2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Ensuring Excellent Teaching (excerpts) - Page 2

staff analyze data to determine which of the state’s teacher preparation institutions have the best records in developing effective teachers, and human resource staff travel throughout the state to recruit teachers. The superintendent personally interviews every new teacher. To help recruit teachers to come to the district, the business community provides incentives to those who come and stay. The district also provides significant support throughout a teachers’ tenure to help them develop as professionals. Instructional tools. The district has equipped each teacher with a variety of tools to enhance instruction. For example, interactive curriculum maps are available for every grade level and content area. Each map has guidance for the content to teach, pacing, interactive and engaging activities, higher order questions, and formative assessments. The district uses its audio/video enhancement room at Manley Elementary, funded with Race to the Top money, to record teachers’ lessons. All videos are archived, and exemplary lessons are posted on the district’s website for teachers and administrators to view. “Hamblen County Interactive Curriculum Maps” http://hamblencounty.schoolinsites.com/ ?DivisioniD=3688&DepartmentiD=3401& SubDepartmentiD=2760&toggleSideNav “Hamblen County Model Lesson Videos” http://hamblencounty.schoolinsites.com/ Default.asp?PN=Videos&L=1&DivisioniD= 5591&LMiD=224941&toggleSideNav In addition, teachers have access to a local document called The Essential Strategies Handbook. This handbook provides a summary of research-based instructional strategies that have a proven track record of raising student achievement. The strategies are based on the work of multiple researchers. Each page of the handbook describes one strategy and gives a brief description, a summary of research support, an example of how to utilize the strategy, and internet resources. “The Essential Strategies Handbook” http://www.tnscore.org/scoreprize/ downloads/2012/HCDOE_ instructional_Strategies.pdf 21 Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize District Winner Professional development. Hamblen County Schools offers a variety of professional development opportunities. First and foremost, teachers turn to each other for expertise and advice through the professional learning community approach. PLCs are active in each Hamblen County school. All of the PLCs have shared norms and beliefs, reflective practices, ongoing technical inquiry, and mutual support and obligation. Teams of teachers meet with grade-level peers in horizontal team meetings and with teachers who teach in adjacent grade levels in vertical team meetings. They focus strictly on effective instructional practices, data analysis, and professional growth. At times, the PLCs conduct book studies where they read and study a text that addresses an area of common concern or interest. There are also PLCs comprised of reading coaches and literacy leaders in elementary schools. In addition, professional development seminars, workshops, and institutes are provided. As previously described, these trainings are based on needs identified through data analysis or as part of initiatives being implemented by the state and district, such as the implementation of the Common Core standards and college and career readiness approaches. Video: “Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning” (2:42) http://tnscore.org/scoreprize/ district-2012.php Instructional coaches. The district also provides teachers with access to district-level instructional coaches, who are assigned to specific grade levels. There are five instructional coaches and a specialized instructional technology support person. The coaches provide professional development, individualized support, resources, and facilitation of PLCs. They also sponsor “Lunch and Learn” sessions where teachers share ideas and instructional strategies while engaging in joint problem-solving activities. The sessions have been well-attended and are considered very effective. Finally, the coaches often attend state, regional, or national conferences and share what they have learned with other faculty members.