The Maryland school community values many aspects of its Effective Schools best practice: child-centeredness, common planning template, differentiation, collaboration and reflection. Consultants regularly visit, bringing their expertise in content areas and leadership and providing external validation. Professional development activities focuses on:
- Assisting staff to move toward the new Common Core Math and ELA standards and Ohio's new Science and Social Studies standards
- Translating curriculum content standards into "best practices" classroom delivery and assessment
- Developing common standards-based formative and summative assessments
- Training staff in the effective use of data to identify student needs, plan instruction, and provide interventions
- Training in the use of Best Practices with full implementation in teacher-created units
- Building teacher leadership capacity
Instituting Professional Learning Communities
- Incorporating 21st Century Skills into teacher units to create College and Career-Readiness
Consultants from the school's best practice Effective Schools visit yearly for several days at a time.
- Staff members read and review books provided by the consultants, rehearsing in advance of their visits.
- The consultants provide feedback on plans the faculty devises and assessments they design.
- The school's teacher leader, Melanie Newman, also meets regularly with individual teachers to work on the Effective Schools best practice. They discuss unit writing, using technology, things the staff is doing well and things they need to improve on.
Maryland's North Central committees were reconfigured to include rotating facilitators so that every members of the staff is invested and can use the skills they have to do the things they do best.
Maryland faculty worked separately on committees and then came back together to report to each other. The staff often uses its monthly Delayed Start mornings for the work on Effective Schools.
Staff has set goals in math instruction:
- for every child to become proficient
every child to show growth.
Teachers are striving in the short term to become better at intentional differentiated instruction and assessments, among others. The school has implemented one particular math intervention that came as a result of more accurate assessments: after school groups, meeting 20-30 minutes three days each week.
Maryland has also started a game lending library at school.
Maryland’s reading committee created a time line of events, steps through which the school progressed. The staff determined strengths, needs, beliefs and gathered information before setting its goals. They used an evaluation tool from DIBELS to assess themselves. The three Maryland teachers serving on the district language arts committee suggested that the staff review the Common Core and see how the school measures against it. Short term goals here:
- Fall Literacy Night
- News Show book recommendations
- Read Across America
- Black History Month, Poetry Month and other activities