Establishing Vision and Goals

Community and School
YSD Frederick Douglass is entering its fifth year as a charter K-8 school. In this time, the school has grown
progressively closer to the surrounding community, which was initially hostile to the charter take over. YSD takes
various steps to engage the community, including events throughout the year for both parents and the
community, having a resource room available in the building for parents, and holding community events in the
school building throughout the year.
The North Philadelphia community in which Frederick Douglass resides is one of the poorest neighborhoods in
Philadelphia. The school is surrounding by public housing. The community also retains a clear sense of pride and
closeness, with the school playing a key role in this atmosphere. Douglass remains a catchment school and, as
such, students come from within a few blocks for the most part.
What’s at Stake for our Students
In virtually all of my surveys and letters to Mr. Miller, students indicated their desires to go to college. YSD has
done a great job of transforming the culture at Douglass such that students feel safe to express this desire and feel
confident that this goal is achievable for them.
Job opportunities and paths for success are scarce in North Philadelphia, and my students know it.
When asked what they would do with a million dollars, almost all of them responded that they would buy a
house somewhere outside of Philly to get themselves and their families into a better place. They want the
same things any young person wants, only more because they understand the stakes for themselves if
they cannot use education to escape. There are many wonderful attribute to the community around
Douglass, but students understand that education is their path to using their skills successfully to support
themselves and their families.


High Bar


2014-2015 Key Strategies
Data Driven Instruction


Interpretive-Level, TextDependent Questions



Practice (for both students and

What’s the most meaningful and lasting impact I can accomplish with my students this year?
I want my students to understand what hard work feels like. They all know how to set a goal like “get into
a good high school so I can go to college”, but these goals are disconnected for the reality of the hard
work it requires to get there. I want them to understand how each semester’s grade and attendance play
into their goals. I want them to understand how each class period plays into their goals. I want them to
understand how every decision they make throughout the day moves them either toward or away from

Establishing Vision and Goals
their goals. Sitting up, tracking the speaker, thinking critically, taking notes, asking questions vs. staring
into space, slouching, daydreaming, or just assuming you will never understand something. I will reiterate
every day that these actions connect directly to the likelihood that my students will successfully achieve
their goals.
Their “Big Goal” sheets will be posted around my room, so I can easily reference them, even if only
generally, to prompt students to get back on track.
11.22 Update:
I am focusing now on strengthening my students’ ability to work silently and independently for prolonged
periods of time. Students need to understand that working independently and struggling to solve
problems are key skills for their success. I want my students to use the Carnegie Curriculum to develop
confidence in their ability to explore mathematical concepts and use existing skills to problem solve
solutions. They will spend significant time focused on models and conceptual math as well as the style of
word problems they will see on benchmarks and in real life.

- What should my growth goals be?
 As a class, I expect all my students to grow 2 levels or more on the PSSA. This
means moving from Basic to Advanced, or Below Basic to Proficient, for example.
 At least 70% of students will score a 3 or above on their A-NET open ended
response questions. These questions closely resemble the type of thinking
required by the new Common Core.
- What will it look like when students meet those goals?
 Students will work with a sense of urgency every day
 This will look like students following directions, staying on task, and
pushing themselves without significant amounts of external redirection
 This will require that I keep their goals in focus every day, particularly when
covering a difficult topic or one that feels disconnected from real-world
 This will look like students working silently and independently for the
majority of class.
 Students will develop strong habits of learning and hard work. They will
not need to be highly supervised to stay on task as it will be the norm.
 Students will help set and buy into their own individual growth goals in order to
reach the general class goal
 This will look like students setting SMART, time limited goals periodically
that align with my greater goal. Moving two levels on the PSSA is far too
abstract to effectively track progress toward it or to motivate students on a
daily basis. These smaller goals will allow students to have something
more tangible to see if they are successfully moving forward.
 Growth goals have not proven an effective motivator. We are more focused
now on building effective habits of learning.
 This will also require effective incorporation of Douglass’ three key strategies to
achieve dramatic growth:
 Data-driven instruction
o I will use data from both our Aimsweb and MAP diagnostics to set
time-limited goals for all students.
o Daily Do Now and Exit Tickets will allow me to track mastery
o These tools will help me constantly refine my plans for moving all
of my students to two levels of PSSA growth.
 high quality, text dependent questions
o The Carnegie Curriculum we are using is full of word problems and

Establishing Vision and Goals

text, requiring my students to regularly read passages and interpret
answers. I have developed a system for scaffolding each question
as we move through the curriculum that forces students to think
silently before doing any written work. The written time is then
followed by either time to speak with a shoulder partner, time for
group sharing via cold calling, or both.
Practice both for the students and for me.
o Practice means opportunities for students to try math concepts
individually, with a partner, with my support, and at home.
o Practice also relates to me. I rehearse my lessons before students
arrive, practice my classroom management with a coach in front of
an empty classroom, and receive feedback from myriad sources.
All of which serves to improve the instructional minutes my
students receive.

- Objective Growth Goals
 I will successfully execute a silent, testing style classroom in which I will teach for
no more than two minutes at a time and then help students for no more than 3
seconds each.
 I will give out two or less dean referrals per day
 The dean will have to come to my room no more than once per day
 75% of my lessons will be paced appropriately and end on time
 Students will receive at least one graded piece of material back each week
- What should my growth goals be?
 As mentioned previously, I want my students to understand and be able to
articulate how their daily decisions connect to their long term goals.
 Everything is about stronger habits of learning. I will help my students build these
habits through constant reinforcement and holding a high bar against these
- What will it look like when students meet those goals?
 This will look like students self-redirecting when they realize they are off task, or
students quickly re-engaging when I remind them of how their actions impact their
long term goals.
 Measuring these goals can be a challenge, but I hope to use our online disciplinary
system to do so. The less deductions I am giving out, the more on task my
students are. This can be correlated with the notion that they are internalizing the
value of classwork (though it does not prove this is happening)