2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Ensuring Excellent Teaching (excerpts) - Page 3

In addition to th e instructional coaches, teachers have access to the three Common Core math coaches from th e district. These trainers, effective teachers who were selected by the state to receive intensive training on Common Core standards, offer after-school assistance and workshops to any interested teacher and administrator. Last year, they began training district teachers on the constructed response scoring system the state is implementing in preparation for new assessments in 2014-15. Novice teachers. New teachers participate in a comprehensive induction and training program that includes learning about the state’s new teacher evaluation system, “Thoughtful Classroom Strategies,” and “Quality Instructional Practices.” The thoughtful classroom practices are based on the work of Silver, Strong, and Associates who in turn based their work on books by Robert Marzano. The thoughtful classroom approach focuses on identifying academic skills used in successful schools and includes: • Vocabulary CODE, a method of vocabulary instruction that helps students connect with the vocabulary terms, understand new words and their connections to words they already know, and practice using the word; “Word Works: Cracking Vocabulary’s CODE” http://www.tnscore.org/scoreprize/ downloads/2012/Vocabularys_Code.pdf • Task rotation, a method of st udent assessment drawing on questions fr om four learning styles: mastery, understandi ng, interpersonal, and self-expressive; • Compare and contrast, a series of methods to examine similarities and differences when given criteria for investigation and then using information in a synthesis task; • Reading for meaning, a method for enhancing comprehension by giving readers anticipatory statements with which they agree or disagree, and then reading text to support or refute their predictions; and • New American lecture, which is a method of direct instruction that consists of “hooking” the students’ interest in the topic, “chunking” information into segments, guiding students’ notes with a graphic organizer, and reviewing the lesson through questions using the four learning styles. New teachers are also assigned mentors from the school and receive extra attention from instructional coaches. They meet with their mentors monthly at the central office and typically have both group-level and individual-level needs addressed. Teachers stress both rigor and engagement, and students respond positively. “You are encouraged to do your personal best all the time,” one student said. “If you don’t get it, the teachers will show you another way to do it, and then you figure out that there are many ways to solve problems,” another student added. “The teachers are always there for you.” “The teachers are always there for you.” Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize District Winner 22