There is wide agreement among educators that academic rigor is essential to preparing all students for college and career. What is less prominent is a common definition of the concept and a vision for implementing systemic approaches to a rigorous learning experience for all students.
CTL’s professional development programs have worked within ICLE’s Rigor and Relevance Framework (Rigor Relevance Framework) for many years, providing clients and partners with a tiered approach to school improvement that involves working with administrative levels of support while teachers are engaged in ongoing learning about learning research, instructional strategies, and protocols for team learning and coaching. Recognizing the recursive process of teaching and learning, CTL’s school improvement support allows an entry into the work of professional development that meets people where they are.
It is with that spirit in mind that CTL’s Rigor Rubric and School Reflection Process is offered to assist school leadership teams in engaging in an ongoing self-assessment in areas of operational significance towards becoming a truly rigorous learning culture and climate.
Our rigor rubric offers a wide lens on the systems that are in place, creating an opportunity to facilitate a school culture that is reflective and responsive to student and adult learning needs. Recognizing that adult learning precedes authentic student learning, CTL’s Reflection Process takes a leadership team through a prioritizing activity before engaging in specific reflections on proven practices that benefit students.
The main areas of reflection include assessment, classroom practices, collaboration, instructional leadership, advising and grouping patterns, student support, and quality work ethic from both adults and students. Leadership teams comprised of teachers and administrators are asked to choose their areas of strength and begin reflections there, as opposed to starting where they know they are weak. Starting with strengths allows safety and trust in the discussion and the authentic acknowledgement that schools are doing many things well. Once people have settled into the routine of reflective dialogue, they are more likely to tackle the challenging areas of their practice with honesty, openness, and willingness to look at options.
As previous CTL blog posts about rigor attest (www.ctlonline.org/blog) , we are a student-centered learning organization that understands deeper learning (Deeper Learning) will not occur in response to a one time workshop or in response to anything that an outside agency alone can provide. That is why we offer the Schoolwide Rigor Rubric and Reflection Process as technical assistance to school leadership teams as partners and collaborators.
For more about working with CTL, visit http://ctlonline.org/work-with-us/