Overview of District Curriculum, Instruction and Staff Development
Staff Development is an integral part of the overall mission of the Curriculum, Instruction and Staff Development Department. This ongoing, comprehensive plan details the continued integration of the Conroe ISD Instructional Model as it is addressed through the various staff development workshop offerings. The District’s curriculum, instruction, and staff development are adjusted, developed, and aligned on an ongoing basis to address the District’s student achievement needs as evaluated in data reflective of student performance on statewide and locally developed assessments. The department’s resources, time, and budgets are aligned for the best possible use of our staff development local and federal funds.
The Curriculum and Instruction Department participates in district-wide initiatives and various content areas and special programs staff development plans. The eight-year plan for staff development has incorporated the addition of layers to the Conroe ISD Instructional Model with the spiraling from year to year of training on best practices emphasizing Differentiated Instruction. In addition to these district-wide staff development workshops, professionals in the department provide feeder-based and individual campus staff development based on the needs determined by the campus administration in their Campus Improvement Plans and student achievement data.
Teachers also access the staff development sessions through our online Eduphoria Workshop registration system. Each teacher in the district has a personal profile which tracks their professional development. The Curriculum and Instruction Department has also expanded online offerings to District paraprofessionals and substitutes and will continue its expansion in all content areas.
The Curriculum and Instruction Department is dedicated to supporting quality instruction in our District. Focusing on providing comprehensive staff development programs is one way of supporting our District’s quality instructional programs. We also continue to recognize the ongoing need to grow the leadership capacity with our in-district talent as well as bringing in current research-based best practices that align with our District’s staff development plan and instructional model.
2016-2017 Staff Development Plan Highlights
The Curriculum and Instruction Model (Conroe ISD Instructional Model) – The Curriculum and Instruction Department continues to assume the leadership role in implementing the Conroe ISD Instructional Model emphasizing all aspects of Differentiated Instruction. The three components of our district’s instructional model include the alignment of the TEKS, the students’ Learning process of the required curriculum, and the ongoing Assessment in which both teachers and students evaluate their learning (See Conroe ISD Instructional Model on page 8).
Cross-Curricular Integration – The Curriculum and Instruction Department will continue to emphasize cross-curricular instruction with an added focus on alignment of integrated TEKS and corresponding cross-curricular activities including the alignment of materials. The integration of College and Career Readiness (CCRS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), as well as the new Technology Applications TEKS for grades K-12 from the State, will continue to be emphasized throughout the curriculum and trainings offered by Curriculum and Instruction.
State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Initiative – The Curriculum and Instruction Department will continue taking the lead by preparing the district’s administrative staff and teachers for the instructional depth and rigor necessitated by our State assessment. The Curriculum and Instruction Department will emphasize the following components during the District Wide Staff Development on August 17, 2016 entitled “#CISDallmeansall.” The focus of conference speakers as well as content sessions will include the following:
- CISD Instruction Instructional Model
- Tier 1 Best Practices
- Ongoing Assessments (Common and Formative)
- Enriched Learning
- Meet the needs of ALL Learners
- Integrating Technology
Follow-up trainings will be provided throughout the 2016-2017 school year through content area cadre meetings.
Diversity – For the 2016-2017 school year, the Curriculum and Instruction Department will continue to offer cultural diversity training by providing workshop opportunities on Ruby Payne’s research on poverty. Campus administrators, teams and individual teachers are encouraged to attend.
New Hires – The District’s newly hired teachers will have opportunities to attend a New Hire series of workshops that are specifically designed for teachers to have background in the District’s best practices. The trainings will allow the teachers to “hit the ground running” in the fall with this rich instructional background. The Curriculum and Instruction Department will be encouraging current District teachers who are changing content areas to attend these trainings as well.
Summer Curriculum Rewrites and Revisions – Each summer the Curriculum and Instruction Department engages in curriculum rewrites or revisions based on any changes in State TEKS/Curriculum and on a review of district/campus assessment data. The changes result in some revisions in all core content areas each year. The Curriculum and Instruction Coordinators develop teams of master teacher curriculum writers that are trained by the core coordinators and district instructional coaches. The process is also facilitated and monitored by the Curriculum and Instruction staff.
SafeSchools – Teachers, librarians, speech therapists, and nurses will have the opportunity to take approximately seven hours of online staff development courses during the summer in “exchange” for not being required to attend the staff development training on August 12, 2016. The online training for “exchange” day is through the SafeSchools system. SafeSchools is a library of online school-focused safety courses that can be accessed anytime, anywhere through the Conroe ISD website. The SafeSchools courses selected for our teachers, librarians, speech therapists, and nurses cover varying topics including Child Abuse Identification and Intervention, Sexual Harassment, and many others.
K-8 Homegrown Writing Institute – The summer writing institute, delivered by staff developers from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) at Columbia University, will guide teacher leaders in grades K-8 through the pedagogy of writing instruction, provide keynote lectures, and overviews of the writing workshop model using Lucy Calkins’ resources, as well as provide the experience of understanding what it means to be a writer. This 4-day training will allow those in attendance to develop a level of learning brought to those who have attended TCRWP in New York without having to leave the state, and it will enhance their ability to lead the writing instruction on their campuses and across the district.
Foundational Principles in Literacy K-2 Cohort – Teachers and Administrators from eight campuses will come together this summer for three days of intensive learning to begin their year of growing as a community of learning. The focus for these three days will be on a deeper understanding of literacy assessment and how to use data to drive instruction, characteristics of readers at various levels, and characteristics of text. Knowledge of these core components will support these teachers and administrators as they move into a year of developing a more rigorous approach to the teaching of reading and word study in their classrooms. Participants will receive numerous resources including the Units of Study in Reading, Guided Reading by Fountas and Pinnell, and The Continuum of Literacy Learning by Fountas and
Pinnell. The new Benchmark Assessment System will also be piloted through these campuses.
3rd and 4th ELA Institute – The Rigor in ELA series is returning into 3rd and 4th grades this summer. Teachers from these grades will have the opportunity to experience three days of in-depth learning to support more rigorous instruction in reading and writing. Participants will receive resources to use in the classroom for both reading and writing. Hands on instruction through the week will deepen their understanding of Reading and Writing Workshop, with focuses on Read Aloud Think Together, Guided Reading/Small Group Instruction, Conferring, Reader Response, Writing Workshop and Word Study.
3rd and 4th Grade Math Institute – This math institute will provide our 3rd and 4th grade teachers with the mathematical knowledge and tools to create critical thinkers that extend foundational math from the primary grades while creating independent problem solvers. The goals of the institute are to grow teacher capacity in understanding what it means to teach in a student-centered, problem-based manner while building conceptual understanding using proper models and manipulatives to foster algebraic reasoning for all students.
5th and 6th Grade Advanced Math Academy – The goals of the 5th and 6th Grade Advanced Math Academy are to strengthen teachers’ knowledge of the advanced mathematics curriculum and the implications for success in Advanced Math Placement Courses. The teachers will learn how to integrate tools (Algebra Tiles, manipulatives, models, etc.) into their instruction to develop conceptual understanding and reinforce algebraic concepts. In addition, a focus on the integration of the mathematical process standards will increase both the rigor and critical thinking of advanced math students and the number of students taking advanced placement courses which positively affects Index 4 in our accountability system.
Algebra 1 Institute - The Algebra 1 institute will provide teachers with the necessary skills to integrate tools such as Algebra Tiles, manipulatives, models, etc. into their instruction to help develop conceptual understanding in algebraic concepts. Teachers will also learn to integrate the new Process Standards in order to develop students' abilities to apply mathematics to solve problems and communicate and represent mathematical ideas. The institute will also focus on the revised math TEKS and their instructional implications. This all will be done in correlation with the components of CISD Solves.
Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) - PBIS is a positive, proactive and instructional approach to strengthen school climate, improve classroom management, promote positive relationships in schools and provide students with social and behavioral skills needed to be successful learners. PBIS is an approach that is designed to improve behavioral success by employing nonpunitive, proactive, multi-tiered strategies and techniques. PBIS can involve procedures at the School wide level, the classroom level, and the individual student level. It is essential that universal factors are the primary focus of staff development for PBIS. This includes the structure of the school/classroom, the teaching of expectations to students, observing and monitoring student behavior and adjusting plans when
necessary, initiating positive interactions with students to form positive relationships, and correcting student behavior in a calm, consistent, and fluent manner.
In 2016-2017, Conroe ISD will expand the school wide PBIS process, Foundations, to a third cohort of campuses. The campus teams will participate in team training to develop a comprehensive plan to implement school wide PBIS. The staff development focuses on creating supportive environments that have clear and positive behavioral expectations that are taught and practiced, consistent supervision skills, as well as effective behavior management and positive behavior support of all students.
To address classroom and behavior management, staff development will be provided on the CHAMPS process. CHAMPS is not a program but a process designed to help school personnel make all settings physically and emotionally safe for all students and staff. It helps teachers identify and maintain the effective aspects of current management plans while adding and/or strengthening missing or less-effective aspects. This approach guides teachers in making research and data-based decisions on classroom management. This will be done through district-wide staff development, campus-based staff development, and working with individual classrooms and teachers.
Emerging Art Teacher Institute - Teachers will develop a deeper understanding of the components of CISD Art Scope and Sequence, the correlation of instruction and CISD Tier 1 best practices appropriate to Visual Art, and build a toolbox of activities from participation. Teachers will explore ways to implement TEKS-based age appropriate activities in classrooms, be given specific and sustainable examples of lessons to address CISD Tier 1 Best practices, Explore CISD Visual Art expectations for competition and submission of student work to events beyond the campus, and ways to implement new technology received through IMA funds. Participants will be grouped according to the level of their teaching assignment (i.e., Elementary or Secondary). Through an interactive training and coaching model, guided by the CISD Visual
Arts Facilitators, as well as teacher leaders, participating teachers will leave with an understanding of how to organize these components in a way that builds deeper understanding of CISD Visual Art curriculum process. This workshop would be initially offered in the summer (4 sessions) and condensed and repeated in the school year (3 sessions).
Learning Management System (LMS) – A LMS is a framework that will allow Conroe ISD a single place for online resources for students and staff. Once it is fully implemented, it will give our students and parents a single place to look for information on upcoming assignments as well as provide a repository for materials used for coursework. Any video, assignments, online discussions can all be handled through the LMS. Students will be able to turn their assignment in to the LMS and teachers can provide feedback to the student all within the Conroe ISD environment. The system will be platform and device independent so students and teachers will have anytime, anywhere access. We will be able to offer staff development for our teachers through the system. We have selected Canvas as our LMS. All students and teachers have accounts. We have begun district and campus level staff development which will continue through the 2016 - 2017 school year.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) – Professional learning communities is an ongoing process where educators work collaboratively to evaluate recurring cycles of data to ensure student learning occurs and achieve better results for all students they serve. The work of PLCs includes intentional and continuous staff learning, which is essential in order for staff to make improvements to their own practice and truly impact student learning at higher levels. PLCs are action oriented, committed to continuous improvement and results oriented. The three big ideas of a PLC include a focus on learning, creating a collaborative culture and results-oriented thinking to address intervention and/or enrichment needs for students, as well as determine ongoing adult training.