RIZ Principles and Practices
The Renton Innovation Zone is comprised of Lakeridge, Campbell Hill, Bryn Mawr, Sartori, Highlands and Hilltop Heritage Elementary schools. All Innovation Zone schools’ plans are based on the following Core Principles for Student Success:
Core Principles for Success
The effectiveness of PLCs directly correlates with the effectiveness of instruction. Effective PLCs meet at least weekly and focus on a single set of standards currently being taught. Based on carefully designed pacing guides, teaching teams work collaboratively with content coach and instructional leaders to plan instructional strategies, review mid-unit data and plan instructional adjustments based on this data.
Effective PD is job embedded. The content is directly related to what is being taught or is about to be taught. All members of the PLC participate, and the instructional leader participates so that he/she can monitor and support immediate implementation of the new strategies or content knowledge. Following professional learning, content specific coaching of planning and instructional practices supports rapid implementation.
Data Usage Practices:
Formative data collected during the instructional unit provides the most effective basis for evaluation of current instruction and instructional adjustment decisions. When teams, including teachers, content coaches, and instructional leaders, collaborate to analyze and respond to this data, more effective instruction results as verified by data. Assessments are pre-planned within instructional units. Additional assessments are added mid-unit as necessary.
Principal as Instructional Leader:
As the instructional leader, the principal actively participates in professional learning, instructional planning and data analysis. The principal is accountable to monitor instructional and collaboration practices to determine grade level and individual PD needs, data usage and responses, and to identify additional supports or adjustments to practice that may be necessary to ensure student learning outcomes are increasing.
Schools seeking to rapidly improve student outcomes must have the option to develop and adopt practices that support their improvement efforts but also allow for a rapid change if a new practice does not work. If schools are monitoring instructional outcomes closely, they must be provided the flexibility to adjust curriculum, instructional, assessment, and professional development or collaboration practices in response to student learning data.
Schools assume responsibility for creating practices which maximize the social, emotional, and intellectual safety for all students. There is a culture for learning that includes effective student engagement and high expectations for all students.
Family and Community Engagement:
Schools build effective, culturally appropriate communication systems between home, school and community that are interactive. Schools encourage and support consistent and ongoing community and family engagement for stakeholders in school activities.
Because professional practices at RIZ schools look different than at other RSD schools, we want to make sure that we paint a clear picture of the opportunities and expectations. In practice this means:
- Teachers will participate in two weekly content specific PLCs that are facilitated by Content Coaches and held during conference and planning time
- One PLC each week is traded for delayed-start PLC time which means that “pink” Friday mornings are now “yellow” so that the time is fairly “traded”
- Teachers will participate in Learning Labs in Math, Literacy, or SEL every 4-6 weeks during release time on school days. In Learning Labs grade level teaching teams and the Principal, supported by a Content Coach, spend a day learning new content and practices, planning instruction based on this new learning, going into classrooms and teaching it, then reflecting together on the outcome so that new practices can immediately be incorporated into instructional practice
- Adult learning is based on a shared belief in the Principles for Ambitious Teaching (described below)
- There is a schoolwide commitment to, and structures to support, the Principal acting as the instructional leader;
- Teachers will participate in real-time coaching by Principal and Content Coaches
- Teachers, Coaches and Principal will collaboratively use data to drive PLC decisions to adjust instruction
- There will be a focus on Social Emotional Learning through professional learning for the adults, and instruction and meaningful practice for students
- Teachers will participate in 2 additional paid and required RIZ professional learning days in August
- There will be operational flexibility to support student centered decisions
- There will be a commitment to authentic family and community engagement