Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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2014

BEST PRACTICES AND MENTORING TIPS IDENTIFIED BY ARKANSAS CHARTERS

SPRING 2014

Click on the name of the charter to be directed to additional information about the practices and contact information for the school.
 
Charter Instructional
Practice
Classroom
Management
Practice
Advice For New
or Potential
Charter Leaders
Academics Plus Charter School (Maumelle) (A) Math Investigations (A) 5 Point Behavior Scale-students can move up and down the scale based on behavior; daily folder is sent to parents for signature
Understand the political opposition and misunderstandings towards charter schools. 
(Blytheville)
(A) Project-based learning (A) Idea of personal agency, students meeting deadlines, students monitoring individual progress Expect bumps in the road but do not get discouraged; learn what works and what can be tweaked to work next time. 

Brunson New Vision Charter 
(Warren)

(A) MyON database for ebooks, Lexile testing, interest inventory; standards-based instruction (O)  Standard Operating Procedures SOPs ( SOPs ) that are student and teacher derived Be patient; don’t get in a hurry to implement programs; have a shared vision with all stakeholders.
(Little Rock)
(O) Writing Template (A) Workshop model (Do Now, I Do, We Do, You Do) Understand the needs of your students and recruit people who can meet those needs.
(Cherry Valley)
(A) Six Standards of Pedagogy
(A) Trust Card system
 
(Little Rock)
(A) Singapore Math (A) The Daily 5 classroom structure model Have a good understanding of the meaning of the waivers and the ways in which the waivers will be monitored.
(Blytheville and Helena/West Helena)
(O) Reading Enrichment-dedicated reading time that occurs outside the regular classroom
(A) Positive Office Referral-students rewarded for positive classroom behavior, academic achievement, strong character, and other positives
Put value in teacher retention by developing relationships with teachers and supervisors and investing in high quality professional development.
(Little Rock)
(A) Math and English teachers meet once a week to review data and identify students’ areas of need (A) PRS-Positive Reinforcement System; DPS-Discipline Point System for positive and negative reinforcement Mentor teachers who are not licensed. 
(Sherwood)
(A) Lap books (A) PRS-Positive Reinforcement System; DPS-Discipline Point System for positive and negative reinforcement Build a triad of partnership between students, teachers, and families fosters a better learning environment.
(Rogers)
(A) Project-based learning (O) Implemented the use of timers for nearly all tasks  
(Little Rock)
(A) Sticky notes for goal setting and as an icebreaker activity (A) The use of index cards as a management tool Be prepared to handle each student’s needs with kindness and patience.
(A) Educator implementing the practice indicated it is an adaption from a practice used by others.
(O) Educator implementing the practice indicated it is original, designed specifically for use at the charter.
 
 

DESCRIPTIONS OF BEST PRACTICES IDENTIFIED BY ARKANSAS CHARTERS

SPRING 2014

 
Academics Plus Charter School (Maumelle)
900 Edgewood Drive
Maumelle, AR  72113
501-803-9730
www.academicsplus.org
 
In grades K-8 math, teachers researched, evaluated, chose and presented information concerning a new math program to increase student achievement based on Math Investigators.  The Math Investigations Curriculum has assisted the students in learning math skills through CGI principals.  One addition to Math Investigations has been the implementation of Everyday Counts Calendar Math.  The Calendar Math Program fills in gaps to the Math Investigations.  
 
A classroom management practice that has been successful in grades K-5 is the 5 Point Behavior Scale adapted from teacher experience at APCS.  Student's behavior charts begin the day on a 3. Depending on their individual behavior the students move up or down at the teacher's discretion.  Each day the students notify their parents of their score that is in their take home folder to be signed.  
 
5 = Outstanding day
4 = Awesome job
3 = Good day / ready to learn
2 = Think about it and make better choices (miss 5 minutes recess)
1 = Not acceptable, I can do better (miss 10 minutes recess)
0 = Not acceptable, teacher's choice (miss all recess / office visit)
 
Incentives for high scores are also given to students weekly
 
 
Blytheville High School – A New Tech School (Blytheville School District, Blytheville)
600 North 10th Street
Blytheville, AR  72315
870-762-2772
http://www.blythevilleschools.com/domain/18
 
In grades 9-10, teacher facilitators created a collaboration management form wherein students hold one another accountable based on the tenets of the rubric.  This management form helped reduce student frustration in the process of collaborating and provided a clear set of standards.  The New Tech Network rubric guided the instructional practice, which was used in GeoLit, Physical Science, Biology, World Studies, Geometry, and Algebra I.
 
A classroom management practice to encourage student agency was based on the New Tech Network rubric, and the book “Mindset” by Dr. Carol Dweck.  The book provided the backdrop of learning for teacher facilitators, and the rubric provided the practical classroom application for students.  Teacher facilitators have taken the rubric and worked this into expectations for student learning throughout projects.  Students have adopted the idea of agency and have both taken ownership of their learning and have adopted a mindset of growth.  The growth mindset looks at obstacles as opportunities for growth and never shirks a challenge.  Student ownership of learning is demonstrated through students meeting deadlines, taking learning opportunities and monitoring progress (among other standards).  
 
 
Brunson New Vision Elementary (Warren School District, Warren)
212 Scobey Drive
Warren, AR  71671
870-226-2351
www.edline.net/pages/warren_sd
 
Brunson New Vision Elementary houses Warren School District fourth and fifth graders. However, because of the standards-based curriculum used at the charter, grade level lines are blurred to educate students according to specific needs rather than current grade levels. 
 
Using Common Core State Standards and Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks in the areas of math and literacy, instructional facilitators developed curriculum maps. These maps are unique in the way they are used. Students are given copies of curriculum maps to keep in their folders. As students practice and begin to master skills, they collect evidence to demonstrate their progress. Evidence may take many forms, including projects, interim assessments, and tests.  Teachers use the evidence to document students’ progress on their individual maps. In order for a student to have mastered a skill, achievement must be assessed at level “3” or higher on a predetermined rubric. Copies of the rubric are located in every classroom and throughout common areas of the building. Students within a classroom can be engaged at different competency levels and simultaneously working on different skills with the teacher monitoring progress. Going one-to-one with Chromebooks has allowed this to happen.
 
RUBRIC POSTED AT BRUNSON NEW VISION ELEMENTARY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After a free, one-year subscription was won by a teacher during a technology conference, the myON reading database with over 6,000 ebooks was used at Brunson New Vision Charter in the 2013-2014 school year. This program provides interest inventories to build book lists according to student responses. Students have 24/7 access to the database using an Interent connection and a username and password. After reading five myON books, students are given a Lexile test through the database. Teachers can access score reports and use them for tracking mastery on curriculum maps. See http://www.myon.com.
At the beginning of the school year, teachers and students at Brunson New Vision Charter create SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for maintaining order in the classroom. SOPs are unique to individual classroooms. For instance, the classroom SOPs in Classroom A may include four steps for turning in classwork while the procedures in Classroom B have only three. SOPs may be retired when they are no longer needed or reworked when not effective. SOPs are posted in different areas of each classroom and common areas throughout the building. 
 
EXAMPLES OF CLASSROOM SOPS AT BRUNSON NEW VISION ELEMENTARY
 
 
Covenant Keepers College Preparatory Charter School (Little Rock)
5615 Geyer Springs Road
Little Rock, AR  72209
501-682-7550
http://www.ckcollegeprep.org
 
In ELA grades 6-8 Covenant Keepers has implemented a writing template that has increased student performance on the benchmark exam for literacy.  It is an original practice developed by Literacy Coach Laurette Whipps.
 
For classroom management in all areas grades 6-8, the workshop model is used in each classroom to give students consistency as they move from class to class.  Students start with a Do Now (a brief assignment) upon entering the room. The teacher gives new information with the I Do, encourages guided practice with the We Do, and allows for individual assessment during the You Do portion of the class.  This practice is adapted from Carmen Farina and Lucy Calkins.  The You Do and the Show Me areas of the Workshop Model are combined into one section of class.
 
 
Cross County Elementary Technology Academy (Cross County School District, Cherry Valley)
2622 Hwy 42
Cherry Valley, AR  72324
870-588-3337
http://www.crosscountyschools.com
 
In all subject areas, grades K-6, center-based learning has shown to enhance the schools caliber of PBL units and lessons. Most schools in the state already have a system of center learning in grades K-3. Cross County Schools decided that this system could work in K-6. The Six Standards of Pedagogy did just that. Each teacher plans centers that have content connections, collaboration, creative and analytical thinking, as well as, voice and choice. Every teacher has been trained in this instructional practice and a consultant visits the school during the year to provide feedback, support, and observe the practices in action. Cross County Elementary has been implementing this practice for three years and has seen lessons become more individualized, engaging, and motivational.
 
For classroom management in all areas, grades 4-6, the school created a "trust" system. We began this process the second semester of school. The "trust" card system is an adaptation of Cross County High, A New Tech School's trust card system. This system is one that teaches responsibility and accountability with students. The students are given an ID card that represents their trust card. While the student has this card, they have certain privileges. There is a set of rules to follow with the cards and for those who do not have that card. The ones who have lost their card due to breaking certain rules lose those privileges until the card is earned back.
 
 
eStem Public Charter School (Little Rock)
112 West 3rd Street
Little Rock, AR  72201
501-748-9200
https://www.estemlr.net/
 
In K-6 math, eStem has implemented Singapore math as a primary math curriculum beginning with kindergarten students.  In past years, eStem modified Singapore math to include additional content from the Arkansas state standards. With the transition to Common Core State Standards, it was found that Singapore appears frequently in the research used to arrive at the Common Core States Standards in Mathematics. Singapore Math programs seem to be well-aligned with those standards.
 
The Daily 5 classroom structure model has been implemented in elementary and middle school literacy classrooms for the past few years. This model provides a structure for reading and writing that allows for student independent choice, small group/individualized instruction, peer collaboration, and on-going assessment.  While eStem has not implemented the full Daily Cafe across the literacy curriculum, the full model has been implemented in grade 4 literacy with tremendous results in student performance/growth. The practice was adapted from Gail Boushey and Joan Moser www.the2sisters.com. 
 
 
KIPP Delta Public Schools (Blytheville and Helena/West Helena)
Blytheville Campus:
1200 Byrum Rd.
Blytheville, AR 72315
870-780-6333
http://www.kippdelta.org/
 
West Helena Campus:
215 Cherry St.

Helena, AR 72342
870-753-9800
http://www.kippdelta.org/
 
An original practice has been developed by Heather Saunders, GLC/ELA teacher, for use in 5-8 Reading.  Several years ago, KIPP Delta College Prep began a class entitled “Reading Enrichment”. The idea behind this block was to provide a dedicated time and space for reading outside of the normal English Language Arts class. Students are placed in differentiated reading groups based on initial reading comprehension and fluency scores. The teacher then uses this data to inform instruction throughout the year based on meeting students specifically at their level. Consequently, we could have students at the same school working on anything from phonics to a class novel study of 1984, all depending on the group’s reading abilities. We have found this practice useful in acquiring the largest gains for readers of all levels. The success of Reading Enrichment has meant that we have now formally separated Language/Writing and Reading into two different subject areas and have dedicated teachers to both at each grade level.
More and more, the KIPP Blytheville campus is using the Positive Office Referral to incentivize the display of good behavior and character to our students. The idea behind this is to “flip the ratio”, or, in other words, reverse the trend seen in some schools where students encounter an increasing number of negative interactions with peers and teachers alike. While not discounting high expectations and standards for discipline, there is still great value in students being rewarded and recognized for their positive actions. Students at the Blytheville campus are awarded with a Positive Office Referral for instances of good behavior, displaying strong character, or performing well academically. These referrals can be used toward positive phone calls home to their parents, earning a spot on the grade level’s monthly field lesson, and more.  This is an original practice developed by School Director Maisie Wright.
 
 
LISA Academy 
21 Corporate Hill Dr.
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-227-4942
http://www.lisaacademy.org/
 
LISA Academy – North Little Rock 
5410 Landers Road
Sherwood, AR 72117
501-945-2727
http://www.lisanorth.org/
 
Both LISA Academy and LISA Academy - North Little Rock utilize a database for tracking positive and negative student behavior, the PRS-Positive Reinforcement System and DPS-Discipline Point System. Teachers assign predetermined point values based on a student’s behavior. For example, a student who is chewing gum will receive three DPS points. The same student may also earn three PRS points for helping another classmate. Points are accrued over the course of a semester. When points are given to a student, a notification is immediately sent via email or mobile alert to the parent or guardian. The Student Code of Conduct explains the different levels of offenses and point values for PRS and DPS. The Dean of Students monitors students’ point accumulation, recognizes trends in behavior, and accesses extra support from parents, the school counselor, and/or other agencies to meet students’ needs. Incentive parties happen throughout the year for students meeting the PRS point criteria. Use of this system has increased student instructional time in the classroom by dramatically reducing lost instructional when students had been sent to the school office for lesser offenses.
Further explanation of the PRS-DPS system is available in the Student Handbooks on the school websites above.
 
 
LISA Academy - North Little Rock
5410 Landers Road
Sherwood, AR 72117
501-945-2727
http://www.lisanorth.org/
 
Several teachers at LISA Academy utilize an interdisciplinary learning tool called a lap book, a practice that originated in the homeschool community. Lap books are not content or grade specific making thematic and cross-curricular units easier to plan. Below are examples of elementary and secondary lap books.  Lap books can be used as tools for project-based learning, daily note-taking, cooperative learning, and other activities. Students use their creativity in designing lap books while including the key elements necessary for the unit of study.
 
EXAMPLES OF STUDENT LAP BOOKS AT LISA ACADEMY
 
   
   
   
 
 
Rogers New Technology High School (Rogers School District, Rogers)
2922 South First Street
Rogers, AR  72758
Phone: 479-631-3621
http://nth.rogersschools.net/
 
Several Arkansas charter high schools have adopted the New Tech Network concept. New Tech programs center instruction around three principles: teaching that engages through project-based learning, digital learning, and empowering culture.  To facilitate project-based learning, Rogers New Technology High School uses team teaching in language arts and social studies on a block schedule. Teachers develop lessons collaboratively to ensure content standards are covered but not taught in isolation. Lessons begin with a question such as, “What freedoms and responsibilities are in our form of government and why are they important?” Teachers then guide students in their attempts to answer the question through a variety of means. Students begin brainstorming by charting what they “know” and “need to know” about the given question.  Charting takes place on dry-erase classroom walls, a unique staple in the classrooms different from dry-erase boards commonly used, and students become resident experts on content regarding the guiding question. Students then conduct workshops to inform other students about their findings, thus giving all students access to learned information. At the close of each project, students are required to present their work to an audience of peers. Students select the methods to present their projects such as debate, models, or digital media.  Presenting publically fosters a sense of community, accountability, and respect within the learning environment. 
         
Rogers uses a student contract for cooperative learning which establishes a student accountability system. Students agree to assignment criteria and their roles and responsibilities in the group. Group members conference with anyone in the group who is lax in upholding responsibilities. If problems persist, the teacher becomes involved to resolve the situation. Other implemented practices are the use of timers and journals. Timers maximize time-on-task, and journaling is used to reflect on previous learning and to set the stage for a new problem.  The utilization of timers was designed by Classroom Facilitator Danny Burdess and Teacher Casey Bazyk.
 
EXAMPLE OF BEGINNING QUESTION WITH COMMENTS FROM STUDENTS AT ROGERS NEW TECHNOLOGY HIGH SCHOOL                     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EXAMPLE OF CHART WHERE STUDENTS AT ROGERS NEW TECHNOLOGY HIGH SCHOOL IDENTIFIED WHAT THEY KNOW AND WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A TOPIC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SIATech (Little Rock)
6724 Interstate 30
Little Rock, AR 72209

501-562-0395
http://www.siatech.org/landing/
 
SIATech is a high school serving students in grades 9-12, primarily students who have previously dropped out of high school and chosen to go back to school.
 
Sticky notes are used to help students meet short-term goals which ultimately aids in achieving long-term goals. A teacher asked students to determine a specific completion date for their current learning module. Each student wrote his or her name and module completion date on a sticky note for the teacher to post in a common area in the classroom. If the student becomes off task or disruptive, the teacher redirects them using the goal written on their sticky note. These goals are student-derived and can be changed when the teacher or student deems necessary. Sticky note activities are also used to learn more about students. Teachers ask students to write interesting facts about themselves; then notes are read aloud. These activities act as icebreakers or changes of pace.
 
Index cards are used for documenting discipline occurrences and parental contact. Student names are written on individual cards and filed in a small box. When a discipline issue arises, the teacher documents the incident on the student’s index card with a signature from the student. Communication with parents or guardians, such as phone calls and emails, is also documented on the student’s index card.

For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Boyd, Charter School Program Advisor
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-5313
Fax: 501-371-3514
Email: Alexandra.Boyd@arkansas.gov
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