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MVIFI R&D Grants

Advancing Teacher Leadership to Get Further Faster

MVIFI reinvests a considerable percentage of its revenues into R&D - Research & Design. Through a number of grants, MVIFI advances the future making, as well as the current thought and action leadership, of the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School faculty and staff. The MVIFI R&D grants are often launched in the summers, and the grantees continue to play an integral role in the professional learning support throughout the academic year.

Summer 2017 MVIFI R&D Grants

Whole-School: Learner at the Center

Learning-centered & Learner-driven

CONNECTION TO MVX:

LEARNER in MVx Strategic Center

DRIVING QUESTIONS:

What does it mean “to learn?” How might we transform MV to be even more learning-centered and learner-driven?

SUSTAINED INQUIRY DRIVER:

  • Throughout MVx, we draw attention to learning and the learner. Learning is incredibly complex, and the times in which we live demand proactive, responsive and adaptive learning. Through this RESEARCH effort, we will develop more thorough understanding and organized expertise at MV around the topic of learning. This could include research on neuroscience and human development; connected topics such as motivation, self-initiative, self-efficacy, autonomy, play, purpose, mastery learning, etc. What we need to do is provoke questions for further R&D, so this inquiry driver might also bridge into the questions that arise such as: 1) how will being more learner driven affect curriculum development?, 2) how will being more learner driven affect assessment practices, 3) how will being more learner driven affect instructional methods?
  • While the different school divisions would work with the same high-level topic and driving question, the inquiry will be sustained because each division will contextualize the research for their particular niche in the whole-school environment. While this research question seems broad and the possibilities seem vast, it is intended to provide voice and choice to the researchers, and allow a diverse set of voices to inform our pathways forward.

PEOPLE:

  • Two co-researchers from each division:
    • PS: Liz Aull and Shann Acevedo
    • LS: Angie Bush and Ann Marsh Rutledge
    • MS: Samantha Flowers and Sophie MacColl
    • US: Deairra Hobson and Jenn Lloyd
  • Point Person for Admin Support: Bo Adams

DELIVERABLES:

  • MoVe Talk, 10-15 minutes in length, to showcase key findings, research discoveries, and suggested R&D to continue
  • At least 5 sessions for additional faculty professional learning throughout the 2017-18 AY, such as faculty meetings, article clubs, MVIFI shares, etc.
  • Community partnership connections - key contact(s) and a “meeting under the belt”
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MVx

Preschool Grant

HMW use current knowledge and research around authentic, formative assessment to more effectively plan curriculum and monitor children’s progress?

CONNECTION TO MVX:MVx FRAMEWORK - INSTRUCTIONx

Emphasize instructional designs focused on inquiry-based learning (e.g., design thinking, project-based learning, project approach, visible thinking routines) that

  • Adapt to curiosities and passions of learners.
  • Optimize full engagement, deep learning, and high contributions of learners.
  • Draw on research in neuroscience and human development.
  • Strengthen local and global networks through a myriad of experts in diverse industries and environments.

DRIVING QUESTIONS:

HMW use current knowledge and research around authentic, formative assessment to more effectively plan curriculum and monitor children’s progress?

SUSTAINED INQUIRY DRIVER:

  • By piggy-backing on the work of one of the PS R&D Teams this year (“Projects through the lens of assessment/LOs”), the creation of systems to allow teachers to more seamlessly blend our current assessment systems (portfolios, anecdotal notes, checklists, kaymbu, etc) with project work will emphasize the importance of authenticity in instruction and assessment.
  • By more fully incorporating Developmental Learning Progressions into progress reporting and creating a prototype of preschool “seasons” of assessment, planning, reflection (teacher and student), and iteration and some structures for teachers around that, the instructional design will become more comprehensive and cohesive.

PEOPLE:

  • Two co-researchers from Preschool - Kate Canady and Anne Riley
  • Point Person for Admin Support: Erin Carey

DELIVERABLES:

  • Present to Preschool Faculty during pre-planning -
    • Choose and disseminate a Pre-Read article around topic of research during grant
    • Information gathered during the summer
    • Prototypes of:
      • Authentic documentation/Assessment systems for teachers based on LOP’s
      • Progress reports for fall and spring
      • Weekly lesson plan template(s)
      • Project Reflection Template
      • Ask for feedback to continue to iterate
    • Plan further dates throughout the year to continue the research, design, and iteration process.

Lower School Grant

We design the future… Considering the strategic initiatives of MVx, how might we design and deliver an iterated, learner-driven progress reporting system/dashboard?

CONNECTION TO MVX: MVx FRAMEWORK - ASSESSMENTx

Discern, map, and inform a vigorous learning journey by

  • Documenting demonstrations of learning and progressions toward mastery through a learning and assessment dashboard
  • Revealing next steps to catalyze future learning

DRIVING QUESTION:

We design the future… Considering the strategic initiatives of MVx, how might we design and deliver an iterated, learner-driven progress reporting system/dashboard?

SUSTAINED INQUIRY DRIVER:

  • We value people-centered design principles that guide teaching and learning. Through this ITERATION effort, we will design a learner-driven, progress-reporting system that discerns, maps, and informs students’ own vigorous learning journeys. We strive to give students more of a voice in talking about their own experience, setting their own goals, and synthesizing their own learning. Together students and teachers will document demonstrations of learning and progressions towards mastery. We need to set conditions to capitalize on feedback from a network of multiple sources, collaborators, and mentors in future progress reporting efforts.
  • Developmental needs at differing grade levels will require varied systems and structures but they will all start with the learner, encourage more voice and choice, and adapt to curiosities and passions of learners.

PEOPLE:

  • Meghan Fedor and Kate Jarrard
  • Point Person for Admin Support: Nicole Martin

DELIVERABLES:

  • Iterated tools and/or systems of student progress reporting. This may include a redesign of conferencing approaches and schedules, quarterly progress report tools and Platform, and facilitating an additional phase of e-Portfolio implementation
  • Co-lead professional learning within the Lower School to train the team on new tools and systems.

Middle School Grant

Challenging the assumptions of existing assessment practices, how might we design a progress monitoring system that provides a more detailed and accurate picture of student growth and learning?

CONNECTION TO MVx:

  • Research, Design, and Iteration: As a dynamic learning environment, Middle School is actively seeking ways to grow and better itself. As producers of research and design, we are committed to tweaking certain systems and methodologies, adopting new approaches and/or thinking.
  • MVx Framework/Assessment: The means and methods for knowing what someone is learning. At the macro level, the tools and systems for knowing how an organization is learning.

DRIVING QUESTION:

How might we reimagine our current assessment practices (including classwork, homework, quizzes, tests, etc.) and reporting system to provide more valuable feedback to teachers, students, and parents, as well as strategies for driving learning forward?

SUSTAINED INQUIRY DRIVER:

  • How might we empower learners by providing a transparent learning journey, including process, product, and progress? Assessment offers a way to measure, document, and share feedback on that journey. Traditionally, the product has been assessed by the teacher as a summative check on student learning, while process and progress have been the focus of limited attention and feedback.
  • How do our current assessment practices assist learners in understanding their own progress, growth, and development? What changes to our current assessment practices would provide students with the most valuable feedback for shaping their individual paths of learning? How can assessment be more reflective of learning? How can assessment be used to facilitate learning? Who should be assessing student work? How can progress and mastery be documented and reported?

PEOPLE:

  • Jayne Liu
  • Katie Cain
  • Emily Trenney (LS Connector)
  • Point People for Admin Support: Angél Kytle and Amy Wilkes

DELIVERABLES:

  • Design an assessment and progress monitoring system prototype that combines numerical and standards-based grades to be implemented by a small test group of teachers and students during the 2017-2018 school year.
    • This system should include strategies for tracking and reporting growth in the areas of mindsets, knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
    • Develop a prototype of an assessment reporting system compatible with our PowerSchool gradebook platform that extends beyond traditional categories and prioritizes the learner and his or her progress toward mastery.
    • Drawing on research in neuroscience, human development, and best practices, research how we might hack traditional homework practices; design a tool for teachers to assess the efficacy of their homework assignments in supporting and deepening individual learning
  • Collect regular feedback, reflect on our progress, and iterate the system design throughout the year
  • MoVe Talk, 10-15 minutes in length, to showcase key findings, research discoveries, and suggested R&D to continue
  • Co-lead professional learning within the Middle School (and potentially with other colleagues across divisions) on the discovery work, design, findings, and iterations of this action research

Upper School Grant

How might we use our current system of reporting progress to provide feedback on growth in the areas of our six mindets?

CONNECTION TO MVX:

We Ship Ideas...We research. We go for volume. We take calculated risks. We are responsive. We aim to achieve more and get further faster by testing our hypotheses. Two hypotheses we have currently are: 1) If Mount Vernon desires to assess not only content knowledge, but also skills and dispositions of learners relative to real world demands and expectations, we must consider more relevant systems of grading beyond the current, traditional approach. 2) If Mount Vernon says the MV Mindsets are a desired outcome for each student, then we must provide timely and targeted feedback on growth and progress towards mastery now.

DRIVING QUESTIONS:

  • Considering the strategic initiatives of MVx and Mount Vernon’s commitment to the Mastery Transcript Consortium, how might we expand our understanding of why standards based grading might be a desirable alternative (long-term) to the current numerical system including its advantages and disadvantages?
  • Also, how might we support teachers in the implementation of MV Mindset reporting and assessment using previously unexploited features in PowerSchool this August?

SUSTAINED INQUIRY DRIVER:

  • We design the future…Traditional grading on a 100-point scale has been the primary method of feedback on student learning for over one hundred years; however, there is not much research that supports its effectiveness in communicating student growth especially as collaborators, communicators, ethical decision-makers, innovators, creative thinkers and solution-seekers. Mount Vernon’s new strategic plan (MVX) calls for us to be more intentional about assessing not just knowledge, but also skills and dispositions of learners relative to real world demands and expectations, as well as documenting these demonstrations of learning and progressions toward mastery through a learning and assessment dashboard. So what does that look like? How might we iterate how we assess mindsets and support one another so that students and parents receive progress monitoring on the MV Mindsets feedback via PowerSchool?
  • What can we learn through our pilot of assessing the mindsets that could help us better understand ways to disaggregate single scores in our classes?

PEOPLE:

  • Robin Mathews and Zach Strother
  • Point People for Admin Support: Chip Houston & Meg Cureton

DELIVERABLES:

  • Develop a set of clear rubrics to assess MV Mindsets across any disciplinary, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary course.
  • Experiment with the PowerSchool discoveries made in Terrain this year to help set the expectations and processes that teachers will use beginning this August to provide timely and targeted feedback on the MV Mindsets.
  • Conduct research regarding the advantages and disadvantages of standards based grading as an alternative to the current, traditional grading system used in the Upper School. Interview Lower School teachers and admin to discover how they implemented a SBG system and what insights they have gleaned over the past several years.
  • Lead a 60-90 minute workshop in pre-planning to showcase the key findings of the SBG research, findings from Lower School’s experience, and step by step instructions for Upper School faculty to launch the MV Mindset/PowerSchool initiative.
  • Continued leadership through faculty meetings and professional learning sessions throughout the year.

Summer 2016 MVIFI R&D Grants

Grant Type 1: MV Mindsets

Nurturing Deep Understanding in the Habits of Mind

How might we enhance our use of the MV Mindsets so that learners are even more able to advance and progress in these essential, developing habits of mind?

For Summer 2016, MVIFI is awarding grants to each of the four divisions of MVPS for R&D work to advance our use of the MV Mindsets. Grantees will work in 3-4 person teams by division, and a “team leader” from each division team will coordinate communication among the four division teams so that inquiry, innovation, and impact cross-pollinate across the whole-school effort.

This particular Mindset grant will concentrate on the “Four Cs” of our MV Mind: Communication, Collaboration, Creative Thinking, and Solution Seeking (which many educators elsewhere refer to as Critical Thinking).

EXPECTED DELIVERABLES

  1. A version 1.0 collection of teaching tools and resources that faculty and facilitators can use to make more explicit the “component parts” of a Mindset’s development. For example, what are the essential sub-skills that one must exercise to grow as a collaborator? And how does the progression from Preschool to Lower School to Middle School to Upper School look for these sub-skills and component parts? Assembling and/or creating these tools and resources can and should draw on existing sources, such as EdLeader21, Buck Institute for Education (BIE), Lucy Calkins, 6+1 Writing Traits Rubric, etc. An analogous provocation: In a similar way that we have the MVIFI Design Thinking Playbook of tools, what would a set of tools look like for the 4Cs at Mount Vernon?
  2. A prototype for how we might better assess the MV Mindsets and include systemic feedback in our progress monitoring system (which includes components such as progress reports, conference forms and templates, comment writing, etc.).
  3. Co-facilitation of a session at Faculty Preplanning in August. More details about this will come later. The goal is to cascade the work accomplished and spread the tools and resources among the faculty.
  4. A blog post (or short series) to share on the MVIFI blog about the work and R&D advancement by the team.
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The 21st Century Mount Vernon Mind

Grant Type 2: PBL Resident Experts

Providing In-House Expertise to Support Our Work

The MVPS Faculty and Staff Summer+ Learning for 2016-17 focuses on PBL. This focus will further our work as a School of inquiry, innovation, and impact, especially given our design principles and practices “Curiosity and passion drive learning” and “Learners apply knowledge to make an impact.”

To build additional capacity in several faculty leaders across the school, MVIFI is funding grants for PBL resident experts. These resident experts will go beyond the Summer+ Learning “minimum expectations” to dig deeper into research and practice behind PBL, BIE resources, especially the PBL Gold Standard, and facilitation for continued learning in how to design and implement PBL in our classrooms and learning environments.

EXPECTED DELIVERABLES

  1. Concise, written briefings of the best resources that you identify related to PBL and specific implementation for your division.
  2. Prototype(s) of “lesson plans” for facilitation of PBL faculty session(s) at Pre-planning.
  3. Co-facilitation of a session at Faculty Preplanning in August. More details about this will come later. The goal is to cascade the work accomplished and spread the tools and resources among the faculty.
  4. Suggested sessions for ongoing PBL professional learning at faculty meetings during the year.

Summer 2015 MVIFI R&D Grants

Upper School R&D Grants 2015

  • Innovation Diploma Program Architecture
  • (i)Project Program Framework Advancement
  • Interdisciplinary Unit Designs
  • Advisory Program Development

Middle School R&D Grants 2015

  • Progress Monitoring: Badging
  • Progress Monitoring: ePortfolios
  • Progress Monitoring: Student-Led Conferences
  • Progress Monitoring: Formative Assessment

Lower School R&D Grants 2015

  • Student Progress Monitoring Redesign
  • (i)Project Mini / Interdisciplinary Unit Study
  • Lucy Caulkins: Literacy Unit Planning

Preschool R&D Grants 2015

  • Interdisciplinary Project/DT Project Starters 2.0
  • Progress Monitoring: Mindsets Infusion

Summer 2014 MVIFI R&D Grants

Global (All-School) R&D Grants 2014

For summer 2014, MVPS and MVIFI created a global (cross-divisional) R&D team to explore and determine enhancements for a collective set of school practices that all work interdependently to communicate more clearly a student’s learning and assessment map, as well as empowered engagement with the student’s own learning journey.

Instead of new initiatives, however, efforts focused on “tangible upgrades” to existing focus areas, such as parent teacher conferences, progress reporting, ePortfolio, and homework practices, just to name a few. By concentrating on the overarching topic of student-centered learning, expected practical and exciting iterations to our existing expressions of the student learning map. For example, how might we continue to develop things like:

  • Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences 2.0
  • Progress Reports 2.0
  • Homework 2.0
  • ePortfolio 2.0
  • MV Mind and Mindset Rubrics

Initial Challenge Statements:

  • How might we redesign the parent-teacher conference experience so that students take a more participatory role in those critical conversations? What are the developmental considerations to explore? What coaching and advisement would students need to set them up for success?
  • How might we go deeper with the ePortfolio as a self-reflection and communication tool for student learning and demonstrations of growth? In what ways could an ePortfolio be used in conjunction with student-parent-teacher conferences?
  • How might we design a “My Learning Dashboard” that weaves together threads of school-based learning, recreational sports, individual hobbies, homework experiences, online learning, etc., so that a student and his/her parents and teachers could see a more holistic picture of how the student is developing as a collaborator, ethical decision maker, etc.?
    • What is a dashboard?
    • How do we use a dashboard?
    • How does it inform students, teachers, parents?
    • How does it relate to the ePortfolio?

Special consideration and intentional connectivity should be created relative to our strategic vision, and sections of (i)Plan 17.

Upper School R&D Grants 2014

  • Innovation Diploma Program Architecture
  • Transdisciplinary and Capstone Project Development (TDed)

Middle School R&D Grants 2014

  • Innovator's DNA Study
  • Digital Life Program Development
  • Service and Service-Learning Opportunities

Lower School R&D Grants 2014

  • Curriculum Unit Planning and Annual Project Scope & Sequence

Preschool R&D Grants 2014

  • Project Plans - Authentic Learning
  • iExplore and Discovery Curriculum Integration