Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
Teaching and Learning
The role of curriculum is to provide East Lyme educators with a roadmap to the "what" is taught and assessed through a district written curriculum that provides intentional alignment between standards, instruction and assessment.
A balanced approach to assessment includes a continuum of tools and strategies that are fair, varied, reliable, and sufficient measures of student learning. It is essential that schools and educators provide varied and frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding and reflect on their own learning. Unless a teacher knows what a student knows and is able to do, and what a student does not
know and is unable to do, he or she cannot design effective instruction for that student. A balanced system utilizes both formal and informal information about student learning.
A balanced system encompasses several layers of assessment:
• At the district level, balance reflects a continuum of assessment tools whose data correlate and measure all dimensions of student learning rather than focusing on a single domain.
• At the school or grade level, balance requires the use of multiple measures/formative tools to gain a big picture view of student performance. It includes standardized tests, typical classroom assessments, as well as informal observation. The data is used to monitor the progress of a class or cohort of students often to inform whole group instruction or curriculum adjustments.
• At the individual/classroom level, balanced assessments are used to form instructional groupings, monitor progress, determine a student’s specific learning needs, and provide opportunities for students to self-assess and reflect on their learning. Multiple measures (formal and informal) are used to guide decision-making.
A multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) is a framework for providing instruction to students. MTSS includes three levels, or tiers, of instruction. Each tier has a set of evidence-based practices to meet the instructional goals.
For MTSS, our schools establish tier 1, or universal, supports. Universal supports are the instructional practices that help all students in our schools. Once the universal supports are in place, staff use assessment data to determine which students need additional supports.
Tiers 2 and 3
The intensity and duration of supports increase for tiers 2 and 3. The appropriate level of support for each student is determined by assessment data.
East Lyme Public Schools believes in the following practices which act as the foundation for our multi-tiered system of support for all students:
Data-Based Decision Making and Problem Solving
Assessments provide data that can be used to determine the success of a practice or student support. If the data shows a weakness in a practice, or shows that a student is not responding to supports, staff can develop a plan of action to address the issue.
Universal screening is the act of assessing all students in a consistent and regular manner. Universal screening is typically conducted three times a year to identify which students are at risk for behavioral or academic problems. Students identified as at-risk may require additional or alternative supports.
Continuous Progress Monitoring
Staff use progress monitoring for students that need additional supports in tiers 2 and 3. The students are assessed more frequently and the assessments match the instruction. The rapid and relevant feedback provided by progress monitoring allows staff to adjust instruction as needed in a timely manner.
The mission of the TEAM Program is to promote excellence, equity, and high achievement for Connecticut students by engaging teachers in the purposeful exploration of professional practice through guided support and personal reflection.
The goals of the TEAM Program are to:
- Provide all beginning teachers with the support they need to develop as effective educators;
- Ease the beginning teacher’s transition into the teaching profession in order to retain effective teachers;
- Develop teachers who are reflective practitioners, able to critically assess their practice against CT’s teaching standards, and are committed to continuous professional learning;
- Cultivate an understanding of the professional responsibilities of an educator;
- Foster collaborative learning communities for all educators; and
- Provide excellent teachers the opportunity to develop as educational leaders.
Beginning teachers participating in the program are assigned a mentor to guide them while they progress through the program. Beginning teachers are required to complete up to five professional growth modules depending on their certification endorsement. These five modules provide a learning process focused on the following domains of the Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT) 2010:
· Classroom environment,
· Assessment, and
· Professional responsibility
Purpose and Rationale of the Evaluation System
When teachers succeed, students succeed. Research has proven that no school-level factor matters more to students’ success than high-quality teachers. To support our teachers, we need to:
● clearly define excellent practice and results;
● give accurate, useful information about teachers’ strengths and development areas; and
● provide opportunities for growth and recognition.
The purpose of the evaluation model is to fairly and accurately evaluate teacher performance and ensure student growth. In addition, the evaluation system is designed to help each teacher strengthen his/her practice in order to improve student learning.
Core Design Principles
The design of this teacher evaluation model is based on the following State of Connecticut guidelines and principles:
● Consider multiple, standards-based measures of performance
An evaluation system that uses multiple sources of information and evidence results in a fair, accurate, and comprehensive picture of a teacher’s performance. This model defines four categories of teacher effectiveness: student learning (45%), teacher performance and practice (40%), school-wide student learning (5%) and stakeholder feedback (10%). These categories are grounded in research-based, national and state standards and locally-developed curriculum standards.
● Promote both professional judgment and consistency
Assessing a teacher’s professional practice requires evaluators to constantly use their professional judgment and take into account a teacher’s body of work. The Rubric for Effective Teaching and The Rubric for Effective Service Delivery is used throughout the district. Synthesizing multiple sources of information into performance ratings is inherently more complex than checklists or numerical averages. At the same time, teachers’ ratings should depend on their performance, not on their evaluators’ biases. Accordingly, this model minimizes the variance between school leaders’ evaluations of classroom practice and support fairness and consistency within and across schools. The trend is more important than a mathematical average when it comes to demonstrating growth; a holistic approach allows for that and promotes deep conversations around student performance between evaluator and teacher.
● Foster dialogue about student learning
This model hinges on improving the professional conversation between and among teachers and administrators who are their evaluators. The dialogue in this plan promotes a balance among improving student learning, growth, and administrative support.
● Encourage aligned professional development, coaching, and feedback to support teacher growth
Novice and veteran teachers alike deserve detailed, constructive feedback and professional learning, tailored to the individual needs of their classrooms and students. This plan promotes a shared language of excellence to which professional learning, coaching, and feedback can align to improve practice and ultimately advance student learning.
● Ensure implementation of best practices
Implementation of this plan will encourage East Lyme Public Schools educators to enhance their instructional skills and strategies. The model aims to maintain high expectations and will be reviewed annually.
East Lyme Public Schools supports and implements the Connecticut Standards for Professional Learning which were designed to support excellence in teaching and learning through high-quality professional learning for educators.
The eight Connecticut Standards for Professional Learning are important to the design, implementation and sustainability of East Lyme's professional learning system. They define the characteristics of a high-quality system of professional learning and are used by East Lyme Professional Development and Evaluation Committee to ensure high-quality professional learning.
Cultural Competence: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student facilitates educators’ self-examination of their awareness, knowledge, skills, and actions that pertain to culture and how they can develop culturally-responsive strategies to enrich the educational experiences for all students.
Learning Communities: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student occurs within learning communities committed to continuous growth, collective responsibility, family and community engagement and alignment of district and school vision and goal.
Leadership: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student requires and develops leadership capacity at all levels to advocate for and create systems for professional learning.
Resources: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student requires purposeful planning for the identification, coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and equitable use and allocation of resources to support educator learning.
Data: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student requires the use of both quantitative and qualitative student, educator and system data to plan, implement, monitor and assess professional learning.
Learning Designs: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student integrates research on effective adult learning and uses flexible learning designs to achieve intended outcomes.
Implementation: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student applies change research and uses tools to identify and support the developmental stages of change and ensures the fidelity of implementation.
Outcomes: Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student is aligned with district/school goals, relevant Connecticut standards, and other agreed-upon standards for educator practice and student growth.