Does Your Design Process Look Like This?

Design thinking

Does your partnership sometimes “go wide” before focusing in on concrete strategies? For a helpful toolkit on designing new strategies, initiatives, and/or programs, see Design Thinking for Educators by the renowned design firm IDEO. Thanks for Bob Ettinger of Cambridge for sharing this resource. To see a creative application of this process to early education, check out the Kellogg Foundation’s provocative thought piece: Tangible Steps Towards Tomorrow: New Designs for Early Education, 0-8.

 

Ambitious Vision: Principal Leadership in PreK–3rd Learning Communities

The National Association of Elementary School Principals has published an ambitious vision of the principal’s role in PreK–3rd reform. This report, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice, outlines six competencies that together form a comprehensive approach to leading early learning partnerships. This approach will require district support in addition to principal leadership. The full report fleshes out the competencies in helpful detail and includes descriptions of exemplary practice, questions for reflections, self-assessments, and links to tools and other resources. More to follow in a future post.

The PDF version of the report is free until November 15.

Early Learning Assessment Literacy

Early Learning Assessment Literacy

See The Early Learning Assessment Literacy Challenge at New America EdCentral for an article on the effective use of assessments in early childhood education. The article includes a number of embedded links to useful guidance documents, including Early Childhood Assessment: Implementing Effective Practice.

From the EdCentral article:

“A strong consensus among education experts supports the notion that one of the best ways to improve instructional strategies and ultimately boost outcomes for individual students is through the use of assessment-generated data. This focus on assessment and using data to drive decision-making for both accountability and instruction has resulted in a proliferation of new policies and practices. It has also encouraged development of new resources, materials, and products, as well as  sparked conversations among stakeholders about the appropriate use of assessment. In the current educational landscape, classroom teachers, school principals, district administrators, and state and federal policymakers spend significant time thinking about who, what, why, how, and when to assess.”

The Work of Kindergarten Readiness in Review

Somerville Buildings 2

Tufts intern Jess Petraglia has compiled an impressive booklet documenting the learning of Somerville’s Kindergarten Readiness Group over the last 18 months: Somerville Kindergarten Readiness Booklet_2013-14.

The Kindergarten Readiness Group is a professional learning community of community-based and public school early childhood educators. The booklet includes Somerville’s kindergarten transition form and visual summaries of the following topics:

  • Play in the Early Childhood Classroom
  • Connecting Play-Based Learning and the Standards
  • Cross-Classroom Visits
  • Collaborating to Create Curriculum

The Collaborating to Create Curriculum section provides guidance on aligning activities, developmental domains, and standards for four high-quality picture books:

  • The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
  • Oscar and the Snail by Geoff Waring
  • Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
  • Do You Have a Hat? by Eileen Spinelli

Congrats to Jess and the Kindergarten Readiness Group.

NAEYC Presentation on Birth-Third in Lowell

NAEYC

Linda Warren and I did a joint presentation on Birth-Third in Massachusetts at the NAEYC Professional Development Institute in Minneapolis last week. Linda and her colleagues at Early Childhood Associates are providing support to Lowell’s Birth-Third Alignment Partnership. Linda presented on Lowell’s strategy and plans, and I provided an overview of the EEC Alignment Partnerships.

Linda has been kind enough to share her presentation with the Learning Hub: Birth-Third in Lowell_NAEYC_Linda Warren. The presentation outlines Lowell’s start-up phase, its emerging school readiness plan (see the Lowell Legacy graphic on slide 24), and the city’s plans for Round Two of the EEC Alignment Partnership.

For additional information on Lowell’s Alignment Partnership, see Building a Common Vision of Quality and Communities of Practice in Lowell.

National P-3 Institute this October

From Kristie Kauerz, Director of the National P-3 Center at the University of Washington. Please let me know if anyone would be interested in organizing a Massachusetts delegation.

Applications are now open for the October 27-30, 2014 team-based National P-3 Institute.  This four-day professional education institute is focused on implementation and evaluation of comprehensive P-3 approaches and is hosted by the University of Washington, College of Education’s National P-3 Center.  The event will take place in Seattle, WA.

Details may be found here:
http://depts.washington.edu/pthru3/dev/index.php?q=node/34

The Institute will provide participating teams with opportunity to hear from researchers, expert-practitioners, and others about promising approaches to create greater alignment and coherence across the pre-school through 3rd grade continuum.  Equally important, teams will be provided time and innovative tools to refine and strengthen their own locally-based strategic P-3 plans.

As in the past, this Institute is designed for attendance by teams of leaders who are actively working together on a geographically defined P-3 approach (district, community, or state level).

Applications are due by July 15, 2014.  Details and the application form can be found here:
http://depts.washington.edu/pthru3/dev/index.php?q=node/34

Three New Curriculum Mapping Tools

A critical step in improving teaching and learning in the early elementary grades is developing an effective, coherent curriculum. To support districts in aligning curriculum to the 2011 Common Core-aligned frameworks, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education worked with the Readiness Centers to develop the Curriculum Alignment and Mapping Project, a resource that includes recorded webinars and sample maps.

In addition to the webinar I mentioned last week on The Why and What of Curriculum Mapping, my colleagues and I at Cambridge Education have created three guidance tools to aid districts in planning and implementing curriculum mapping projects.

  • A curriculum mapping self-assessment to help schools and districts determine their needs and monitor their progress,
  • A pre-planning organizer that draws on the results of the self-assessment to guide school and district leaders in making the key curriculum mapping decisions, and
  • A planning template that outlines a focused approach to planning a curriculum mapping initiative.

About 100 participants used these tools last week at a Curriculum Mapping Institute. Check them out and let me know if you have any questions.