Resources

Fall Webinar Series #5: Professional Learning Communities(PLCs): Six Core Attributes for Building a Sustainable Model of High-Quality Professional Learning

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide the ongoing, job-embedded professional learning that can strengthen the instructional development and practice of all teachers.  PLCs provide an important system for clearly defined teacher leader roles, scheduled time for collaboration, and fosters a culture of continual growth that can lead to improved teaching conditions and teacher retention (Public Impact, 2015; Taylor, Goeke, Klein, Onore, & Geist, 2010). Whether wanting to add PLCs or strengthen your existing PLC structure and processes, using these six core attributes of effective PLCs can assist with building and implementing a sustainable model of high quality professional learning for improved student outcomes.  This webinar provides information about implementing an effective, research-based model for PLCs. This session provides an overview of the six core attributes for building effective professional learning communities, examines the importance of providing ongoing support to PLC facilitators and school leaders in order to establish a culture of professional learning in the school, and demonstrates how to utilize a data collection system to monitor and evaluate PLC effectiveness.  Examples of schools in the process of implementing PLCs are discussed during the webinar.

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Fall Webinar Series #4: An Approach to Improve School Climate and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning

Whether you are new to school climate and SEL or have multiple programs in your building(s), you can implement a purposeful and planned school climate and SEL approach. In turn, you can create structures and supports in your school or district that not only promote academic success, but also help students develop the social and emotional skills necessary to be successful in school and in life.  Led by Nick Yoder and Mark Garibaldi both researcher and technical assistance consultants at AIR, described an approach to improving school climate and integrating SEL that will provide school leaders and teachers with strategies and practices that promote a positive school climate and development of students’ social, emotional, and academic skills. This session provided an overview of school climate and of social and emotional learning and address the importance of an integrated approach. In addition, the session included an overview of what a typical school climate and SEL improvement approach looks like, including how to plan, implement, support, and assess your efforts.

Click here to view the webinar.

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Fall Webinar Series #3: Leadership Matters: Building Strong Leaders and Getting Results

According to research, leaders effect dramatic change; in fact, there are no documented cases of school turnaround without a strong leader. (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004.) Leading a school through a turnaround process requires a specific set of leadership competencies to be successful. Competency research suggests that outstanding performance in complex jobs—ones in which most candidates have a similar educational history and significant autonomy over daily work tasks—is driven more by underlying competencies than by readily observed skills and knowledge. (Steiner & Hassel, 2011, p. 5) A competency based leadership coaching approach can provide job embedded professional development in a real time manner to provide support for the leader to navigate a change process.  In this webinar, AIR Turnaround Consultants discuss the importance of turnaround leader competencies and a competency-based coaching approach to support turnaround leader development.  Viewers will also hear from AIR Leadership Coaches about their work with turnaround principals and how coaching impacted change within the school.

Click here to view the webinar.

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Fall Webinar Series – Webinar #2 – 5 Pillars for Building an Effective Coaching Model

Kavatus Newell and Aaron Butler, both Senior Turnaround Consultants for the District and School Improvement Center at AIR, provide examples and insights on the 5 essential pillars to any successful coaching model in the webinar video above. These two experienced coaches discussed implementing an effective instructional coaching program that will develop and support your teachers to improve practice. This session provided an overview of the key foundational pillars for building an effective coaching program including how to establish roles and responsibilities for instructional coaches, the principal’s role in supporting coaching, understanding the adult coaching cycle, preparing to communicate to the staff about coaching, and utilizing a data collection system to monitor and evaluate coaching effectiveness.

Click here to view the webinar.

Click here to download the sample template of the Teacher Development Dialogue Tool discussed in the webinar.

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Fall Webinar Series – Webinar #1 – Planning for Improvement: A Guide for Districts and Schools to Create Successful Grant Applications

The staff of the District and School Improvement Center (DSI Center) has been supporting low-performing schools and districts for over a decade. Our work is grounded in research emphasizing collaboration and discipline. Our team is passionate about the service we provide to our clients and committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for students. Often, low-performing schools are filled with staff who are equally committed to their students—and who work incredibly hard on their behalf—but are unable to improve student academic performance.

The webinar above provides more information on Planning for Improvement: A Guide for Districts and Schools to Create Successful Grant Applications and how to align grant application efforts with existing school improvement efforts. Before viewing the webinar, download the guide below and follow along as staff walk through the different sections.

The guide is a comprehensive toolkit intended to help schools and districts create a plan and secure resources to help low-performing schools improve. Each section of the guide provides detailed guidance to help your school or district develop a school improvement plan grounded in research and best practice. This plan can serve as the basis for crafting a compelling case to secure the resources you need for effective implementation.

Click above to view the webinar.

Click here to download the Planning for Improvement: A Guide for Districts and Schools to Create Successful Grant Applications

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Planning for Improvement: A Guide for Districts and Schools to Create Successful Grant Applications

The staff of the District and School Improvement Center (DSI Center) has been supporting low-performing schools and districts for over a decade. Our work is grounded in research emphasizing collaboration and discipline. Our team is passionate about the service we provide to our clients and committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for students. Often, low-performing schools are filled with staff who are equally committed to their students—and who work incredibly hard on their behalf—but are unable to improve student academic performance.

This guide is a comprehensive toolkit intended to help schools and districts create a plan and secure resources to help low-performing schools improve. Each section of the guide provides detailed guidance to help your school or district develop a school improvement plan grounded in research and best practice. This plan can serve as the basis for crafting a compelling case to secure the resources you need for effective implementation.

Download Planning for Improvement: A Guide for Districts and Schools to Create Successful Grant Applications

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School Turnaround and Transformation: Communication Guidebook

This guidebook aims to facilitate the discussion of the School Leadership Team and support how the Leadership Team engages key stakeholder groups during the development and implementation of a school turnaround. Designed as a flexible tool to use in conjunction with other AIR-developed school turnaround tools, it guides users through a step-by-step process to design a comprehensive, effective, and sustainable communication plan as an integral part of launching and implementing a school turnaround.

Each of the four steps in this guidebook has discussion prompts to support planning, followed by concrete tasks that concentrate on successful implementation and specific tools for focusing planning and implementation efforts. In addition, emerging practices and helpful tips are included. Please note that reading through this guidebook before starting to use it will be helpful in implementing a strong communication plan.

Download School Turnaround and Transformation: Communication Guidebook.

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Research in Action – The Mathematics of School Improvement

By Steve Leinwand

What’s 9 + 8? Simple, right? If only school improvement were so easy. It’s not. Neither is helping mathematics teachers in struggling schools move beyond drilling for right answers. But Steve Leinwand, math specialist at American Institutes for Research (AIR), says supporting teachers as they work to create classroom conversations around, for example, why and how 9 + 8 equals 17, is a critical part of strengthening instruction.

Download Research in Action – The Mathematics of School Improvement
View a Video of Steve and Research in Action

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Working Together – Building Effective School Turnaround Partnerships

By Kerstin Carlson LeFloch, Ph.D., Principal Researcher; Catherine Barbour, Principal Technical Assistance Consultant

For struggling schools, partnerships with external experts can seem like a critical lifeline. The reality of school turnaround partnerships, however, does not always resemble the ideal. What qualities of an external partnership indicate a greater likelihood for success? What actions by school administrators may make these relationships more effective?

Download Working Together – Building Effective School Turnaround Partnerships

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AIR School Turnaround Webinar Series – #4 Selecting Highly Qualified Staff

Gary Jansen, Turnaround Principal at Hazelwood East Middle School, discusses the hiring efforts at his middle school. East Middle School in the Hazelwood School District in Hazelwood, MO appreciates and recognizes the great commitment of teachers to the success of the students whom they serve. To ensure that all new teachers are aware of the expectations and responsibilities that it requires to work in a turnaround school such as East Middle School, they created a five step interview process for all new instructional staff members and a list of commitments that must be understood when accepting a teaching position at East Middle School.

Download Selecting Highly Qualified Staff Slide Presentation

Download Hazelwood East Middle School Hiring Procedures Handbook as guide for your efforts.

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