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Vision 2015 conference open thread

October 18, 2012

Well, due to an urgent deadline for my real-life job, I couldn’t make the Vision 2015 conference. So I’m declaring this an open thread, and hopefully some of you who were there can share your impressions, especially if you took part in the afternoon sessions. Here’s the final conference agenda.

I’m not a huge booster of Vision 2015, but I was hoping to get some useful information out of the afternoon sessions. Particularly this one:

Implications of the Common Core standards
Yhis session will provide context on and explore implications of the common core standards – for students, teachers, universities, and other stakeholders. The discussion will also explore what is on the horizon in terms of common core, and how schools in Delaware are rolling out implementation.

“How schools in Delaware are rolling out implementation” was the angle I was interested in. I’ve read the Common Core State Standards, and there isn’t much to be excited about there pro or con – the standards themselves seem fine. The real CCSS action is in the local decisions – the policies, products, vendors, and the technical tools each state will use in its CCSS program. I’ve posted about some of this before (here and here). And I’ve heard some ominous comments from Red Clay officials that due to CCSS teachers will have less latitude in grading, or that due dates for work won’t matter anymore because personalized learning means everyone will be working at their own pace. But I have not gotten any real information yet, so following up on those things is on my to do list.

The second session is just inherently interesting to me, given my interest in parent involvement. I’ve got plenty of strategies schools could adopt to help parent engagement. I’m really sorry I missed this one. I’m sure I would have had a lot to say, and a lot to learn:

Schools that “Get it” – Examples of Meaningful Parent Engagement
Recent research has been loud and clear: the teacher is the most important determinant of a student’s success in the classroom. Yet even most researchers would agree that parents are even more important to a student’s success, not only in school, but in life. Districts and schools across Delaware have taken a look at how they’re engaging parents
and what they could do better and are seeing great success. Join a discussion with administrators, principals, and—most importantly—parents from across the state about what strategies have been working, and how we can improve and support parent engagement—statewide, district-by-district, and school-by-school. Designed for teachers, parents, administrators, school leaders, community leaders, and policy-makers.

The third session was a demo of a PLC (Professional Learning Community). I don’t know how I was planning to go to all of these concurrent sessions, so maybe it’s just as well I missed it 🙂

Transforming Data into Action for schools and students
District and school representatives will reflect on and react to a Professional Learning community (PLc) demonstration. PLcs allow district officials, school leaders, teachers, and other staff to collaborate and make data-driven decisions. The PLc participants in this session will explore the various ways data can be used, such as to build student
accountability/ownership, to support instructional strategies, to ease the transition between middle and high schools, to support parent-teacher and principal-teacher conferences. Designed for teachers, parents, administrators, school leaders, and policy-makers.

Of course, I’d be asking if they had gotten their DCAS data problems straightened out, and I’d be pointing out their data completely ignores daily classroom data, and only looks at big chunks of information like marking period grades and DCAS scores. I might have even asked if they knew their data on homework completion rates (trick question – we collect it but don’t report it or make use of it).

  1. concerned parent
    October 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    HI – off topic – I didn’t make the conference either – went the past two years and was not impressed. Did you see that the DCAS scores now come with lexiles? This was what we liked about the old MAP tests as it allows for comparisons within grade,school,district,state nation. I remember someone telling me a lexile is a lexile is a lexile be it from a private school in California or a public school in DE. Ofcourse there is not explanation or data provided with the score o link online or easily accessed info from the DOE website. So we don’t really know what to do with said lexile score – at least in BSD..what’s up with it in Red Clay?

  2. October 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I haven’t looked into the lexiles yet, but there will probably be more info provided when the DCAS mailer comes. I’m skeptical about how they normalize DCAS scores with other national tests to produce anything meaningful. In any case DCAS will be replaced by a new test shortly and then have to be normalized all over again.

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