FIP Facilitator Spotlight: Worthington City Schools

FIP Facilitator Name: Jamie Davis
Title: Early Childhood Intervention Specialist
School/DistrictSutter Park School/ Worthington City Schools

When did you begin working on formative instructional practices?

Our district integrated the Battelle for Kids FIP modules during the 2012-2013 school year.

 How did you get started? 

Our building chose to use the work we were doing on our modules as the focus of our professional learning communities (PLC).

Share an "I used to think... but now I think..." moment you've had when learning about or implementing FIP.

I used to think "using rubrics" with three, four and five year old students was going to be a stretch, but now I ask, "how can I use more rubrics?" for learning with young children.  The use of rubrics has a major impact on student ownership in the learning process and the results were black and white in their work samples. It was a moment where I stepped back and looked at how my teaching and student learning has changed for the better!

What have been your biggest challenges in advancing the use of FIP and what are you doing to overcome them?

Change takes professional development and time to practice; to reflect and try again.  Our district's instructional coaches have a focused lab class model which allows teachers to form cohorts, whom observe one another,  to discuss formative instructional practices in action.  Their work in this capacity was transformational for my practice and inspired me to initiate, with a colleague, this same type of professional development specific to early childhood classrooms.  This year's preschool, kindergarten, and first grade teachers have the opportunity to look at FIP in action across grade levels to help differentiate strategies for various levels of learners at these early ages.  Additionally, we now have a clear example of what FIP looks like at those three levels. The quality of the discussion following the observations is rich and allows for collaboration among educators to celebrate specific successes, discuss stumbling blocks and brainstorm together best practices for implementing FIP for our district's youngest learners.
What successes have you seen in implementation so far?

Student progress has been exponential when reflecting on the use of all formative instructional practices.  They take focused time, deliberate attention and are intentional at a whole new level in my practice; the results are clear. Teachers at other grade levels are impressed that preschool children can articulate their learning targets, are monitoring their progress on their targets, and are beginning to provide feedback to one another on their learning and work samples.  Our district has provided a great deal of opportunities to grow and develop our practices around formative instructional practices, but teachers are taking it upon themselves to devote professional learning communities to integrating FIP with integrity.

What advice do you have for other FIP Facilitators or educators getting started with formative instructional practices?

Get started, somewhere, with something!  Even if you start small, you can build and expand on your work.  As Dylan Wiliam comments that it takes more than a lifetime to master the art of teaching due to the complexity of it all, so is the amount of time that can be spent digging deeper into the various levels of implementation of FIP.  It is an ever-changing, ever-reflecting, ever-piloting process; so start somewhere and do something to dig deeper and start transforming your teaching.

Want to share how your school/district is implementing FIP? Use #ohFIP on Twitter or complete this brief survey.