Schools across Wisconsin have started implementation of SLO’s. The acronym SLO has dual meaning within Wisconsin’s Educator Effectiveness System. For teachers, the acronym refers to Student Learning Objectives, which are performance goals for entire classrooms or subsets of students. For principals, the acronym refers to School Learning Objectives, which are performance goals for an entire school or subsets of students within the school. SLOs are detailed, measurable goals for student growth to be achieved in a specified period of time (typically an academic year), and developed collaboratively by educators and their evaluators. SLO’s will be 50% of a teachers overall evaluation with the other 50% coming from teacher evaluation. At Mineral Point Schools, teachers are strategically compensated based on the overall performance of their evaluations and receive pay increases for performance rather than longevity in the profession.
The common core state standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, define the knowledge and skills students should have during their elementary and secondary school education so they are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Wisconsin is a partner state in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and has had ongoing involvement in shaping the standards as they were developed, reviewing them, and providing feedback to the project writers.
The process to implement the Common Core State Standards to improve student achievement requires understanding the content of the standards, developing curriculum that reflects the standards, and then providing resources for teachers to develop lesson plans to each those standards. Mineral Point is the process of identifying resources and curriculum for the standards based curriculum. This initiative is important, as additionally Wisconsin will be implementing a SMARTER/Balanced Assessment to deliver a high quality, common assessment across the state that connects to classroom instruction using the common core state standards.
Mapping resources and curriculum to standards will take a large amount of time. Teachers used the past two Friday collaborative release times (CRT’s) to learn more about the software used to house the information for mapping the curriculum followed by actual implementation to a standard’s based curriculum. Once this project is complete at year’s end, a curriculum map will be available online to allow parents the ability to see what is taught at what grade level during the year. In addition, reports will be generated to learn where a standard is being taught repetitively in the K-12 sequence and where a standard is not being taught in any of the curricula.
Friday CRT’s, however, are much more than mapping curriculum. Teachers used CRT’s to train on a behavior strategy entitled “Responsible Classroom” (see article written by Anne Palzkill), hosting parent teacher conferences, writing technology plans and deploying a response to interventions. Future CRT’s will investigate Project Lead the Way (PLTW) at the elementary (see article written by Livia Doyle), the use of interactive technology in the classroom to engage students, and understanding the latest practices surrounding grading.
School Safety is also a primary concern of the school district. Over the summer the district updated both interior/exterior building lock systems and added outdoor cameras at both buildings with interior cameras at the Middle/High School. Other safety measures included the removal of asbestos flooring at the elementary building, replacing a portion of the elementary roof, and replacing a section of concrete walk at the elementary that was a trip hazard.