At our most recent staff development on March 11, our elementary staff was able to collaborate and work to identify our essential outcomes for grades K-5 in the areas of English Language Arts and Math. I have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions including a picture of how we plan to progress in the future regarding this important work:
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are Essential Outcomes and skills?
Essential Outcomes are a subset of the complete list of standards within the Iowa Core Curriculum. They represent a vertically aligned “safety net” of indicators that our teaching professionals strive to ensure students’ learn prior to exiting each grade level. It is important to realize, however, that state law mandates that educators be bound to teach their students all the standards and indicators in their assigned grade level or department. Denver Elementary is not eliminating any standards, although we ARE clear on the knowledge, skills, and dispositions (that is the essential outcomes) that students will acquire as a result of each content area/grade level. To find a complete list of our Iowa Core Standards, please visit: http://www.corecurriculum.iowa.gov/
2. Why Essential Outcomes?
Essential outcomes provide a laser focus for us as a K-5 elementary system. We have prioritized our standards, based on the research that this type of system philosophy increases student achievement.
3. How did Denver Elementary staff select the Essential Outcomes?
Our teachers and administration worked together to prioritize our standards, based on three criteria:
1. Endurance – Does the standard provide value beyond a single test date?
2. Readiness For Next Level – Will the standard provide students with skills and knowledge necessary for success in the next grade or level of instruction?
3. Leverage – Will this standard provide knowledge and skills that will be of value in multiple disciplines?
4. How will Denver Elementary staff move forward, in successfully implementing and using the Essential Outcomes?
Denver Elementary teachers work within very high standards of excellence. Our system allows for collaborative time among elementary teachers (Professional Learning Communities) in order to focus on three guiding questions:
1. What do we want our students to learn?
2. How do we know students are learning?
3. What are we doing when students are/are not learning?
As we continue our important work, we will move forward by:
1. Sequencing essential outcomes for logical progression within each grade level
2. Developing Common “Formative” Assessments to go with standards
3. We will provide for Intervention and Enrichment opportunities based on data from assessments
4. We will strive to move toward a revised K-5 Standards Based Report Card by the 2012-13 school year