A Conversation with Interim Superintendent Jane Daly
Community2000: What is personalized and blended learning?
Jane Daly: In 2015, the Chariho Administrative Team read and discussed the book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, by Horn and Staker, during their Summer Advance. The outcome of this research resulted in the following Chariho definition of personalized learning:
Personalized learning provides students opportunities to take control of the time, place, path, and or pace of their learning and achieve individual learning outcomes by engaging in rigorous tasks. This includes instructional strategies that integrate the use of formative assessments to provide targeted, differentiated, and engaging instruction for all students.
Blended learning is one way to provide personalized learning. In a blended learning classroom, students learn at least in part through online learning. There has been a shift to personalized instruction in our classrooms, and it is very exciting to see how these changes are improving student thinking and learning skills!
Community2000: What is the most important part of your job as Assistant Superintendent?
Jane Daly: Maintaining the high expectations that students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the community all have for student learning. To maintain those high standards, it is important for me to work collaboratively with staff to continuously improve our curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Curriculum defines what students should know and be able to do. Instruction describes how students will learn. Assessment helps teachers identify the extent to which students have learned. This cycle of learning is a continuous loop, and every spoke in the wheel needs consistent review and “tightening”.
Community2000: Tell our readers about the biggest challenge you have faced as Assistant Superintendent?
Jane Daly: A big challenge has been to provide professional development learning experiences for staff that meets everyone’s needs. As we work to implement personalized learning for our students, the challenge has been to also model this type of instruction for our staff. District-Level Professional Development Committees create surveys for teachers and teaching assistants to identify and plan for needs. Teachers are participating in a variety of professional development experiences to hone their skills; including presenting and participating in workshops, completing independent playlists, conducting peer observations, and receiving individual coaching and support. Teachers improve their knowledge and expertise in specific content areas by developing district-wide curriculum and creating and refining common assessments. Through support provided by Community2000 and other funding, leadership training provides teachers the chance to share their skills with others and mentor newly hired teachers. Teaching assistants also have a variety of workshops to choose from on topics such as mental health, technology, and new reading and math standards. With all of these opportunities, I still feel challenged to continue to find new ways to provide staff with the training they need and want.
Community2000: You have been on the job for four years, what has surprised you the most?
Jane Daly: The wonderful sense of community that exists in our schools! Each elementary school provides its own unique warm and welcoming environment for their children. Although students come to the campus from our three towns: Charlestown, Hopkinton, and Richmond (and at the high school even more towns- as students attend the Chariho Regional Technical Center), they all come together as Chariho Chargers! The three towns and staff at each school and throughout the district all put Chariho kids first, and truly value a high quality education!
Community 2000: What is STAR testing?
Jane Daly: The Chariho Regional School District’s Mission is to ensure all students meet high academic standards. The district uses a data-driven approach, nationally known as Response to Intervention (RtI), to provide early and intensive intervention to struggling students and help the district accomplish this mission. All students in Gr. 1-10 are tested at the beginning and middle of the school year to identify their level of proficiency in reading and mathematics. These tests are called STAR assessments, and are they are computer-adaptive tests that automatically adjust the level of difficulty based on the student’s performance. These tests take about 20 minutes to administer, and the teacher receives the results immediately. In this way, students who need more intensive and targeted support can receive this support immediately. Teachers can also use STAR assessment data to identify and track strengths and weaknesses for their entire class. In this way, teachers can adjust instruction to meet the needs of all students in a timely manner.
Community 2000: CS4RI is a new Rhode Island state initiative, what does it look like in Chariho?
Jane Daly: The Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) Initiative’s goal is to have computer science taught in every Rhode Island public school. Chariho is far ahead, with computer science being taught to all students each year in Grades K-8. At the elementary level, our Librarians/Media Specialists (along with some of our classroom teachers) have been implementing the Code.org Fundamentals curriculum, and at the Middle School Computer teachers are implementing the Code.org Discoveries curriculum. Two of our own staff, Bryan Lucas and Susie Scanapieco, are Code.org trainers in Rhode Island. Chariho has been a long-standing partner with URI and RITES+C, and through this partnership we have been able to introduce computer science concepts in our middle school, along with developing lessons that integrate computer science principles within the science curriculum. At the high school, we offer Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles and an Advanced Placement Computer Science A course. We also offer Introduction to Coding and Introduction to Computing. CHARIHOtech, South County’s Career and Technical Center, offers a Computer Technology and Game Design program, which includes an imbedded Cyber Security course for which students may receive URI college credit! Chariho Regional School District continues working within our own district and with partners across the state to help our students’ master computer science skills for their future success!
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