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    Instructional Standards

    There are 10 Instructional Standards centered on the acronym “PROFICIENT” that serve as a framework for teaching and learning for all Lowell teachers. Lowell Elementary School provides highly-effective instruction by using its most valuable resource, its teachers, to execute the following:

    Rigorous, standards-based, objective-driven lessons

    Instructional practices crafted around four key questions:

    1. What do our students need to know? (Where are we going?)
    2. How are our students going to learn the skills and content they need to know? (How do we get there?)
    3. How will we know if our students understand and master the skills and content that we have taught? (How will we monitor our progress along the way and adjust course if necessary?”)
    4. What do we do when students demonstrate that they do not understand the content taught?  (What targeted interventions and supports are embedded?)  

    Acronym “PROFICIENT”

    1. Planned, Prepared, Purposeful

    A Lowell teacher is thoroughly planned and prepared for their lesson. The teacher should have all materials prepared ahead of time and have thought through the flow of their lesson from beginning to end, including anticipating student misunderstandings and planning ahead of them. All activities should be planned with timing in mind and each lesson should be purposefully designed around leading all students to reach the objective. The lesson is also connected to unit, trimester and year end goals.

    2. Rigorous and Urgent

    The lesson is rigorous and aligned with standards. The students are challenged by the lesson and the teacher delivers the lesson with a sense of urgency by communicating the importance of the lesson, not only in the context of the day’s class but in the context of the trimester, school year and future. The urgency felt in the room to meet the objective is palpable.

    3. Objective Aligned and Driven

    The lesson is tied specifically to, and is driven by, a measurable objective. The objective explains specifically what students will be able to know and do by the end of the lesson. The teacher makes frequent reference to the objective throughout the lesson and pays close attention to student misunderstanding and adjusts course when necessary to ensure the objective is met by all students.

    4. Feasible

    The lesson is designed to ensure objective mastery and is not overly ambitious for a given period. Extensive thought has gone into the lessons objectives and activities to ensure that they can be accomplished within a given lesson. The lesson is also not overly challenging or easy for students.

    5. Individualized

    The lesson is planned and delivered in a way that pays attention to each student’s needs and considers the ability level of a class section. The teacher plans and delivers specifically with these ability levels in mind. The teacher makes effective use of the school’s math specialist and/or resource room specialist where appropriate for support, modification and accommodations.

    6. Connected (School, Scope, Student)

    The lesson does not exist in isolation but is connected to school wide learning goals, the course’s full scope and sequence, and to the student’s lives. Connection is evident in planning as well as in the teacher making frequent reference to these elements throughout the lesson. A student can explain how the day’s lesson is connected to the school, the scope of the course and real-life application.

    7. Incorporates Data Analysis

    The lesson is planned with intensive consideration of student achievement data. Planning and instructional delivery include components of recent assessments for re-teaching and re-mastery. Extra time and attention are given to the least mastered concepts and lowest performing students. References are made to students achievement data in the classroom and students are observable motivated by improving their standing and are well aware of their current standing.

    8. Engaging and Energizing

    Each teacher has their own personality; however, all Lowell Elementary School teachers are uniquely energizing and engaging. A teacher who is truly excited about their content and lesson is highly engaging and energizes their students to develop a true fervor for their content, no matter how exciting or boring it may be. A teacher who is passionate about the material and deeply believes in leading all students to mastery by effectively delivering their lesson will undoubtedly hook even the most disinterested student. Instructional delivery should be compelling but not chaotic. The teacher makes use of school-wide attention-getters (chants and cheers) to energize and engage students.

    9. No Excuses

    Teachers hold students to the highest of expectations and never make excuses for them or self. Teachers will quickly correct all misbehaviors and ensure that the students follow through fully on correcting their behavior or correcting their work to meet academic standards or behavioral expectations. The teacher effectively uses the school-wide systems, rules and procedures to manage their classroom and promote school culture. The teacher relentlessly pursues their objective and does not allow distractions to pull the lesson off-track. Students are held accountable for all of their actions.

    10. Task Master

    Leading students to achieve objective mastery is dependent upon effective management of each component of the lesson and a distinct ability to manage student tasks in a way that ensures every student understands expectations and content.

    Common Core Standards

    Washington has adopted the Common Core State Standards.  These standards are rigorous and are the basis for instruction in Washington schools.  The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has outlined the implementation process for the Common Core State Standards. The 2012-2013 school year is the first year of implementation for grades K-2 in Seattle Public Schools.

    Other grade-levels will be added in subsequent school years. The Common Core State Standards address global as well as detailed literacy, and math skills. While the Common Core Standards are fewer in number than has been the curricular tradition, they are deeply rigorous than in the past. At Lowell Elementary School, we are committed to implementing the Common Core State Standards and are planning daily lessons that are designed to meet the objectives found in these standards.  

    We welcome parents and the community to ask questions as we all become familiar with and work through the Common Core State Standards.  During “Monday with Marion” sessions, I will reserve time to speak with families interested in learning more about the Common Core State Standards and what we will be doing at Lowell to implement these standards.

    We are confident that as educators we will increase our instructional expertise as we fully utilize these standards as part of our instructional practice.  We believe that parents and guardians that know about the Common Core State Standards will be greatly empowered to assist students as they learn. For more information about Common Core State Standards you can also visit the following website:

    Getting to the “CORE”

    Members of the Instructional Learning Team met in in early October 2012 to outline the professional development framework for the school year. This framework will guide our work and is anchored in four areas that will enable staff and faculty to get to the “core” of student achievement:

    1. Common Language
    2. Common Practice(s)
    3. Alignment of Common Curriculum and Assessments
    4. Common Core

    * Mathematics Instruction:

    - For the 13-14 school year, we will implement a Common-Core aligned math curriculum, My Math (McGraw-Hill), as we deepen our teaching practices to address the rigors and complexity of Common Core State Standards. All K-5 classes will receive resources and professional development throughout the year from Jenny Arlt from McGraw-Hill School Education.

    More about My Math may be found here:

    To ensure an uninterrupted block of time for math instruction, and to best utilize interventions and resources on campus, we will implement the following school-wide schedule for math:

    Grades K-2: 12:45-1:45pm (60 minutes)

    Grades 3-5: 1:00-2:00pm (60 minutes)

    After reviewing diagnostic My Math assessments and coordinating with colleagues, grades K-2 will facilitate math instruction in centers; grades 3-5 will facilitate math instruction based on a “Walk-to-Math” model.

    * Balanced Literacy Instruction:

    - Starting in the 14-15 school year, the school community will use Reading Wonders as our core litearcy curriculum. Reading Wonders is the first and only reading program designed specifically for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Reading/Language Arts. Combining research-based instruction with new tools to meet today's challenges, every component and every lesson is designed for effective and efficient access and exposure to CCSS. The program provides support in the following:

    * Building a strong reading foundation
    * Accessing complex text
    * Finding and using text evidence
    * Engaging in collaborative conversations