Using Manipulatives to Teach Abstract Concepts in Mathematics

Algorithms are not the panacea to student success in mathematics. To the contrary, conceptual understanding, over procedural knowledge, is the linchpin of mathematical fluency. Students who are given the instructional opportunity to develop a firm grasp on concepts prior to engaging in problem solving are exponentially more likely to demonstrate mastery of the content in the independent setting. This workshop will expose participants to the literature on the use of manipulatives in mathematics instruction and the how-to’s of matching specific mathematical concepts with appropriate manipulatives.

Developing Worthwhile Mathematical Tasks

A myopic focus on teaching algorithms or a step-by-step, procedural fluency approach to solving mathematical problems is insufficient to transfer the most valuable approach to teaching mathematics to mastery: conceptual understanding. This workshop will build teacher and school leaders’ capacity to link concepts to be assessed to engaging, meaningful, real-world mathematical tasks.

Unraveling the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for English

The TEKS outline what students should know and be able to do; however, in order to promote significant student achievement, the complexity of the standards require that teachers have expert knowledge of the nuances of each standard and a new generation of instructional materials. This workshop will expose school leaders to the new instructional expectations set by the standards and aid school leaders in providing subsequent support to teachers in their effort to plan targeted, explicit instruction perfectly aligned with the demands of the each standard for a wide range of student ability levels.

Unraveling the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

The Common Core Standards are the culmination of an extended effort to fulfill the charge issued by the states to develop and implement K-12 standards to ensure that all students are college and career ready no later than the end of high school. This workshop will assist site-based (principals, department leaders, and teachers) leaders in developing an in-depth understanding of the content and skills integrated across grade levels and content areas.

Developing an Annual Professional Development Plan

School leadership in the absence of a plan is underperformance waiting to happen. Highly effective school leaders have a year-long professional development plan 4-6 months prior to the beginning of the new school year, complete with focus strands connected to a finite number of objectives and strategies developed by key stakeholders. This workshop will prepare school leaders for the challenge of developing, implementing, and monitoring a site-based professional development plan based on the strengths, weaknesses and critical weaknesses of the faculty, staff, administration, students, and parents.

A Schoolwide Approach to Managing Student Behavior

Behavior is predictable, functional, and changeable. Educators who change the way they individually and collectively think about and manage behavior to reflect a function-based approach are more likely to promote an atmosphere conducive to relationship building, resulting in a sharp reduction in disciplinary referrals. This  workshop series will expose participants to effective solutions to problem behaviors with a focus on environmental factors, rather than within-person pathologies that often perpetuate the cycle of unmet behavioral and social expectations.

Strategic School Improvement Planning

Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of every common-interest community. Without strategic planning, the community will never know where it is going – much less know if it got there. Moreover, strategic planning is a disciplined effort orchestrated to produce fundamental thought and action. This workshop will engage site-based and district level personnel in the process of identifying the current status of the school/ district; developing a meaningful mission and vision directly linked to a finite number of measurable objectives; defining operational values and parameters; determining organizational needs (strengths and critical weaknesses); prioritized actions and strategies; action plans; and identify steps for continuous improvement.

Re-Teaching that Matters

The rhetoric on re-teaching is pervasive in school across the nation; however, the actual practice of re-teaching has yet to make its debut in the culture of teaching and learning. Students who struggle to achieve need exposure to quality re-teaching now more than ever before. This workshop will expose school leaders and teachers to the theories and impactful practices of re-teaching to ensure achievement for all students regardless of past performance.

Making Inclusion Work in a High Stakes Testing Environment

Although no one wishes to admit it publicly, students with special needs are often educated in classrooms characterized by lowered expectations and diminished exposure to the curriculum through the pull-out/resource class model. Even in the inclusion model, students who need targeted support and explicit instruction are often recipients of diluted expectations. This workshop series will provide participants with research-driven approaches proven to bolster teacher efficacy and student success.

Developing Rigorous Teacher-Generated Assessments Aligned with PARCC, SBAC and STAAR Assessments

The demands of formative assessments should be aligned with the demands of the quarterly, end-of-course, and annual standardized assessments. Too often, site-based generated assessments fall short of the rigor threshold. This workshop will prepare school leaders, teachers and teams of teachers to develop challenging assessments aligned with both the nuances of each standard to be assessed, but also with the language, structure, and complexity associated with high-stakes testing.