Creating a School Culture Focused on High Engagement and Shared Literacy

Guest post by Kasey Teske:

Participants of Ignite ’14,

I’m so excited to be a part of the rich learning experience that will take place before, during and after this conference. I will be presenting about the importance of creating a school culture focused on high engagement and shared literacy. As we build the capacity of teachers to engage students in relevant content with rigorous literacy aligned to anchor standards, how can we measure if the intended shifts of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are happening across curricula over time? Is it possible to measure trends in student engagement, literacy opportunities, higher-order thinking and technology use over time?

The answer is yes! As part of my presentation, I will share a walkthrough strategy that allows you to take a snapshot of a different period of your school day each week and measure instructional shifts over time. With the help of this strategy, you will be able to answer the question, Are the CCSS making a difference throughout my school? as well as provide collective and individual feedback to your teachers.

The presentation will also include other ideas related to the importance of observing teachers frequently with feedback and eliciting reflective conversations regarding instructional expectations. One idea is to regularly schedule peer observations. Teachers get the chance to observe other teachers who are willing to showcase their instructional bright spots. Best of all, teachers get a chance to glean ideas in the context of authentic instruction.

Another idea is to use your evaluation instrument to periodically review instructional goals and provide formative feedback throughout the year. The process provides more opportunity for teachers to reflect, engage in instructional conversations with administrators, and plan for improvements so that they can shine on the summative evaluation. More importantly, whether a school observes teachers and provides frequent and meaningful feedback is a significant factor in distinguishing high-performing schools from low-performing schools.

Kasey Teske will be presenting Creating a School Culture Focused on High Engagement and Shared Literacy on Saturday, February 8th at Ignite ’14.  For more and to register, visit

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