FIP Facilitator Spotlight: Columbus City Schools


FIP Facilitator Name: Carla Mae Phillips
Title: Common Core Instructional Teacher on Special Assignment (CCIT)
School/District: Columbus City Schools

When did you begin working on formative instructional practices?
As a classroom teacher and high school English department chair, I began working on formative instructional practices in 2005. In my current position as a CCIT, I am helping a middle school building FIP their classrooms. They began this work in 2012.

How did you get started? 
I got started because of the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) movement that was established in my building/district. FIP goes hand-in-hand with this initiative.

Share an "I used to think... but now I think..." moment you've had when learning about or implementing FIP.
I used to think that grade books should be organized by assignments, but now I think they should be organized by learning targets.

What have been your biggest challenges in advancing the use of FIP?
There was a challenge to get every teacher to do the first five Foundations of FIP modules, which are invaluable to understanding how to use formative instructional practices. To overcome this, we devoted one part of a PD day to logging every teacher onto the Battelle for Kids portal and getting them started with module one. Then we offered incentives. For completing two modules, teachers received Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam. For completing all five Foundations of FIP modules, teachers received one CEU.

What successes have you seen in implementation so far?
The Common Core Standards have been unpacked into clear learning targets in ELA and SCI/SS/Tech Literacy for use in our building. Teachers are using these clear learning targets to drive classroom instuction so that the focus is on student learning, not activity, content, or coverage; to make formative and summative assessments for tracking and reporting learning; to assess validity of current or previously used lesson plans, and to have common ground for collaboration. Students are using them to take ownership of their own learning and to present themselves at student-led conferences. Teachers are meeting twice per week and twice per month in grade level and content groups as PLCs where formative practices are a big part of their work.

What impact do you see FIP having in your school/district?
The best initiative to happen in education during my tenure is the PLC movement. Since FIP goes hand-in-hand with this initiative, I consider it part of the best educational initiative of the past 15 years.

What advice do you have for other FIP Facilitators or educators getting started with formative instructional practices?
Have teachers do the Foundations of FIP modules. This will get them to focus on their own practice.

Want to share how your school/district is implementing FIP? Use #ohFIP on Twitter or complete this brief survey. Are you an Ohio educator? Enroll in the FIP Modules here.