your Classroom
Written By: Brie Beane

The 5 Big Plays to Maximize Success in a Virtual, Remote or Hybrid Model

Your classroom is your classroom! 

It is our responsibility as educators to reach and teach ALL children we serve, but how do we effectively do that now that we are serving in a virtual, remote and/or hybrid model? 

This is the #1 question we have received from educators all over the country. District administrators, building administrators, support specialists, instructional coaches, counselors, and teachers are worried, fearful, frustrated and discouraged on a daily basis.  The struggle is REAL ya’ll, but there is an answer.  Follow these 5 Big Plays in order to Maximize Success regardless of how you are required to deliver instruction.

The 5 Big Plays

Play 1 | The Pre-Game

Social Emotional Well-Being

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.  You have to look after yourself in order to have something to offer others” – Tarynne West.  Educators all over the county are worried about the social emotional well-being of the students who are not showing up to the schoolhouse, not attending virtual sessions, not submitting work, and not relying to communication attempts from the school or the teacher(s), but in order to give the best of us to our students, we must first reach our best self. Identifying your stressors, establishing consistent routines, developing a self-care plan and staying accountable to that plan will set you up for success. 

Play 2 | The Rulebook

Building Processes, Procedures, Routines and Relationships

Identifying and teaching your expectations for virtual instruction; identify, communicate and teach your procedural routines; and establishing and building positive and lasting relationships are essential in order to maximize success. 

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” – Carl W. Buechner.  Teacher-student relationships are one of the most important factors in determining overall positive outcomes for students.  John Hattie’s research indicates that building positive teacher-student relationships yields over one year of growth impact on a child prior to even delivering instruction.  I cannot stress this play enough, Relationships Matter!!  Rita Pearson said it best when she said, “Children don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

 Play 3 | The Huddle

Virtual Professional Learning Community

“Professional learning communities are the lifeblood of school improvement” – Janna Sells. PLCs should never take a back seat to our necessary daily routines as an educational organization.  Whether you meet face-to-face or in a virtual professional learning community, you should maintain a consistent meeting agenda, engage in regularly scheduled rotations, and collaboratively plan and align virtual instruction with your colleagues to ensure equitable delivery of instruction.

Play 4 | Game Time

Virtual Engagement

Best practice doesn’t change because your classroom design changed.  We do not have to go out and learn how to teach in a completely different way, but instead take what we know how to do and tweak it to successfully deliver that same best practice in a virtual, remote, or hybrid setting.  Imagine you are switching cars for a short time.  It still gets you where you’re going, it just looks and feels different.  Maintaining familiar practices – such as taking attendance, student discourse, and eliciting student response are essential best practice strategies that should be continued.  Consistently embedding active participation strategies, to include verbal, written and action responses into your instructional delivery will keep students engaged and participating.  “The people doing the talking, are the people doing the learning” – Dr. Anita Archer.

Play 5 | Post Game Analysis

Feedback, Assessments and Grading

How do you ensure that your students are learning what you are teaching them?  Data!  The data we collect tells us most of what we need to know.  Assessments should be used to measure the learning of our students, not simply for obtaining grades.  In addition to assessments, virtual conferences, written or oral feedback on student work, and virtual student data notebooks are vital components to ensure we are continuously relying on our data to drive our decision making on a daily basis.

Our students need us more than we may ever know.  We are their structure, their security, their teachers.  Following the 5 Big Plays above will help you to Maximize Success in a Virtual Setting.

Check out our Virtual Learning Playbook for downloadable access to templates and a step-by-step guide to these Big Plays.

 

It’s Not an Issue Until It’s Your Child

It’s Not an Issue Until It’s Your Child

My Secret Life

A True Story to Engage and Supervise Your Child or Student
Written By: Adam Simon – EB Intervention Team

Addiction was not a very important conversation in my family until it was about me. No one would have ever believed that I would end up looking at a seven year prison sentence at 22 years old from where I came from.  I had a wonderful life.

I often hear that addicts have something really wrong in their lives or something missing that causes a life of ruin to take place.  We hear many uninformed well meaning people share that the breakdown of the family unit, godlessness, or childhood trauma is to blame for the plight of the addict.  They could not have helped it, we often hear.  I share my story to poke holes in those narratives of addiction.  I have not seen an entity in our society that is more egalitarian than addiction.  It is no respecter of race, color, language, gender or socio economic background.  It will consume and destroy the lives of those it afflicts.  It is a rapacious creditor to all those who are involved with the one afflicted. 

My parents are some of the most incredible Christians I have ever met. They have been engaged in a loving marriage for over 42 years.   Many of our family friends have a sort of jesting jealousy towards the love affair and relationship they have.  They raised  us in a faithful home where love and forgiveness were the keystones of my childhood.  Our parents read us the bible and prayed with us daily.  We were a family that ate meals together at a round wooden table with our assigned seats every dinner throughout my childhood.  My sister and I were loved fully and often overfed, as I like to say.  We won the ovarian lottery.  My family was often referred to as The Cleavers.  We were raised in a small one red light town in Tennessee, where my family was well known and of the top 2% of wealth in our area.  We seemingly had a life that would create a safeguard from the darkness of the world. Not you, right? 

I was 12 years old the first time I grabbed my first bottle of alcohol and started my journey towards drug addiction and alcoholism.  Within six months of my first drink I had gotten drunk alone and begun to smoke weed, inhale synthetic and designer drugs, and found pharmaceutical means of self medicating.  At 16 it was cocaine and by 18 I had found methamphetamine.  I was arrested the first time in a 3rd world country when I was 17  and had participated in a myriad of local, state, federal and international felonious acts as a result of my drug addiction.  During this period, I still excelled in academics, athletics and frequented church and church events.  I was able to recover quickly and utilize very small amounts of time and money to engage and to grow my addiction.  I learned quickly how to navigate my life with my addiction.  I always had a preparation pack in my car that included a change of clothes scented hand lotion and eye drops to cover my tracks.  I always showed up to church events and birthday parties and family events late and left early to create my alibi with my timeline for each day. I always asked for more money each week for lunch and gas and used 20% of it so I could have the majority to buy what I needed. I began to steal food and cheat people in deals at a very young age so that I could stretch allowance each week further. I was constantly in a state of preparation and calculation to contribute to my habit.  It quickly turned to education and manipulation of street life and building deliberate and organized networks to create opportunities to increase my activity and engagement with my addiction.  A typical Tuesday would include me leaving a white upper middle class home and neighborhood and going to a private college preparatory school and going to soccer practice and getting something to eat with friends and coming back home, is what was seen.  The reality of that Tuesday was quite different.  It really went like this.  On the way to school I would take a low milligram of benzodiazepine (xanax), I would get to school and then have an open period and open campus lunch. I would ask mom for 40 dollars for lunch and gas.  I would go get something to go from the lunch cafeteria and charge it to my account. I would go out for lunch, split a 6 pack of beer or go and smoke a joint. 

I would come back from lunch. I would then not have soccer practice start until 3:30, and school would end at 2:45.  I would leave school and drive to one of my friends’ house before parents got home from work and smoke another joint.  I would then return to school and go to soccer practice.  I would then end practice at 5:00, and tell my parents it ended at 5:30.  

I would then take that time to go and do some work for the streets.  I would call a couple guys and see what they wanted from the upper class society. I would then take an order, call my contacts and make transfers.  I would get the drugs at one price and sell at a high price and would earn bonuses for the product as I did more work.  I was a mule at first but grew in the enterprise and that was when I was 16 to 18 years old.   

Addiction is often not a relevant issue in many communities until it’s your child or someone you love.  It often only takes a certain family to highlight the nature of addiction. It’s important to understand that in many communities kids like me will start their journey this year.  However, there is hope in this process.  We can and we do recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Our engagement and supervision in our kids lives are of the utmost value.  

3 Simple Steps to Engage and Supervise Your Child or Student

  1. There are many different applications and services available.  A few top rated apps are called Bark, Qustudio, and WebWatcher.  Your kids will revolt at the mention of this application, however it is vital for you to understand about their life online.  It will give you a more accurate picture of where they are. 
  2. Take a look at all of their friends and the places they frequent.  A real strict assessment of the places and people in your kids life is paramount.  You need to know the influences in their lives.  It’s very important to not dismiss family.  Family often lends itself to the most access available for your kids. 
  3. Schedule regular time to be with each of your kids.  This time should not be family time.  Spend time individually with each one of your kids on a regular basis.  Time with each child creates a different level of closeness as they grow up.  So often I counsel kids to reach out and sit down with their parents and share openly and honestly, and they don’t know how to do that.  It must become a necessity in your lives.  I would strongly encourage you to do this without any technology.  It will force that time to be more meaningful.  Sit down, ask your child how they are doing and then just listen.  We so often as parents assume the authoritarian and teaching role, we forget to hear them. 

To read and learn more from the EB Intervention Team, click here.

Do you or someone else you love suffer from drug or alcohol addiction?  Do you need support?  

Please Contact Us: 
Info@EBInterventrion.org
https://ebintervention.org/
(615) 482-1831

 

If My Dad Had Known

If My Dad Had Known

By: TJ Pass – EB Intervention Team

Simple Steps for Parents and Educators that Can Save Lives 

If my dad had known, what might have been different?  To begin, let me share that my father loved me and was there for me until the day he died.  After my mother passed away when I was just 7 years old, my dad made me his top priority.  He went without so I could have.  He never tried drugs and I saw him drunk twice, although there was usually beer in the fridge.  My first arrest came at the age of 15 and my dad cried, he pointed out how I didn’t belong in that group, I wasn’t like the other kids in juvenile court.  Dad was the opposite of a helicopter parent and I believe he always thought I would just make good choices.  My dad passed away in the year 2000 when I was only 23. My brother and my uncle stepped in and assumed the role of caregiver and protector, in an effort to save me. After many months, they finally realized they could not save me from my addictions; they didn’t have the tools or know where to begin.  

A system must be in place to support addiction.  My system stopped working, when no one would cosign my behavior or my lack of responsibility, and that is when I accepted professional help.  I have been free of narcotics and alcohol since January 2006.  I have obtained a college degree, become a certified family interventionist and master recovery coach. I have assisted over 1,000 families to date.  My intent in writing this blog is to contribute to the pre-intervention of teens and young adults.  Teens who abuse drugs have a greater risk of developing an addiction when they are adults.  It is important to know the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. Many teens experiment with drugs but are not addicted.  Not all teens that use drugs become addicts but most all addicts began using drugs in their teenage years.

Recognition and prevention of teenage experimentation can stop an emerging misuse before it begins. Setting good examples and being open to conversations about drug use are strong tools.  It is vital to create a safe environment for open communication and set clear expectations along with clear consequences.   With my dad, it was always “next time” I won’t help you get out of trouble or “next time” I won’t pay bills you are responsible for.  “Next time” never came.  With my dad’s lack of knowledge and my mastery in manipulation, I never had any real consequences.  Dad always helped me with a plan to start over so I could stop.  The truth is,I didn’t have a real problem, there was always someone there who would cosign my victim mentality and entitlement.

When I was in the experimentation phase, trying everything that was available, I believed  I just liked to party. It was during that phase, I stopped growing emotionally.  This is a fact for all teenagers that begin using drugs and alcohol.  Somewhere I crossed the line of choice. Drugs and alcohol are not a problem, but a solution to my problems.  I began trying to stop on my own and my dad always believed in me as well as  the same lie I believed, I could quit on my own.  Dad never knew the struggle or understood the progression of addition.  He had the “yeah but” syndrome just like me.  If someone reported I was using drugs, or he caught me, he would say, “yeah but” he is a good kid; it’s just a phase; his grades are passing; everyone likes him; he was always quick to make excuses for my behavior.  After continuing to deny using drugs, a home drug test was easy to pass and it gave my dad one more “yeah but” he can pass a drug test.  Even though he offered me professional help, he cosigned my plan, believed in me, and never educated himself about addiction.  Many signs were there, he didn’t want to believe it could happen to his son and I always had an excuse.  Bloodshot eyes, I was swimming, or I was tired   because I didn’t sleep well.  Sleeping under a fan made my nose runny.  I quit or lost interest in activities and sports because I didn’t like them, or I was going to do something different.  Smell of cigarette smoke on my clothes, my friends were smoking. Smell of cigarette smoke on my hands, I held a cigarette for my friend.  Missed curfew, it was never my fault.  Deny, deny, deny until he bought it.  Could my dad have prevented my first inhale of a cigarette, marijuana, my first drink of alcohol, first line of cocaine or LSD trip (all done before age 17)?  Could he have stopped it?  I will never know. What I do know, my dad could have been more proactive in my affairs.  

Proactive Steps Parents, Teachers, and/or Mentors Can Take:

  1. Initiate Conversations. Talk BEFORE you suspect drug use and keep the conversation nonjudgmental, honest and understanding. Straightforward questions with the right tone can lead to open communication. Simply asking, “Have you been using drugs or alcohol?” or “Has anyone offered you drugs recently?” can be enough to get the conversation started. (Conversation Starters)
  2. Responding to Admittance or Denial. Don’t overreact if they are honest about using drugs. Overreacting or lashing out can prevent them from being open about their experience.  Do not shame them.
  3. Educate Yourself. There is a strong possibility teens will lie about their drug use, I did for over a decade. Even though my dad assured me he was concerned and wanted to help, he never held me accountable or educated himself about addiction.  Know today’s lingo.  (Learn More)
  4. Understanding the Why. Understanding why some teens are tempted to experiment is also important to know.  Curiosity, peer pressure, stress, emotional struggles, and a desire to escape are some common reasons teens may take the first cigarette or drug.  For me, it was to fit in and be accepted by those I thought were cool. (Learn More)

….To continue to read the full post, If My Dad Had Known, please click here.

Are you or someone you love impacted by addiction?  Do you need support?

Please Contact Us:

Info@EBIntervention.org 

https://ebintervention.org/

(615) 482-1831

 

 

I’d Love to Tell You I’m a Great Educator

I’d Love to Tell You I’m a Great Educator

By: Janna Sells

You know how they say timing is everything?  True story alert.  I’m not one who believes in coincidences. 

I was having a casual conversation during a professional partnership call.   A friend on the call said something so profound that it caused me to stop and really reflect on his words.  He said, “I’d love to tell you I’m a great husband, but that’s not my call.” .. Wait, what? .. He continued, “My greatness is decided upon by my wife.” 

[Mic Drop]  

What would those I serve say about my greatness? It’s not my call.

Flash back- two weeks.  Our team solicited feedback from our stakeholders to work on our own continuous improvement.  We all have room to grow.  Quoting my wise and late, Grandpa Wes, “Janny, when you’re done learning, it’s time to die.”

As we began reading some of the anecdotal feedback from our service community we were smitten by the positive affirmations.  What a bucket filler.  We were feeling pretty amazing!  Living our mission to REACH, EDUCATE, EQUIP, and MATTER.  Our hearts were full .. but the feedback was not all positive.

There it was, the criticism that specifically stopped me in my tracks.  Referencing a personal experience that I shared with a team of teachers, I knew immediately exactly who the feedback was referencing.

My immediate feeling was defeat.  I was the one.  I was one who in the midst of 100s of affirmations had the one negative (err .. 3 actually) comments. There were 3.  All referring to me.  I had let my team down.  The team that I help to lead. Gut punch.

The next feeling I felt was failure.  I failed this particular team.  I failed the school they serve.  Worse, I failed their students.  The very first action of our mission is REACH.  Failure.

The feelings following were a mix between, regrets (should haves) and hopes (next time).

I began reflecting and praying over the feedback because the reality is, while their words are not true to me, I allowed their words to be true to them.  It is so true that our perception is our prison.  Thank you to one of my inspirational coaches, Trent Shelton, for that piece of wisdom.  

I began to question the approach I used to lead the crucial conversation, my choice of words, the way I made someone else feel, and sadly my passion and purpose for serving children.  I asked colleagues to coach me up.  I referenced some tactical approaches from my own crucial conversation training.  I pulled some articles and texts from my educational leadership resources.  I was so hurt that I made someone else hurt.  So vain.  I know.

The more I mulled over my shoulda, coulda, wouldas, the more my God showed up for me.  I had prayed for the opportunity to redeem myself.  I had prayed that in the future, I more genuinely articulate the WHY behind my work.  I had prayed that the people who were hurt by my support would somehow know that at the end of the day, I will passionately and unapologetically try to give more than my best to serve and grow children.  I prayed for grace. 

Another core belief I hold is that teachers do the best they can, with what they know at the time they know it.  Once we know better, we do better.

Flash to the Present.  I recently bumped into one of my former 3rd grade students.  Shortly following our reunion I received a social media friend request.  ACCEPTED.

Within 24 hours I received the most uplifting message from this now beautiful rising senior.

Yall.  There are so many times in our life we question our purpose.  What is our roll in this big world?  I am so blessed to have found and live in my purpose, but it doesn’t mean that I do not occasionally feel the pressure to question it.  

I will always VALUE and APPRECIATE my stakeholder’s feedback to continually grow in my practice.  Even when it hurts, there is room for improvement.

This simple message from a former student reminded me that just because I need to work on some outward communication doesn’t mean that I should question my worth when I’m working in my purpose and driven by my compelling why.  She is part of my why.  To allow someone else permission to judge or evaluate MY why is not growth mindset nor is it part of any continuous improvement model.  My why is mine and no one no matter the feedback will take it from me.

Here is your simple two step challenge friends-

  1. STAY TRUE TO YOUR WHY.  No one has permission to rob your passion or purpose.  Remember the desire for personal or professional reflective, continuous improvement does not represent a weakness in your purpose.  It’s quite the opposite.  It represents humility and that you are so solidly grounded in your why, that you’re comfortable being uncomfortable growing in your practice.

     

  2. No matter your life or professional role, identify who it is that you serve and allow your consumer the opportunity to make your call of greatness.  The reality is, I’d love nothing more than to tell you that I am a great educator, but truth be told, it’s not my call.  Make your impact matter to those your serve.  Humbly and reflectively, GROW IN YOUR PRACTICE while maintaining your WHY.

I hope you leave these thoughts determined to be the best version of yourself and that those you serve no matter your practice know how great you are!

#neverquestionyourwhy but rather #improveyourpractice

Matter is the Minimum

Matter is the Minimum

Jay Urich, Gamecocks QB, said it best: Matter IS the MINIMUM.

“Black lives are worthy. Black lives are loved. Black lives are needed.”

At i-LEADR, we are committed to standing beside other like-minded and like-hearted leaders who are learning and continuing to improve upon providing equitable educational, social, and professional opportunities for students of all races. We humbly acknowledge the truths from diverse subgroups and as a company that serves educators we will continuously improve and grow our compassion and knowledge around ways to improve equitability.

Our commitments to those we serve and the community we impact:
We will grow in our own knowledge and understanding. We must first educate ourselves.

 

We will make intentional efforts to ensure our professional development and other services offered are diverse and genuinely crafted to better educate the staff we serve on stronger ways to provide equitable and educational schools, homes, and communities for ALL students.

We will continue to hold the non-negotiable value for ALL educators to hold high expectations for all their students regardless of students’ background, socio-economic status, race, or gender.

We will grow our team, our company, and our services with minds, hearts, and hands that share our company’s same values and morals regardless of their outward category identification.

We will know better each day and therefore, we will do better by those we serve. We will show grace. We will show love. We will show improvement.
We will reach. We will educate. We will equip. We will matter.

It is our prayer that every student regardless of category, who enters any school building feels loved, valued, and knowledgeable. We will continue to strive daily to support the endless potential in ALL students.

We are all in this together. We are the empower agents. We are educators.