For leveling up to be successful for all learners, Burris (2014, 53) notes that three factors are critical:
- Having a high-track curriculum
- Running support classes for struggling students
- Providing teachers with professional development
Teachers and administrators at CRLS are committed to ensuring that these factors are fully addressed prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year, when all 9th grade students will take Honors English. Students who need additional support will take Honors Access, which will be taught by a certified teacher and will help to prepare students for all Honors classes at CRLS. Teachers will engage in professional development this spring and summer focused on differentiating instruction and meeting the educational needs of all students. This professional development will build on CRLS’ existing strengths, including the AVID program and the history of co-teaching between the English, History, and Office of Student Services. To support a successful implementation, we are continuing to collaborate with Carol Burris, who ran professional development for CRLS teachers last summer.
Professional Development for Supporting Teachers in Leveling Up
Based on thoughtful feedback from teachers and input from families, administrators have developed a comprehensive professional development plan to support Leveling Up with English Language Arts and History in 9th grade. This plan utilizes department meetings, the ”choice” course structure, and day-long professional development days available during the administration of MCAS to create opportunities for teachers and administrators to work together, learn alongside external experts, and develop an approach to curriculum and instruction that will meet the needs of all students. Total time dedicated specifically to professional and collaborative learning over the spring and summer 2017 exceeds 50 hours. Areas of particular focus for professional learning include visioning the goals of leveling up, aligning English language arts and history curricula, supporting effective co-teaching teams, differentiation and rigor, supporting students with specific needs, and the social emotional learning for all students.
Burris, Carol Corbett. On The Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle Against Resegregation. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.
Hattie, John. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. London and New York: Routledge, 2009.
Leek, Gideon and Emma Ramsdell, Devonte Richards, Chorobi Sagna & Sarah Whiteman. “Recommendations to Close the Achievement Gap at CRLS.” STARs Peer Leadership and Community Action. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, MA. 25 January 2015.
Oakes, Jeannie. Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985.