Education Executive - Summer 2012 - (Page 86)
ELMIRA CITY SCHOOLS
In Line and Online
To teach to every student, Elmira City Schools aligned its teaching strategies and developed programs for students to learn at their own pace.
district divided against itself cannot stand – or at least not very well. That was what the senior leaders at Elmira City Schools concluded in 2006 when they decided to develop strategies and best practices to deliver the New York district’s first core curriculum.
“We had some huge curriculum gaps,” says Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter, who was deputy superintendent when the district decided to align its curriculum. “We have eight elementary schools that feed into two middle schools and we realized we had some 6th grade achievement issues. It was not necessarily because of kids struggling or underperforming teachers. We had eight different schools and the teachers were teaching eight different ways. Some used reading diagnostics, some did not. Some were gung-ho on staff development and some were not. At one point we had 13 different math text books across the schools.” Like all public school districts, Elmira City adheres to state mandates for what students should be learning at each level. The “what” is dictated, but the “how” is left up to each district, and in Elmira’s case it was left up to each individual school. That method proved ineffective, so the district organized instructional leadership weeks during the summer, when Elmira City School educators together could plan strategies for the coming year. Each school has a master teacher on staff who meets with small groups of teachers and individual teachers to design and plan strategies of how to teach the curriculum and align it with the school’s expectations. “Back in 2006 and 2007 it was about everyone agreeing to what the expectations were going to be,” Hochreiter explains. “We could not control what we were teaching, but we could control how we delivered it and how we supported our staff. And we sent out a consistent message that we were going to support our teachers in the areas where they needed support.”
Reaching Across Levels
One of those areas where teachers most needed support was in how to teach to one classroom with many different learn86 | Education-Executive.com SUMMER 2012
ing types, especially at the high school level. Research on brain function has confirmed that people learn differently and at different paces. A child with a “hands-on” mind may excel in one area but falter in another and require a slower
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Executive - Summer 2012
Education Executive - Summer 2012
Can't Live Without It
Broadening the Student Experience
Upgrading Facilities on Tight Budgets
Haylor, Freyer & Coon ◆ N.Y.
Anne Arundel Community College ◆ MD
Humber College ◆ Ont.
Grove City College ◆ PA
Broome Community College ◆ N.Y.
Coastal Carolina University ◆ S.C.
Cuyahoga Community College ◆ Ohio
Ottawa University ◆ Kan.
Brazosport College ◆ Texas
Idaho State University ◆ Idaho
Hillsborough Community College ◆ Fla.
Post University ◆ Conn.
Union College ◆ N.Y.
University of New Mexico ◆ N.M.
Naperville School District 203 ◆ Ill.
Santa Barbara Unified School District ◆ Calif.
Acadia Parish School Board ◆ LA
Mounds View Public Schools ◆ Minn.
Central Community School District ◆ LA
Chelmsford Public Schools ◆ Mass.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District ◆ Mass.
86elmira City Schools ◆ N.Y.
Glendora Usd ◆ Calif.
Harnett County Schools ◆ N.C.
Holmes County School District ◆ Miss.
Jefferson Parish Public School System ◆ LA
Harlandale Independent School District ◆ Texas
Kyrene School District ◆ Ariz.
Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools #00 ◆ Ariz.
Kenosha Unified School District ◆ Wis.
Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District ◆ Texas
Maryland School for the Deaf ◆ MD
Mclean County District Unit No. 5 ◆ Ill.
Williamson County Schools ◆ Tenn.
Mesa Public Schools ◆ Ariz.
Palmdale School District ◆ Calif.
Plain Local School District ◆ Ohio
St. Martin Parish Schools ◆ LA
Oak Harbor School District ◆ Wash.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools ◆ MD
Vancouver Island University ◆ B.C.
Brandon School Division ◆ MB
Dalhousie University ◆ N.S.
Peace River School Division ◆ AB
University of Sudbury ◆ Ont.
Sandy Spring Friends School
The Pomfret School ◆ Conn.
Riverside Military Academy ◆ GA
The Thacher School ◆ Calif.
Education Executive - Summer 2012