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November 25, 2009 > New Haven Unified Board of Education Briefs

New Haven Unified Board of Education Briefs

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education on Tuesday night received a report on the work that Instructional Leadership Teams (ILT) are doing at each of the District's schools to involve teachers in the leadership process, make decisions about the instructional program and lead and monitor the implementation of sound instructional focus.

Chief Academic Officer Wendy Gudalewicz told the Board how the Ball Foundation, which has adopted New Haven as one of a handful of districts across the country where it supports the development of high-performing schools, is partnering with the consultant group Targeted Leadership to provide ILT training. The training is built around the Seven Essentials for Continuous Growth and Improvement, designed to help meet the Board's goal of having all students performing at grade level in core academic subjects.

The ILTs, made up of 6-12 teachers at each site and including representatives from each grade level and/or department, are focusing this year on three of the Seven Essentials:
_ Providing District-wide instructional foci;
_ Using data to inform instructional and professional development decisions;
_ Learning and using research-based instructional practices.

Specifically, ILTs are working in support of the District's focus on literacy, with Writing Workshop and Balanced Literacy. ILTs meet twice monthly at the sites and also are coming together five times over the course of the year for two-day learning opportunities, including visits to individual school sites for 'walk-throughs' of all classrooms, to see how the work is being implemented.

Kitayama Elementary School Principal Lisa Metzinger and ILT members Allison Sayavong and David Ellison shared with the Board their enthusiasm about the program, the improvement they have seen in their students' writing and their experiences as hosts of an October walk-through.

Cesar Chavez Middle School Principal Alberto Solorzano shared how his staff is benefitting from the process and how they are looking forward to their walk-through in March, and ILT member Patsy Lockhart told the Board how ILTs make it easier for teachers to share best practices with their colleagues and/or ask for help.

Also on Tuesday night, the Board:
_ Approved the creation of a Community Day School for expelled special education students, including a voluntary Independent Study component. The school will open in January in the annex building at the Educational Services Center.
_ Received a presentation from the legal firm of Miller, Brown & Dannis and voted in favor of adopting a general counsel or full-service model for legal representation, though not with a specific firm.

Agendas of regular Board of Education meetings and minutes of past meetings are available on the District website: www.nhusd.k12.ca.us.

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