Friday, 8 December 2017

Implementing CRM After Three Months

This past month we have continued having weekly collaboration meetings during our CRM time. This time has been used by each group to work collaboratively on something to improve learning at Southview Community School. I support the work in each group, but no longer sit in  for the entire duration. Teachers write up a short reflection after each collaborative time using a google doc and I make sure to read the reflection and respond with any questions or ideas. We also have a group of district Instructional Coaches who are helping guide and support the work being done by teachers. Each of our CRM groups is focusing on literacy. Since we have now administered a math and reading universal screen for each student in grades two to six we are going to schedule the rest of our Collaborative Team Meetings (CTM). Both of the universal screens are new to us so we have spent CRM time digging through through the data with support from an instructional coach. We had a professional development day this week and part of the day was spent preparing for our next CTM. We had teachers create their visual display board. I went to Staples and purchased tri-fold display boards, index cards and velco strips. Teachers broke into their groups, looked at their data (STAR, F&P, teacher assessments) and then put their students into four categories: Urgent Intervention, Intervention, On / Watch and At /Above Grade Level. They colour coded them red, yellow, blue and green respectively. We will use these displays moving forward at each CTM meeting. We also set the CTM dates for the remainder of the year. Because the Vice Principal helps to  provide release time for teachers to meet we are going to pay for a substitute teacher for these meeting so that he can participate and offer his support and perspective. Before teachers left our professional development I asked them to complete a survey to get feedback on how they view CRM.

I find CRM time valuable...explain.

How can I better support you on our CRM journey?

Any miscellaneous comments to share

Monday, 20 November 2017

Implementing CRM week 8

Our CRM day is every Thursday. Because report cards were due and we had a plan to dedicate a good portion of our professional development day on Friday towards CRM, I asked teachers to decide how they felt they needed to use their time. For our school PD we had two main goals regarding CRM:  develop a common set of working agreements (each group had different ones) and continue to refine and to develop  our pyramid of interventions.
To develop our common norms we had teachers sitting in their CRM groups. Each group reviewed their norms and identified their top four norms using a cooperative learning structure. Once each group came to agreement, each CRM group member then found a partner from another group where they compared their lists and then engaged in conversation to create a new list of four norms. The partners then joined another pair to create groups of four where once again they created one list of four norms. Finally each group shared a norm one at a time and we recorded each one on a white board. Duplicated norms were not recorded. In the end each group was very similar and it only took ten or fifteen minutes to come to an agreement. The end result was the following five norms:

Honour the process
Demonstrate a growth mindset
Equal voice/shared participation

After we developed our norms we discussed the TQS and how it fits in with tier one supports. We also further clarified our understanding of the difference between tier 1 and 2 strategies/interventions and reexamined our pyramid from last month. We asked teachers to underline those that they felt needed to be moved into a different tier and  highlight those that needed more clarification before determining which tier it belongs in.

The CRM portion of our presentation can be seen here.  PD day presentation

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Implementing CRM week 7

This week saw our first Collaborative Team Meeting (CTM). We have engaged in some pretty in depth conversations around the model up to this point using the embedded CRM time to work through the book, develop working norms and meeting templates, discuss essential agreements, review core agreements and develop a continuum of supports. We have also administered a universal screen in math and spent some time exploring the jigsaw website. Teachers have also started using the time to work collaboratively on projects that support our improved literacy goal. We have not yet created a visual display board, but felt we have spent enough time on the “theory” and needed to  start having CTMs.
Our Inclusion support teacher, our instructional coach and I met previously to go over the routine of the meeting and make sure we were prepared. We gave teachers a copy of the
student record sheet and asked them to have a few students identified to bring
to the table. Although we discussed the roles (e.g. interrupter, recorder, facilitator), we did not assign them, but we plan to at our next meeting. I openly shared some of the facilitator guide
questions/prompts by writing them on a white board along with our norms so that everyone could see potential questions a facilitator might ask should the meeting start to go astray. My goal is to build capacity within  the CRM groups so that the facilitator does not have to intervene very often.
The meetings went well and were different in several ways. In one group, when asked about a student and if there were other students that could benefit from the interventions, the teacher identified several. This quickly became a conversation around Occupational Therapy support
and I found myself running down the hallway to pull our OT into the conversation, to which she readily agreed. She then became an important part of the discussion. At a teacher’s suggestion we also invited one of our school's Educational Assistants who specializes in literacy support. She was able to contribute to the conversation as we talked about how to support students with literacy (our CRM and school focus). A lesson learned from this was to look at the students being brought forth in advance and try to ensure that the right people were around the table. It was very beneficial for me as I learned about the students, different strategies that I  previously knew nothing about and was able to offer support for one of the students mentioned. Another teacher brought a student forward and it was very beneficial that she led with data she had collected. She had a literacy and math assessment done and was able to articulate where the student was struggling. This quickly led to action planning.  We did not get through a lot of students in our 80 minutes together (more in the group that ended up grouping several students), but we expect that will improve as we become more familiar with the process. The next morning I emailed the “action items” to each group and plan to follow up next week before they start their collaboration work. Overall we were satisfied with the process, but acknowledge we have refinement to do and are looking forward to our next CTM in four weeks. I believe that the “ready, fire, aim” philosophy held true. We could have spent another month trying to get prepared for our first CTM, but you really do just need to do it so that you have something to build on.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Implementing CRM week 6

I had communicated to staff that CRM time would be considered “sacred.” Leading by example, I blocked off my calendar all day every Thursday so that neither myself nor my secretary could book in appointments. I keep my cell phone put away and only check it between meetings. Only on very rare  occasions has someone come to pull me away from a CRM meeting and usually it has only been for a few minutes. This past week, however, I left the school missing my first CRM day. For two days I visited a variety of schools meeting with administrators and teachers learning about their school’s CRM journey. I had chatted with Kurtis Hewson at my district’s CRM  leadership workshop where he was presenting and by the end of the conversation he offered to facilitate my tour of schools. I was also fortunate that he was scheduled to be in Edmonton and he offered to be my guide for the day before flying out to visit another district. The schools in Edmonton that I visited were Daly Grove, Winterburn and Kildare. The following day I visited Ponoka Elementary and Stettler Elementary on my way home to Medicine Hat. Each school is at a different part in their journey and all were very welcoming. I got to sit in on a staff meeting, observe CTMs, talk with teachers and support staff, see how CRM software works, walk through schools and ask an abundance of questions of Kurtis and other administrators. I also was given a lot of resources, so many that I have had to file them away to sift through as our school continues its journey with CRM. Just as I encourage teachers to get into other teacher’s classrooms I would highly recommend administrators to get in other administrator’s schools. I owe a huge thanks  to Tim Bowman, Sharon Fischer, Heather Kennedy, Marilyn Schmitke, Cheryl Belyea and of course Kurtis Hewson.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Implementing CRM week 5

Today's focus was to prepare for our first Collaborative Team Meeting (CTM) which will be November 2nd, 2017. We started off the meeting reviewing a presentation put on by Kurtis Hewson the day before for our district's CRM leadership cohort. I had attended with the school’s Classroom Support Teacher (CST) and a District Optimal Learning Coach (OLC).  We spent 40 minutes sharing our school’s action plan (completed at the session the day before), watched a video of another school’s CRM, shared the meeting notes template and the student form that will be filled out before each meeting. These resources are all located on the Jigsaw learning site. We set a date for our first CTM and the cycle that will occur afterwards (every four weeks), knowing that this may be adjusted. The next 40 minutes teachers spent time in their groups working on improved instructional practices.

In one group further discussion around a CTM occurred. The CST and I talked through what the CTM could like and examples of students that might be brought to the table. Another group started talking about deficiencies they are noticing in math students and spoke about how to scaffold their three grade levels. I sat back and listened and noted some “sound bites” 
“I’m struggling with this too. You are not alone”
“How are they (students) applying this? They aren’t.”
“Can we try a number of the day strategy?”
“Lets create a template and use common language.”
“Have you set up a Google classroom? When you do we can….”
They came up with strategies and a template to implement  into their classrooms and some next steps. Our OLC made appointments to follow up with support the following week before our next meeting. Another group identifying weakness in their language arts programs met with an OLC and came up with a plan to develop common literacy centers that are easily adaptable (low floor, high ceiling) for their diverse students. They have a vision of what they eventually want to move towards, but are going to start off smaller with the help of OLCs who will follow a “gradual release of responsibility” model.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Implementing CRM week 4

Today was our fourth Collaborative Response Model (CRM) meeting. Last week, for the morning of our professional development day we worked together on our Pyramid of Interventions, which we refer to as a Continuum of Supports. We have now discussed the contents of the book. Last year, before summer break, we did an informal look through the book in groups. Some teachers read a chapter or two and some read it in its entirety. I had shared the jigsaw book study guide to use if they wanted, but the purpose was really just to have teachers familiar with the journey we would embark on this year.   
The goal for the meeting today was to reflect on the model thus far, explore the jigsaw  website and Google plus network for supports and new ideas and to continue some work that they had identified week 1. We began the meeting having each member share any thoughts, fears, insights, questions that they may have regarding CRM. Every teacher feels that they have a solid basic, foundational understanding of CRM, but also recognize that we are not even close to being “experts” or even overly confident in what we are doing. Teachers input ranged from “I want to get doing something” to wanting to ensure that we don’t rush anything. Another thing that I learned from the meeting today is the importance of keeping good “team meeting notes.” I had shared a template with each group and had volunteered to be recorder and facilitator, but had forgotten to add some things and the night before our meeting I was unsure where each group was and what they had committed to for this week’s meeting.
At Southview Community School we have three different CRM groups and each is at a different place. No group is ahead of another, they have just taken different paths. One group has decided that they want to do a 10 minute “mindfulness “activity before each meeting to help them “settle their minds” and get prepared to focus on their work. They are not all working on the same thing, but are using one another to collaborate on ideas, another group has focused on assessment and has spent a lot of time working on how to use it to inform practice, a third group is focusing on curriculum as a starting point to develop some literacy resources. They are recording a lesson for feedback, exploring different literary techniques and visiting each other’s classrooms. All three groups are working with one of our district’s Optimal Learning Coaches (OLC) who are referred to as instructional coaches in many other districts.
This week I asked one of the CRM groups to write a reflection from their perspective to share. CRM group # 3 consists of three teachers, Shirma Rose,Cassandra Silver, and Megan Westgarth. They teach grade four, five and six and combined have 24 years teaching experience.  
Our CRM team decided to focus our work around assessment.  We began our journey by administering the Math MIPI school wide. When presented the information about a comprehensive tool that only took 1 hour  to administer and would give us a comprehensive look at how our students are doing overall in math, we knew we had to utilize it in our class and throughout the school. The MIPI results helped identify basic skills our students are lacking in. These results will also drive our
instructional practice this year. After much discussion in our CRM meetings with administration and Michelle, our Optimal Learning Consultant, we decided to create a strong database of math strategies that can be used at all grade levels. Collecting common strategies from K-6 will provide consistency for students as they move throughout the elementary years. Two of our members on our CRM team are also attending a mathematical MIndset Professional development opportunity that is providing us with strategies we want  to offer to our students.  For example, the idea of increasing mental math abilities through daily games, problems and activities.  As a lead CRM team within the school our goal is to ensure we support all teachers with their chosen CRM journey. We will look forward to the triumphs and the challenges we will face as we travel on this exciting road.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Implementing CRM week 3

Today marked our third Collaborative Response Model (C.R.M.) meeting. Because I decided to spend ½ of our professional development day today committed to Collaborative Response, I let teachers use their CRM time yesterday to work on students'  Individual Support Plans. Our first two CRM meetings focused on beliefs, working agreements, a common understanding, Collaborative Team Meetings, and assessment. Today we focused on “Pyramid of Interventions” for nearly two hours. Collaborating as a whole staff worked very well and everyone was engaged for the entire meeting. One of our district’s “Optimal Learning Coaches,” Michelle Hilton, and I had met a week earlier and she had shared some methods (inspired by Jigsaw) to create a pyramid of interventions. I welcomed her expertise to lead the school in various activities so that I could fully participate  with the staff. Michelle is also a Kagan structure coach so she implemented many of their protocols to facilitate the meeting. She modeled different activities that teachers can also take back to their classroom. You can find a copy of the presentation here.
District "Coach" setting the stage

our pyramid

jot thoughts