Focus on Student ProgressAs our teachers, staff, and administrators work together to revise our educational processes and techniques, the instruction provided by GSD continues to be focused upon individual student progress. With new requirements necessitating rigorous, practical problem-solving skills in curriculums, emphasis will be placed on developmental learning activities instead of rote memorization.
GSD is diligently preparing our students for the new PARCC assessment (Partnership for the Assessment for College and Careers) and the Mississippi K-3 Assessment Support System, a reading assessment used to determine whether students move to 4th grade. We are restructuring our teaching methods and developing materials for effective classroom implementation. The main focus of development has been the creation of “units”, produced in collaboration between subject specialists and classroom teachers. The units are designed to encompass every academic standard, in Language Arts and Math for each grade. The production of these units has been a monumental task, with each unit requiring an ongoing feedback loop of evaluation and redesign between the teachers, administrators, and subject specialists.
GSD is using several diagnostic tools, iReady and AimsWeb to identify gaps in student learning and to provide remediation to increase student learning and skills. To optimize student progress, GSD is providing several avenues for student learning interventions. AmeriCorps members are providing in-school and after school small-group and individual learning sessions for grades K-8. After school opportunities for AmeriCorps tutoring takes place four days a week at GES, GUES, and GMS. District teachers provide high school and middle school students with after-school tutoring two days a week as part of the 21st Century Learning grant. Transportation home is provided for students for tutoring participants in both initiatives.
To monitor student and teacher progress, principals, specialists, and central office administrators are visiting classrooms each day. In addition, outside consultants are assisting in ensuring that students are able to master skills. Student progress is tracked through nine-weeks tests, classroom tests, and benchmark assessments to enable our teams to determine mastery of standards or areas needing additional instruction.
These testing strategies, monitoring, and interventions have been developed as part of GSD’s plan to prepare our students for upcoming assessments. Since the State evaluation is still in the development stage, GSD is constantly modifying our strategies as we implement the State-mandated curriculum and keep our focus on student progress.