Thursday, April 18, 2013

Robert C Fisler and Valencia Park

OK today I am taking the lazy approach and simply copying and pasting from my notes. So, feel free to skim read and enjoy the photos.

Fisler School opened in 2004 and has been an Apple Distinguished School for the last six years. The Principal has a very clear vision for her school and I loved how the mission statement was clearly displayed in each class. The teaching team has even created a 'songify' of their mission statement.

The Principal talked about the WHY, why do we do what we do? And, also the importance of thinking about what you are trying to answer. Is it simply about, are test scores rising? Or, are students achieving?

USA schools have a academic performance indicator score - (API) - rated between 400 and 1000. Fisler School is at 982 and the Principal is obviously very proud of her schools results.

Some interesting points...

• only ADE School in the nation, this let's the community know its a great school!
• school has received the California business for educational excellence
• incredibly high achieving school
• 1-1 laptop 2nd through 8th with a take home policy
• awesome attendance
• huge enrolment growth - success in community
• the Principal talked about how they are rethinking the question, just raising test scores is not enough
• how are we preparing our students for their tomorrows?
• good at communicating, collaborating, creating and critical thinking
• focus on the SAMR model - Ruben R. Puentedura
• shared iPads across pod
• parents can buy own laptops but have to buy through district so they can image it
• high percentage of Korean students
• have a lease to purchase scheme but foundation in place for those who cannot afford
• every class streamed
• large class sizes (36)
• extensive use of QR codes for math
• iMovie and Haiku deck used extensively
• students in USA usually attend neighbourhood school but can apply to another school - parents move to this area for school
• teachers have 2 x 50 mins professional learning time per week - work with other teachers in grade level - look at students learning and where they need to spend more time (kids at PE during this time)
• Use google docs
• - LMS - parents can access and connect
• 60% Korean 20% Asian 20% African/American
• education of high importance to Asian families
• local high school doesn't continue 1-1, however they are visiting 3rd May
• principal reflected how she used to worry about this but now realises teachers are developing the thinking - its not just about the tools
• high school is a black hole - they need to come up to par - don't feel the guilt anymore
• teachers hired with expectation of 1-1
• IWB's going out
• strong leadership a huge enabler
• strategy of feeding the hungry - those who are interested
• district wide model
• teachers apply for iPads - part of buy in is being a role model, present, share back (iPads with class grant)
• when they are hungry 'feed' them more
• implemented over 3 year period
• robust discussions around how do you get principal buy in
• show principals 'results' to encourage buy in - research, pictures, model classroom, target groups, role model, focus area
• SAMR - nothing wrong with substitution
• it's ok if everyone not on same page but everyone needs to know where you are going
• technology gives choice and power to students - level of choice engages students
• 'carrot' for teachers eg Elim Christian - teachers/school went halves in iPad - needed to be part of PLN
• technology spotlight at every staff meeting - each grade level has turns to present - need to focus on how what is shared meets school vision
• thoughts on BYOD - diff devices can end up in just substitution - stick to 1 device
• parents have options on how to pay for device - district buy devices and invoices parents

Discussions with Assistant Superintendent - Fullerton School District

Awesome concept of

• once a month training for principals - tech component , new common core standards, planning
• principals meet twice a month - administrators use the flipped approach, all info shared beforehand - f2f time is about collaboration.

Valencia Park Elementary

Have rolled out iPods/iPads over 3 years

• 2010/11 - 600 iPods - the shift from using apps to creating with apps
• 11/12 - 125 iPads
• 12/13 - 1-1 iPads 15 classes
• the integration of devices has resulted in huge increase in students scores (pic)
• discussion around engagement of students - the sizzle effect
• QR codes used extensively - in particular for math
• using SAMR model
• don't sync any iPads - simply load new apps to teacher iPad - kids go in and download in purchased - App Store
• each class affiliated with university - encouraging thinking it is possible for anyone to attend Uni
• iMovie used for consolidating and recording math knowledge
• loved the prof dev room in this school - teachers apply to be part of programme - 1-1 project - this will require additional prof dev that may take place after hours - learn, play, share model - ongoing PD
• they are finding more teachers 'want' the devices
• was lowest school in state (API) now taken off 'school improvement'
• also a Apple Distinguished School

So its now been 4 days of visits, 7 schools so far, 2 meet ups with Superintendants and a casual meet up with teachers. Then, there is the incredible professional dialogue between our NZ team.... no wonder my head is spinning. Add in early mornings and very late nights and it all makes for one amazing experience!

One thing a very wise man (Innes) said today is, that as part of this tour he hopes we will be going back with bigger questions than what we left with! It's going to be a success for me!

Dinner tonight was at the home of Carol Anne McGuire, founder of Rock my World. Amazing American hospitality with a truly American whanau. Good Kai, fab company, music, sharing kiwiana and tikanga, te reo, waiata and laughter. The perfect end to day 1 in LA.

Ka Kite, time for moe:-)

1 comment:

Tara Fagan said...

Sounds amazing. I want to know more about how the PL works for teachers, how the flipped model is being used by ad,ins traitors and how the qr codes work for math. So can't wait to chat about it all