College of Education
The grant was awarded in the fall of 2009 and reassigned time for faculty began in the spring semester of 2010. Shirley Carroway was hired as the PI and the five focus areas were formed with co-investigators for each area. The focus areas and co-investigators included recruitment (Denise Hunt), curriculum reform (Kristen Cuthrell, Jamin Carson, and Karen Voytecki), clinical practice (Vivian Covington and Judy Smith), induction (Dennis Teel) , and school reform. Internal evaluator was Ken Luterbach and external evaluation was with SERVE, Greensboro, NC.
The USDOE funded Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant is ending its first year. This large grant supports the work of many partners within the College of Education, the Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, Pitt County Schools, and Greene County Schools. All partners were well into the academic year when funding was received, so the first year's challenge was to identify personnel and create an infrastructure for the project. Once a spring semester team was established, COE faculty met with principal investigators to identify key instructional strategies as the basis for course development. Ten instructional strategies were identified after a review of the literature. These strategies were divided into five categories: organizers, concept learning, grouping, question and review, and assessment. The declarative knowledge level module was written and designed as voyage to five islands, representing the five categories. Thus the modules became known as ISLES (Instructional Strategy Lessons for Educators Series); the declarative knowledge level was designated as ISLES 1. Each lesson concluded with a short quiz. ISLES 1 was piloted in the face to face sections of junior level courses.
By summer session, the College of Arts and Sciences faculty joined the work team, along with many Pitt County Schools' clinical teachers. The team began developing instructional units and accompanying content modules that teachers would teach in the fall. These units were designed with the new DPI EE3 and EE5 in mind. Following a vetting process, the units, content modules and video snippets of the actual teaching of the units will be used as instructional materials in methods courses.
An inventory of current recruitment strategies was taken and sixteen strategies were identified. The team worked with program areas at recruitment events planned by the Office of Teacher Education.
The Curriculum reform team centered work in seven initiatives during Year 2: development of exemplar units, curriculum analysis, curriculum content modules, curriculum units with 5-8 lesson plans, instructional strategies integrated in the early experience and early methods teacher education courses, video examples of lessons using instructional strategies, and the Professional Library of Practice. In addition, the team planned for the activities for the summer unit writing camp.
Curriculum analysis included a survey of clinical teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches as well as school test data. The topics for the units to be developed during the summer were thus identified - topics that were challenging to teach. For the elementary grades the topics included reading comprehension, motion and force, fractions, and the North Carolina Constitution. For the middle grades the units would include reading comprehension of non-fiction, motion and force, measurement, and economics.
The instructional strategies were introduced in the elementary education, middle grades education, and special education sections of the introduction to teacher education courses. The Work was begun on writing of the procedural knowledge level for the instructional strategies (ISLES 2) and included the model lessons.
The TQP Unit Writing Camp was held which brought together classroom teachers in Pitt and Greene counties; instructional coaches from Pitt and Greene counties; content faculty from history, mathematics, science, and English in the College of Arts and Sciences; College of Education faculty with expertise in English Language Learners, technology integration, literacy, academically and intellectually gifted, and universal design for learning; and teacher education faculty from elementary, middle grades, and special education. During a month of intense collaboration the educators met at Hope Middle School in Pitt County.
The camp opened with welcoming messages from Mike Pollard, principal; Betty Beacham, Interim PI; John Swope, Associate Dean; and Linda Patriarca, Dean. The task ahead involved collaborative writing of exemplar units for elementary and middle grades on subjects that had been identified as being difficult to teach or had low proficiency ratings on the end-of-the-year tests, as identified above. The ten instructional strategies that are the focus of the grant were demonstrated in the professional development component of the camp, and subsequently were included in each of the exemplar units. Each participant also had the opportunity to go through the same declarative level online module (ISLES 1) for the TQP instructional strategies as teacher candidates do in their junior year.
Each grade level team included four classroom teachers as well as specialists in the areas of Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG), English Language Learners (ELL), instructional technology, literacy, and universal design for learning (UDL). Five representatives from the College of Arts & Sciences provided the content expertise. In addition, TPAC components were added to the units as models for the preservice teachers. The comprehensive units will be integrated into the procedural and conditional level online modules of Instructional Strategy Lessons for Educators Series (ISLES 2 and ISLES 3).
TQP implementation by program area and instructional strategy integration.
By the end of July the units were nearing completion and the Co-PIs from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Kristen Cuthrell, Jamin Carson, and Karen Voytecki, added the finishing touches in preparation for their use in the elementary, middle grades, and special education classes for the 2011-2012 academic year. The modules were populated in each section of the reformed courses. Online technical help was provided as well as by appointment for face-to-face assistance, especially for video preparation for ISLES 3.
With the Greene County Schools, there were three initiatives
With the Pitt County Schools there were two initiatives.
Greene County Schools (1) established new selection criteria for interns and clinical teachers; (2) provided mentor training for the TQP clinical teachers; and (3) provided new teacher training (which the external evaluators attended).
Pitt County Schools (1) identified a lead mentor in each school using the train-the-trainer model; and (2) provided new teacher training in August which included an introduction to the instructional strategies.
In the Greene County Schools, each clinical teacher became a mentor for a first year teacher.
Writing of ISLES 3, the conditional knowledge level module, begun in early fall, continued. This module provided guidance for the intern to write a lesson plan, video record it while teaching, and reflect on the lesson. These documents were subsequently submitted electronically into Taskstream. Year three included minor revisions to each lesson as a result of suggestions from faculty and instructional coaches. Supporting materials were also developed for the faculty, clinical teacher, as well as the teacher candidates. Technology support was provided as interns learned to trim their videos and upload them into Taskstream.
Under the leadership of Kristen Cuthrell, supportive materials were developed, including information sheets for faculty, clinical teachers, and students. Each module was revised based on feedback from instructors and instructional coaches. Essential understandings were written addressing special considerations for ELL students. Online technical support continued for interns having difficulty in trimming and/or saving their videos in preparation for uploading into Taskstream.
ISLES 1, 2, and 3 were revised during the summer to embed the documents that had been links to another server within the module in pdf format. Again, the modules were embedded within the Blackboard courses and the quizzes were a component of the Blackboard scoring system and gradebook. Additional documents of Essential Understandings were written on instructional technology. During the year Essential Understandings for literacy and universal design for learning were written by faculty and added to ISLES 1 module. These additions were included in the Fall 2014 courses.
A generic version of ISLES 3 was created for use by other program areas. Birth-Kindergarten program contributed to the creation of Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning, to provide experiences in preparation for a requirement of the edTPA, the assessment tool for teacher education.