Transformation and Turnaround Model

Research shows  that successful school transformation must include flexibility, strong leadership, professional development, capacity building, extended school and learning time, community involvement and beyond. IEP’s transformation and turnaround intervention program is based on the Project CHILD® 21st Century instructional model. The CHILD model exemplifies strong turnaround principles and meaningful interventions and is designed to improve the academic achievement of students in persistently low-achieving schools.

The essential components and domains of our Transformation Model are aligned with the following turnaround principles:

  • Strong leadership development
  • Teacher effectiveness
  • Strengthening of the school’s instructional program based on student needs
  • Using data to guide instruction
  • Safe and disciplined school environment
  • Opportunities for family and community engagement

Leadership development is facilitated at the school administration level (principals become true instructional leaders), at the teachers’ level (teachers as subject area experts and ongoing collaboration), as well as at the students’ level (students become independent, self-assessing learners). Our instructional model,, Project CHILD, enables the development of a calm and orderly classroom environment where instruction and on-task times are maximized. Communication with parents regarding student’s academic progress is facilitated through the use of Passports® (work logs where students record daily learning objectives and reflect on their learning and which are sent home to parents every four weeks accompanied by letters and evaluations from the teachers).

The ultimate goal for IEP’s turnaround model is to help schools create more effective teachers and more successful learners.

Using the CHILD® model, each classroom will be designed to maximize learning for students, based on the research on time on task, collaborative learning, motivation, student accountability, and learning styles. Classrooms will be technology-infused and provide for real differentiated learning of 21st century skills. Technology becomes a tool for real life learning which motivates students to be active engaged learners.

Job-embedded coaching will be planned to focus on the core tenets of CHILD®, which is the intentional teaching of effective classroom management strategies necessary for true differentiation in small group learning environments. Without a structured system, teachers are unable to provide an extended time for independent student learning.  Teachers who can effectively manage small group instruction are able to provide more in-depth teaching such as guided reading simultaneously.

During the instructional period, teachers use a balance of teaching methodologies- whole group, small group stations, and individualized instruction. During small group station time, students work at differentiated learning stations with a balance of technology, text and hands-on. Teachers work with individual students at a Teacher Station while the rest of the class is fully engaged. The main focus of the professional development is on classroom management. There is a very structured system where students are intentionally taught scaffolding strategies during a Ten Day Orientation. At the end of the ten days, classrooms will be running smoothly and the management system becomes second nature from class to class.

Research on intrinsic motivation theory and goal setting states that students who are actively involved in their own learning are more motivated and assume more responsibility for their own learning. Students trained in using the CHILD® model become more responsible and accountable for their work which translates to higher academic achievement.

Leadership

STRONG LEADERSHIP

An important aspect of Project CHILD is that it brings to the school an innovative scheduling approach, moving away from the single-year, single-teacher, single-classroom set-up. The school leadership plays a very important role in ensuring the smooth, yet consistent transition to the new model. Since this is a big change to the status quo found in many of the Focus,  Priority and SIG schools, leadership capacity is vital to the success of this implementation.

We find that all schools that implement Project CHILD allow for the development and enhancement of school leadership at the administrative level, as well as the classroom level. Principals supporting the implementation of this innovative model become themselves innovative instructional leaders who facilitate the development of effective teaching and learning communities. As behavior incidents and referrals are greatly reduced, principals and teacher leaders can focus on constructive student-centered dialogues: staff meetings turn into common curriculum and instruction planning meetings, data-mining meetings, and student product evaluation meetings.

Guiding administrators in their oversight of teacher planning and implementation of instruction

As educational leaders of the school, administrators play an integral part in the professional development process. School climate is shaped by the administrators and will determine the level of openness to change that staff feel. The administrator maintains the focus on the expected outcome and vision to provide the big picture of where the school is headed. This is especially critical during the first few months of any school transformation.  Administrators will be involved from the outset in the needs assessment, selection of model teachers, and participating in the classroom walkthroughs to ensure consistency in the implementation. The school leadership team is encouraged to attend the initial implementation training to gain a full understanding of the model. The CHILD Leadership Advisory Council is made up of experienced school leaders who provide coaching and mentoring for new principals and leaders. Additional training, debriefing and coaching will be provided during the job-embedded coaching days to keep the administrators informed of teachers’ progress. The administrators will have full access to the lesson planning and walkthrough tools and will provide additional input for consultants.

Providing agenda setting and debrief sessions with leadership focused on results for all students

The CHILD coaching model has proven to be successful through the establishment of structured meeting agendas and building trust among professional learning communities. Teachers used to working in isolation are ill prepared to work with colleagues in a truly collaborative model. The most successful process for building trust and camaraderie among colleagues is to involve them in setting agendas and providing self- assessment tools. When teachers are given opportunities to assess themselves in a non-threatening environment, true growth will occur. IEP consultants form relationships with the teachers as coaches and mentors. Teachers feel secure in sharing their strengths and weaknesses when they know the consultant is a colleague and mentor. Successes are celebrated. Debriefing becomes an integral part of the process in which teacher and coach are able to assess honestly and the next steps serve as welcome feedback.

Teacher Effectiveness

Project CHILD enables teachers to motivate and engage students by using classroom technology integrated with instruction, hands-on active learning, small group cooperative learning, cross-grade multi-year instruction, and teacher collaboration in vertical and horizontal cluster teams. Project CHILD is a three-dimensional, triangulated design that moves beyond the single grade, single year grade school approach where teachers cover all subjects using predominantly textbook-guided teaching. In Project CHILD, teachers form triad cluster teams that span three grade levels (K-2 for primary, 3-5 for intermediate). Cluster teachers specialize in one of the core subject areas (reading, writing, mathematics) and stay with their students for three years. They also incorporate technology, learning games, and hands-on activities in order to differentiate by learning style, as well as ability level. The CHILD design combines elements of looping, departmentalization, and small group learning centers, but takes them to a more complex level that fosters positive and lasting relationships between teacher and child.

An essential component of the Project CHILD instructional model is enhancing teacher effectiveness by innovatively allowing the teacher to become a content-area expert. CHILD teachers are able to go deeper into the most critical concepts of the State Standards and the Common Core and the alignment across grade levels. Teachers create classrooms aligned with 21st century skills, using data and building strong social networks for students as they remain with the same teacher team for multiple years (looping). This innovative model is designed around building strong collaborative teams of teachers who articulate vertically and horizontally to create powerful learning communities.

Instruction

This transformational model is based upon the assumption that schools can be restructured to meet the educational and technological needs of the 21st century learner. This restructuring must include opportunities for active learning, shared responsibility, learner locus of control, cooperation and fair competition. The design of CHILD calls for a balance between direct instruction and inquiry learning. Students need ample time and a variety of learning activities to experience success. CHILD is grounded in theories that seek to explain motivation, behavior, learning, and child development.

Each classroom will be outfitted with six learning stations to facilitate deeper content learning following whole group instruction. Technology stations, text-based and hands-on, provide diversity and differentiation for students. Tools are provided to direct students and allow for independent movement from station to station.

The model provides station activities and materials in both a hard-copy format and in an on-line digital format. These resources are not meant to supplant, but rather supplement the district curriculum to extend learning into stations where students work independently and/or cooperatively to complete Common Core standards-based tasks.  Activities are designed to allow for independent practice with rigor and relevant activities, allowing time for the teacher to then meet with individual students as needed.

The learning station activities intensify instruction and infuse technology into the district curriculum. Station activities are designed to coordinate across grade levels, so students can work at the appropriate level no matter what their homeroom grade. All the station activities provided are based on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) and the Common Core Standards, and many are provided online as part of the Project CHILD classroom materials.

Based on our past experiences and successes, we know that Project CHILD deals immediately, directly, and persistently with increasing the productivity of teacher and student time by:

  • Focusing instructional expertise through teams of three teachers who lead their own general classes and are the specialist teacher for either reading, writing, or mathematics;
  • Fostering professional collaboration between cluster teachers, and between the wider network of innovators via a Virtual Learning Community;
  • Blending direct instruction with guided, cooperative, and independent student work reaching common grade-level standards with individual pacing;
  • Gaining flexibility, portability, and continuous performance-based feedback through advanced classroom technologies and software, including the digital materials to be developed;
  • Enriching district curricula with multi-level, standards-aligned differentiated student activities;
  • Sustaining teacher efficacy and student progress with specific leadership actions particularly regarding schedules, resource allocations, and creating an inviting school climate.

Learn more.

Student Needs

Using the CHILD® model, each classroom will be designed to maximize learning for students, based on the research on time on task, collaborative learning, motivation, student accountability, and learning styles. Classrooms will be technology-infused and provide for real differentiated learning of 21st century skills. Technology becomes a tool for real life learning which motivates students to be active engaged learners.

Job-embedded coaching will be planned to focus on the core tenets of CHILD®, which is the intentional teaching of effective classroom management strategies necessary for true differentiation in small group learning environments. Without a structured system, teachers are unable to provide an extended time for independent student learning.  Teachers who can effectively manage small group instruction are able to provide more in-depth teaching such as guided reading simultaneously.

During the instructional period, teachers use a balance of teaching methodologies- whole group, small group stations, and individualized instruction. During small group station time, students work at differentiated learning stations with a balance of technology, text and hands-on. Teachers work with individual students at a Teacher Station while the rest of the class is fully engaged. The main focus of the professional development is on classroom management. There is a very structured system where students are intentionally taught scaffolding strategies during a Ten Day Orientation. At the end of the ten days, classrooms will be running smoothly and the management system becomes second nature from class to class.

Research on intrinsic motivation theory and goal setting states that students who are actively involved in their own learning are more motivated and assume more responsibility for their own learning. Students trained in using the CHILD® model become more responsible and accountable for their work which translates to higher academic achievement.

Using Data

IEP’s component of data mining to differentiate instruction draws heavily on research that has demonstrated that effective accountability occurs when external and internal measures are aligned and used in coordinated fashion by schools to support improvements in student learning (Elmore & Abelmann, 1999; Fullan, 2001). The use of assessment data for decision-making assumes alignment between standards, instruction, and assessment. Therefore, administrators and teachers are increasingly pressured to use accountability data to improve instruction.

IEP will be closely looking into the existent sources of student data and we will explore how data is being used (if applicable), and whether there is an intersection of decision-support technologies, educators, and the process of transforming data into knowledge. To illuminate this framework, we will have a dialogue with administrators and educators on how teachers analyze the information available and we will have them express how they synthesize it into their understanding of the classroom to make decisions about instructional practices and their students.

We will take educators and administrators through a multi-tiered system so that data is put to good use and instruction is guided by the data:

 

 

 Transforming Data into Knowledge

The Process of Transforming Data into Knowledge

Climate

The content of the educational programming will be driven by developing the academic, intellectual, as well as character development of all students. This will take place in a high-expectation environment, where safe and nurturing classrooms invite interaction and self-learning, and allow for increased time spent on task and focused on learning what is important. Student behavior expectations are clearly laid out and strict compliance is expected for the benefit of all, as well as for achieving a respectful environment conducive to learning and purposeful efforts to continuously improve the academic achievement and minimize the achievement gap.

One of the inherent positive changes that accompany the successful CHILD implementation is the immediate change in student disruptive behavior and a virtual elimination of office referrals. The constant involvement in exciting new learning modalities, as well as self-pacing opportunities  provided at the different stations motivate students to remain on-task for long periods of time. Peer coaching, self-assessment, and student empowerment strategies also contribute to less acting out and more responsible behaviors while in the classroom. “Helping out my peers” or moving on to the next “challenge activity” (As a first grader, can I do a math problem that a 2nd grader can do?…) keeps inactive time at a minimum. Even transition time from one station or one classroom to the next is carefully orchestrated by the teachers so that no distraction diverge the young minds from the course of learning.

Parents & Community

Family participation in education is a powerful factor in student achievement. Research documents that parent participation in a child’s education is twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. Involved parents clearly can impact their children’s school work by following through with assignments, assisting with homework and practicing skills being targeted in the classroom.

The CHILD Passport is a tool for parents to become more informed and keep track of their child’s academic goals, objectives, work habits and areas in need of improvement. Students bring home their Passport monthly to provide a plethora of feedback and information for parents. Parents can see what specific skills and objectives are being learned during the unit and will be given opportunities to help their children practice in the targeted areas of need.

CASE STUDY: CHAMBERLAIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT

In the 2007-08 school year, Chamberlain Primary School (Pre K-3) was identified as a School in Need of Improvement by the State of Connecticut. The superintendent, in researching exemplary restructuring models, adopted Project CHILD as their restructuring model to begin the 2008-09 school year.  Chamberlain has continued with the CHILD model over the last five years, making consistent and significant academic gains, sufficient to make Safe Harbor in 2010-11 school year.  In 2011, Chamberlain students obtained the highest scores in the district on the Connecticut Mastery Test and their attendance was at 94% for the year. Overall, the Connecticut Mastery Test gains are up 40% in 5 years. The Institute for School Innovation chose Chamberlain’s principal as the Innovative Principal of the Year in 2011. The CHILD model, as a three year strategic turn around model, demonstrates the power of decisive school transformation.

 

Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) % at or above proficiency

% at or above proficiency

2008-2009

2009-2010

2010-2011

2011-2012*

2012-2013

District Average

  2011

Reading

26.9

34.0

53.2

44.7

50.5

23%

Math

38.9

32.0

55.8

54.8

65.7

21%

Writing

49.0

47.6

55.1

72.4

72.9

25%

* New Common-Core State Standards annual assessments introduced.