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May 10,2007
The action plan for the 21st century committee and the academic rigor committee was shared with the steering committee. The most up to date action plan is now available on this site under action plans.
Thanks to everyone on all of the committees for the work, great discussion, and commitment to Upper Merion Area School District.

Minutes from April 24, 2007 6:30
On April 24 the small groups that met to review and discuss UMASD data shared their findings and made recommendations to the group as a whole. An updated action plan was shared and discussion focused on that plan. The plan is posted under Action Plans as a work in progress. Please view the work and feel free to share your feedback either through e-mail to Jane Callaghan at JCallaghan@umasd.org or through the discussion page on this site. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30 in the High School Library Classroom.

Minutes from April 11, 2007



Agenda for April 11, 2007
Agenda:
Handouts:
The Education Challenge: Preparing Students for a Changing World
Action Plan Template
Questions to be discussed:
1.Can we use the following definitions for rigor and relevance?
Definitions for Rigor and Relevance
Rigor refers to academic rigor, learning in which students demonstrate a thorough, in-depth mastery of challenging tasks to develop cognitive skills through reflective thought, analysis, problem solving, evaluation, or creativity. It is the quality of thinking, not the quantity, that defines academic rigor, and rigorous learning can occur at any school grade and in any subject.
Relevance refers to learning in which students apply core knowledge, concepts, or skills to solve real-world problems. Relevant learning is interdisciplinary and contextual. Student work can range from routine to complex at any school grade and in any subject.
2.What must we focus on in order to address the complex demands of our society and the issues facing our students in a more competitive world?
3.What is the impact of globalization on today's student? On the way they learn? On the way we teach? On the skills and knowledge they will need for the jobs of the future?
4.What knowledge and skills need to be part of a student's education in order to prepare him/her for future roles and responsibilities?
5.Where are the skills gaps between what students are learning in schol and what business is telling us they need?
6.There is an increased focus on state assessments as a result of NCLB. Is the achievement data from these assessments enough to drive our educational decisions? Should we determine additional criteria?
7.What "habits of mind" are needed for success and how can these be part of our program?
8.How do we increase the level of engagement and connectivity for all students?

Daggett, W. R., Ed.D. (n.d.). The education challenge: preparing students for a
changing world.

On April 11, We will disucss these questions and will work on the action plan template that is now available on this website. To view, select Action Plans. This is a work in progress and will be considered a draft until the committee determines the final version. Please look over the UMASD data that was provided at the first meeting as this will help to guide your thinking as we talk about goals and action steps.

Meeting Two, March 28, 2007
At this meeting we discussed the brainstormed words that could be used to define academic rigor, we distributed and discussed two articles on habits of mind (see articles page) and reviewed a list of categories to address for goal setting and action planning.

*Rigor Defined
*Student Performance Standards and Expectations
*Curriculum, Instruction, Materials
*Assessment
*Use of Data
*Expanded Learning Opportunities
*Partnering with Parents, Community, and Post-Secondary Institutions

Student responses to the question "What is rigor" were shared by two teachers who collected that information; Pete Vreeland and Katherine Schneider.

The committee broke up into groups and began to brainstorm some potential goals for the academic rigor committee. These goals will be reflective of UMASD data and research.

Meeting One, March 21, 2007
PowerPoint and discussion regarding academic rigor.
Key Points
  • Today's student is different and has different ways of learning. These students are known as digital learners. They are "connected" to the world through technology and their learning styles and needs need to be addressed as academic rigor is defined for schools today.
  • William Daggett, Ed.D, defines rigor as "learning in which students demonstrate a thorough, in-depth mastery of challenging tasks to develop cognitive skills through reflective thought, analysis, problem solving, evaluation, or creativity. It is the quality of thinking, not the quantity, that defines academic rigor and rigorous learning can occur at any school grade and in any subject."
  • Relevance is critical to academic rigor. Relevance refers to "learning in which students apply core knowledge, concepts, or skills to solve real-world problems. Relevant learning is interdisciplinary and contextual and is created through authentic problems or tasks, simulation, service learning, connecting concepts to current issues, and teaching others.
  • Student achievement data is used across the nation and within schols to assess performanc and build rigor.
  • Academic rigor must reflect the demands of the "real world" and the global economy.
    • Globalization
    • Technology
    • Demographics
    • Values and Beliefs
Discussion:
The committee brainstormed words and phrases associated with academic rigor to be used for further discussions.
Handouts: See "Articles" page of this wikispace to obtain articles
3 articles
UMASD data packet