Thoughtful Classroom

Durand Area Schools is implementing the concepts and philosophies of the Thoughtful Classroom as taught by Dr. Harvey Silver. 

During the 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10 school years all teaching staff and administrators participated in basic training to build an awareness level of the Thoughtful Classroom concepts, philosophies, and strategies.

 During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, teacher leaders attended a week long summer workshop that helped them to implement the "House Design" of the Thoughtful Classroom as they developed curriculum units in their courses.

 During the 2010-11 school year, teacher leaders were trained to begin using RTI (Response To Intervention) research-based strategies to help students who are not yet at grade level to make academic gains of more than one year during the school year.

During the 2011-12 school year, teacher leaders were trained to better implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into their curriculum units and daily lesson plans.

Using the Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework (TCTEF) to guide the development, a group of teacher leaders and administrators met in the 2010-11 school year to chart the course to a new teacher and administrator evaluation process.  This group outlined the issues and concerns that would need to be addressed in order to create an effective and fair system of evaluation.

With changes in school law regarding teacher and administrator evaluation beginning with the 2011-12 school year,  Durand Area Schools embarked on a process to develop a new teacher and administrator evaluation process.  The new system provides opportunities for multiple observations of all classrooms by administrators using the TCTEF, training for both teachers and administrators in order to better understand the "look fors" in classrooms.  It also includes an online Teacher Self Assessment using the TCTEF and requires teachers and administrators to develop professional growth plans to guide and enhance their learning. 

The law now requires "student achievement growth" as part of teacher and administrator evaluations. Teachers and administrators are refining a process to assess student growth in both vocabulary and common core state standards.  This local assessment began in the 2011-12 school year with the advent of the "Vocabulary Knowledge Rating" (VKR) assessment to track student growth in all courses around key vocabulary related to course content.  Pre and Post testing provides both a starting point and finish line for student growth in each course of study for each teacher.  During this year the district piloted and refined a process to use the "House Unit Design" to create CCSS assessments at every level.  These assessments will become a part of the student growth factors for teacher and administrator evaluation in the future.