NIET Summer Trainings: What Educators Learned

August 17, 2016

NIET Summer Trainings: What Educators Learned

This summer NIET worked with K-12 districts, higher education institutions, and state departments of education partners to train educators in the instructional practices that drive student learning growth. Summer institutes provide teams of educators the opportunity to collaborate in the analysis of student data, the identification of key instructional skills, practices and knowledge that support student learning, and the school and district structures and systems that support strong teaching and learning. 

Here is a round-up of select events, goals and what educators learned.

Event: TAP Summer Training at Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville
Who: Teams from Tennessee, Louisiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Texas
Goal: Supporting teachers and school leaders in building the structures and system to support higher levels of teacher effectiveness and student academic success 
Lessons Learned: Expanded knowledge and expertise in coaching classroom teachers; how to develop and support teacher leaders; helping teachers to analyze student data to drive classroom planning and delivery

Event: Louisiana Training for School Leaders
Who: Districts across Louisiana, many of whom were recipients of new state funding to promote more effective instruction and to support principals in this work
Goal: Ensuring professional learning leads to results for teachers and their students 
Lessons Learned: Training was targeted to using weekly professional learning "cluster groups" to drive toward specific teacher and student learning goals.

Event: Iowa Training in Teacher Leadership and New Teacher Mentoring
Who: Iowa districts using state Teacher Leadership and Compensation System funds to support teacher leaders to mentor and coach new teachers
Goal: Supporting new teachers to excel 
Lessons Learned: Teachers gained in-depth knowledge of the instructional rubric in areas specifically targeted for new teachers: Lesson Structure and Pacing, Teacher Knowledge of Students, and Academic Feedback. Teacher leaders will focus in-depth on these three indicators this coming school year.

Event: Training South Carolina Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
Who: IHEs that are integrating the updated South Carolina instructional rubric into their teacher preparation programs 
Goal: Gaining in-depth understanding of key instructional practices and how to support teacher candidates to master these skills
This Year: IHEs will begin to embed the rubric indicators into coursework and course sequence over the next year in order to prepare their teacher candidates. In addition to this summer training, South Carolina has developed a detailed plan to begin training K-12 educators on the S.C. rubric this school year.

Event: Training with Tulane, Texas A&M and the University of Texas, Dallas
Who: Faculty involved in using the NIET rubric in their teacher preparation programs
Goal: Support teacher preparation faculty to expand their knowledge of the content and practices reflected in current K-12 classroom expectations for new teachers

Event: Training for Tennessee State-Level TEAM (Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model)
Who: TEAM Coaches across Tennessee who support districts using the TEAM teacher evaluation system
Goal: This summer the TEAM training focused on helping Tennessee TEAM coaches support districts across the state in preparing principals to coach and conduct observations for pre-K and kindergarten teachers.
Lessons Learned: TN TEAM coaches will use their new understanding of how specific indicators of instructional practice are observed in pre-K classrooms when coaching evaluators across the state. TEAM coaches also learned how to support principals to effectively observe and provide feedback to pre-K and kindergarten teachers.

Event: Grand Prairie ISD, Texas, Leadership Workshop
Who: Administrators, master and mentor teachers
Goal: "To grow as leaders, bond as teammates and plan for success for the upcoming school year." With the support of existing partnerships with Texas Tech University, the Supporting Educator Effectiveness Development (SEED) grant and the Texas Center for Educator Effectiveness (TxCEE), the event allowed leadership team members to train together on the creation of the School Plan and Observation/Feedback Schedule. Participants developed expertise in using student data, coaching, and planning to drive more effective professional development.
Lessons Learned: The campuses had a leadership team member represent each of them on a planning committee. The committee brainstormed and planned how to empower each campus to move forward with more accountability and focus concerning fidelity to strong instructional practices. Attendees learned to integrate strong instructional practices and expectations into school and district systems and culture. 

Events: Indiana TAP Training; Indiana Summer Workshops
Who: Training took place in Goshen, Indianapolis and Hammond. The Indiana summer workshops were attended by educators working in TAP schools across the state.
Goals: Training encompassed educator evaluation and certification, creating and running school-based professional development "cluster groups," leadership team meetings, and teacher leader "field testing" of student academic strategies. The summer workshops supported educators to think about classroom instruction from the student perspective: what are students doing and learning when classroom instruction is successful? What does this look like under key indicators of practice? Participants also learned strategies for strengthening coaching, leveraging evidence of student learning in the evaluation/feedback process, and motivating students by strengthening teachers’ planning for inquiry, curiosity and exploration. The workshop sessions built on new learning from the 2016 TAP Conference, which took place in March.
Lessons Learned: Administrators and teacher leaders were ready to take their evaluation, professional development and coaching to the next level by continuing to shift toward more ownership of the process by all teachers and students. This involved new learning on moving toward more student-centered instruction, evaluation and professional development.

Event: Teacher Training in Minnesota
Who: Charter schools implementing NIET's TAP System
Goal: NIET provided training for teacher and school leaders from charter schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area who are using the TAP System to support high-need student populations to close achievement gaps.