• Issue Date: May 2014

    Common Core and PLC’s in HRCSD---Where are we on the journey?
    PD + PLC's = CCSS Implementation

    HRCSD started our Common Core work several years ago.  Remember back a few years when we sat in the auditorium at Wy’east and listened to Shannon McCaw and Penny Plavala speak about these national standards and provide an overview for our staff?  Now, several years later, teams are using Monday morning PLC time to learn, plan and implement CCSS standards in their classrooms. 

    Different levels and subjects are at various places on this journey.  K-2 math teachers have been teaching, assessing, and reporting to parents using CCSS this year.  Teacher teams in grades 3-5 math, middle school math and high school math have been transitioning

    to the new standards, incorporating the Mathematical Practices and exploring common assessments aligned to CCSS.  Middle school literacy has developed curriculum maps based on the CCSS Literacy standards and have been incorporating them in their teaching for the past 2 years.  Middle and high school content areas are refining content targets and incorporating Common Core literacy standards across the content areas. Recently, the Elementary Literacy Adoption Committee recommended new instructional materials called “Wonders” and were adopted by our school board. These new materials were written to implement CCSS and the 6 Shifts. (Shifts in ELA/Literacy)

    The CCSS Resources page is a one-stop shop for teachers to find the best K-12 math and literacy resources available, curated by your very own instructional coaches. The CCSS Resources page on the website lists Elementary and Secondary math and literacy resources compiled in one place. Since the CCSS standards are taught across the nation, there are so many resources available.  It is our hope, as coaches, that we can vet and filter the resources for teachers to save them time. On the district webpage, click on “Teachers” in the green bar. Click on “CCSS Resources” and then choose the level and area, literacy or math.

    Home page to access CCSS Resources

    Resources like the Teaching Channel have many Common Core videos of teachers showing instructional strategies for collaboration, engagement, or specific content work.  Try it at the Teaching Channel.  Click on videos and select the subject, grade level or topic you’d like to explore.  Many are short, like less than 10 minutes, and provide teachers a glimpse into another teacher’s class or toolbox.

    Teaching Channel image



    LearnZillion is another resource that provides lesson support through short videos that help model mini-lessons or provide additional learning opportunities for students needing extra time and support to learn. Click on your subject area or the Common Core Navigator to investigate lessons and resources.

    Common Core bar gragh

    Common Core Conversation title

    Site map

    With the ”Common Core Conversation”, stay connected with other teachers and access resources, lessons and teaching strategies in the different content areas.  Click on a subject and find information, resources, lesson plans, and other sites to explore.
    Many schools have held parent nights to inform parents about the transition to CCSS and the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Please view these helpful parent resources.   A handout can be found in English and in Spanish.  Links are provided to Smarter Balanced to take practice tests. 

    Engage New York has published great materials for parents and students about the Shifts in CCSS Math and ELA. Finally, there is a link to the Parent Road Maps, which show parents the standards and expectations at each grade level.  This unique resource shows parents

    how the grade level before and after are connected to what their child is learning this year. It also has a section that shows activities to do at home to support learning at school.

    "As teachers, we cannot remain behind our desks or in our classrooms, isolated and unsupported. It’s not good for our students, our teaching, or ourselves," said language arts teacher Rob Kriete in an Education Week September 2013 article. "PLCs give us the opportunity to collaborate and share our expertise, collectively tackling our students’ needs. If we use them strategically, they can make a big difference in how we approach our work.” In PLCs, we can share and lighten the workload, teach and learn from our colleagues, set goals and hold ourselves accountable for acting on those goals, and more effectively impact student learning.

    PLCs are the conduit for professional dialogue supporting CCSS shifts. PLCs provide opportunities to polish strategies and provide ongoing feedback to approaches CCSS demands for student success. “In PLCs, we brainstorm about ways to work through obstacles together; our fundamental purpose is to support each other in better serving our students," said Kriete.

    As our journey continues, hopefully you can find some of the resources helpful when working with your teams on Monday mornings during PLC’s. Remember the instructional coaches are available to help you locate resources, discuss instructional strategies, and develop interventions to move the dial on student growth.

    May St. Tech Grant Photo

    May St. Elementary Awarded Mobile Technology Grant

    Lenny Bunting, 5th grade teacher at May St. and the technology integration team at May St. recently received a $5,000 Mobile Technology Grant from Century Link.  Lenny and his teammates, Kate Getchis, 2nd grade teacher, and Heather Clark, 1st grade teacher, will be implementing the grant over the next school year.

    Last year, May St. Elementary School purchased 88 iPads. Following that purchase, the technology integration team at May St. wrote a grant application around the goal to integrate these iPads into all classrooms throughout the school.  The team attended the

    Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum conference in Portland earlier this year to learn more about ways teachers are integrating technology into instruction.

    The team is meeting with teachers throughout the school to listen to what their instructional needs are around integrating iPads into current curriculum and will be going out and observing other teachers, both in the district and outside of the district, to learn new ways to integrate the iPads into the classroom.

    The ultimate goal is to develop strategies and lessons for

    implementation into the classroom and members of the team plan to spend time in peer classrooms modeling integrated lessons and providing coaching to colleagues.

    The team is focused on providing teachers with a deeper understanding of the iPad as a teaching tool as well as expanding the number of teachers who can use this technology in their classroom.

    Congratulations to the technology integration team at May St. Elementary.

    HRVHS Ranked #11 in State by US News & World Report   EAGLE PIC

    On May 5, 2014, U.S. News & World Report released its national rankings for the Best High Schools in the United States.  Hood River Valley High School was ranked #11 in the state of Oregon (out of 287 Oregon high schools).

    The 2014 edition of Best High Schools includes school-specific data on location, enrollment, ethnicity, school type and results of state assessment proficiency tests and Advanced Placement® and International Baccalaureate tests. Using some of these data and a comprehensive methodology, U.S. News gave each eligible school a College Readiness Index score, and then numerically ranked and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. In total, U.S. News reviewed over 19,400 high schools and ranked the 4,707 highest-scoring schools as gold, silver or bronze. 500 high schools earned

    gold medals, 1,519 took home silver and 2,688 were awarded bronze. A high school's position in the numerical rankings, whether it was awarded a medal or whether it was ranked at all was dependent on how high it scored in all three steps of the rankings methodology. HRHVS received a silver medal!

    According to US News & World Report, the rankings reflect how well high schools serve all of their students, not just those who are planning to go to college, and that the school must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

    The gold medal group included the top 500 schools in the country. In the silver medal grouping, schools were ranked nationally from 501

    through No. 2,019, which included 1,519 silver medal winners. HRVHS was ranked 1,214 in the United States, placing it in the top 6% nationally.

    "This is a great honor to be recognized as one of the strongest high schools in the state," said Rich Polkinghorn, principal of Hood River Valley High School. "We certainly believe it reflects our commitment to prepare our students for college, but also focus on educating and serving our entire diverse student body with the goal of having every student demonstrate positive academic and social growth. This ranking is a reflection of our entire school district and something in which our students, staff, parents and community can be proud."

    Retirement & Service Pins Reception

    You are invited to attend a reception in honor of your co-workers for their length of service to Education and Hood River County School District.

    We will be recognizing our retirees as well as those employees who have earned a service pin for the number of years they have worked for the district.           

    Join us on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm in the Hood River Valley High School Cafeteria.