Friday, June 6, 2014

Fusion, The Journey Begins

     Our River View LSD, and specifically Conesville ES, has been traveling the road of formative instructional practices (FIP), with support from the OAC, Battelle for Kids, and OLAC for the past 4 years at a pretty quick snail's pace.
Moving from mostly traditional instruction and testing practices has been difficult at times, but progress has been steady and our students and staff are better learners because of it.  Performance comparisons and benchmarks have their place, but the growth progress of every child is paramount. To ensure growth of a student takes an extraordinary amount of intensive, concentrated effort and skill. Constantly checking student learning in order to plan next steps of instruction is a messy and time consuming thing. Combine all of that with a transition to computer based testing and new standards adds to the complicated system that we call public education.
     We have a group of teachers who have somehow figured out how to manage all of the pieces that make up differentiated learning so well that they have exhausted all available resources, personnel, and ideas. They are trying to wrap their minds around the whole "personalized learning" thing but meanwhile find themselves at another crossroads. There is no going back, just forward. I believe their refinement of the differentiated instructional practices has led them to a next natural step. A natural evolution if you will.

  • We believe:
    • the natural evolution of intensive differentiated instruction leads to a deeper collaboration among teachers with a common mindset.
    • the natural evolution of intensive differentiated instruction leads to the transformation of teaching practices into non-traditional ways.
    • the natural evolution of intensive differentiated instruction leads to the combining of resources for ALL students, anytime, anywhere.

Intensive differentiated instruction (n): (dif-uh-ren-shee-a-shun)
1. to form or mark differently from other such things; distinguish.
2. to change; alter.
3. to perceive the difference in or between.

The need to maximize the utilization of our human assets and their skills has led us to a next step, a step we have not taken before. We call it Fusion.

Fusion (n): (fu-shun)
1. to blend or melt together
2. to make a stronger bond

Our plan is to repeat our intervention and enrichment "system" with one of our exiting Kindergarten classes by rostering them into a 1st grade classroom, but making the past kindergarten teacher a direct teaching partner of the new 1st grade teacher. In turn, the 1st grade teacher will have access to the new crop of kindergarten students (her next year's class). They will be supported with an intervention specialist and aides. We believe intervention and enrichment can begin at a much quicker time since teachers are picking up where they left off. The litmus test will be when the K-1 students in the Fusion classes, see no difference in who their teachers and classmates are. They will be getting what they need, when they need it, anytime, anyplace. And 16 chromebooks at their disposal will be an added bonus next year.
To pull this off, we have matched up schedules, moved classrooms so that they are physically across the hall from each other, and will begin intensive planning before school starts in the fall. 
We plan to document our journey, our evolution, along the way. We will be sharing with our families, our board members, our admin team, staff, and students. We invite you to watch our journey with us as we blog, update websites, and tweet out. Maybe you can visit us via google hangouts? Please, comment and give us your thoughts if you decide to experience the evolution with us. Have a great summer!

"Everything else is Ordinary."