As part of his vision to keep the Oakdale Joint Unified School District moving forward and continuously improving, Superintendent Marc Malone wanted teachers to identify instructional norms and create a cohesive strategy to improve student learning.
Three councils were created made up of approximately 25 teacher leaders, including a few principals and district administrators, as well as the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. The Superintendent’s Education Council identified those norms and developed a program called IS4, a set of strategies for teachers to incorporate into their classroom instruction. IS4 stands for Instructional Strategies Supporting Student Success.
IS4 is based on brain research. The information-processing model involves how to move and store information to long-term memory, and then also how to recall the information. IS4 includes effective repetition that the students are engaged in and then connecting the new information to a larger concept. Both help the students retain and then retrieve the information.
To help disseminate the IS4 concepts to teaching staff, the district is capturing teacher demonstrations of lesson plans that cover the bases of the IS4 program on video. Seven teachers were filmed over the course of three days to create a video archive of lessons to be used for teacher training. The videos show the teacher’s instruction, which demonstrates the IS4 concepts, as well as the students’ reactions (see Grade Level Lessons, left sidebar). More video lessons are planned.
To measure the effects of the IS4 program, the district will look at STAR results, benchmark testing, as well as feedback about instructional strategies that the school principals observe.
There is a five-year implementation plan for IS4; 2012-2013 was the development year. 2013-2014 will be the first year of full implementation of the program.