1.Benchmark assessments / common formative assessments measure students’ progress and provide teachers with data that leads to an adjustment of instruction. These types of assessments provide data for discussion among teams, sharing of teaching strategies, and help to foster a professional learning community. All teachers in Pre K- 12 will be responsible for implementing these assessments. Results will be shared with building level principals throughout the year. In addition, these assessments will play a role in the 2013-2014 Griswold Teacher Evaluation Plan as part of the required Connecticut System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED).
2.The Charlotte Danielson model, The Frameworks of Teaching, is founded on the belief that "the single most important factor within a school’s control in promoting student learning is the quality of instruction." The frameworks have clear definitions of expertise and procedures to certify novice and advanced practitioners. Committing to a serious examination of instructional practices, planning, assessing, and professional responsibilities – as well as creating a common language around these areas as teams are the largest leap toward success any district can undertake.
The district will begin with "targeted implementation," focusing as a team, a grade level, or a department on five to six of the 22 components of the frameworks. The goal will be the mastery of these skills, the sharing of ideas, and regular discussion in professional teams. Classroom observations and professional growth models will be partially based on the targeted components that teachers and teams select. In addition, these frameworks will play a role in the 2013-2014 Griswold Teacher Evaluation Plan as part of the required Connecticut System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED).
3.The Common Core Standards are now the expectation for every school in Connecticut, Pre K - 12. The achievement of the ambitious level of rigor in the standards is "dependent on continuous improvement and results in teachers teaching toward clearer and higher expectations and doing this work in transparent, collegial, and accountable ways. (Calkins)"
The Connecticut State Department of Education has committed to providing resources, curriculum, units of study, and sample assessments to all school districts. Accessing these in every subject area will be an expectation of all teachers, Pre K-12. Assistance will be offered in order to calibrate the level of preparation in the Griswold Public Schools. Review and results of these offerings from the state as the schools adjust to a new level of rigor will be shared with the school community. Results from the new national testing program (2015) will play a role in the Griswold Teacher Evaluation Plan as part of the required Connecticut System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED).
4.To make writing instruction a priority, particularly in grades 6-12, students should be writing one cumulative hour of the day. In addition, the level of rigor in the reading expectation of the Common Core requires a commitment to a sum total of 45 minutes of reading per day in school throughout the course of the student’s day. Piloting this goal will be a priority in all schools.
5."Teacher-leaders assume a wide range of roles to support school and student success. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, they build the entire school's capacity to improve. (Harrison)" In every comprehensive school system, with complex levels of curriculum, teaching and learning, student support, family support, community engagement, there are leadership opportunities that go untapped. The resources to implement the new Connecticut reforms, the Common Core State Standards, as well as Griswold Public School initiatives are readily available in the form of the talent in the GPS staff. Utilizing staff to achieve school-wide improvement will be a priority in all schools.
6. In addition to a focus on competency in core subjects, 21st century skills should be stressed in order to promote understanding of academic content at much higher levels. These 21st century skills are essential for success in college, career, and life. Included as part of these skills are critical thinking, problem solving, higher order thinking, innovation, creativity, collaboration, and global awareness.
All teachers in Pre K – 12 will develop one large-scale summative assessment during the course of the year that is focused on the critical 21st century skills of the activity, subject, or course. These assessments will require that students combine knowledge, interests, critical and creative thinking skills to meet the expectations of open-ended projects. At the end of the year the Griswold Public Schools will feature these summative assessments as a showcase of the abilities of our students.
7. The landscape in the use of technology in education has shifted from technology utilization to technology integration. In order for students to be successful and competitive they must master technology and develop the ability to adapt to new technologies in this rapid time of change. Technology and the accompanying changes have become the context of our lives, not just one of the dynamics of it. (Houle)
The Griswold Public Schools will explore all aspects of enhancing educational experiences by encouraging technology to be more than a component of an educational lesson. The goal will be to have technology be the driving force of a shift that changes how the classroom itself is structured. Grant sources will be pursued to help make this shift a reality in the schools.
8. In a world where change is rapid, it is necessary to evaluate every aspect of educational programs, assess performance in a critical manner, and dare to make the most innovative adjustments to ensure that the school community is building a school system that offers a world-class education in which every child has the opportunity to succeed at the highest competitive level.
In order to meet the future needs of students, every school must regularly examine its core values, beliefs, and mission. The ambition of the Griswold Public Schools today should be to develop a vision in a time of change that will guide the school community in providing nothing less than the best for our students so that they are not only prepared for the world ahead but are leaders in every opportunity they will face in their world.
Teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members will be invited and encouraged to be involved in a district-wide vision project in order to devise a plan to address a broad education plan through 2022.
The Griswold Vision will serve as an ambitious blueprint to create experiences for students that are based on a foundation of core subject areas while promoting learning skills and experiences that are essential for the success of Griswold students.