All learners Network
The All Learners Network (ALN) is a group of teachers, coaches, administrators and a person or two from higher education, who are dedicated to the proposition that all students can learn math. While we acknowledge the importance of cultivating a growth mindset to support students, we also feel that there is more pedagogical work to be done. We believe there is specialized instruction that makes math learning more available for children who have tended to be less successful with math. Included in our approach is a deep understanding of relevant math content, a consistent, informed use of formative assessment (such as CRAs and/or Formative Probes), the use of both inclusion and differentiation approaches (often using Math Menu or Math Workshop), and an emphasis on understanding student thinking (rather than making students understand teacher thinking) as the basis for learning.
Another key component of ALN is the use of design engineering to constantly improve instruction. Participants in ALN investigate a variety of instructional approaches to answer specific pedagogical questions related to the central ALN goal – success for all learners. Sometimes these investigations are about trying new settings or formats within the lesson. Sometimes they are about testing approaches to create deeper or more meaningful participation by everyone. There is always a question to investigate and the results are shared within our group.
This year (2018-19) ALN will support five groups across Vermont. The Continuing Cohort will consist of schools/districts that have already participated for at least a year in the project. The K-5 Northern Cohort will include new schools or districts in northern/central Vermont that wish to build an ALN program using materials/techniques such as Formative Probes, Math Menu, or Clinical Interviews. This cohort will be built from teacher-leaders and/or coaches at participating schools or districts. A similar cohort – The K-5 Southern Cohort will take place in southern Vermont, alternating meeting locations from east to western districts. The Middle School Group is made up of middle school math teachers, subject specialists in mathematics. Like the K-5 groups, there will be a Northern Middle School cohort and a Southern Middle School cohort. These groups will explore and use the new High Leverage Concepts for Middle School, and investigate the use of Math Menu to help with differentiation in the middle grades.
Special educators and interventionists are encouraged to be part of any of the cohorts with teachers or leaders from their schools. In addition, there are twice yearly meetings of the All Learners Network devoted entirely to work with children using special education services. These sessions will investigate a variety of methods for creating greater equity and success for students on IEPs.
How you can participate
Schools or districts can decide to participate in one or more groups. There are requirements for membership in each of the groups. Participation means that teachers (or coaches) will be involved in group meetings once each month for three hours. In addition, all participants will investigate pedagogy and report their findings back to the group. An important component of the All Learners Network is a rapid cycle of continuous improvement. We attend to this through our monthly meetings. At the end of the year, teachers and coaches will be invited to share important findings at a yearly conference (more on this later).
All Learners Network is a grassroots organization. This year the All Learners Network is receiving funding from the Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE). It represents a true educational collective between teachers, district leaders, the VT-AOE and teacher-researchers. Monthly meetings will include professional development, work on pedagogy investigations, and sharing of findings in the field. The meetings will run about three hours each month and continue throughout the school year.
This group will continue its work from last year. Goals for this year include:
Producing a narrative on a variety of models for menu
Creating clinical interview templates for each grade level K-5
Creating and maintaining All Learners Network website resources
Organizing the first yearly conference
K-5 Cohorts – North, Central, South
These First Year Cohorts are open to math coaches who will help organize and support math instruction for all learners at their schools. This group will learn how to organize and run weekly PLC meetings to support teacher use of formative assessment. They will deliver and interpret the High Leverage Assessments, learn to use Formative Probes, and help teachers implement Math Menu. Many coaches have already done some work with Math for Struggling Learners or with the Ongoing Assessment Project. For those who have not, information and coaching will be provided.
The goal for this group is to help coaches move their schools toward 100% of students demonstrating understanding of High Leverage Concepts – those concepts that are key learning at a grade level and predict success in the next grade. Schools/districts that complete C1 will be eligible to join the Continuing Cohort the following year.
Middle School Cohorts – North, Central, South
In response to requests from middle school teachers ALN is continuing its work with middle school teachers in the north and starting up a new Middle School Teachers group in the south this fall. As most middle schools do not use instructional coaches, and as many middle school teachers are content specialists, this group will be comprised of middle school math teachers from all three states in the project. PD in this group will focus on remediation with fractions and proportional reasoning.
The goals for the Middle School Group are to make use of the new Middle School High Leverage Concepts (and assessments) and to investigate the implementation of Math Menu at the middle level.
Special Education Meetings
The Special Education Meetings are opportunities to share newly developed techniques for students who struggle. These meetings will take place during the school year. They will provide professional development on topics such as:
Using the HLCs to write IEP goals
Supporting students to participate during Inclusion (Main Lesson)
Working with students during Math Menu
Conducting Clinical (and flexible) interviews
Collaborating with classroom teachers
Understanding and Applying Intervention Models for instruction
Templates for Intervention blocks – How to use 30 minutes effectively