While any major change in a district wide policy is sure to be met with a fair set of challenges, the roll out of SRG has had the added difficulty of being rolled out in the midst of a global pandemic.
For elementary, this has meant being ready to reprioritize and refine what can be taught in remote or blended settings. For 6th grade teachers (and other teachers in middle schools that opted to fully adopt SRG) this has meant that teachers needed to not only adapt their plans for SRG, but also wrap their heads around this huge paradigm shift in our educational system.
That paradigm shift is no understatement. As the rollout began in our district, one thing became incredibly clear for district administration involved in the implementation according to the Assistant Superintendent For Learning Services, Dr. Andi Giesen: based on feedback from teachers, they "needed time thinking on the standard and what that progression of learning means. In our PDs that we provided, we covered planning with standards in mine, but we didn't emphasize it as much as we needed to. So, when we moved forward to sixth grade we were able to say [to principals] don't just cover this, emphasize it and spend time on it."
So, it's no wonder that when we recently asked teachers for feedback on SRG on our Facebook page that we got a wide variety of responses. For some, it is clear that they have had that time to process this paradigm shift, but others are still struggling under the weight of all of the other challenges that have unfolded during this pandemic.
Here are a few of the examples that stood out to us. You can read them all by going to our Facebook page.
While the district has been unable to host listening sessions with various stakeholders due to the pandemic, they do plan to look very closely at a study that WSU graduates are currently conducting to look at SRG perceptions of SRG in the remote environment.
As to any noticeable impact on student learning, Giesen says that it is still too soon to get any clear indication from metrics like state assessment scores and passing rates.
Vice President of UTW, Gabriel Costilla, serves on the SRG Reporting Taskforce that has been meeting since before the rollout. The taskforce can't make any changes in the rollout, but they can offer recommendations to the academic leadership team and the district leadership team.
Costilla believes that the biggest issue that needs to be resolved is how this gets implemented at the high school level, "When it comes to implementing this at the high school level, we need to make sure that we have all the kinks out and that parents and students clearly understand exactly how their grade is calculated and how this system can help to prepare them for success after high school. That means nailing a grade conversion scale that is fair and equitable, communicating with local colleges, and making sure that the actual reporting of grades is simple and efficient."
To that end, Dr. Giesen made a final point to express how proud she is of all of the taskforces, workgroups, and pilot teachers that have worked on the rollout thus far.
Whether you are an avid believer in SRG, still fairly clueless as to how this can be implemented in your class, or adamant that this is not working, we hope that you continue to use your voice and let us know how we can ensure that our district is a great place for students to learn and for teachers to teach. We don't have all the answers, and we know this rollout has put a plethora of strain on a system that is already struggling under the weight of this pandemic, but when all of us come together we can do more than adapt and pivot; we can lead.