Focus on Learning . . .

November 17th, 2015

At MOC-Floyd Valley, we are striving to make every classroom a place of rich and valuable learning for all students. Such a systemic goal requires clear and focused collaboration throughout the district. One of the tools we use to assess our efforts and provide direction is a process called, “Instructional Rounds” – which is the educational version of medical rounds used in many medical school programs.
Instructional Rounds are a disciplined way for educators to work together to improve instruction (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009). The process combines three common elements of improvement: classroom observation, an improvement strategy, and a network of educators.
Rounds visits are centered on the instructional core – the teacher, the students, and the content. There are seven principles of the instructional core that guide our work (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009). They are:
1) Increases in student learning occur only as a consequence of improvements in the level of the content, teachers’ knowledge & skill, and student engagement.
2) If you change any single element of the instructional core, you have to change the other two.
3) If you can’t see it in the core, it’s not there.
4) Task predicts performance.
5) The real accountability system is in the tasks that students are asked to do.
6) We learn to do the work by doing the work, not by telling other people to do the work, not by having done the work at some time in the past, and not by hiring experts who can act as proxies for our knowledge about how to do the work.
7) Description before analysis, analysis, before prediction, and prediction before evaluation.
At MOC-Floyd Valley, we are conducting Rounds visits in each building two times per year. These visits are focused on different elements of the instructional core, and they align with our professional development efforts. The data collected provides us with proof that what we have deemed important is either working or isn’t working.
Administrators, instructional coaches and teachers work together to design and conduct the visits. All staff members are engaged in processing the data and implementing any identified changes. From there, we repeat the cycle as a part of our commitment to continuous improvement that is centered on learning.

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