Author Archives: Pivot Learning

teacher coaching checklistMany studies have shown that teachers who receive coaching in addition to instruction are far more likely to implement the practices they learn in workshops than teachers who only participate in professional development courses.

Maximize the impact of professional learning and improve instructional quality and academic achievement in your district or site next school year by following the six coaching best practices outlined in this checklist.

Pivot Learning and CORE can also help you strengthen instruction with our coaching and professional development services. Our expert team of coaches are skilled at job-embedded coaching, individual or small audience support, and blended learning tools to develop your internal coaching capacity, instructional practices, and organizational management initiatives.

Beyond High School from Pivot Learning builds post-secondary and career preparation into the high school experience through an equity-centered approach that supports communities as they innovate and transform their schools.

Watch this short video to hear how Oceanside High School and Monterey Peninsula Unified School District have improved the college and career readiness of their students by working with Pivot Learning.

To learn more about Beyond High School and working with Pivot Learning to implement this comprehensive school redesign model, visit our product information page.

Our recent report, The Big Squeeze: How Unfunded Pension Costs Threaten Educational Equity, continues to bring attention to the issue of rising pension costs and how schools are being impacted. An op-ed published in the San Francisco Chronicle sounds the alarm about the equity crisis facing California public schools due to unfunded pensions costs. Learn more about the report and download a copy.

Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle

Teacher strikes across California have focused much-needed attention on the overwhelming challenges facing public education. While the state economy booms, teachers are asking why they haven’t received the salary increases they deserve. Others are wondering why extra education funding for vulnerable students hasn’t produced more services.

Some are pointing fingers at charter schools, others at the financial impact of declining student enrollment. Most are ignoring the elephant in the room: billions of dollars in unfunded pension costs.

Our politicians must confront this crisis. Besides raising more revenue for education, they need to make some tough choices about how to invest the funds they already have. Our neediest communities must be empowered both to support their teachers and to increase critical services for low-income students, foster youths and English learners.

The Big Squeeze, a recent report from Pivot Learning analyzing the budgets of nearly 100 school districts, documents the impact of rapidly rising pension costs on teachers and students. It also offers solutions that would begin to stabilize the crisis and increase equity.

In 2014, to help close the staggering $75 billion funding gap in its teacher pension system, the state directed school districts to significantly increase their contributions. At the time, districts spent an average of $500 per pupil on pensions; in 2020, they’ll be contributing an average of $1,600 per pupil.

To stay afloat, districts are deferring maintenance on school buildings, increasing class sizes, delaying textbook purchases, and cutting crucial programs and services such as art, music, nursing and counseling.

 

Read the Full Story

 

Our most vulnerable students also require structured materials designed specifically to fill learning gaps

by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of the Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

Back in September 2018 I wrote about the importance of selecting and fully implementing a great curriculum with excellent support and ongoing professional learning. This is a huge and important step in accelerating achievement for all students. But is that enough? The answer, unfortunately is “no.” A standards-aligned, high-quality curricula, while significantly improving outcomes for many students, will not be sufficient for those most at risk. Core curriculum is targeted at grade-level standards and will ensure all students have access to robust content, but it will not meet the needs of students who are significantly behind in their skills. Such students will still require a targeted or intensive intervention curricula that is well beyond what a standards-aligned core program can provide.

Don’t get me wrong, strong curriculum will significantly reduce the numbers of students needing tiered interventions, but older students, in particular, who did not have the benefits of best first teaching, will need extra support. This is also true for young students experiencing reading or math difficulty. A multi-tiered system of support will ideally address these needs. Yet few districts have successfully designed and implemented MTSS. When implemented fully, schools with multi-tiered systems recognize that in addition to solid core instructional materials, educators need to also identify, purchase and implement specialized, structured intervention materials that explicitly address students’ skills gaps. One curriculum will not be sufficient as it will not address the various tiers of instructional need at a school. Furthermore, not all of the vetted core curricula adequately address the early literacy foundational skills. This gap will likely require supplemental materials that more closely meet those described in the IES Practice Guide Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rdGrade or follow Louise Spear-Swerling’s description of Structured Literacy (Structured Literacy and Typical Literacy Practices: Understanding Differences to Create Instructional Opportunities, Jan. 2018). Especially in the early grades, prevention of reading difficulty is the name of the game and most core curricula, while essentially meeting most standards, are not sufficient.

Without a doubt, we want all students to have access to standards-aligned curriculum and instruction, but what if specific foundational skills never are mastered? A 6th grade student who cannot decode single syllable words while able to participate actively in core instruction still needs to be taught how to decode. Where is the material to do that in a standards-aligned middle school core program? When a student with identified learning disabilities receives great instruction and scaffolded support in a general education classroom, he or she can participate, be engaged and will learn, but at some point the missing skills need to be directly taught. Such struggling students will not have scaffolded support when they leave school. We want these students to have the skills they require to be independent.

Too often we confuse equity with equality. Yes, giving all students equal access to high-quality curriculum and instruction is vital, but equity entails much more. Equality is treating everyone the same and the goal is to promote fairness. But that is only true if everyone starts from the same place. Equity, on the other hand, requires giving someone what they need to be successful.

We are on the right track with focusing on putting excellent core instructional materials into the hands of well-prepared and supported educators, but we also have to be aware that some students will also need targeted instruction with more appropriate and focused materials.

In education we have a habit of going for the silver bullet, of looking for a panacea that will turn things around. In recent years it was teachers writing their own units of study and having new common core standards; now, it is selecting and implementing a standards-aligned curriculum faithfully. I fear we will put too much stock in the power of a strong curriculum and be dreadfully disappointed when many of our most vulnerable learners do not improve sufficiently. I would like to think we can do two things at the same time—select and implement a strong standards-aligned core curriculum as core instruction for all students but at the same time identify and implement structured materials designed specifically to fill learning gaps for those students who need more targeted instruction and materials, so that we truly turn our schools into equitable institutions. Our schools should be places where all students thrive and those who need more get more.

References:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/practiceguide/21

http://www.readingrockets.org/content/pdfs/structured-literacy.pdf

Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education

Check out CORE’s new 3rd edition of the popular Teaching Reading Sourcebook, with content updates and a brand new chapter on MTSS. Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures, 2nd Edition has also been revised with new, clearer test instructions and an easy-to-use format.

CORE is excited to be a reseller of the digiCOACH Advanced Teacher Coaching Platform. They will be integrating digiCOACH into their work with districts and schools to strengthen instructional practice and improve outcomes for all students. Learn more about digiCOACH.

You can learn more about CORE’s approach to professional learning, and gain insights and strategies, in their most recent newsletter and blog post written by CORE President Linda Diamond, A Standards-Aligned Curriculum with Excellent Implementation is Still Not Enough.

Also consider participating in CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy, a facilitated online, asynchronous course that starts September 19. The course teaches educators the essential components of reading instruction with clear and explicit models immediately applicable to the classroom.

Check out these on-demand webinars, that you can view at your convenience:

Over the past several weeks, Pivot Learning has presented at several innovative industry events to share insights, practices, and tools with the education community. We’d like to share those resources with you to support your learning and practice.

Linked Learning Convention 2019, Palm Springs, CA

Community-Centered School Redesign 

Understand how Pivot’s community-centered design process helped several communities to begin, grow, and sustain deeper learning experiences for school improvement.

Using Design Thinking to Develop Community-Centered Linked Learning Pathways 

Learn how Pivot’s change design approach supports designing and implementing effective Linked Learning models.

Growth Culture: A Transformative Approach for Achieving Your Goals

Uncover strengths, needs, and opportunities for equitable Linked Learning programs.

Access the Resources 


Deeper Learning 2019, San Diego, CA

Deeper Learning for Grown Ups!

Develop a growth culture at your organization in order to foster deeper learning for both adult leaders and students.

 Partnering with Our Communities to Design Better Pathways

Align current organizational processes with community partnerships to design and implement successful college and career pathways.

Creating Deeper Learning Environments for Design Teams

Integrate design thinking, growth culture, and equity into your organization’s culture to develop deeper learning environments for both students and adults.

Access the Resources 


Small School Districts’ Association 2019 Annual Conference, Sacramento, CA

Better Together: Small School Network Towards Continuous Improvement 

In partnership with the El Dorado County Office of Education, Pivot Learning’s Rural Professional Learning Network shared best practices for continuous improvement using change design. The Rural Professional Learning Network also facilitates cross-district and cross-county site visits to provide growth opportunities for classroom visits, student panels, and critical friends feedback.

Download the Presentation


Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education, San Francisco, CA

Leading the Change: Using Improvement Strategies to Implement Instructional Materials

In partnership with the California Department of Education and EdReports, the California Curriculum Collaborative supports districts in their work to adopt and implement high-quality instructional materials for continuous improvement and improved student achievement.

Download the Workbook

 Interested in learning more about how we can support your organization? Contact us.

Recommendations from the LCFF Test Kitchen for Aligning Reporting Requirements

Making the Most of the Governor's Budget Proposal BriefGovernor Newsom’s January budget proposal outlines plans for a single web-based application that can merge various district reporting tools to increase efficiency and public understanding. Drawing on the experiences of the LCFF Test Kitchen, a new brief offers four recommendations for making the most of this proposal:

1. Articulate the goals and desired outcomes of a single web-based reporting platform to align reporting structures.
2. Engage end users throughout the development process.
3. Foster competition to generate an innovative, single web-based reporting platform design.
4. Create structures and supports to build trust between school districts and their communities.

DOWNLOAD THE BRIEF

Through a process that values end users and fosters innovation, we can both support and improve upon the Governor’s proposal, thereby helping to create the conditions for continued progress in our schools and communities.

For more information about the LCFF Test Kitchen, please visit lcfftestkitchen.org.

You can also find the brief and more information about LCFF on the California Collaborative on District Reform (CCDR) website.

LCFF Test Kitchen is a partnership with:

CCEE, CCDR, Pivot Learning, and WestEd.

A new report from Pivot Learning finds that California’s unfunded pension costs threaten educational equity.

California’s chronic underfunding of teacher pensions is pushing school districts into financial distress, forcing them to make painful cuts that will increasingly harm both the state’s teachers and its most vulnerable students, according to a report released today by Pivot Learning. Read more »

In March and April, Pivot Learning presented at several innovative industry events where we shared insights, practices, and tools with the education community. 

Linked Learning Convention 2019
Palm Springs, CA
  • Community-Centered School Redesign 
    Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 11:15am – 12:15pm

    A practitioner panel will discuss how Pivot’s community-centered design process helped several communities to begin, grow, and sustain deeper learning experiences for school improvement.
  • Using Design Thinking to Develop Community-Centered Linked Learning
    Pathways 
    Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 1:45 – 3:00pm

    Learn from practitioners how Pivot’s change design approach supported them to identify the community roles and resources needed to design and implement effective Linked Learning models.
  • Growth Culture: A Transformative Approach for Achieving Your Goals
    Thursday, March 21, 2019, 9:45 – 11:00am

    Assess your own organization’s growth culture to uncover strengths, needs, and opportunities for equitable Linked Learning programs.
Deeper Learning 2019
San Diego, CA
  • Deeper Learning for Grown Ups!
    Wednesday, March 27, 11:00am – 12:30pm

    Learn from practitioners how to align current organizational processes with community partnerships to design and implement successful college and career pathways.
  • Partnering with Our Communities to Design Better Pathways
    Wednesday, March 27, 2:00 – 3:30pm

    Learn strategies and resources to develop a growth culture at your organization in order to foster deeper learning for both adult leaders and students.
  • Creating Deeper Learning Environments for Design Teams
    Friday, March 29, 9:00 – 10:30am

    Learn how to integrate design thinking, growth culture, and equity into your organization’s culture to develop deeper learning environments for both students and adults.
Small School Districts’ Association 2019 Annual Conference 
Sacramento, CA
  • Better Together: Small School Network Towards Continuous Improvement 
    Monday, April 1, 9:45 – 10:40am

    In partnership with the El Dorado County Office of Education, Pivot Learning’s Rural Professional Learning Network will speak to their experience with continuous improvement using change design.
Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education 
San Francisco, CA
  • Leading the Change: Using Improvement Strategies to Implement Instructional Materials 

    Poster Sessions:
      – Tuesday, April 16, 5:30 – 7:00pm
      – Wednesday, April 17, 3:00 – 4:00pm
      – Thursday, April 18, 7:00 – 8:30am


In partnership with the California Department of Education and EdReports, this poster presentation will detail how the California Curriculum Collaborative supports districts in their work to adopt and implement high-quality instructional materials for continuous improvement and improved student achievement.

    Our recent Crisis on the Coast event held earlier this March continues to bring attention to the homeless crisis in our community. The Monterey Herald mentioned Pivot Learning’s report, “Crisis on the Coast: The Bay Coastal Foster Youth and Homeless Student Populations.“ The report outlines a study we conducted in partnership with National Center for Youth Law about how the region’s soaring housing costs and lower wage jobs has contributed to the growing housing crisis. Learn more about the report and download a copy.

    Excerpted from the Monterey Herald

    MONTEREY — Cynthia Tiberend has posted a Go Fund Me video asking for help and explaining how the Monterey resident is facing the loss of her home of 23 years and the uncertainty that she will be able to afford a new place to live.

    The short video did not explain the reason Tiberend must leave her home and an email to the Carmel resident who posted the page for Tiberend was not returned Monday.

    “I’m very stressed, very frightened,” Tiberend said in the video. “I was given to May 7  to vacate my apartment. I might need movers because I may need to move farther away because I cannot secure housing in the Monterey area. I never thought I would find myself in this situation but here I am.”

    She is not alone. New findings released on March 15 by an Oakland-based nonprofit called Pivot Learning highlight the role of region’s soaring housing costs and lower wage jobs has on the growing housing crisis. Pivot works with schools to tackle any number of educational challenges. It became involved with Monterey County when it found that 10 percent of students in the county were considered homeless by the state Department of Education.

    On Wednesday, Monterey planning staff will present a new report to the City Council during a study session that presents both challenges and opportunities to address the crisis. The report notes both the income disparities in Monterey that contribute to the crisis and the policy measures the city can take to provide more affordable housing units.

    Read the Full Story