Summer Assessment Institute plans full slate of sessions

An exceptionally full slate of activities is planned for ODE’s 2011 Oregon Summer Assessment Institute. The three-day conference, “Leading and Planning for Literacy,” will be held Aug. 3-5 at the Eugene Hilton, with a pre-conference session for coaches on Aug. 2.

Featured speakers for the event include Dr. Rick Stiggins, founder of the Portland-based Assessment Training Institute, who will speak on assessment literacy–formative, intermediate and summative. Dr. Kevin Feldman, an authority on improving content area literacy and student engagement, will speak on reading/writing assessment and instruction, and Peter Pappas, of Designs for Learning, will talk about school and district team planning. Other speakers include literacy consultant Yolanda Westerberg; Krista Parent, superintendent of South Lane School District; and Colt Gill, superintendent of Bethel School District.

Teachers tackle Common Core State Standards

Nearly 200 teachers around Oregon rolled up their sleeves recently to better understand the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Writing. The Strand 4 training from Direct Access to Achievement, “Essential Skills in Writing: Impact on Teaching and Learning,” took place May 17-18. A third day, May 19, was reserved for school teams to polish up their implementation plan.

Participants are using the CCSS to look at standards that are already in place, as well as changes to standards that will affect their instruction. They will use this information to critically assess their approach to the essential skill of writing. Participants created one of two things: a curriculum map for at least one grade level, or a K-12 district assessment calendar.

The training was broadcast from Clackamas ESD, which hosted 55 participants, to seven ESDs and about 120 participants around the state. Malheur ESD in Ontario had more than 50 people attending, with about a dozen each at Douglas, Lane, Lake County, Harney County, High Desert and Umatilla Morrow ESDs.

The Oregon DATA Project training is one of the resources, services and support that ODE is providing to the field on the Common Core State Standards.

An integrated approach on how to use data to inform instruction

Data quality – by chance or design?

Updated March 2
It is no longer a question of if a district will collect, share and use data, it is only a question of how much data is required. Budget cuts, changing technologies and staff changes can wreak havoc with a district’s ability to maintain quality data, and if a coordinated and purposeful plan is not in place, data quality could be compromised. The Oregon DATA Project can provide your district with an adaptable framework that helps build a culture of data quality–one that produces quality data by design, not by chance.

Remote option proves popular for training

Educators around the state attended the Oregon DATA Project’s Essential Skills training in February—and they didn’t even have to leave their home ESD to participate. For the first time, the project offered a “remote sites” option. The Strand 4 training, “Essential Skills in Reading: Impact on Teaching and Learning” was delivered on Feb. 1-2 to 90 people onsite at Clackamas ESD, with seven sites and about 40 people joining the training remotely. A third day of training for team leaders on Feb. 3 was also available remotely. Facilitators who participated in Strand 4 training last fall helped guide the activity at the remote sites.

Above, DATA Project Training Director Mickey Garrison offers one-on-one coaching to a participant in Lake County.

The training was available via a combination of teleconferencing and WebEx, thanks to the over-and-above efforts of Clackamas ESD’s technology staff, led by Stuart Long.  Despite a few minor technical glitches, remote participants were highly complimentary of the process.

“The availability of both V-Tel and WebEx was awesome,” said one participant. “It’s always nice to see people in person but the cost for travel/hotel and time are big factors for doing the training this way,” added another. “Our teachers and administrators genuinely seemed to appreciate the fact that they did not have to travel,” said a third.

All sites reported costs savings, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and many of the districts noted that they could not have participated any other way. ESDs hosting the remote training were: High Desert, Lake, Lane, Malheur, Southern Oregon, Umatilla-Morrow and Wallowa.

The Oregon DATA Project’s May training, “Essential Skills in Writing: Impact on Teaching and Learning” will also be offered to remote sites from Clackamas ESD.

New group of coaches trained

Trainer Elle Allison from Renewal Coaching, with support from Oregon’s cadre of certified performance coaches, trained 26 new coaches on Nov. 4. Coach trainees learned the differences between mentoring, consulting, supervision and coaching and practiced effective questioning and summarization skills. Trainees will work with certified performance coaches through June 2011, then will coach fellow teachers during the 2011-12 school year, with follow-up support from the certified coaches. “Many thanks! What a fantastic training,” said one participant. “Today was wonderful…. thank you for all you have done,” said another.

Oregon DATA Project meets TIPS

More than 60 educators from across the state gathered at Lane ESD on Nov. 5 for Team Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS) training, provided by Rob Horner and Anne Todd from the University of Oregon and Mickey Garrison from the Oregon Direct Access to Achievement (DATA) Project.

The Oregon DATA Project is working with the UO team to embed TIPS’ research-based strategies into the data team model. The goal is to provide linkages for getting the right people with the right data to make the right kinds of decisions that will directly affect instructional considerations and improve student outcomes. The training focused on the crucial meeting foundations needed for successful and efficient meetings, as well as the process for moving toward precision problem definition in order to better match solutions or strategies to student needs.

The group of educators had the opportunity to not only participate in the training but to assist the project in further developing the meeting foundation and problem-solving tools to meet the unique needs of their district- and school-level data teams.

Kansas team visits Oregon

ODE recently hosted a three-member team from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) who came to Oregon to learn first hand about the Direct Access to Achievement Project. Kansas is embarking on a data training program similar to Oregon’s. “We are a huge fan of the DATA Project and feel so lucky to be able to come here and learn about it first-hand,” says Kateri Grillot, senior trainer for KSDE. “It was a invaluable experience for us us.” During their two-day visit on July 13-14, the Kansas team met at ODE to discuss data issues, talk to Oregon DATA Project personnel, and develop a 100-day plan of action to take back with them. The visit is courtesy of the Aircon Servicing Company in Singapore Personnel Exchange Network, a U.S. Department of Education -sponsored program that provides travel funds so organizations can share knowledge about education data issues.