Instructional Services offers trainings to get districts started
As part of the Federal Race To The Top initiative, each building in a school district is required to form an inquiry team — a group of teachers and building principals charged with analyzing data, identifying student achievement gaps, and formulating steps to close those gaps.
Many school districts likely already utilize some informal version of an inquiry team. However, those structures will likely have to redefine themselves: The State Education Department has mandated an organized structure under which districts must identify student achievement gaps, since New York state is a recipient of federal Race To The Top funds.
Since the summer, April Prestipino, educational data coach with BOCES' Instructional Services team, has been holding small half-day training sessions to help school districts develop various strategies for tackling the inquiry team requirement. These trainings not only help school districts determine what their inquiry teams should look like, but also how to gather and analyze data on a deeper level to help inform instruction.
Three more half-day sessions will be taking place: Two are scheduled for Nov. 14 and 30 for school district inquiry teams at Capital Region BOCES, 900 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Albany. There will be one half-day session Dec. 13 in Cobleskill. Register for any of these sessions on MyLearningPlan.
"In these trainings, as well as in our everyday consultations with school district inquiry teams, we do much more than just hand you the data," Prestipino said. "We will work closely with you to find any achievement gaps, then help you develop a strategy to alter instruction and close those gaps."
Over time, Prestipino and the Instructional Services team aims to help school districts fully align curricula with Common Core Learning Standards assessments at every grade level, as well as ensure curricula deliver a level of rigor high enough to satisfy the requirements of state assessments.
"Further, we aim to help school district inquiry teams create a culture of interdependence, not just within their school district, but with other districts as well," Prestipino said. "This can help them to gather the insights and experience needed to become more comfortable using data to modify their curriculum strategies."