EDUCATIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY
This chapter reviews the educational service delivery of the Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (RLISD) in the following sections:
- A. Instructional Program Delivery
- B. Student Performance
- C. Special Programs
- D. Safety and Security
- E. Co-curricular and Extracurricular Programs
A. INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM DELIVERY
A district that properly uses its resources can help students to achieve significant progress in their studies. TEA provides districts with annual reports from its Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) and its Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). The reports contain the district's performance on statewide tests as well as demographic, staffing and financial data. Districts can use the reports as tools to evaluate the effectiveness of their educational programs.
Texas schools administer a series of criterion-referenced tests. Students must master 75 percent of the objectives for each criterion to pass the test. These tests are based on a statewide curriculum called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS.) Until recently, Texas used the TAAS test to evaluate students' mastery of the TEKS. Texas schools will begin using a new test-the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)-in 2002-03. All districts will conduct the TAKS test during the spring of each school year. Districts and schools can choose to use additional tests to evaluate the effectiveness of their academic programs.
RLISD does not have curriculum guides for courses at any grade level. The school principals reported that since they do not have curriculum guides, they give teachers copies of the TEKS according to subject and grade level as a basic guide. There is no mention of a plan to develop curriculum guides in either the 2001-02 or 2002-03 District Improvement Plan (DIP). None of the schools' most recent campus improvement plans (CIPs) offer plans to create curriculum guides. Schools updated their CIPs in 2000-01.
Curriculum guides serve as work plans for teachers to use in the classroom. They provide direction on student objectives, prerequisite skills, instructional materials, resources, classroom strategies and assessment methods. Texas school districts align their curriculum guides to the TEKS. This ensures that teachers present the information necessary for student success on the statewide testing program. Several principals said that they use the new TAKS guides that are available on the TEA Web site. The TAKS guides have scope and sequence documents that align the TEKS with corresponding TAKS objectives in suggested six-week timelines. However, the district does not centrally coordinate the principals' efforts.
TSPR survey results indicate that 28 percent of teachers disagree with the statement that the district provided curriculum guides for all grades and subjects. The same percentage indicated that the curriculum guides are not appropriately aligned and coordinated. A large number of the teachers, 40 percent, also disagreed that the district had curriculum guides that clearly outlined what to teach and how to teach it. Since the district does not provide curriculum guides, principals at each school said that teachers use TEKS to create their lesson plans.
The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) publishes established goals and guidelines to prepare administrators and teachers for districtwide curriculum development and alignment efforts. Exhibit 2-6 lists the TASA goals.
Exhibit 2-6Source: TASA, Texas Center for Curriculum Management Audits, 2002.
TASA Curriculum Leadership Cooperative Goals for Curriculum Development
- The curriculum development process will allow for the input and interaction of classroom teachers with those serving in developmental roles. This interaction will allow teachers to integrate ideas and materials into planning and teaching so that they will have ownership of the guides.
- The development process will be open-ended so that curriculum documents can be refined and updated as needed and can become more comprehensive. Curriculum development will align the written, the taught and the tested curricula to insure a high percentage of learner outcomes.
- The curriculum for a course or grade level subject will define that course in a finite set of objectives which will be few in number, broad in scope and aimed at developing in students an integrated understanding of that course or subject.
- The curriculum documents (resource packets) will be a mechanism for collecting, organizing and sharing teachers' effective classroom practices and ideas related to accomplishing course objectives.
- The curriculum documents will address the development of students' cognitive thinking skills. They will define the course or subject for teachers and students and will include the development of student thinking as a priority.
- The curriculum documents will be designed to reduce teachers' paperwork in linking daily lesson plans; student instructional activities; student performance assessments to instructional objectives; and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and in documenting mastery of curriculum objectives.
- Curriculum documents will be as comprehensive as possible to provide teachers with quality information to help in the election of instructional activities, strategies, resources and assessment alternatives.
- Curriculum documents will address the TEKS in a format that is easy for classroom teachers to use.
- Curriculum documents will be differentiated to meet the needs of special population learners.
Kerrville ISD (KISD) has curriculum guides for each grade level and subject. KISD curriculum guides contain aligned student objectives, instructional strategies, instructional resources and assessments. The district aligned its curriculum with the ACT/SAT and PSAT objectives, national standards and TAAS objectives. KISD updates its curriculum guides regularly and has a Curriculum Planning Five-Year Schedule. The curriculum writers are master teachers in the district and align instructional materials based upon their classroom experience, certifications and previous training. KISD also aligns best practices for instruction with the Professional Development Assessment System (PDAS)-the system Texas public schools use to assess teacher performance-and posts them on the district's automated, Web-based program. This makes the information accessible to all teachers, staff and administrators. The district has update efforts in place to address the state's change to the TAKS and addresses curriculum development and updates in its annual district improvement plan (DIP).
Region 12 offers training to districts in creating curriculum guides using TEKS as a basic guide. Region 12 also offers training for teachers in developing lesson plans.
Most districts that use curriculum guides for all courses develop and update them according to an established calendar. Districts using curriculum guides report results such as improved student productivity; clear student objectives by subject matter; increased control of resources, programs and personnel; effective design and delivery practices; and the transformation of curriculum guides into usable management tools. Many of these districts use teams of teachers to develop new or updated guides during the summer and include districtwide curriculum development efforts in their annual DIPs and corresponding CIPs.
Develop and update curriculum guides for all courses and grade levels on a five-year schedule and include corresponding language in the District Improvement Plan.
RLISD should identify and review curriculum guides and resources that other districts like KISD are using successfully. The district should hire a consultant to provide help for curriculum training and assistance. Region 12 has consultants that can provide this expertise. The district should use the materials it finds in this process to develop and update its own curriculum guides. Region 12 also offers training in TEXSTAR, which is a coordinated system for teachers to use in planning lessons that include all of the TEKS objectives as minimum requirement. In addition, the district should establish a team of designated lead teachers, one from Rosebud Primary, two from Lott Elementary, two from Rosebud intermediate, two from Rosebud-Lott Junior High and two from Rosebud-Lott High school and train them to develop and update the curriculum.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent directs all principals to assign teachers to serve as lead teachers or curriculum specialists on a curriculum development and update team and requests a plan for professional training, curriculum development and update. June 2003 2. The superintendent instructs the principals and curriculum development team members to contact Region 12, KISD and outside curriculum specialists to obtain information on curriculum development training and curriculum guides. June - July 2003 3. The principals report their progress to the superintendent and request permission for curriculum training for the lead teachers. July 2003 4. The curriculum development team assesses and prioritizes districtwide courses for curriculum development and works with outside consultants to develop a three-year curriculum guide schedule that includes updates and selected curriculum guides for the first year of schedule implementation. July - September 2003 5. The principals submit the three-year schedule and curriculum plan to the superintendent and board for review and approval. October 2003 6. The principals monitor curriculum development, ensure that curriculum guides are developed and updated according to the established schedule and make any necessary revisions. October 2003 and Ongoing
This fiscal impact is based on the assumption that the district will provide curriculum development training and then pay an annual stipend of $1,500 to lead teachers from each of the district's schools, one from Rosebud Primary, two from Lott Elementary, two from Rosebud Intermediate, two from Rosebud-Lott Junior High and two from Rosebud-Lott High school for a total of nine lead teachers to combine as a curriculum development and update committee ($1,500 stipend x 9 lead teachers = $13,500).
This fiscal impact also assumes initial consulting costs of $3,000 to provide training to the lead teachers chosen for the curriculum development team. These teachers, in turn, will also then be able to provide in-house training to teachers at their respective schools.
Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 One-time cost of curriculum development training. ($3,000) $0 $0 $0 $0 Develop and update curriculum guides for all courses and grade levels on a five-year schedule and include corresponding language in the District Improvement Plan. ($13,500) ($13,500) ($13,500) ($13,500) ($13,500) Net (costs)/savings ($16,500) ($13,500) ($13,500) ($13,500) ($13,500)
There is no districtwide vertical alignment between grade levels by subject area and between the junior high school and the high school. The district is not using strategies for improving student achievement by easing student transitions from junior high school to high school through vertical alignment and vertical teaming.
Vertical alignment is a technique that districts use to ensure that its curriculum and instruction are consistent from one grade level to the next. The technique helps districts teach their students everything they need in one grade level to succeed at the next grade level. Districts that practice vertical alignment team teachers and students at one grade level with teachers and students in the next grade level. To facilitate the process, districts form vertical teams of teachers and principals.
All of RLISD's existing efforts to transition students from one grade level to the next are informal efforts of individual teachers. The principal at Rosebud Intermediate School said that the intermediate teachers independently contact teachers at both the elementary and junior high schools during one of the four designated staff development days at the beginning of the year. But the district does not have any formal vertical alignment efforts. The principals said that there is a lack of organized vertical alignment between the schools involving administrators, teachers and guidance counselors. Without this alignment, there is little curriculum connection for students as they transition from one grade to the next and from one school to the next.
Region 12 offers an Enhanced Curriculum Cooperative in which many of its districts participate. The cooperative provides curriculum alignment training and assistance to teachers and administrators. RLISD currently does not belong to this cooperative. Region 12 is available to work with the district to implement this effort for the next school year.
Ingram ISD (IISD) has established grade level and vertical teams to establish vertical alignment in its curriculum. All the teachers from each grade level work together to develop six-week plans. The teachers agree to teach certain objectives during a six-week period and test students on these objectives. Common planning of six-week instruction gives teachers better information on their students' performance. Vertical teams assist in coordinating instruction in a content area across grade levels. Vertical teams also assist with developing and updating the curriculum.
IISD has vertical teams for each content area as well. Each vertical team consists of team leaders from each grade level. For example, the vertical team for English/Language Arts defined a reading program for students from pre-Kindergarten to grade 8; developed and aligned a consistent vocabulary; developed consistent teaching strategies for teachers to use from pre-Kindergarten to grade 8; established specific criteria for selecting reading materials and resources; established specific criteria for selecting staff development activities; and established criteria for the district to use when selecting and assigning reading teachers. Region 20 assisted IISD with vertical team meetings. In addition, IISD elementary teachers have common planning times and meet by grade level on a daily basis and middle school teachers meet every other day for 1.5 periods. At the high school level, teachers meet once a month by department.
Align the district curriculum vertically and establish vertical alignment teams that report to principals.
RLISD should use Region 12 to help them initially implement the vertical school alignment process.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent instructs all principals to collaborate with site-based decision-making (SBDM) committees and form grade-level and curricular vertical alignment teams. September 2003 2. Principals identify vertical team leaders to represent each grade level in the vertical teams. October 2003 3. Principals and SBDM committees meet and develop a plan including team members and common planning periods by grade level to present to the superintendent for approval. December 2003 4. Each vertical team leader defines programs for their respective area with assistance from Region 12. January 2004 and Ongoing 5. The superintendent monitors the plan. January 2004 and Ongoing
This fiscal impact assumes that the district will appoint a lead teacher for the curricular areas of English/Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies to coordinate districtwide alignment efforts and assume the role of vertical alignment specialist. Each of these vertical alignment specialists will receive an annual $1,000 stipend for a total of $4,000 annually (4 lead teachers x $1,000 = $4,000) or $20,000 over five years.
Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 Align the district curriculum vertically and establish vertical alignment teams that report to principals. ($4,000) ($4,000) ($4,000) ($4,000) ($4,000)
RLISD does not have a formal staff development plan. The district does not monitor teacher training hours, and the district's training program does not address specific aspects of curriculum delivery as part of an overall plan.
The district offers four staff development days at the beginning of each year and one at the end of the year. Teachers can independently request approval from their principal for additional training during the school year. Principals forward the approved requests to the district's business manager for payment. If participating teachers receive training through Region 12 and receive a certificate of completion, the superintendent's secretary inserts the certificate into the teacher's personnel file upon receipt.
The business manager said that these certificates sometimes take months to arrive at the school district. RLISD teachers and staff attending training keep copies of all documents or certificates for training and provide originals to the district for personnel file updates, but the district does not proactively monitor this activity to ensure compliance with its policies.District administrators said they did not have a formal list of training for each teacher readily available. The business manager tracks expenditures for professional development training as a separate category of expense.
The superintendent said that between 1999-2000 and 2002-03 the district has focused its professional development programs on TEKS. Principals and administrators said that teachers have been independently attending seminars offered by Region 12 to prepare for the state's transition from the TAAS test to the TAKS test.
The Texas Education Code (TEC) Subchapter J, Staff Development, Section 21.451, prescribes certain criteria for staff development in a Texas school district. Staff development must: include training in technology; include training in conflict resolution and discipline strategies; be predominantly school-based; be related to achieving performance objectives; and be developed and approved by the school SBDM committee.
According to TEA, an effective policy on staff development should include:
- specific training requirements;
- an explanation of how school-level staff development operates;
- a focus on staff development for student achievement;
- criteria for how the district will reimburse and compensate school staff for attending training on their own time;
- requirements for special programs training (for example, gifted and talented or students with disabilities); and
- administrator training policies.
TEA allows districts to apply for waivers in its instructional calendar that allow the districts to conduct staff development training for teachers throughout the school year. Many districts take advantage of this practice to reach their staff development training goals. Examples of programs these districts offer during the year include such activities as:
- planning together to enhance existing strategies;
- sharing effective strategies;
- reflecting on curricular and instructional issues;
- analyzing student achievement results;
- reflecting on means of student achievement;
- studying research;
- practicing new methods;
- identifying students' strengths and needs;
- developing meaningful programs for students;
- implementing site-based decision-making; and
- conducting action research.
Many districts base annual staff development on areas of need for the district or for specific schools. Other districts use teacher and administrator surveys to develop a yearly training calendar. Many of these districts also track individual teacher training hours using simple computer spreadsheets such as those available in Microsoft Excel. The districts assign teachers or a staff person to update the training spreadsheet as individual teachers complete any training.
Develop and implement a comprehensive staff development plan.
RLISD should use the annual school calendar to implement effective staff development for teachers targeted to a plan that ensures student success.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent, principals and SBDM committees discuss ways to organize a comprehensive staff development plan for the district. September 2003 2. Principals and SBDM committees meet to discuss staff development needs at both the school and district level. October - December 2003 3. Principals and SBDM committees meet and develop a plan and submit the plan to the superintendent for approval. October - December 2003 4. The superintendent submits the plan to the board for approval. December 2003 5. The superintendent implements and the plan and ensures that principals monitor all teacher training and make necessary adjustments. January 2004 and Ongoing
This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.