Oakland Public Schools (OR)
In the fall of 2015, IRRE engaged with five rural school districts in Douglas County, Oregon to use our Measuring What Matters tools and process. The goal of these partnerships was to provide more credible and actionable information about the districts’ students, classroom instruction, teacher supports and system conditions. The Ford Family Foundation (TFFF) – an Oregon foundation based in Douglas County – provided financial support. Having looked at her data, the superintendent of Oakland Public Schools requested TFFF support and expanded partnership with IRRE: specifically, to work with the high school math department on assessment writing as an extension of the math teachers recent work to align their curriculum with the Common Core State Standards.
Between February and June of 2016, an IRRE math instructional specialist partnered with these teachers to refine current and craft new, more rigorous and aligned assessments for the identified learning targets. This work led to a broader discussion with district and building leaders and the full faculty at Oakland High School to examine and design pathways leading to critical student learning outcomes in national and state standards. We began our work with the full faculty during a Summer Institute in June 2016, launching our Curriculum and Instructional Benchmarking (CIB) Process. All teachers dug into their respective course standards to create student-friendly learning targets, unit plans, and assessments for each learning target. The campus leadership communicated the clear expectation that every teacher would implement with fidelity the new materials and learning they created through the CIB process in at least one course during the 2016-2017 school year, and all courses by Fall 2017.
During this first year of implementation, IRRE has conducted four four-day instructional site visits and three leadership visits. During these visits, IRRE instructional specialists:
- work closely with the teachers to continue to build their capacity to refine curricular materials;
- facilitate a series of professional learning sessions with the full faculty focused on the what, why and how of high-yield instructional strategies;
- partner with teachers and instructional leaders to create a reflective culture using classroom visits, videotaping of instruction, analysis of classroom assessments, and one-on-one coaching conversations; and
- work shoulder-to-shoulder with leadership on next steps to ensure implementation of expectations, support ongoing teacher growth, and promote a culture of high student achievement.
As of June 2017, we and our partners are gearing up for the second Summer Institute to refine curriculum materials used this year and prepare to fully implement in every course next year. Oakland High School has implemented this work with a high degree of fidelity based on Year One Implementation Standards. I Can student learning targets are posted daily in over 90% of classrooms, formative and summative unit assessments are written with a higher level of complexity than previous years, the use of strategies from professional learning opportunities are observed in most classroom visits, students have greater opportunities for reteaching opportunities, and the number of student failures in several courses has decreased from previous years. We look forward to seeing how they progress and their students continue to grow!