McBrayer Elementary News
Newly Adopted Writing Policy
McBrayer Elementary School
Writing/ Communications Policy
550 Viking Dr., Morehead, KY 40351
Opening Statement—KRS 158.6453 requires all public schools develop a school-wide writing program and submit policies for that program to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) for review and comment.
McBrayer Elementary School recognizes that 21st century literacy skills are critical for success in the global community. Writing and communication are key components of literacy and must be authentically taught and practiced in all content areas.
Definition of writing/communications program: Writing is defined broadly, to include written and oral texts, multi-media communications, and communication through technology. The program shall provide opportunities for all students at all grade levels and across the curriculum to develop complex communication skills for a variety of purposes. Students shall develop communications that are narrative, informative/explanatory, and argumentative in purpose and shall write to learn, write to demonstrate learning, and communicate for realistic purposes and audiences in a variety of real-world forms/modes.
- School-Based Decision-Making Council
- School Writing/Communications Team
- Developing Students’ Communication Skills: Curriculum and Instruction
- Using Technology to Help Students Develop Communication Skills
- School Writing/Communications Folder
- Feedback and Assessment
- Professional Development
- Administrative Support and Monitoring
- Communication/Collaboration with Families and the Community
1. SBDM Council Policies: With the school leaders and the school writing team the SBDM council shall:
1.1 Determine policies for the school’s writing/ communications program.
1.2 Monitor and annually assess the program to ensure its on-going development.
1.3 Ensure that it meets state requirements/standards/program guidelines and students’ needs.
2. School Writing/Communications Team: Team responsible for guiding the writing program in accordance with the district elementary writing plan developed by a district team including members from each elementary school.
2.1 The principal/administrative team shall appoint the committee.
2.2 Members shall include a representative from primary and intermediate grades, a special education teacher, a writing lead teacher, an administrator, at least one content area teacher, a school technology leader, and others as the principal / administrative team designates.
2.3 Responsibilities of the communications team shall include the following:
· Reviewing relevant, current documents, especially relevant Kentucky regulations, KDE guidelines for program reviews, Kentucky Core Standards, and Kentucky assessments.
· Overseeing the program that meets state regulations and guidelines and local needs.
· Communicating with the council, the faculty, parents, and others in the community about the program and about state requirements and guidelines for writing/communications program.
· Analyzing the school program; forming plans for its continued development; revising the program, and communicating with others about it.
· Meeting throughout the year as part of an ongoing process to analyze/review the program and submitting annually the final program review and the action plan for the program to the principal and the council.
· Prior to the beginning of the school year, submitting recommendations for ongoing professional development to the principal and/or PD committee , based on state and local reviews of the program, including evidence of students’ performance.
3. Developing Students’ Communication Skills - Curriculum and Instruction : The focus of the program is to help all students develop communication skills.
3.1 School plans, curriculum maps, and teachers’ lesson plans shall reveal instruction across all grade levels and content areas in communication skills integrating the strands of literacy: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and observing.
3.2 School leaders and teachers shall collaborate in aligning curriculum and instruction for the writing/communications program vertically and horizontally with state regulations, relevant Kentucky Core Academic Standards, state guidelines for writing programs, and needs of local students.
3.3 Communication shall be embedded in instruction across all grade levels and shall represent students’ needs and interests. Students will communicate for a variety of purposes in a variety of forms and media.
3.4 Teachers at all grade levels and across the curriculum shall provide effective instruction to help ALL students develop communication skills as aligned with the Kentucky Core Academic Standards while meeting individual student needs.
3.5 Teachers shall model a variety of technology, communication tools as a means to develop student communication skills and their use of technology, while encouraging creativity and innovation.
3.6 Teachers will help students locate and use a variety of language resources, including models, to develop communication skills.
3.7 At each grade level, students shall engage in inquiry/research, as defined in the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and shall produce communications based on their research.
3.8 Students shall use the writing process to produce some writing over time and other writings within a single setting while having many opportunities to discuss their communications with their teacher and peers; and share/publish their writing with appropriate/authentic audiences.
3.9 The principal or designee shall monitor instruction and provide feedback to teachers on their practices.
3.10 Within Professional Learning Communities, teachers shall discuss practices for helping students develop communication skills.
3.11 Students shall collect samples of their communication from their many artifacts created each year in their communications folders, revealing their growth in communication skills at each grade level and across the curriculum.
4. Use of Technology to help Students Develop Communication Skills: The school’s principal or designee, SBDM council, district technology coordinator, and others shall arrange for teachers and students to have access to and use competently a variety of forms of technology.
4.1 Teachers shall design instruction to include student use of relevant technology, to develop communication skills, and shall seek innovative ways to help students use technology to develop those skills.
4.2 The annual program review shall include analysis of and planning for student/teacher access to and use of technology to help students develop communication skills.
4.3 Documentation of use of technology shall be provided by school leaders and teachers for example, in the school wide writing plan, curriculum maps, lesson plans, etc.
5. School Writing/Communications Folder: The school in cooperation with the district shall arrange for individual student writing/communications folders to be developed at each grade level.
5.1 Contents of the student writing/communications folder at each grade level shall indicate that students are developing communication skills for a variety of purposes and audiences in a variety of forms/modes. For the school’s folder and the school’s program, “writing” will be defined broadly to include the oral and written texts, multi-modal communications, and communications through technology. School writing/communications folders are a required part of the school’s instructional program.
At each grade level, the following work as outlined in the Kentucky Common Core Standards, required by KRS 158.6453 (Senate Bill 1) shall be included in the school’s communications folder:
Each bullet does not correspond to a single communications artifact. A piece may encompass multiple bullets.
· Informative/Explanatory Texts (at least one artifact)
· Persuasive/Argumentative Texts (at least one artifact)
· Non-Fiction and Fiction Narrative Writing (at least one artifact)
· Other work as selected
Overall, the collection of students’ communications shall demonstrate the following:
· Communication for a Variety of Purposes (eg., writing to learn, writing/communications to demonstrate learning, and writing for realistic/authentic purposes and audiences in a variety of real-world forms/modes.)
· Individual work on communication skills in English/ Language Arts and in content areas.
· Communication work relevant to students’ interests, learning, reading, research, and lives.
· Multi-media communication (ex: oral and written, communication including various media, and communication through technology)
· Student use of technology to develop communication skills.
· Student engagement in the writing process, including sharing with others (at least one sample).
· Dated classroom work revealing communication done over time.
· Communication connecting writing, speaking, listening, reading, observing.
· Student engagement in higher order thinking, critical/creative expression and problem solving.
· Evidence of teacher feedback, including descriptive feedback from the teacher and/or peers, and student use of feedback to revise the work and develop communication skills.
5.2 The principal or designee and administrative team, working with teachers, shall determine a procedure for collecting students’ work in the school writing/communications folder and passing the folder to the students’ next grade or school. The procedure for school folders shall be communicated with all faculty.
5.3 During parent/teacher and/or student/teacher conferences, family members as well as students shall have the opportunity to review writing/communications folders, and they shall be used in instruction to help students reflect on their work and develop communication skills.
5.4 School writing/communications folders shall be included in the review of the writing/communication program.
6. Feedback and Assessment: Each teacher shall provide feedback using data from formative and summative assessments to help students develop communication skills. Teachers and school leaders shall align instruction and assessments with standards and shall use writing and communication to assess content learning.
6.1 Feedback shall focus on processes, as well as products, and shall be provided in a variety of methods. Feedback shall be focused and constructive and shall include students’ own reflection, self-assessment, and planning; student use of models; feedback from the teacher and peers, and descriptive feedback aimed at helping students revise their work, understand/apply important criteria, and develop communication skills.
6.2 Teachers and school leaders shall provide students opportunities to provide feedback on their own and others’ work, and shall encourage students and their families to interact and collaborate with the school to help students develop communication skills.
6.3 Rubrics and scoring guides shall reflect criteria used in state assessment, as well as criteria for classroom tasks.
6.4 Students shall collaborate with the teacher in developing rubrics so they can understand and use them to develop communication skills.
6.5 Teachers shall collaborate to develop a variety of formative and summative assessments for communication skills and shall use information to monitor students’ progress and strengthen the program.
6.6 Appropriate evidence of formative and summative assessments of student progress shall be included in lessons plans and PLC notes, which shall be reviewed routinely by the principal and/or designee. Student performance expectations based on the Kentucky Common Core Standards and their learning targets shall be communicated clearly with students and others.
6.7 Students shall review models of good writing and samples of other students’ writing/communication, including samples representing different levels of performance.
6.8 Students shall engage in self-assessment and reflection (oral and written).
7. Professional Development: Each teacher and school leader shall participate fully in professional development regarding writing instruction provided by the district, school, or other qualified resources. School leaders shall base professional development on identified school needs, including information from formative and summative assessments. Professional development activities and plans shall reflect long-term vision for on-going professional learning aimed at developing the school’s writing/communications program.
7.1 The school/district shall provide a variety of appropriate professional development on writing instruction and assessment based on results of the writing program review annually for teachers to grow professionally in their literacy teaching. School leaders shall collaborate with teachers to arrange for professional learning opportunities that meet school needs and that meet diverse needs in staff.
7.2 Following local and state reviews of the school’s program, the school’s writing team working with school leaders and faculty will communicate the school plan devised to meet the needs of an effective communications program, including professional development to stakeholders which includes the SBDM council. The school principal and administrative team with assistance from the district shall support implementation of the plan (eg., time, resources).
7.3 Teacher leaders shall support colleagues by sharing information and resources, by modeling and discussing practices, and by implementing the action plan developed through the program.
7.4 The school and district shall work to develop leadership within the faculty by using local expertise to provide the training and also shall request the instruction of external writing experts.
7.5 The school’s principal or designee shall maintain professional development records, to be available especially in the review of the school’s program.
8. Administrative Support and Monitoring: In order to create a strong program, district and school leaders, including the school council shall provide appropriate support and supervision of the writing/communications program. Areas of support include:
· ensuring alignment of the program with the Kentucky Core Academic Standards and
state guidelines for writing
· helping to provide appropriate language resources and technology
· encouraging innovative use of technology
· helping develop intervention methods and means of supporting advanced learning
· monitoring curriculum and instruction
· helping develop a positive school culture
· arranging and participating in professional development
· communicating with staff, parents, and the community about the program
· promoting collaboration among faculty, parents and community
8.1 District and school leaders shall develop and implement a monitoring system for the writing/communications program to provide feedback to teacher and students and to serve in program reviews.
8.2 The SBDM council, working with school leaders and the writing/communications team, shall review the program annually referring to state regulation, standards, and program guidelines and shall form and implement an action plan to refine the program. This action plan shall be shared with school stakeholders including the community.
9. Communication/Collaboration with Families and Community – In order to build a strong understanding of our writing program, school leaders and teachers will communicate with stakeholders in various ways.
9.1 Families and students shall be given opportunities to view communications/writing folders.
9.2 Students shall reflect on skills demonstrated in their communications/writing folders and use them as a learning tool.
9.3 School leadership and teachers shall communicate/collaborate with families and the community through a variety of methods: school/teacher webpages, e-mail, newsletters, parent-involvement activities, conferences, telephone calls, assignment books, etc.