September 26, 2015
Simon Dudar and Leah Horn move into new positions
By Alison Rooney
Is their workday the same length as the other teachers? Yes, they meet the same contractual agreements, they are members of the BTA and are required to follow the same BTA contract.
How do they decide which teachers to be in touch with i.e. do they communicate with a teacher only when a teacher requests it or are they getting in touch with teachers of their own accord? Either way, some teachers are brand new and ISTs need to introduce themselves as they would with any colleague. The teachers may contact any IST and the IST will link them with the person who can best assist them. Some teachers are texting ISTs, some people come to their office, some people speak to them face to face.... they could use the phone, they could leave a message in their mailbox or send a note through the inner-office mail, they could send an e-mail or use some other form of media.
What role does the principal of each school have with this work? Are the principals notified that an IST is in their building and working with a specific teacher? Does a principal get updates to monitor progress on the teacher in the area that the IST is working with the teacher? The Principal should play a role of a supporter.... the ISTs are people who can help our students who are still developing. The ISTs are just one part of a larger Instructional Support System of which the Principals and others manage. Although Principals do not assign teachers to ISTs they can recommend that a teacher contact the ISTs. An IST signs into the building in the exact same way any other teacher signs in. The work between the IST and the teacher is confidential unless the teacher receiving the support chooses to discuss with their principal.
If they are waiting on requests, is there any data so far on how much teachers are making use of the IST’s? We will report on the ISTs in the future.
Since the list of responsibilities on the brochure was quite lengthy, does each IST have a particular role/goal or do they all cover the same responsibilities? How does the teacher know who to contact for their particular area of concern? There are core strategies and skills that each possess and areas of assignment. All are learning items such as teaching strategies, root cause analysis, strengths-based problem solving process, vocabulary strategies. They may contact any IST and the IST will link them with the person who can best assist them.
If they have different responsibilities, I would like to know who does what. This list is not all inclusive but will give you an idea. 1. CSE, CPSE, in-classroom supports for students w/disabilities Kate 2. Grad Point students, literacy across the curriculum Alice 3. New teachers, training and assistance in implementation of 3012-d and 3012-c, SLOs - Kim 4. Working with the Bridge students, training and assistance in the implementation of Part 154 Regulation - Fabiola.
How is the IST consultation different from that of the mentors that were just appointed? The mentors do not have the information these people have. The IST have received and are receiving training in interventions that our teachers do not have. That's the whole point Meredith, if everyone had these skills we would not need ISTs. The ISTs received intensive training, Mentors (ie: other teachers) do not have the same level of information on the state requirements and regulations, they have not been trained in processes used by the ISTs including curriculum-based assessment, root cause analysis and a strengths-based problem solving process. They have not spent days in training and practice in specific, discrete skills.
Dr. Walkley has said that the IST’s are writing curriculum for the AIS. How has the curriculum changed? How are the IST’s interacting with the AIS staff and how has this impacted instructional practices with students that are classified? The ISTs are assisting teachers in these programs. Some AIS teachers have not had an articulated or aligned curriculum. The curriculum has not been consistent across all classes. The ISTs have provided skill based curriculums for the teachers for their review. It is not the ISTs role to ensure a curriculum changes or is implemented. That is the role of the principal. All of the ISTs are members or resources to the AIS Secondary Visioning Team. AIS programs are generally for general education students.
If a particular student is being discussed or is working with an IST individually, are parents informed of this? Does the parent also meet with the IST? Depends, some work is done in the classroom teacher present and might be a co-teach situation. There would be a different approach at the elementary level, right now we are focusing to secondary and the work is more with teachers right now.
In all of Dr. Walkley’s descriptions about what the IST’s do, she consistently spoke of them being an intermediate stop for students who are struggling in the classroom in order to attempt to avoid classification. Dr. Walkley never mentioned that an IST would be involved with teacher evaluations but listed on the TOSA brochure is “understanding the 3012d regulations”. How does this fit in with the rest of the IST responsibility? It seems like it’s very different skill set and perhaps not even the responsibility of a teacher, but more a union issue? First and foremost there is mis-information here. The purpose of instructional support is to NOT to avoid classification. The purpose is to ensure appropriate referrals and to increase the efficiency rate of classification. It is not an intermediate stop but an opportunity to receive support when a student first falls behind. Another misunderstanding here is that the ISTs are NOT involved in teacher evaluations. That is false and is not allowed by the state, only under certain conditions could a teacher be part of the evaluation process. Beacon has NOT chosen to take that route. It is required by the State in the law that the district providesawareness training about 3012-d and the transfer from 3012-c to 3012-d. ISTs are also staff developers, they can provide training in many areas, topics, skills, processes, etc. I do not know the expectations of the Unions nor would I discuss the business of the Union but I do know the expectations of the State for all districts... Why would that be a conflict of interest? ISTs are members of the Union.
I am not, in principal, against the IST. My concern is that 4 ISTs adds up to a lot of salary and perhaps some of this money could be used more efficiently another way. Are you in favor of helping developing students? Are you in favor of raising achievement across the district? There is no evidence in the last 10 years that other interventions have been successful in increasing student achievement across larger numbers of students. One on one, or classes, yes, but not across grade levels or content areas. Since you have not reviewed any data at this point, what evidence do you have that money is not being used efficiently? You are premature in your judgment this early in the year and in the roll-out.