SLOs: An Organizational Nightmare

HB 59 passed, but it unfortunately did not include the provision to decrease that 50% SGM down to 35%. Changes did include:

Students with 60 or more unexcused absences are to be excluded from the student growth measure (SGM) was reduced to 45 excused or unexcused for the academic year as a compromise. The original proposal called for 30 excused and unexcused.

Weighted percentage is still 50% performance and 50% SGM. We believe as the Value-Added data becomes available, this will continue to be a discussion in the future. So HB 555 STILL APPLIES FULLY. The original proposal called for 35% SGM.

Our 4 ratings for both OTES and OPES are now Accomplished, Skilled, Developing, Ineffective. ODE will BEGIN identifying and revising all affected documents.

What has been haunting my dreams this summer has been all the SLOs and SGMs my email inbox is swimming in. I’m struggling to find a nice way to organize everything so all documents are in one central location for everyone to access at the beginning of the schools year. At this point, we have about 40 different SGM assessments for 40 different courses (the selection of which came from the design I laid out in “SLOs in Layman’s Terms”), and we have a course-level, generic, editable SLO document for each of those 40 courses. Teachers will administer the SGMs in the first couple weeks of school (some online through Bb, some paper and pencil because of time constraints). We applied for a waiver day in September so that teachers could meet with other course-level teachers, look at all the data from all students in the same course (even between buildings), set growth targets in the SLO template, and then customize the teacher-specific information in the necessary areas (ex. Student population) of the template. Once that is finished, 200+ secondary teachers will submit 400+ SLO documents to me, and what the heck am I supposed to do with them as far as organization is concerned?

Let me tell you about my recurring nightmares–1) teachers can’t access the SGMs for some reason, and my phone and emails ring, ding, and bing off the hook for days from 5 am to 10 pm, and I’m trying desperately to help every single person while they’re trying not to freak out because it’s first period, they wanted to administer the SGM second through fourth period and the document won’t open. 2) on the waiver day when we’re trying to complete the SLOs, I am desperately running from room to room trying to help each of 40 teacher groups (and all the singletons) learn how to write growth targets. 3) my email explodes with 400+ incoming SLO documents. All at once. 4) Everyone is mad, it’s frustrating that I can’t answer questions quickly enough. I’m not exaggerating when I say this has invaded my dreams; it really has.

I’d love some help from any of you out there with an organizational plan. We didn’t get the benefit of RTTT prep time, so we haven’t had practice years to accomplish this insanely monumental task complete with paperwork to elicit panic attacks from the OCD, Type A among us. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

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6 thoughts on “SLOs: An Organizational Nightmare

  1. Christina, thanks for these!

    I’d been struggling with why I’m not seeing more traction with teachers who, in public, preach the need for custom, student-centered education…then mentally wander off when I say, “This is how I think we can do it, what do you think?”

    Somehow I just missed that the legislature/ODE slipped in this ’90’s solution. (I plead acronym overload.) And how much this must be on the mind of early-adopter teachers. It now makes perfect sense where their scant extra time for thought has been focused.

    It is what it is, and somehow you all will get through. Meantime, blessings be upon you.

    (In the States’ defense, teachers too long have done too much on their own. Pushing SLO’s/SGM’s into a long-outdated organizational structure perhaps merely means that it’s the latter which needs changed.)

    I do love your advice in the previous post: “looking to surrounding schools to allow them to collaborate with other teachers.”

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    • No problem.

      I get “forcing the system forward” with a legislated shock to what we’ve been doing, but I’m not sure yet that this was the way to make that happen. I feel like all I am doing is complaining about SLOs and SGMs, and maybe everyone else is just accepting them and hopping on board, but I find this to be inefficient and ineffective. I’d love to see the state step back from all this forced accountability and let teachers teach. If we keep trying to make and plug holes in the bucket, it will never hold water.

      I would so much prefer for teachers to have some time and opportunity to adjust to learning standards and working on moving their pedagogy forward.

      Thanks again for your comment.

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      • Oh, you’re right, it’s just way too much!

        I don’t, though, agree with ‘let teachers teach’. That’s OK for schools like Medina and Broadview heights, with tons or resources and enough well-off parents. But it isn’t cutting it if you’re a poor minority student in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Youngstown. Or a student in some of our small rural districts.

        Or, for that matter, the bright student who hosted the session at EdCampCle 2012 titled “Education from the Perpective of the Educated”. He pleaded with us to make school more challenging and personally relevant!

        But like I said, SLO’s/SGM’s as implemented seem like a ’90’s solution.

        I hope like hell I’m building the 21st century solution to your troubles!

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      • I don’t know that I agree with the assumption about inner-city schools, Ed. I’m not clear if you’re saying there is a difference in the level of teaching available in different districts or the quality of instruction.

        if level of teaching….In my time just substituting in those very schools, I saw the most dedicated, caring teachers I have ever seen in my life. Those teachers are some of the best if only because they show up every day to teach.

        If quality of instruction…..The downfall of many struggling districts is defaulting to purchased curricula that prescribe day-to-day lessons. While this concept tries to account for transient students, it ignores the art of teaching.

        Regardless, every district comes with its unique set of circumstances whether poor inner-city, poor rural, “wealthy” suburban, or the rest of the gamut. The majority (I’ll be the first to say “not all”) of teachers in all of those classrooms, though, have the same heart, the same desire to educate, to prepare kids of all backgrounds for the world that awaits them. We can’t legislate that into happening, but we can lead with a supportive hand and help them teach kids.

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  2. Pingback: In which I semi-begrudgingly expound on the benefits of OTES | Turn On Your Brain

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