Recently, the Institute for Learning was selected to bring its expertise and extensive experience with instructional coaching to mathematics educators in the state of Tennessee. More specifically, IFL provided instruction around coaching moves that support high-quality teaching, resulting in improved student learning.
New Brunswick Public Schools (NJ) is a continuing partner with the Institute for Learning (IFL). Over the last 4 academic years, the district has seen definite growth across grades 3 – 10 in both English language arts and mathematics, as measured on the NJ state assessment tests.
Paterson Public School’s Guiding Coalition, a working group in academic services composed of content area senior staff, began its journey with improvement science in the fall of 2016. As we examined the various issues that we faced in curriculum and instruction, one flash point was the extraordinarily low state achievement test scores in science on the Grade 8 and high school biology assessments.
Networks have always been a mechanism for improvement; as social learning theory reminds us that, when well organized, opportunities to learn together can be more powerful than individual learning. We know that bringing people together to work on a common goal can be exciting, but to enact real change we must push beyond a sharing network—a collection of educators who share their practice—to a scientific professional learning community—one in which a diverse set of individuals engage in disciplined inquiry to solve a common problem of practice (Russell et al., under review).
Decades of research in mathematics, English, and science education have made it clear that students make substantial progress only when they experience rich learning tasks in their classes that require the students to engage in sense making; it is very difficult for teachers to arrange for strong student learning outcomes when the curriculum for students is weak.