Welcome to TCC’s newsletter, where we share professional learning insight, highlight our community, and keep you in the loop about upcoming events.

As winter break nears, so does the time for communicating student progress through report cards. Most educators understand report cards offer limited information to parents/guardians to describe what a student actually knows or can do and even less about a student’s success in the future.

Ryan Sikkes, an experienced Canadian educator (superintendent, principal, and teacher), believes that many of us can improve our communication about student progress with students and families. He has created Guiding Questions for Redesigning Grading and Reporting to support you and your colleagues in reflecting on and revising current grading and reporting practices to improve communication. Share this tool with your colleagues and use it to celebrate strengths and determine areas for improvement.

What is Clarity in the Classroom?

Clarity for teachers is the compilation of organizing instruction, explaining content, providing examples, guided practice, and assessment of learning. (Fendick, 1990). It then involves communicating the learning intentions, the Why behind the learning intention, the success criteria and examples of success, and feedback about progress to students. (Hattie, 2012)

When shared with students, clarity provides them the ability to answer the following questions about their learning (Bloomberg, Pitchford, & Vandas, 2019):

  • What’s my contribution as a learner?
  • What am I learning?
  • Why am I learning it?
  • How will I know when I have learned it?

According to Professor John Hattie’s Visible Learning Research, clarity has the ability to more than double the rate of learning with a .85 effect size (Hattie, 2023). At The Core Collaborative, we collaborate with educators to build clarity in the classroom by:

  • unpacking standards and building student-facing learning progressions.
  • aligning student work samples with each level of the learning progression.
  • sharing the learning intention with students, providing them an opportunity to put it in their own words and establish relevancy.
  • creating and referring to a continuum of models to co-create success criteria with students.
  • engaging students in the analysis and annotation of the models to ensure they see where the success criteria live in the student work.

Partner School Spotlight: Lewis and Clark Elementary

Learner Agency at Lewis and Clark: In contrast to 2019 when we began this journey, learner agency is now ingrained in every aspect of our school culture.

Our school’s mission is aligned to our district’s strategic plan and is supported by these powerful practices. Our team (educators, students, and community) is empowered for the “skill, will, and thrill” of learning!

Learn more about Lewis and Clark Elementary’s success here!

Partner Consultant Spotlight: Dr. Jeanette Westfall and Kara Vandas

The Core Collaborative Consultants, Dr. Jeanette Westfall and Kara Vandas pose for a picture before their presentation at the December 2023 National Learning Forward Conference in Washington D.C.

Picture from their presentation at the December 2023 National Learning Forward Conference in Washington D.C. (Jeanette on the left, Kara on the right)

Dr. Jeanette Westfall brings an undeniable energy and enthusiasm to her work as an author and consultant. She also brings a lifetime of experiences having worked as a teacher in a variety of situations in both elementary and high schools as well as an instructional coach, principal, and district leader and with a number of educational organizations and teams. Recently retired from the Liberty Public Schools system in Missouri, she has been busy supporting schools and presenting at conferences on how educators can support and develop learner agency and a number of other topics.

Jeanette spends those rare times when she’s not working with her husband, their two sons, and their three grandchildren.

Kara Vandas is a best-selling author and highly sought-after consultant. She has taught in a variety of contexts and supported her peers as an instructional coach and in other roles. She has written multiple books on a range of topics all connected by their focus on supporting educators in their partnership with students. Traveling the country most of the year, she impacts countless learners through her work in schools and presentations at conferences. Her heart comes through in all her work and the districts and schools she supports can’t get enough of her and invite her back year after year.

When she has downtime, she loves reading and spending time with family and friends in the outdoor beauty of Colorado.

Check out the amazing new book, Learner Agency: A Field Guide for Taking Flight, these two thought leaders co-authored with Ashley Duvall.

December Celebrations

Building on the intention of Human Rights Day established as December 10th, in 1948, Human Rights Week was established in 1958. Today government agencies and private organizations dedicate time to inform citizens of the world of their rights, speak out against violations of these rights, take action to influence policies and practices, and celebrate victories and progress that have been made.

This video, “What Are the Universal Human Rights” offers a brief history and explanation of the move towards shared rights for all people. This is an excellent resource for building background knowledge and getting discussions started.

Upcoming Events:

Equity is Love in Action Conference 2024

San Diego, CA

January 18-19, 2024

Connie Hamilton and Dr. Michael DeSousa

Read more here

Queer As Fundamental Screening Party

New York City

February 7, 2024

Read more here

American International School of Johannesburg Symposium

Johannesburg, South Africa

February 16-18, 2024

Read more here

CISC Leadership Symposium

Monterey, CA

February 21-23, 2024

Read more here