Puzzle of Practice

Sanford B. Dole Middle School has been on the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) list for multiple years and scores in ELA, math, and science remained low in spite of all of their hard work.

Collective Goal

Together the school determined that the best way to impact learning and outcomes in ELA, math, and science was to focus on developing student self-empowerment by fostering self-efficacy. 

While student empowerment was the end goal, it became evident that teacher empowerment was a first step to creating a culture of collective efficacy. With this in mind, teachers and leaders set the intention to develop a structure in which teachers could focus on small goals and gain momentum through student mastery moments.

Collective Action

The Dole Middle teams worked through the steps below to develop and spread expertise from within. 

  • The entire faculty co-created expectations for a self-empowered learner at Sanford B. Dole Middle School.
  • The school participated in foundational professional development to prepare them to implement the formative assessment process with students.
  • The school engaged in professional development supporting teacher and student clarity by building common understanding and language around prioritizing standards and unpacking standards across all courses. They then developed formative tasks based on their unpacking of clusters of priority standards. 
  • The ELA & math departments received further professional learning on how to use the i-Ready diagnostic assessment and resources for instructional support.
  • The faculty co-constructed success criteria for deliberate practice within their allotted intervention/i-Ready time. These criteria included expectations for students as well as teacher actions to promote success. Teacher teams used the Impact Teams Check-In protocol to monitor students’ progress in demonstrating the success criteria.
  • Teams collaborated using the Impact Team Analysis of Evidence, Calibration, and Check-In protocols to structure their review and analysis of the impact of their research-based instructional actions on student progress and proficiency.
  • Dole leaders met regularly with departments to support trained Impact Team facilitators in getting the most out of the protocols. 
  • Professional coaching increased clarity as teams revised priority standards and tasks to support those standards, co wrote more specific, readable learning targets, and focused/decreased the number of success criteria in a task.
Collective Impact

With our guidance and support, staff developed and implemented a plan for their intervention/i-Ready classes to utilize instructional time more effectively, incorporate deliberate practice, and engage learners in the process of evaluating and reflecting upon their own learning. In addition, Impact Teams have built repeatable, common formative assessments which include success criteria and guidance for self- and peer evaluation. 

Teachers’ self-reflections on what they had learned and how they had developed after the year of partnership included: 

  • being more aware of the assessments they are giving and to what extent they measure students’ mastery of the standards on grade level, 
  • the importance of student-friendly success criteria for their both teacher and student clarity, 
  • how to use success criteria as well as a tool for students to self-reflect on their learning, and 
  • how aligning assessments to specific and focused learning targets enabled teachers and students to set goals, monitor progress, and adapt. 

The changes to their practice including their approach to collaborative work, and increased the engagement of staff and students in the formative process, led to significant initial gains in student proficiency on their state summative assessments as shown below: