Plainfield elementary school teachers came together with teachers from School 1 on Wednesday to learn techniques for using data from student testing to improve classroom instruction. Dariusz Kondratowicz, Linden’s supervisor of data and assessment, is shown leading a discussion.
By Gary Miller
Teachers from Plainfield visited on Wednesday so that Linden educators could share their techniques for breaking down student testing data to help teachers make better decisions in the classroom.
Linden is being held up as a model by the New Jersey Education Association Priority Schools Initiative for its use of testing data to provide professional development and one-on-one coaching with the teachers.
“NJEA really values the relationship with the Linden Public Schools,” said Amanda Adams, coordinator for the NJEA Priority Schools Initiative.
This is Plainfield’s first year in NJEA PSI and Adams said the hope is that joining a session with Linden educators could elevate their data analysis.
“There’s just a clear depth of knowledge on the Linden side about what the data means in terms of what they need to be thinking about in their classrooms and at the school level,” Adams said. “The Plainfield teachers are kind of hearing this all for the first time in this way. The Linden teachers, the type of questions they’re asking each other — it’s amazing.”
The session on Wednesday at Linden’s Professional Development Resource Center brought together the Instructional Leadership Team from School 1 with elementary school educators from Plainfield. The session was moderated by Reina Irizarry-Clark, a Linden instructional coach, and Dariusz Kondratowicz, Linden’s supervisor of assessment and data.
The Linden program tries to use the data to raise questions and set goals for schools, classrooms and even individual students, with the ultimate goal of bringing about change for the better.
“In terms of the team level, this [bringing teachers together from the two districts] is a dream come true for the program,” Adams said. “It’s just a great way for teachers to develop a network to solve problems, to help their students.”
Adams said it’s also helpful that the districts are both in Union County, with similar demographics. One difference, she said, is that 72 percent of Plainfield’s students don’t speak English as their first language. But that could be another opportunity for Linden Public Schools to help.
“There’s a model bilingual program here in Linden,” Adams said. “So I’m hoping eventually to have the bilingual supervisors in both districts connect to find out what type of resources they can share to enhance and elevate Plainfield.”
Reina Irizarry-Clark, an instructional coach for Linden Public Schools, leading a discussion with teachers from Plainfield.