Teachscape's High Yield Strategies
The implementation of Teachscape's High Yield Strategies helped to improve the quality of instruction in the Iredell-Statesville School District.
Specific type of product:
High Yield Strategies
Dependent upon district needs
Teachscape’s High Yield Strategies professional development modules are based on research by respected education expert Dr. Robert Marzano and his colleagues. Participants in the professional development learn how to incorporate highly effective, research-based strategies into their daily activities to maximize the effect of instruction on students.
In 2002, the Iredell-Statesville District Board of Education appointed Dr. Terry K. Holliday as Superintendent with a mandate of improving the district’s ranking among North Carolina’s school systems. Holliday’s goal was to eliminate variability in the quality and delivery of instruction among the district’s 1,600 teachers without sacrificing the creativity of any individual teacher.
After a pilot phase, the new professional development program was fully deployed in 2006. The district partnered with Teachscape to create a program for instructional facilitators who provide job-embedded on-site coaching and support monitoring to every building in the district. They also provide teachers with online and in-person professional learning communities that include multimedia and text-based information resources on high-yield instructional strategies, the program’s primary focus.
Each semester, the professional development teams focused on a different strategy, For example, one semester they concentrated on setting objectives and obtaining feedback. Administrators, principals, assistant principals, and instructional facilitators conducted classroom walkthroughs to observe strategy implementation, and Teachscape’s content allowed them to effectively look for critical practices. Afterward, the observational data was analyzed online in accordance with the district’s Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle.
Although the teams focused intensely on only one strategy per semester, individual teachers could access the full Teachscape library of resources and strategy concepts at any time. This means the teachers still maintained a degree of autonomy throughout the process, experimenting with new strategies on their own while still being guided by the online content’s research and guidelines.
Iredell-Statesville has created a Leadership Academy for instructional facilitators in order to provide continuous improvement. The district advertises for new instructional facilitators each fall, trains interested individuals throughout the year, and interviews them for open positions in the spring.
Teachscape’s professional development content is developed in partnership with education institutions such as McREL and the American Federation of Teachers. And, because the content is delivered online, the company is able to update and improve content and resources on an ongoing basis. Teachers can access the support materials and suggestions for lessons at whatever time is convenient to them and review the information as many times as they need in order to understand a topic or concept.
Teachscape trains the instructional facilitators who are hired by the district as coach-trainers in order to ensure that educators have a resource for follow-up training issues regarding Teachscape’s technology or methodologies. The system facilitates teacher accountability by recording which teachers access the online resources and how much time was spent with the resources.
By the halfway mark in the program’s four-year rollout, Iredell-Statesville closed the reading skills gap between African-American and white students by 50 percent. Plus, the reading scores of the overall student population rose to more than 90 percent proficiency. The district has also reduced its dropout rate from 10 percent to only four percent and has positive feedback in satisfaction surveys among elementary and middle school students.
Iredell-Statesville also recorded the following accomplishments at the program’s halfway mark:
• The district met 94 percent of its AYP targets (higher than the state and region averages)
• No schools had to offer supplemental services for the 2007–08 school year
• All traditional middle and high schools met or exceeded expected growth
• Graduation and dropout rates were better than the corresponding state averages
• Suspensions and expulsions lessened in frequency, and the overall rate was below the state average
• The Teacher Working Conditions survey revealed the district as above the state average on all domains
• The district decreased the percentage of market share they were losing to private schools and public opinion of the local public school system has greatly improved
“I chose Teachscape because it has the best research and the best access. The videos of real-life teachers showing best practices to my teachers make a big difference,” said Dr. Terry K. Holliday, Superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools
In addition to encouraging consistent high-quality instruction, the high-yield practices have gained teachers access to innovative ideas that they would never have imagined. For example, during the semester in which educators focused on objectives and feedback, teachers set yearly, quarterly, and weekly objectives with their students and included the students in setting strategies as well as reviewing which strategies were effective. The students often suggested innovative teaching ideas that proved effective and that teachers were then able to share with each other and document for future use. The district is in the process of building a searchable database of these strategies.