We chose a station rotation model to help decrease teacher/student ratio so we could better meet our students' instructional needs.
Staff buy-in was out biggest challenge because, as secondary teachers, many of them were uncomfortable with small group instruction. To create buy-in, we established 6 model classrooms and created an open-door policy so teachers who were curious or anxious about the process could watch what blended learning looks like in a classroom. We also provided targeted, differentiated professional development for staff in the months before our blended learning building-wide launch. We wrote an implementation calendar for teachers that identified stages of implementation August through December to help teachers feel less overwhelmed.
Focus on one component of blended learning at a time and get really good at that before you tackle something else.
Leadership Strategies for Implementation: quality professional development, data analysis, classroom observations and instructional goal-setting with effective feedback using an observation protocol are critical for success.
School redesign: Blended learning has been a major component of our successful redesign plan. we continue to show growth while other middle schools in our district fall further behind.
Located on the North Side of Syracuse, Grant Middle School educates over 600 students grades 6-8, the majority of whom are considered at-risk students. With a large population of both Special Education and ENL students, Grant was facing receivership. As a turnaround plan, Grant Middle Schools principal implemented a blended learning classroom pilot in 2015. In 2016, Grant Middle School has launched blended learning building-wide in all core content areas and in all three grade levels 6-8 . Grant has since received recognition for its turn-around plan from the New Your State Department of Education.
Contact: Sharon Archer
Contact Title: Blended Personalized Learning Coach
Grant Middle School
2400 Grant Blvd.
Syracuse, New York
Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the New York State Department of Instruction implemented new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The new standards for proficiency in these subjects are higher than in previous years and the percent of students earning a proficient score is expected to be lower as a result of this change. See http://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/test_score_release_letter_to_parents.pdf from New York's Commissioner of Education for more information on these changes. In 2014-2015 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and in grades 4 and 8 in Science. At present 2014-15 results are available only for English language arts and math. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.
In 2014-2015 New York used the New York State Regents Examinations to test high school students in English, math, global history and geography, US history and government, living environment, chemistry, Earth science and physics. Students must take at least five Regents Exams in order to graduate. Scores of 65 and above are passing; scores of 55 and above earn credit toward a local diploma (with the approval of the local board of education). The goal is for all students to pass the tests.
Beginning in 2013-2014, the New York State Regents Examination was replaced with Common Core aligned standards. The new Regents Common Core exams test students in math and English. Scores of 65 demonstrate partial mastery of standards and are sufficient to graduate. Scores of 75 or above demonstrate college- and career- readiness and are aspirational scores. No one is required to pass the Common Core to graduate until students who started ninth grade prior to 2013-2014 graduate. Until that time, students who started ninth grade prior to 2013-2014 have the option to take the old Regents exam in addition to the Common Core exam.