Teaching and Learning

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gail walkerDirector of Teaching and Learning  

Gail Walker 

Mentor & Academic Coaches – LCSS employs academic coaches and mentors to enhance teacher effectiveness. Providing the most effective teachers for our students is a priority. Academic coaches in reading/language arts, math, and technology support teachers by providing them with instructional and curriculum resources and training. The mentor guides and advises new teachers who have less than three years of experience through the first years of teaching. The academic coaches work with teachers referred by the principal, teacher initiated request, and grade or subject level teachers to enhance classroom instruction and increase student achievement. These specialists track data, collaborate with teachers, provide resources, and model instructional strategies. The academic coaches and mentor also work with Response to Glossary Link Intervention Tier II and Tier III teachers drilling down to a specific area of deficient and providing strategies and techniques for individual students. Our mentor and academic coaches are vital participants in our Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III classrooms.

Instructional Programs in Reading and Math—LCSS endeavors to reach each student at their instructional level. Currently LCSS is using Envision Math, ReadWell for K-3, McGrawHill for 4-6 and Code X for 7-8 in Reading. McGraw Hill social studies and open source materials ensure LCSS students are provided aligned instruction in all core subjects.

LCSS has added Accelerated Math Live and Math Facts in a Flash to personalize instruction for every student in math. Strengths and weaknesses in math are clearly defined, and this allows teachers to provide specific instruction in areas of students' accelerated or remedial needs. LCSS's effective group of teachers and programs, coupled with the resources on TNCORE and open source resources, such as, engageny.org and Readworks.org, will develop concept understanding and build a toolbox of problem solving strategies for our students. LCSS strives to grow our students to achievement levels higher than our previous successful years.

Technology based instruction is apparent at LCSS. In FY 15 the system placed an emphasis on writing. Read Well Composition along with the state summer training materials assist K-2 students and teachers in learning to be better teachers and students in writing. For grades 3-8 Peg Writing is utilized for instruction as well as allowing student to create and revise drafts. Peg encourages peer review and writing across the curriculum. Multi-category scoring provides immediate evaluation of student writing by providing feedback for each student with seconds of submission. Peg provides graphic organizers, tutorials and interactive lessons for practice in areas of need for each student. Peg provides a plethora of evidence based writing prompts, or teachers have the ability to upload prompts align with current social studies or science instruction. Discovery Education continues to provide resources in the area of streaming video, projects, and formative assessments. Renaissance Learning's STAR Math and Reading are utilized as the universal screener in reading and math and drives AR Reading and Math individualized instruction.

Tiered Instruction--In 2013 LCSS adopted the RTI² model to address individual student academic needs. In order to meet the needs of our students, LCSS has developed with state guidance a four tiered approach. All students in Tier I receive explicit grade level instruction following the Tennessee State Standards. In addition to the Tier I grade level instruction, thirty to forty-five minutes per day is scheduled for Tier II, Tier III, and Tier IV for addition instruction time geared to the students' area of need. Data drives the instructional needs of each group of students during the tier time. Currently, Caywood and Lexington Middle School have scheduled intervention or enrichment time for all students. Students are placed in tier groups according to the universal screener and other summative test scores. All students during this tier time work at their instructional level.

LCSS has 2.5 full time reading interventionists, one full time math interventionist, and one full time interventionist assistant. The interventionists drill down to the area of deficit and provide intensive instruction in the area. Progress monitoring of the area of deficit is assessed every five to ten days depending on the deficit and need. The progress monitoring instruments for the system are Renaissance Learning in math and Easy CBM in reading. We believe the implementation of RTI² model will enable all learners to reach their full potential ensuring that our system will continue to exhibit high achievement and growth gains.

Connecting general and special education the RTI² process focuses on using high-quality, scientifically research-based strategies and assessment data for instruction, intervention, and transitions between the four tiers. Inclusion for all in Tier I instruction is encouraged. Scaffold instruction and modifications allow success for all in Tier I.

State Assessments--For the 2014-2015 school year the state assessments will be TCAP in English Language Arts, math, and science for grades 3-8. Grades K-2 students will be assessed with SAT10. Social studies students in grades 3-8 will participate in a state mandated field social studies assessment using the new Tennessee Social Studies Standards.

In 2016, student will take the new state assessment, TN Ready, in English Language Arts and math. The TN Ready assessment will be adjusted to match the 2015-2016 Tennessee State Standards. Social Studies will take a new online TCAP, and science will continue to take the TCAP assessment. TN Ready will engage students in a variety of questioning techniques. The questions types will consist of multiple choice, evidence based selected response, technology enhance questions, and constructed response.

Training --Over the past few year LCSS has participated in extensive state training for teachers. For the FY 14-15 school year, school team teacher leaders are attending state training and the system provides staff development days for these leaders to train the staff in their grade bands. With onsite training, technology based PD 360, and open source videos, teachers and staff have available resources for professional development to train as their schedule allows.

Our Mission—The mission of the Lexington City School System is to provide a quality education that increases the achievement of every student in order for all to become successful and thoughtful contributors to society. The faculty and staff of LCSS are dedicated to providing quality teaching and learning for all. The success of Your Children, Our Schools, Their Future ensures a progressive Lexington, Henderson County, which makes for a great place to work, play, and live.

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