How can or will the Educators Cooperative team members support your California Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) initiative?
Briefly, the LCFF creates base, supplemental and concentration grants in place of most previously existing K-12 funding streams. This includes revenue limits and most state categorical programs. To read more about the extent of LCFF, visit the California Department of Education website. http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/
We, at Educators Cooperative have been working with this legislation for the past year and have had success focusing on the following components of the legislation.
- Adjusting grade-span parameters for K-3
- Providing innovative technical education opportunities for K-12
- Targeting of students when English is not their first language
- Supporting the transition of Foster youth
In the schools we work with we begin by collaborating about change. Below are some of the collaborative questions we have been working to answer.
- Do we need to change the master schedule in order to improve student learning?
- What vocational and technical educational opportunities should we add to the curriculum to provide opportunities to acquire and apply skills and knowledge?
- How do we establish a better collaborative environment for teaching and learning to support students when English is not their first language?
- How do we enhance learning for students who live foster homes and receive no support?
Do we need to change the master schedule in order to improve student learning?
Team members at Educators have worked with schools to create significant change in the way they organize their master schedules to allow for the establishment of different learning environments.
For example, two of these elementary schools follow the constructivist model of multi-age classrooms, which are classrooms with students from more than one grade level. At Aveson School of Leaders and Ambassador School of Global Education these learning environments were created as an educational choice during the start-up phase. Numerous other schools chose to institute multi-age classrooms because there were too many students for one class, but not enough to form two classes.
Some of the benefits we’ve seen at both these schools include:
- Older children receiving more leadership opportunities and frequently building self-esteem as they serve as role models for their younger classmates. Younger children aspiring to do work like the older children in the class, resulting in both their interest level and work level increasing.
- The ability for a child to loop for one to three years with the same teacher, building a stronger personal relationships.
- Because literacy and numeracy is taught in ability groups by specialty, teachers are able to assess the individual student’s capabilities regularly and individualized or just-right instruction is more of the norm.
- Learning by doing occurs when students at different stages of learning help each other with their work. There are more opportunities for students to practice their self-efficacy.
“Multi-Age Classroom.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., date last updated (20 June 2014). Web. Date accessed (07 July 2014). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-age_classroom#cite_note-7
If you link to the Wikipedia site, click on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (Canada) and read about how all standards are based on age and grade spans.
What vocational and technical educational opportunities should we add to the curriculum to provide opportunities to acquire and apply skills and knowledge?
At Educators Cooperative, team members work with schools and districts that have instituted career technical classes to teach the whole child. These include agriculture (gardening), health science (healthy living), culinary arts (cooking) and natural resources (outdoor education).
Successes from the Encinitas USD Health and Wellness program include:
- In addition to academic knowledge, district administrators believe schools are responsible for incorporating health and wellness into the school day. In interviews, district administrators and principals noted life skill improvements were observable in classrooms and attributable to yoga.
- Disruptive behavior.Teacher and student surveys and stakeholder interviews indicate student behavior in the classroom and on the school campuses improved during the 2012-13 school year.
- EUSD stakeholders believe yoga has enhanced students’ emotional well-being.
Sign up for free health and wellness curriculum http://forhealthyhabits.com/ currently geared towards elementary students. Revisions for secondary students will be available Fall 2014.
Addressing the same question, Aveson Schools follow something like the High Schools That Work framework around personalized mastery learning. Premise is that….most students can master complex academic and technical concepts if schools create an environment that encourages them to make the effort to succeed.
How do we establish a better collaborative environment for teaching and learning to support students when English is not their first language?
A few years ago Orange Unified School District became partners with Educators Cooperative to provide professional development as required in their Local Education Agency Plan (LEAP). Goals included:
- Implementing a standards-based/standards-aligned curriculum;
- Provide materials-based professional development and use of effective instructional strategies for teachers;
- Provide professional
development related to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS);
So what? Now what? How did we support students when English is not their first language? Through research to inspire, experience to shape, and collaboration to confirm.
What we believe, while programs and strategies offer teacher resources, collective efficacy develops for teachers when they work together setting goals, developing expertise, exploring strategies, and measuring results. The use of sentence and response frames (Dutro, Kinsella), the use of communication objectives (Educators Cooperative), and the emphasis on strong scaffold ELD programs (Saunders) must be in place, but even more importantly, teachers need to understand the research behind language acquisition. We provided opportunities for effective collaboration by providing a process we named Collaboration Cycle for a Balanced Instructional Design.
How do we enhance learning for students who live foster homes and receive no support?
Members of our team are raising awareness through a non-profit organization called The Storyboard Project. The mission of the project is to use video stories to empower and educate foster and homeless youth who are transitioning into adulthood. 34% of children in foster care in the state of California live in Los Angeles County with Riverside and San Bernardino counties being the 2nd and 3rd largest concentration. What does that mean for our schools in those areas? How will we change education to meet these students needs?
Please contact Educators Cooperative www.educators.coop for more information about each of the above best practices to support your Local Control Funding Formula.
submitted by Amy Mccammon