Full Idea Exchange Reports

Community Engagement

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Name of Report: Artisans and Inventors of a New and Brighter World: Remaking Public Education in Pittsburgh 
Prepared by: Members of the VIVA Pittsburgh Writing Collaborative
Presented to:  Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane and Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis

Recommendations:

  • Assure systemwide delivery of a relevant, coherent curriculum that makes learning a joy for students.
  • Provide educators with the tools and support they need to effectively use the curriculum.
  • Establish practices and communication infrastructure that promote trust among parents, students, educators, and public officials.
  • Create a nurturing social-emotional climate in all schools to allow students to develop as productive members of a democratic society.
  • Take innovative approaches to budget reporting and planning to build community trust and be transparent about the use and impact of public funds.

Download a copy of Artisans and Inventors of a New and Brighter World: Remaking Public Education in Pittsburgh

School Safety

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Name of Report: Sensible Solutions for Safer Schools: An Educators’ Vision for Positive Learning Environments
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA NEA Writing Collaborative
Presented to: NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and his senior staff, and to senior staff of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Recommendations:

  • Put character in the curriculum.
  • Practice and teach effective conflict resolution.
  • Treat a school as a community.
  • Improve and increase mental health support for students, educators and families.
  • Ensure the security of school buildings.
  • Strengthen connections between schools and communities.
  • Change the debate about guns in schools.

Download a copy of Sensible Solutions for Safer Schools: An Educators’ Vision for Positive Learning Environments

Professional Evaluations & Practice

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Name of Report: VIVA MET: Reflections from the Classroom – Measures of Effective Teaching Idea Exchange
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA MET Idea Exchange
Presented to: Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready—United States Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Recommendations:

  • Teacher performance should have a higher weighting than students’ standardized test scores in all evaluation circumstances. Teacher evaluations have to focus on classroom activities, and we need to build the capacity necessary to use multiple measures of teachers’ work.
  • Classroom teachers should have a regular, active and direct role in crafting the
  • standards for effective teaching and the process for teacher evaluations.
  • Student or parent surveys can provide useful information about classroom practice. However, surveys need to be used differently depending on grade level.
  • Student formative feedback should be regular and informed by the data collected about their teachers’ effectiveness.
  • Compensation and teaching performance need alignment.
  • Develop a nationwide, searchable, digital database of K–12 Common Core Standard-focused lesson ideas, resources and models of effective teaching aligned to the core.
  • Develop an interactive, cross-platform, social media network dedicated to educators to create a new delivery system for professional development.
  • Increase access and use of technological hardware and software in K–12 classrooms nationwide.

Download a copy of VIVA MET: Reflections from the Classroom – Measures of Effective Teaching

Name of Report: VIVA ISEA Project – Re-Imagining School Leadership for the 21st Century
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA ISEA Writing Collaborative
Presented to: The Board of the Iowa State Education Association and members of Governor Terry Brandstad’s administration

Recommendations:

  • Establish a process for choosing Teacher Leaders that includes input from teachers as well as administrators
  • Clearly define the roles of Teacher Leaders
  • Use Teacher Leaders to provide targeted, more effective, lower cost professional development
  • Ensure that students continue to thrive academically while Teacher Leaders are away performing leadership duties
  • Adequately compensate Teacher Leaders for their leadership duties
  • Give Teacher Leaders the time they need to perform their leadership duties

Download a copy of “Re-Imagining School Leadership for the 21st Century”.

Name of Report: Strengthening Our Practice: A Classroom Teachers’ Approach to Evaluation

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Prepared by: Members of the VIVA Minnesota Teachers Writing Collaborative II
Presented to: Members of Governor Mark Dayton’s administration and the MDE Teacher Evaluation Work Group.

Recommendations:

  • Ensure the evaluation reflects diverse student populations
  • Use standardized, objective rubrics to ensure evaluator fairness
  • Focus observations and evaluations on professional growth and self-reflection
  • Incorporate professional development as a springboard to continuous improvement of practice Use multiple observations and observers for a reliable measure of educator effectiveness
  • Train educators to be instructional coaches for observations
  • Use value-added measures for feedback and determining professional development needs only, not for employment decisions
  • Agree on curriculum-based assessments for student achievement data in non-tested subjects
  • Create an appeals process for evaluations
  • Provide full funding and personnel for teacher evaluation

Download a copy of “Strengthening Our Practice: A Classroom Teachers’ Approach to Evaluation.”

VIVA Minnesota Report Cover Image

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Name of Report: VIVA Minnesota Project – 360 Degree Leadership: Evaluating Minnesota Principals Prepared by: Members of the VIVA Minnesota Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative
Presented to: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius

Recommendations:

  • Evaluate principles in 5 areas: instructional leadership, positive school climate, fiscal/labor management, nurturing teacher leadership, and fostering equality
  • Include all stakeholders – parents, teachers, community leaders, and students
  • Create 3 tracks – successful principals, new principals who need additional support and struggling principals – to ensure all are high quality school leaders

Outcomes:

  • Legislature receives principal evaluation framework from Minnesota Department of Education that is informed by VIVA Teachers
  • Local school boards consider VIVA Teachers’ framework
  • Parents promote VIVA Teachers’ framework to Legislature

Download a PDF of “360 Degree Leadership: Evaluating Minnesota Principals.”

Download the PDF "Opening Doors to Professional Communication and Collaboration"

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Name of Report: VIVA New York Task Force: Opening Doors to Professional Communication and Collaboration
Prepared by: Members of the VIVA New York Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative
Presented to: New York Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education, Dr. John King Jr.

Recommendations:

  • Use multiple measures over multiple years to create a true picture of a teacher’s effectiveness
  • Use evaluation to help struggling teachers improve and make good teachers great

Outcome:

  • VIVA Idea Exchange concept initial implementation successful

Download a PDF of “Opening Doors to Professional Communication and Collaboration.”

Download the PDF "Voices from the Classroom"

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Name of Report: VIVA National Task Force: Voices From the Classroom
Prepared by: Members of the VIVA Teachers National Task Force
Presented to: U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

Recommendations:

  • Create a national teacher education curriculum
  • Provide new teachers with structure, systematic support
  • Provide “targeted teacher remediation” to struggling teachers
  • Be creative about performance-based compensation
  • Invest in parent and community involvement programs

Outcome:

  • Presidential Teaching Fellows consistent with VIVA Teachers’ recommendations

Download a PDF of “Voices from the Classroom.”

Time in School

VIVA Chicago Report Cover Image

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Name of Report: VIVA Chicago Project: Time, Teachers, and Tomorrow’s Schools
Prepared by: Members of The VIVA Chicago Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative
Presented to: Chicago Public Schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard; and Chicago Teachers Union President, Karen Lewis

Recommendations:

  • Offer more well-rounded education and activities
  • Make more and better use of technology
  • Ensure teachers have time for planning and collaboration sessions
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Involve community organizations

Outcomes:

  • Recess is a right for all elementary students
  • Added attendance days for Columbus Day and Pulaski Day
  • Dramatic increase in access to technology for teaching and learning

Download a PDF of “Time, Teachers and Tomorrow’s Schools.”

Common Core and Student Learning

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Name of Report: Connections for Learning: Unifying the Social and Academic Curriculum in Minneapolis Public Schools
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA Minneapolis Writing Collaborative
Presented to: Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson and Minneapolis Federation of Teachers President Lynn Nordgren

Recommendations:

  • Select, implement consistently, and provide ongoing support for a set of district-wide behavior management systems: Responsive Classroom, Developmental Designs, PBIS, and ENVoY.
  • Develop a comprehensive behavior framework that effectively meets the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students across all schools. Research the curricular instructional adaptations and teaching strategies that are most effective in reducing behavior issues. Prioritize those strategies that are most effective and make them accessible online.
  • Attend to the social curriculum by allowing time for students to learn through play.
  • Decrease fear among students and increase calm by incorporating nature into the curriculum.
  • Provide stronger support for parents by initiating home visits and expanding parenting classes.
  • Implement student-centered staff development that is focused socially and academically on the whole child.
  • Explore how schools can more effectively use Educational Support Professionals (ESPs).
  • Streamline due process.

Download a copy of Connections for Learning: Unifying the Social and Academic Curriculum in Minneapolis Public Schools

Download Full Report as a PDF

Name of Report: VIVA New Jersey Charter Teachers’ Project- Character 2.0: The Value of Taking a School-Wide View Toward Students’ Life-long Success
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA New Jersey Charter Teachers’ Idea Exchange
Presented to: Chris Cerf, New Jersey Commissioner of Education

Recommendations:

  • Help Schools Define and Build Cultures that Develop Non-Cognitive Skills, Then Assess Those Skills
  • Establish Shared Vocabulary and Meaning that Fosters Character Development and Student Accountability from Preschool through High School and Beyond
  • Develop Students’ and Teachers’ Ability to Navigate in a Diverse Society with Cultural Proficiency
  • Reinvent School Discipline as an Opportunity to Build Character
  • Design Opportunities for Students to Demonstrate Character in Student-Centered, Student-Led Initiatives

Download a copy of “Character 2.0: The Value of Taking a School-Wide View Toward Students’ Life-long Success”

Download Full Report as a PDF

Name of Report: VIVA MTA Project- Addressing Educational Inequities: Proposals for Narrowing the Achievement Gaps in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities
Prepared By: Members of the VIVA MTA Writing Collaborative
Presented to: The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Teachers Association

Recommendations:

  • Treat multicultural English Language Learners as a resource in a global economy
  • End the school-to-prison pipeline by keeping students engaged in learning
  • Reinvent teacher preparation, professional development and evaluation so all teachers can meet the challenge of multiethnic students, then trust teachers to do it well
  • Reinvent schools as a community resource
  • Lengthen the school day and reorganize the school year
  • Work together to seek federal funding for districts

Download a copy of “Addressing Educational Inequities: Proposals for Narrowing the Achievement Gaps in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities.”

Download Full Report as a PDF

Name of Report: Arizona Charter Teachers’ Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice From the Classroom
Prepared by: Members of The VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative
Presented to: Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal and: Board President Jaime Molera

Recommendations:

  • Ensure all schools and teachers have access to affordable teacher training
  • Make the training available when teachers need it — at night, online, on demand
  • Revamp professional development and teacher collaboration to fit new standards
  • Revamp ADE website to make the tools more user-friendly
  • Ease the transition from old standardized tests to new Common Core tests
  • Revamp higher education teacher training to meet needs of Common Core
  • Ensure parents understand the goals and challenges of Common Core

Outcomes:

  • Superintendent revamps public information outreach on Common Core for teachers and parents
  • Arizona Department of Education website redesigned with VIVA
  • Recess is a right for all elementary students
  • Added attendance days for Columbus Day and Pulaski Day
  • Dramatic increase in access to technology for teaching and learning

Download a PDF of “Arizona Charter Teachers Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the Classroom”