At DLA we believe our students’ achievements are the direct result of our teachers’ effectiveness. We believe teachers are leaders who are responsible for their students’ success. The more skilled and accomplished our teachers are, the more proficient and high achieving our students will be.
Thus, we invest heavily in teacher development through:
Ongoing professional development aligned to the DLA Teacher Performance Rubric
Training on evidence-based practices that align with our school model and priorities, such as data-driven instruction, balanced literacy, effective writing instruction, and project-based learning
Opportunities to practice techniques and strategies and receive feedback from academic coach and peers
Weekly opportunities to collaborate with grade level team, department team, and the intervention team
Frequent classroom observations and 1-on-1 coaching for co-planning, data analysis, and action planning
Grade Level Meetings (GLMs)
Grade level teams meet at least once a week during planning periods with a focus on classroom culture, student investment, and student achievement. The goal of GLMs is for teacher-based teams to norm on routines, procedures, and expectations to provide consistency for students across the grade level. Meetings have an agenda, are facilitated by the academic team, and notes are shared. As part of the data-driven instruction cycle, once a month GLMs are Data Team Meetings when teachers analyze common assessments and identify re-teach strategies. As part of the RTI process, once a quarter GLMs are Student Success Team meetings to discuss student concerns and identify interventions to implement.
Grade level teams meet at least once a week during planning periods to study the curriculum and co-plan lessons. The goal of co-planning meetings is for teacher teams to collaborate and share ideas for effective instruction. In K-3rd grades, teachers review all subject lesson plans for the following week and prepare materials to use. In 4th-8th grades, teachers discuss cross-curricular strategies for close reading, writing, and vocabulary instruction, as well as plan content for Morning Meeting/Advisory.
It is important for teachers to come together regularly as a community of learners to improve their craft. During Monthly Collaboration from 1:00-4:00pm, DLA teachers meet to learn, collaborate, practice, and plan. The academic team and department chairs plan and facilitate Monthly Collaboration. Agendas and supporting documents are shared in advance and teacher-created plans are posted afterwards.
Monthly Collaboration includes time for:
1) Department Teams to learn and practice evidence-based instructional strategies based on DLA’s non-negotiables
2) Teacher-Based Teams (HR and intervention teachers) to implement the data-driven instruction cycle of analyze assessments and create action plans to re-teach
3) House Teams to check in on school culture expectations including social-emotional learning, common procedures/routines, and student celebrations.
DLA plans and facilitates three professional development days in August before school starts and three professional development days during the school year. The content of these days is driven by our school goals, priorities, and student achievement data. Agendas and supporting documents are provided in advance. Sessions are focused on objectives and include time for data analysis, analyzing student work, co-planning, and collaboration. Sessions are led by DLA school leaders, teacher leaders, and outside expert trainers.
Research shows that when a teacher receives frequent observation and feedback, the teacher develops as much in one year as most teachers do in twenty years. Our goal for coaching is to find the most effective way to coach teachers to improve student learning.
Coaching is differentiated based on teacher performance and learning styles using the four coaching stances: calibrating, consulting, collaborating, coaching. This means some teachers will participate in weekly coaching meetings while other teachers may participate in coaching meetings once a month.
Coaching sessions may include:
coach and teacher co-planning lessons
coach modeling strategies in teacher’s class
coach providing feedback from classroom observation
coach and teacher sharing reflections on a lesson recorded and shared via Torsh Talent platform
coach and teacher analyzing student work and assessment data
coach and teacher developing action plans with next steps