Schools
Schools
    The Learning Portrait

    The Learning Portrait

    "The more the [learner] becomes the [educator] and the more the [educator] 
    becomes the learner, then the more successful are the outcomes."
    John Hattie
     

    Descriptor

    We believe every individual involved in the learning process can make a significant impact. Every learner is an educator. Every educator is a learner.

     

    Learner

    With an innate sense of curiosity, learners wonder, dream, imagine and create. Desiring to grow in knowledge and skills, learners question, connect, process and reflect in order to further their understanding of concepts and skills. Learners are self-regulated, diverse individuals bringing with them prior experiences, skills and mental models that influence beliefs, emotions and prejudices as they continuously construct meaning. Learners advocate for their own understanding and seek opportunities, both local and global, to educate and serve others.
     
     

    Educator

    Educators model the construction of knowledge, skills, learning processes and dispositions as they actively engage in learning. They respond to learner’s needs by designing and facilitating learner-centered experiences, monitoring learner progress and providing specific feedback. Educators communicate clearly and hold high expectations for every learner. The ultimate goal of an educator is to ignite learners’ passions and give them a sense of interdependence, seeking out their own learning.

    Supports for Facilitating Learning – District/Campus

    Both the District and campuses provide support for educators to engage in collective inquiry and action research (professional learning) as a means for continuing to hone their craft and develop proficiencies in their discipline. By working in local and global networks, educators develop partnerships for reciprocal learning that serves as a support system for educators to take risks in their classroom.

    Instructional Coaching

    The District provides opportunities for educators to improve instructional practice by supporting a partnership between instructional coaches and educators in order to collaborate and reflect on their goals for classroom practice. With an emphasis on learning environment, curriculum, design and assessment, instructional coaching provides:
    • differentiated support to educators so they are able to implement proven practices
    • empathetic listeners that build trusting relationships with a repertoire of excellent communication skills
    • encouragement and support for educator reflection about their classroom practice evidence-based
    • help in creating a plan for realizing the educator’s goals with a focus on improving instruction 
    • support in developing a deep understanding of evidence-based instructional practices

    Learning Walks

    The District provides opportunities for educators to improve instructional practice by giving and receiving descriptive feedback from peers involved in professional learning communities. Learning walks provide:
    • established norms
    • goals related to a specific focus point
    • descriptive feedback
    • debrief and reflection

    Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

    The District supports partnerships between educators as they collaborate and reflect on their goals for classroom practice. Educators refine their practice by:
    • creating and sustaining collaborative relationships
    • aligning systems
    • facilitating shared responsibility
    • building coherence and clarity
    • modeling practices and expectations
    • reflecting on the effectiveness of self and others
    • developing leadership capacity in self and others

    Critical Friends Protocol

    The Critical Friends protocol empowers both learners and educators to give and receive feedback in a non-threatening environment. The protocol includes:
    • “I likes” (What are the strengths or assets of the current design?)
    • “I wonders” (What are the areas of confusion? Alignment to standards?)
    • “next steps” (Possible next steps to take or consider in the design process)

    Supports for Facilitating Learning – Educator

    Empowering Leadership

    Leaders mobilize, energize and empower others. Leaders, both formal and informal, possess dispositions that influence others to improve individual and group performance. Characteristics of quality leaders include:
    • Building a shared vision
    • Creating and sustaining collaborative relationships
    • Aligning systems
    • Facilitating shared responsibility
    • Building coherence and clarity
    • Modeling practices and expectations
    • Reflecting on effectiveness of self and others 
    • Developing leadership capacity in self and others

    Designing and Facilitating Constructivist Learning Experiences

    Educators intentionally design authentic learning experiences that bridge learners’ prior understandings and new ideas. The designed learning experiences allow learners to collaborate, communicate, model, investigate and reflect as they develop understanding of the big ideas. To support this meaning making, educators are expected to:
    • deconstruct content standards to identify the big ideas learners should know, understand and be able to do
    • use essential or driving questions to connect the content to broader disciplinary and transdisciplinary concepts and ideas
    • plan performance based assessments of understanding prior to planning the scaffolded learning experiences
    • analyze learner data to identify individual needs of learners
    • model appropriate strategies for learning

    Integrating Opportunities for Fluency

    Educators design opportunities within scaffolding learning design for learners to practice newly acquired knowledge and skills. Learner automaticity allows for increased efficiency to access and engage in more rigorous and complex tasks and experiences because learners are able to retrieve foundational skills quickly and accurately with minimal effort. To support learner’s fluency, educators are expected to:
    • identify small elements, or chunks, of more complex knowledge/skills where fluency is necessary
    • design opportunities for learners to engage in varied, staggered and contextual practice
    • measure learners’ ability to accurately and quickly access information
    • challenge learners to achieve their personal best

    Assessing and Providing Descriptive Feedback

    Descriptive feedback is essential for learner success. It should show learners how they can improve their learning by highlighting gaps in understanding rather than listing what is right or wrong. Effective feedback that is accurate, fair, specific and timely facilitates a reciprocal learning process. Feedback must be:
    • an accurate representation of what learners have and have not learned
    • free of bias or judgment
    • a reflection of how the work compares with the targeted standard or model
    • given with sufficient timeliness to influence performance
    • provided in a manner that brings clarity to identified skills and gaps in learning

    Responding to Learners

    The goal of teaching is successful learning. Responsive teaching means an educator establishes a positive relationship with each learner in order to understand the background experiences, learning preferences, interests, culture and supports needed to ensure successful learning. Just as all learners are not the same, a one-size-fits-all approach does not meet the needs of all learners. Responsive educators:
    • establish a safe learning environment
    • employ multiple learning strategies
    • incorporate content literacy strategies
    • facilitate inquiry
    • differentiate according to interest, culture and readiness
    • make the content relevant
    • maintain high expectations for all learners 
    • design learning experiences to intentionally embrace diversity
    • create personalized learning pathways for all learners

    Embracing Diversity

    Educators reach and teach all learners while embracing cultural factors. Past experiences, perceptions and preferences influence the lens through which the world is viewed. Educators create environments and design learning experiences, which capitalize on diversity (race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender). Viewed as an asset to the learning community, the needs of diverse learners are intentionally met by educators. Educators who embrace diversity:
    • understand the perspective of all learners and their families
    • use knowledge of learning preferences of various cultures to design learning experiences
    • enrich classroom resources through the use of materials which reflect the cultural diversity
    • empower all learners to achieve success through relevant, cognitively rigorous and authentic learning experiences

    Operating within a Growth Mindset

    A growth mindset is based on the belief that one’s qualities, including intelligence, can be cultivated through effort. It is the belief that a person’s true potential is unknowable and future accomplishments cannot be predicted. Educators:
    • embrace the belief that there is no limit to the skills any learner can acquire with practice
    • equip each learner with the skills and understandings needed to achieve success at high levels
    • provide a safe nurturing learning environment in which all learners can construct their own meaning
    • promote a growth mindset for learners

    Supporting Global Connectedness

    Education for international mindedness values the world as the broadest context for learning, develops conceptual understanding across a range of subjects and offers opportunities to inquire, act and reflect and serve. Educators nurture and foster the development of responsible global citizens. Global citizens:
    • are aware of the wider world and their place within it
    • think and act on their role as world citizens
    • respect and value diversity
    • understand how the world works
    • are empathetic
    • participate in the community at a range of levels from local to global
    • are willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place
    • take responsibility for their actions

    Employing Brain-Based Strategies

    Brain-based research for teaching supports mechanisms of human learning based on the premise that learning changes the physical structural and functional organization of the brain. Because different parts of the brain may be ready at different times, a variety of brain-friendly strategies must be included within the learning environment. Brain and psychological development involve continuous interaction between the learner and the external environment. Educators employing brain-based strategies:
    • design learning integrating engagement strategies based on how our brain works
    • recognize that all learners have different combinations of intelligences
    • create environments suitable for learning by doing, receiving feedback, refining understanding and building new knowledge

    Strategies for Learning

    Becoming Self-Regulated Learners

    Intelligent people when confronted with problems display certain thinking dispositions, for which the solutions are not immediately apparent. Educators guide learners to take control of their own learning by instilling the following habits of mind:
    • Persisting: seeing a task through to completion and staying focused
    • Managing impulsivity: thinking before acting; remaining calm, thoughtful and deliberate
    • Listening with understanding and empathy: seeking to understand others
    • Thinking flexibly: changing perspectives, generating alternatives, considering options
    • Metacognition: being aware of one’s own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions
    • Striving for greater accuracy and precision: desiring exactness, fidelity and craftsmanship
    • Questioning and problem solving: considering what data are needed and choosing strategies for collecting those data; finding problems to solve
    • Applying past knowledge to new situations: accessing prior knowledge, transferring that knowledge
    • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision: striving for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over generalizations, distortions and deletions
    • Gathering data through all senses : using all sensory pathways to gather data
    • Creating, imagining, innovating: trying a different way, generating novel ideas, seeking originality
    • Taking responsible risks: venturing out; living on the edge of one’s competence
    • Thinking interdependently: truly working with and learning from others in reciprocal situations
    • Remaining open to continuous learning: learning from experiences; admitting when one doesn’t know; resisting complacency

    Advocating for Self

    Learners, propelled by their creativity, drive their educational path and pursuits (self-determination). The learner uses internal knowledge of personal interests, passions and strengths to mobilize and energize themselves as well as others. This knowledge and awareness produce the ability to advocate for resources necessary to customize and personalize a plan for success (self-advocacy). The learner, who self-determines and self-advocates develops:
    • a growth mindset
    • self-efficacy 
    • a sense of belonging
    • relevance for their work
    Reference: Creating a New Vision for Public Education (Article I a,c,d,h; Article II c-f,l,k; Article III a-m)
    CLOSE