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New Jersey School Outshines International Counterparts

New Jersey school proves that low-income schools can be globally competitive
Wed, 2013/04/03

New Jersey school proves that low-income schools can be globally competitive Wed, 2013/04/03 Newark, NJ, April 3, 2013 –North Star Academy, a Newark charter school, serves largely low-income, minority students, yet it outperformed all but nine other countries in reading in a recent pilot program.

Joaquin Hernandez

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Frances Ramirez

Associate Director of Human Resources

Frances is joining Uncommon as an Associate Director of Human Resources.  Prior to joining Uncommon, Frances was at BlackRock where she worked on all aspects of recruitment as well as managed the onboarding process and new hire orientation.  Frances received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to college, Frances participated in Prep for Prep 9, a highly selective leadership development program to prepare students for placement in academically rigorous high schools as well as to work with students throughout their high school experience and beyond.

Dave Bircher

Senior Associate Director of Development

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<p> By putting together and applying these, and scores of other practice rules from <em>Practice Perfect</em>, anyone can see big changes in their performance. If you are a manager, educator, leader, parent, or coach, you&#39;ll learn how to help others practice effectively to get results. If you&#39;re looking to achieve your own personal goals and break through to another level, you&#39;ll learn how practice can get you there.</p>

By putting together and applying these, and scores of other practice rules from Practice Perfect, anyone can see big changes in their performance. If you are a manager, educator, leader, parent, or coach, you'll learn how to help others practice effectively to get results. If you're looking to achieve your own personal goals and break through to another level, you'll learn how practice can get you there.

By Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

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Data-Driven Instruction: Leading Analysis Meetings

Beth Verrilli and Steve Chiger show how a deep analysis of reading results can improve comprehension of MacBeth and other college-level texts.

Beth Verrilli teaches English at North Star Academy College Preparatory High School and is Chair of the English Department. She graduated cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in English and from Brown University with an M.A.T. in English.
Stephen Chiger teaches English and Journalism at North Star Academy College Preparatory High School. He has a B.A. in English from Lafayette College in English and a M.S.J. in journalism from Northwestern.

Observation & Feedback: Six Steps to Effective Feedback

Julie Jackson leverages six steps of effective feedback to show Carly Bradley how to raise the rigor of her questioning. Watch how Julie gets Carly to do the thinking and to practice on the spot.

Julie Jackson, Brooklyn Managing Director, was Principal of Vailsburg Elementary School in this video. She earned an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from William Paterson University and a B.A. in Communications from Shippensburg University (1992).

Observation & Feedback: Probing to Identify the Problem

Drawing on evidence from a classroom observation, Aja Settles asks Kristi Costanzo a series of targeted questions that allow Kristi to uncover the real error in her students’ word solving.

Aja Settles is Principal of North Star Academy West Side Park Elementary School. Aja was responsible for the development of the reading curriculum for K-2 and helped drive the creation of the K-4 Reading Taxonomy. Aja received certification as a Literacy Coordinator through Lesley University and Literacy Collaborative. Aja earned a B.A. in Sociology from Temple University.

Planning: Improving Lesson & Curriculum Plans

Kim Nicoll and Jamie Gumpper work together to add high-leverage details to Jamie’s plans, setting up his interactive reading lesson for success before he even steps foot in the classroom.

Kim Nicoll is a Co-Director at Roxbury Prep. She holds a B.A. in History from Wake Forest University and an M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University.
Jamie Gumpper teaches ancient history at Roxbury Prep Mission Hill Campus. He grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Dartmouth College.

Leading Professional Development: Application Time

While leading a workshop on introducing new books to students, Emily Hoefling-Crouch doesn’t just teach her participants new skills: she makes sure they have time to practice those skills exactly as they’d perform them in their own classrooms.

Emily Hoefling-Crouch is principal fellow for Brooklyn elementary schools. Emily holds a B.A. in Religion from Indiana University and an M.S.T. in Childhood Education from Pace University.

Student Culture: Day One Rehearsal

Alison Komorowski, a first year North Star teacher, practices everything she’ll need to do when her students arrive in an all-staff Day One Rehearsal.

Andrea Somerville is a Kindergarten teacher at North Star Academy Vailsburg Elementary School. She graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY with a degree in special education and early childhood education.
Alison Komorowski joined North Star in 2011 as a member of the 2011 Teach for America Greater Newark Corps. She graduated cum laude from The College of the Holy Cross in 2011 with a B.A. in Economics.

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<h3> We Are Committed to Developing Great Teachers</h3> <p> We know that great teachers are eager for growth and development. They need the time and tools to do their jobs effectively, and they deserve ongoing support on the implementation of <i>Taxonomy</i> techniques and more. Our commitment to core support includes:</p> <p> <strong>Staff Training</strong><br /> During the month of August, new and returning teachers come together to prepare for a year of excellent instruction. The <i>Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices</i> provides the cornerstone for discussions and planning.</p> <p> <strong>Teacher Coaching</strong><br /> An ongoing cycle of observation, feedback, and debriefing allows our teachers and leaders to focus on what is working and what can be improved.</p> <p> <strong>Weekly Professional Development</strong><br /> One afternoon per week is devoted to school-wide professional development coordinated by instructional leaders. Topics include building classroom effectiveness, lesson planning, and data analysis.</p> <p> <strong>Grade-Level Teams</strong><br /> We believe in the value of collaborative planning, achievement analysis, culture building, and reflection across grade levels. Grade-level chairs spearhead this continuous process.</p> <p> <strong>Pathways to Leadership</strong><br /> We recognize and celebrate the hard work of our teachers by providing pathways toward becoming a lead teacher, grade-level chair, department chair, or instructional leader within Uncommon Schools.</p> <p> <strong>Materials</strong><br /> All of our teachers are equipped with a laptop computer, email, internet access and all necessary instructional supplies.</p>

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Right is Right : Colleen Driggs

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Check for Understanding : Hillary Lewis

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We Are Committed to Developing Great Teachers

We know that great teachers are eager for growth and development. They need the time and tools to do their jobs effectively, and they deserve ongoing support on the implementation of Taxonomy techniques and more. Our commitment to core support includes:

Staff Training
During the month of August, new and returning teachers come together to prepare for a year of excellent instruction. The Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices provides the cornerstone for discussions and planning.

Teacher Coaching
An ongoing cycle of observation, feedback, and debriefing allows our teachers and leaders to focus on what is working and what can be improved.

Weekly Professional Development
One afternoon per week is devoted to school-wide professional development coordinated by instructional leaders. Topics include building classroom effectiveness, lesson planning, and data analysis.

Grade-Level Teams
We believe in the value of collaborative planning, achievement analysis, culture building, and reflection across grade levels. Grade-level chairs spearhead this continuous process.

Pathways to Leadership
We recognize and celebrate the hard work of our teachers by providing pathways toward becoming a lead teacher, grade-level chair, department chair, or instructional leader within Uncommon Schools.

Materials
All of our teachers are equipped with a laptop computer, email, internet access and all necessary instructional supplies.

By Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Data-driven instruction has been touted as a key framework for increasing student achievement. Yet for every school that succeeds with this model, many more fall short and, despite years of intense effort, fail. Why? The schools that focus on the core drivers that matter separate themselves from schools that do not.

Bottom Copy: 
<h3> The National Impact: Driven by Data Is Driving Results</h3> <p> A growing number of schools nationwide are benefitting from the successful implementation of an Uncommon data-driven instructional model to increase learning. Here are a some examples:</p> <ul> <li> From 2004 to 2008, Jarvis Sanford led Chicago&#39;s Dodge Academy from a struggling school to one of the highest-achieving schools in Chicago. During a similar time span, James Verrilli led already high-achieving North Star Academy to four consecutive years of improved results that lifted the school from one of the tops in Newark to the highest-achieving urban school in New Jersey.</li> <li> Leaders who have been trained in this data-driven instructional model are now leading some of the highest-gaining or highest-achieving schools in eight cities across the country: Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Newark, and Rochester, NY. These are district schools and charter schools, small and large, elementary and high schools.</li> <li> Over 300 schools have explicitly implemented the data-driven instructional model presented in Driven by Data. By following the right drivers, every type of school can succeed.<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3> How It Works at Uncommon</h3> <p> Teachers and leaders get extensive development in the keys of Driven by Data:</p> <ul> <li> Assessments</li> <li> Analysis</li> <li> Action</li> <li> Culture</li> </ul> <p> Teachers have rigorous assessments that drive great teaching, and they do deep analysis of interim assessment results to make in-course corrections that guarantee higher student learning results.</p> <p> Leaders receive training in how to lead effective assessment analysis meetings and how to put in place a productive data-driven culture that defines a higher bar for rigor for all students. All of this is embedded within a strong instructional leadership model that includes observation and feedback, curriculum planning, and leading professional development.</p>

Now Playing

Assessments: Redefining Rigor

Jesse Rector and Paul Bambrick-Santoyo show how creating the right assessment can give you a roadmap to higher achievement.

Jesse Rector is the Principal of North Star Academy Clinton Hill Campus. He grew up in Edison, New Jersey. He has an undergraduate degree in History and American Studies from Rutgers University and a graduate degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia University. Paul Bambrick-Santoyo is the Managing Director of North Star Academy and is a graduate of New Leaders for New Schools. He has a B.A. in Social Justice from Duke University and a M.Ed. in School Administration from the City University of New York – Baruch College.

Analysis I: Leading a MS Analysis Meeting

Jesse Rector and Paul Chin show that just diagnosing the error is not enough: you need specific action plans that target students’ weaknesses.

Jesse Rector is the Principal of North Star Academy Clinton Hill Middle School. He grew up in Edison, New Jersey. He has an undergraduate degree in History and American Studies from Rutgers University and a graduate degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia University.

Analysis II: Leading an Elementary Assessment Analysis Meeting

Juliana Worrell, Yasmin Vargas and Erin Renz show that even in 1st grade, a close look at interim assessment results can dramatically improve student learning.

Juliana Worrell teaches first grade at North Star Academy Vailsburg Elementary School. She grew up in Blackwood, New Jersey, and she has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Rutgers University. Yasmin Vargas is a first grade lead teacher at North Star. She has an associate’s degree from Nassau Community College and a bachelor's degree from New York University. Erin Renz is a first grade teacher at North Star and a 2008 Teach for America Corps member. She has a B.A. in History from the University of Vermont in History.

Action: Teaching More Effectively Because of Data Analysis

Shadell Noel shows how a close analysis of the individual skill needs of each of her students changes the way she teaches

Shadell Noel is a kindergarten lead teacher at North Star. She received her B.S. from Temple University in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

Culture: Professional Development on Driven by Data

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo shows how to build a data-driven culture by leading effective professional development for leaders and teachers

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo is the Managing Director of North Star Academy and is a graduate of New Leaders for New Schools. He has a B.A. in Social Justice from Duke University and a M.Ed. in School Administration from the City University of New York – Baruch College.

The National Impact: Driven by Data Is Driving Results

A growing number of schools nationwide are benefitting from the successful implementation of an Uncommon data-driven instructional model to increase learning. Here are a some examples:

  • From 2004 to 2008, Jarvis Sanford led Chicago's Dodge Academy from a struggling school to one of the highest-achieving schools in Chicago. During a similar time span, James Verrilli led already high-achieving North Star Academy to four consecutive years of improved results that lifted the school from one of the tops in Newark to the highest-achieving urban school in New Jersey.
  • Leaders who have been trained in this data-driven instructional model are now leading some of the highest-gaining or highest-achieving schools in eight cities across the country: Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Newark, and Rochester, NY. These are district schools and charter schools, small and large, elementary and high schools.
  • Over 300 schools have explicitly implemented the data-driven instructional model presented in Driven by Data. By following the right drivers, every type of school can succeed.
     

How It Works at Uncommon

Teachers and leaders get extensive development in the keys of Driven by Data:

  • Assessments
  • Analysis
  • Action
  • Culture

Teachers have rigorous assessments that drive great teaching, and they do deep analysis of interim assessment results to make in-course corrections that guarantee higher student learning results.

Leaders receive training in how to lead effective assessment analysis meetings and how to put in place a productive data-driven culture that defines a higher bar for rigor for all students. All of this is embedded within a strong instructional leadership model that includes observation and feedback, curriculum planning, and leading professional development.