How to Give Teachers the Clarity They are Craving

The work of educators is hard. You need summer to refresh and recharge. Even those who work year-round typically spend the summer reorganizing, finalizing plans for the upcoming year, and looking forward to the fresh start we count on Fall to bring. 

This year, with the emotional rollercoaster that is 2020, when you needed to recharge more than ever, it didn’t happen. You aren’t refreshed; you’re exhausted! 

Providing Support at Scale

When you’re running on fumes, an already challenging job can seem impossible. Here you are, walking up to the starting line of a marathon (the 20-21 school year), on the heels of an all-nighter (Spring/Summer 2020, anyone?). And now you’re supposed to be able to think through a strategy of how to finish this race? The terrain is all unknown. All of the training you’ve done to get to this point feels like it won’t be enough. The bottom line is, there really is no way to feel fully prepared for this race because there will be challenges hidden around every curve that you won’t be aware of until you are upon them. You’re going to need a lot of support to cheer you on and help you navigate to the finish line, and that’s okay! You’re not alone. Many educators – including all of your teachers – are in the exact same place. They have been planning, re-planning, and back-up planning since last Spring.

How can you provide support for your teachers or for your peers that can be a real help during this difficult time? The kind of support educators need right now is something that is actionable – something they can apply right away. They need clear behaviors. They need concrete examples of what this work looks like. They need scaffolded support that will meet them where they are and show them how to take it to the next level: a roadmap to navigate the known parts of the race that is this year.  

That’s where Buerk Rubrics come in. Buerk rubrics personalize learning by providing a way to identify where individual learners are in the process and defining what they need to improve upon. Most of the time, when educators think of the word rubric, we think of assessing an end product. Buerk Rubrics are different. They provide a roadmap for growth and thus are used during learning, not to assess what was learned after the fact. And these rubrics are not just tools for our students, but they can help adults, too. 

Rubrics are the Roadmap

At engage2learn, we have designed and used rubrics to grow teachers, coaches, and leaders since 2011. We do it because simply put, it works. We have curated research and reflected on our own experiences with thousands of coachees to define the behaviors that lead to student achievement and growth in Life Ready Skills. We have created versions that apply to settings with a face-to-face component, as well as those that are purely remote. In addition, we have incorporated research on culturally-relevant pedagogy to guide teachers in creating an inclusive culture in their classrooms. Educators who use our rubrics can be confident they are implementing proven strategies that will engage students, mitigate learning loss, and grow LIfe Ready learners.

Let’s take a look at one of our rubrics. If you aren’t a classroom teacher, imagine you are. 

Suppose a teacher is trying to determine how to facilitate small group instruction. It could be a seasoned teacher navigating a new remote setting, or it could be a new teacher facilitating in-person learning. Let’s use remote learning for this example. When you think of small group instruction, you may think of a group of learners sitting with the teacher at a table while the rest of the class is collaborating or learning independently. An overwhelmed teacher can’t begin to picture how that looks in a remote environment, but a leveled rubric provides the starting point. Let’s walk through a strand from the Small Group Instruction rubric to see how the rubric can guide a teacher.

For example, if the first level of the rubric described offering optional small group Hangouts or Zoom sessions to check in and answer questions, a teacher might feel confident giving it a try. Once the teacher has that down, he or she feels proud of that success and wants to move on to the next level for more ideas on how to continue to improve. At level 2, the rubric suggests using formative assessment data to invite students to small group sessions.  The teacher realizes that this is a simple tweak to what was implemented in level 1.  Instead of an open invitation to the small group conferences, the teacher will look at data to determine who is required to attend certain conferences.  Because the rubric is clearly defining exactly what to do, the teacher is excited to try it, feels really proud implementing, and is motivated to keep tackling the levels of the rubric. Before you know it, the teacher has systems set up for communication, facilitation, tracking attendance and growth, and incorporating learner input on small group topics. 

At this point, the teacher is so thankful that the plan of action was so clearly spelled out and is breathing a huge sigh of relief. With so many things weighing on teachers’ minds, this rubric reduces the burden of piecing together strategy on their own. And without that weight on their shoulders, they can spend their energy beaming with pride at how far they’ve grown as they hit their Staples easy button. (Are you hearing the “that was easy” voice playing in your head, too?)

A Rubric for Every Educator

Below is a list of some of the rubrics we offer in eSuite:

e2L Best Practices for Blended Learning

e2L’s Best Practices for Blended Learning guide teachers in designing engaged, collaborative, autonomous learning, and systems and tools that support students as autonomous, virtual learners.  These instructional practices are research-based and proven to facilitate student achievement, engagement, and life ready skills within a culturally responsive learning environment.

Standards:

  • Standards Alignment
  • Differentiation, Scaffolding
  • Assessment and Formative Feedback
  • Communication
  • Goal-Setting, Autonomy, Entrepreneurship
  • Critical Analysis, Inquiry, Research
  • Small Group Instruction

e2L Life Ready Best Practices*

*aligned to T-TESS

The e2L Life Ready Best Practices are research-based instructional practices proven to facilitate student achievement, engagement, and life ready skills. e2L has curated the 12 best instructional practices from over 1,500 meta-analyses and the most relevant research on culturally responsive pedagogy.

Standards:

  • Assessment and Formative Feedback
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical Analysis, Inquiry, Research
  • Culture, Environment, Professional Ethics
  • Differentiation, Scaffolding
  • Goal-Setting, Autonomy, Entrepreneurship
  • Problem-Solving, Creativity, Innovation
  • Reflection, Growth Mindset
  • Relevance/Authenticity
  • Small Group Instruction
  • Standards Alignment

e2L Life Ready Literacy Best Practices*

*aligned to Science of Teaching Reading

The e2L Life Ready Literacy Best Practices are research-based instructional practices proven to increase reading levels, engagement, and growth in life ready skills. e2L has curated the literacy best practices from over 1,500 meta-analyses and relevant research on literacy development.

Guided Reading:

  • Assessment and Formative Feedback
  • Small Group Instruction
  • LRS: Professional Ethics

Autonomous Literacy Practice:

  • Differentiation/ Scaffolding 
  • Goal Setting/ Autonomy/ Entrepreneurship 
  • LRS: Collaboration

Shared Reading:

  • Standards Alignment
  • Collaboration
  • LRS: Growth Mindset

Interactive Read Aloud:

  • Standards Alignment
  • Communication
  • LRS: Communication

Writing:

  • Goal Setting/ Autonomy/ Entrepreneurship
  • Small Group Instruction
  • LRS: Creativity

Phonics/Word Study:

  • Standards Alignment 
  • Differentiation/Scaffolding
  • LRS: Critical Thinking

Interactive Writing:

  • Communication
  • Assessment and Formative Feedback

e2L Life Ready Literacy Best Practices for Blended Learning*

*aligned to Science of Teaching Reading

The e2L Life Ready Literacy Best Practices for Blended Learning are research-based instructional practices that can be applied in a blended or virtual environment to increase reading levels, engagement, and growth in life ready skills. e2L has curated the literacy best practices from over 1,500 meta-analyses and relevant research on literacy development.

Guided Reading:

  • Assessment and Formative Feedback
  • Small Group Instruction

Autonomous Literacy Practice:

  • Differentiation/ Scaffolding 
  • Goal Setting/ Autonomy/ Entrepreneurship 

Interactive Read Aloud:

  • Standards Alignment
  • Communication

Writing:

  • Goal Setting/ Autonomy/ Entrepreneurship
  • Small Group Instruction

Phonics/Word Study:

  • Standards Alignment 
  • Differentiation/Scaffolding

e2L Coach Rubric

The e2L Coach standards describe how coaches support the growth of teachers and administrators as they create a culture of growth through goal-setting, assessment, and critical feedback.  Coaches learn how to accelerate growth through systems thinking, collaboration, and modeling digital fluency.

  • Culture
  • Coaching Role
  • Coaching Process
  • Collaborative Partnerships
  • Systems Thinking
  • Professional Learning Expertise
  • Digital Fluency

e2L Lead Rubric*

*aligned to T-PESS

The e2L Lead standards define how principals can create and sustain a high-performing culture where students achieve. The Lead rubric is based on organizational research and proven e2L methodology on how leaders influence culture.

  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Instructional Practices
  • Student Achievement
  • Equity of Experience
  • Personalized Coaching
  • Collaborative Culture
  • Personal Growth
  • Shared Vision
  • Clarity of Expectations
  • Community Engagement
  • Clarity of Methods
  • Intentional Scheduling

Inside of eSuite, teachers and coaches can access rubrics that take the guess-work out of strategy – and that’s what many teachers are asking for right now. They want to take what they learned in the spring and build on it. Rubrics show them how. A rubric serves as an on-demand resource to give a teacher ideas. They describe what to refine to take their practice to the next level. They serve as the roadmap to engaging learners who thrive. For teachers who have a coach, eSuite accelerates that growth even further, because teachers have a thought partner on how to implement the ideas found in the rubric (and coaches also get clarity around exactly what teachers need). With support like this that can scale quickly, there is plenty of hope for a successful finish to this year, and we all win when educators cross that finish line!

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