Each year, the TST BOCES School Improvement Services (SIS) Team collaborates with the Instructional Planning Council (a group made up of Curriculum and Instruction leaders/specialists from all component districts, representatives from local Institutions of Higher Education and Teacher Center(s), as well as members of the TST BOCES School Improvement Services Team) and the Superintendents to identify a set of TST BOCES Regional Priorities for the following school year.
Since the core of our work is to promote both organizational learning and teacher learning that leads to positive measurable outcomes for all 13,000 students in our region, we create Regional Priorities that are student-centered, systemic, and data-informed. To increase efficacy, we align our efforts with research and we commit ourselves to setting priorities that will help us measure the ways in which our work impacts students.
Our 2017 – 2018 Regional Priorities are as follows:
- Supporting students’ mental health, and their social & emotional well-being
- Student-driven learning
- Questioning and discussion techniques
- Engaging students in learning
- Using assessment in instruction
In May of 2015, we chose to use Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching Rubric as the source from which to identify priorities. This is the rubric that all educators across our region are using for the observation and evaluation process. The Danielson Rubric helps connect how we do our work with why we do our work. It provides concrete examples of what student-centered classrooms look like, sound like, and feel like, and it provides concrete examples of what teachers do when they create and nurture such classrooms. The rubric also gives us a shared language and shared metrics for what students do in effective and highly effective classrooms. We identified five components to focus on as our Regional Priorities for 2015 – 2016.
In May of 2016, we agreed that the best way to promote both organizational learning and teacher learning that leads to positive measurable outcomes for students next year would be to continue deepening our regional understanding of the same five priorities that we had been working on, rather than moving on to a new set of priorities.
During 2016 – 2017 we worked on the five priorities below through the lens of Highly Effective, with a commitment to collecting, analyzing, and using student and educator data to guide our work.
Designing Student Assessment
Good teaching requires both assessment of learning and assessment for learning.
Establishing a Culture for Learning
“A culture for learning” refers to the atmosphere in the classroom that reflects the educational importance of the work undertaken by both students and teacher.
Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
Questioning and discussion are the only instructional strategies specifically referred to in the framework for teaching; this reflects their central importance to teachers’ practice.
Using Assessment in Instruction
Assessment of student learning plays an important role in instruction; no longer does it signal the end of instruction; it is now recognized to be an integral part of instruction.
Growing and Developing Professionally
As in other professions, the complexity of teaching requires continued growth and development, in order to remain current.