The “Big 3”: Implementing Proficiency, Personalization, and MTSS in Vermont Secondary Schools

Course Number: EDU 5515 C02
Instructor: Michael McRaith
Location: Online 
Dates and Times: February 9 – April 11, 2019
Credits: 3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $925

Course payment of $925 by check or purchase order, payable to Castleton University, is due at the time of registration. A purchase order number can be entered into the online registration form and the purchase order can be uploaded to the registration form. If paying by check, please mail the check to: Financial & Registration Services, Castleton University, 62 Alumni Drive, Castleton, VT 05753. To help us ensure that your payment is applied to the correct course, PLEASE WRITE “CFS” IN THE CHECK MEMO LINE. Thank you.

Course Description

The 3 major initiatives of proficiency-based learning (PBGR), personalization (ACT 77), and multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS) have put Vermont secondary schools in the midst of significant and meaningful change. The opportunities to improve our schools by shifting our focus to these “big 3” are well recognized around the state, but these shifts are not without their logistical and philosophical challenges. Can Vermont teachers and administrators find their way through all of the challenges that come with change to ensure these initiatives improve student outcomes, close our achievement gap, and create an education system for the 21st century? What might an updated school profile, report card, transcript, or student reporting system look like in the new Vermont secondary school landscape? How might a focus on transferable skills tie the work together and help serve as touchstones for changes in instructional practice and curriculum design? How can we balance pushing our schools to evolve while honoring the wisdom and cultural inertia of the past? This course will tackle these questions and more in a practical and actionable format. The course is built to provide resources, samples, dialogue with peers, and the feedback necessary to help educators start or continue along the path of proficiency, personalization, and a comprehensive multi-tiered system of support.

Course Goals & Objectives

Course Goals:

Participants will have a resource-rich learning environment to improve their knowledge in proficiency-based learning, personalization, and multi-tiered systems of support, and create actionable implantation plans.

Course Objectives:

  1. Reflect on current and future practices, policies and procedures that connect to the stated initiatives
  2. Connect learned ideas to build on existing strengths in current classroom and/or school 
  3. Develop a plan for implementing new learning and artifacts for the advancement of the stated initiativesCourse Expectations

Assignments/Assessments:

Weekly contributions to online discussions
Reflection paper #1 
Reflection paper #2

Projects:
Final Implementation Project

Grading:
The expectations for successful completion of all daily assignments are clearly outlined below. You will work with the instructors to develop your final project expectations individually. The final reflection for the course will be a self-assessment that will determine your final grade. **All assignments can be revised for improved performance on assessment rubric criteria. 

Expectations for Weekly Online Postings:
4-Exceeds Proficiency=Outstanding. The contributions thoroughly responds the questions and refer to readings or reviewed resources. The comments stimulate online discussion or challenge ideas by posing probing questions or providing new resources. 
3-Proficient=Great Job. The contributions thoroughly respond to the questions and refer to readings or reviewed resources.
2-Almost Proficient=Good work. The response may be late but it still adds to the discussion. It is relevant, but may be incomplete or lacking depth.
1-Needs Work=Incomplete response. The response may be limited, incomplete, irrelevant or inappropriate. 

Expectations for Reflections:
4-Exceeds Proficiency=Response demonstrates an in-depth reflection on, and personalization of, the theories, concepts, and/or strategies presented in the course materials to date. Viewpoints and interpretations are insightful and well supported. Response includes all components and meets or exceeds all requirements indicated in the instructions. Writing is clear, concise, and well organized with excellent sentence/paragraph construction. Thoughts are expressed in a coherent and logical manner. Response shows strong evidence of synthesis of ideas presented and insights gained throughout the entire course. The implications of these insights for the respondent's overall teaching practice are thoroughly detailed, as applicable.
3-Proficient=Response demonstrates a sufficient reflection on, and personalization of, the theories, concepts, and/or strategies presented in the course materials to date. Viewpoints and interpretations are supported. Response includes all components and meets requirements indicated in the instructions. Writing is clear, concise, and well organized with excellent sentence/paragraph construction. Thoughts are expressed in a coherent and logical manner. Response shows evidence of synthesis of ideas presented and insights gained throughout the entire course. The implications of these insights for the respondent's overall teaching practice are addressed, as applicable.
2-Almost Proficient=Response demonstrates reflection on the theories, concepts, and/or strategies presented in the course materials to date. Viewpoints are expressed but may need more support. Response may be missing parts of the assignment requirements. Writing may have difficulty with clarity or organization. Implications for the respondent's overall teaching may not be clear.
1-Needs Work=Multiple aspects of the assignment are missing. The reflection does not connect to learned ideas. Writing may need work.

Final Implementation Project:
The final implementation project is an opportunity for you to plan how you will bring learned ideas into your classroom or school. 1) It may take the form of a narrative describing the steps you will take in the fall. 2) It may be in the form of a presentation that you plan to present to students (or faculty) at the beginning of the year, during an in-service, or staff meeting to introduce these ideas into your classroom or school. 3) It may take some other form depending on your situation and creativity. Guidelines for this project will be personalized depending on the nature and form it takes.

Required Texts

Referenced Texts (No Purchases Required)
Berger, R., Rugen, L., & Woodfin, L. (2013). Leaders of their own learning: Transforming schools through student-engaged assessment. 
Brookhart, S. M. (2011). Grading and learning: Practices that support student achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Guskey, T. R. (2009). On your mark: Challenging the conventions of grading and reporting.
Guskey, T. R. (2009). Practical solutions for serious problems in standards-based grading. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Guskey, T. R., & Bailey, J. M. (2010). Developing standards-based report cards. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Guskey, T. R., & Jung, L. A. (2013). Answers to essential questions about standards, assessments, grading, and reporting. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.
Jensen, Eric (2013). Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction.
Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & McTighe, J. (2006). Assessing student outcomes: Performance assessment using the dimensions of learning model.
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. P. (2013). Essential questions: Opening doors to student understanding.
Pink. D. (2009) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2006). Understanding by design. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall International.

For additional course information

Michael McRaith
(802) 225-8010

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 468-1325

Register online now!