POWERED BY REVOLUTION SLIDER

2015 Illinois School Report Card

The PARCC assessment was taken last spring by students in grades 3-8 and high school students enrolled in junior level courses. If your child took the assessment, they have been given their individual score report, a copy has been placed in their digital Pathways folder, and a hard copy is on file in the office. The report contains a variety of information on your child’s performance. The backside of the report contains information on how you can use the report to help your child move his/her skills forward. We encourage all parents to ask their child about the PARCC assessment and initiate a conversation about their performance. The PARCC assessment will be taken by students in Illinois once again this coming spring.

To learn more about the test, and to view sample questions and practice tests, be sure to visit understandthescore.org. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please be sure to call the district office. All of these scores are embedded into our annual Illinois School Report card which can be viewed here

 

PARCC ALL (all tests)

 

PARCC Elementary

 

PARCC Middle School

 

PARCC High School

 

Our third step in the #GoOpen Process

Click HERE to view the entire 3-step process we utilized to #GoOpen.

OER Adoption, Step 3. Desiging Engaging Student-Driven Learning Experiences. (11/16/15)

The following piece was authored by Mrs. Lori Secrist, one of our rock star teachers. Lori's Science classroom is a vibrant place where students passionately work to move skills forward. These are the steps Lori took on her personal journey from textbooks to Open Education Resources.

  1. As a Science teacher, my first step was to become familiar with the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Understanding the importance of providing students with three dimensional learning and assessment opportunities made me see the value of having flexible learning resources.  
  2. I identified the skills that students need to be college and career ready.
  3. I identified limitations with my curriculum.  I came to the realization that my curriculum was content driven, and all students studied the same thing at the same time no matter what their interests were.
  4. That realization led me to develop a new mindset:
    • I began to view content as a vehicle to help my students understand the concepts and gain the skills they need in order to be successful. This has allowed me to be more flexible in giving students the freedom of choice in the selection of specific content as long as students are improving their skills and building understanding.  
    • Outdated textbooks did not offer this type of flexibility, therefore, I needed to do something else. The textbooks were giving every child the same things in the same way and that did not maximize engagement for all of my students. My textbooks from 2007 lacked cutting edge scientific research that was relevant to my students lives. Very few things in my textbooks truly grabbed my students attention and inspired their curiosity. 
    • With the current quality Open Education Resources, I found I was able to move away from textbooks. This allowed me to spend more money on field trips to take my students out into the real world. It has freed up money for supplies to increase opportunities for investigation in my classroom. This is what captures a student’s imagination, inspires them to investigate the world around them and ask questions, and motivates them to want to learn so they can gain the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in the world.
  5. I began providing more real world learning challenges for my students:
    • This has really allowed students the opportunity to drive their learning in the direction of their interests.
    • Challenges encourage students to look at problems from various angles and build understanding in a way that is meaningful to them. Students begin to see value in learning because it  helps them solve problems. Textbooks did not provide the depth that students needed to help complete these projects. Open Educational Resources provide them with the variety of information that they need from amazing sources from all over the world. In the end, the students build a much richer knowledge of the topic than if we would have just read about one point of view in a textbook, and in the process, they truly feel like they are making a difference by helping to solve a real world problem in their school or community.
  6. I redefined my role in the classroom. I have determined my job is to provide students with opportunities to develop their skills and to provide resources to build their own understanding of the world around them. This includes helping students become critical consumers of knowledge as well as helping them to evaluate their work and the work of their peers so they can learn how to continually grow and improve throughout their lives.  

I have found that allowing students to drive the direction of their learning can be very powerful. For example, Energy is a broad topic. Everyone in my class is not interested in just the basics of energy and electricity, but they are interested in making their school more efficient. In the process of finding ways to make their school more energy efficient, they needed to understand what electricity is, how it is made, how it is measured. When students saw the value of the learning, they were much more engaged, and they took pride in finding solutions to improve their school. Having reliable, up to date openly licensed resources that I can put at their fingertips makes this type of learning far less intimidating to plan for and to manage. It also fosters creativity and ingenuity in my students that may have been missed out on if we had simply stuck to the textbook.

Lori Secrist, Life Science Instructor and Pathway Lead
Williamsfield Schools
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Taking Steps to #GoOpen

Posting this has been a 3 week process. Here are the three steps we took to #GoOpen.

Immediately following the White House #GoOpen event, a reporter asked me what advice I would give other districts looking to trade textbooks for OER. My response...trust your teachers, trust your kids. That’s extremely important, and terrible advice. In an attempt to redeem myself, I am outlining 3 steps for leveraging the power of OER, transitioning out of textbook dependency, and creating engaging learning experiences for kids.

OER Adoption, Step 1. Establish Grade/Course Scope & Sequence. (11/2/15)

Textbooks provide structure. Unit 1 followed by Unit 2 and so on. Many teachers plan their year around that sequencing. Quality K-12 teachers are experts at planning “lessons” and working with kids. Few have background in developing cohesive skill sequencing. This is especially true when it comes to grade school mathematics. Looking to remove the textbook? Research and adopt a scope & sequence of cohesive units.

For math, Williamsfield Schools chose the Dana Center Scope & Sequence as our foundation and worked to embed components of the Illinois Math Model Curriculum. For ELA/Literacy we leveraged the Model Content Framework Charts from the PARCC Model Content Frameworks, then selected text exemplars from Appendix B of the Common Core State Standards to form the base of our curriculum. Step 1 complete.

At this point it is ideal in the OER adoption process to have teachers establish student learning checkpoints before they build daily lessons. However, it is important to acknowledge teachers and schools don’t always have that kind of time. For us, with district cohesive scope & sequence established, we gave our teachers autonomy to leverage a wide variety of learning materials, including OER, to move student learning forward. While they did, we began the process of establishing checkpoints.

OER Adoption, Step 2. Establish Student Learning Checkpoints. (11/12/15)

With scope and sequence established, and traditional textbook assessments gone, we had to find a way to measure student progress. To this degree we developed local "Snapshots" to serve as student learning checkpoints. Snapshots are designed to be engaging learning tasks that measure a targeted set of knowledge and skills. Each task is accompanied by an assessment rubric comprised of 3-7 criteria and 4 performance levels. Completion of each task generates an authentic artifact to display student competency. Snapshots are comprised of two components and come in two variations.

Snapshot Components:

  1. Performance Rubric - Each rubric is comprised of 3-7 criteria each with 4 performance levels. Each criteria must directly correspond with the knowledge and skills contained within the scope and sequence of the course/grade. For ELA & Math courses, our rubrics reflect the skill progressions that are the Common Core State Standards. Our ELA & Math Core Snapshot rubrics pay special attention to the key progressions and fluency expectations outlined within the PARCC Model Content Frameworks. Check out the Illinois State Board of Education's Skill Progression Tool for a strong visualization of these progressions. 
  2. Performance Task - These are engaging tasks that give students an opportunity to simultaneously build skill and demonstrate competency. Completion of each task generates an authentic artifact displaying student performance level. For ELA/Literacy we ask students to deliver a product demonstrating comprehension of an appropriately complex text or text(s). Written tasks, presentations, and research are examples of performance tasks we ask our students to complete. For Math performance task examples and ideas we leverage quality OER sites like Illustrative Mathematics and Dan Meyer's 3-Act Math Tasks

Snapshot Variations:

  1. Core Snapshots - These macro-level Snapshots take the place of traditional benchmarking tests, course pre-tests, and end-of-course exams. They are designed to measure "the core of the core" &/or the foundational knowledge and skills targeted within a course or grade. "Intermediate Core Snapshots" are also utilized with selective students to monitor progress toward student growth goals as part of our embedded RtI/MTSS (Response to Intervention/Multi-Tier System of Supports) process. 
  2. Unit Snapshots - These micro-level Snapshots measure student competencies and occur toward the beginning and end of each unit. The early unit Snapshot is used to inform student groupings, target in-class resources, and establish instructional approach. The end-of-unit Snapshot guides teachers, parents, and students to the "what next" of student learning and skill progression.

Strategic Snapshot scheduling throughout the school year establishes solid student learning checkpoints to inform instruction, target district resources, and inspire student growth. It also gives students ample opportunity to build skill and demonstrate competency. If you are going to transition away from textbooks and the comfort of traditional textbook/vendor assessments, student learning checkpoints must be established.

I will reiterate it is ideal in the OER adoption process to have teachers establish these student learning checkpoints before they build daily lessons. But remember, a person doesn’t always have that kind of time. I would love to see more people just scrap the textbook and dive into the world of OER in an effort to move student learning forward. There is no shame in backtracking to develop these checkpoints after the leap.

OER Adoption, Step 3. Desiging Engaging Student-Driven Learning Experiences. (11/16/15)

The following piece was authored by Mrs. Lori Secrist, one of our rock star teachers. Lori's Science classroom is a vibrant place where students passionately work to move skills forward. These are the steps Lori took on her personal journey from textbooks to Open Education Resources.

  1. As a Science teacher, my first step was to become familiar with the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Understanding the importance of providing students with three dimensional learning and assessment opportunities made me see the value of having flexible learning resources.  
  2. I identified the skills that students need to be college and career ready.
  3. I identified limitations with my curriculum.  I came to the realization that my curriculum was content driven, and all students studied the same thing at the same time no matter what their interests were.
  4. That realization led me to develop a new mindset:
    • I began to view content as a vehicle to help my students understand the concepts and gain the skills they need in order to be successful. This has allowed me to be more flexible in giving students the freedom of choice in the selection of specific content as long as students are improving their skills and building understanding.  
    • Outdated textbooks did not offer this type of flexibility, therefore, I needed to do something else. The textbooks were giving every child the same things in the same way and that did not maximize engagement for all of my students. My textbooks from 2007 lacked cutting edge scientific research that was relevant to my students lives. Very few things in my textbooks truly grabbed my students attention and inspired their curiosity. 
    • With the current quality Open Education Resources, I found I was able to move away from textbooks. This allowed me to spend more money on field trips to take my students out into the real world. It has freed up money for supplies to increase opportunities for investigation in my classroom. This is what captures a student’s imagination, inspires them to investigate the world around them and ask questions, and motivates them to want to learn so they can gain the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in the world.
  5. I began providing more real world learning challenges for my students:
    • This has really allowed students the opportunity to drive their learning in the direction of their interests.
    • Challenges encourage students to look at problems from various angles and build understanding in a way that is meaningful to them. Students begin to see value in learning because it  helps them solve problems. Textbooks did not provide the depth that students needed to help complete these projects. Open Educational Resources provide them with the variety of information that they need from amazing sources from all over the world. In the end, the students build a much richer knowledge of the topic than if we would have just read about one point of view in a textbook, and in the process, they truly feel like they are making a difference by helping to solve a real world problem in their school or community.
  6. I redefined my role in the classroom. I have determined my job is to provide students with opportunities to develop their skills and to provide resources to build their own understanding of the world around them. This includes helping students become critical consumers of knowledge as well as helping them to evaluate their work and the work of their peers so they can learn how to continually grow and improve throughout their lives.  

I have found that allowing students to drive the direction of their learning can be very powerful. For example, Energy is a broad topic. Everyone in my class is not interested in just the basics of energy and electricity, but they are interested in making their school more efficient. In the process of finding ways to make their school more energy efficient, they needed to understand what electricity is, how it is made, how it is measured. When students saw the value of the learning, they were much more engaged, and they took pride in finding solutions to improve their school. Having reliable, up to date openly licensed resources that I can put at their fingertips makes this type of learning far less intimidating to plan for and to manage. It also fosters creativity and ingenuity in my students that may have been missed out on if we had simply stuck to the textbook.

Lori Secrist, Life Science Instructor and Pathway Lead
Williamsfield Schools
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Remember, don't be afraid to start small, and don't be afraid to mess up. We are not doing it perfectly and we know we have a long way to go. But we can already see the positive impact the approach is having on our kids. If there's anything we can do to support your efforts to #GoOpen, please don't hesitate to reach out.  

 

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

December Newsletter

Click the pic to view the December newsletter. 

Contact Us

325 Kentucky Avenue
Williamsfield, IL, 61489
School Office: (309)-639-2216
District Office: (309)-639-2219