The decision to work with a consultant is not easy. How do you know you can trust them? How do you know their work will be high quality? Does their vision for a math classroom align with mine and the direction I’m trying to take this school or district? My work with schools and districts is always completely customized for whatever site or district leadership needs. This involves extensive communication in the planning stages to ensure complete satisfaction for my clients. I feel it’s because of this communication that I was able to finish the 2018-19 school year with 100% of my clients saying they “strongly agreed” with the statement, “Juliana accomplished the goal(s) I hired her for.” But what does this work really look like? What are some of the goals schools and districts hire me for? I’m excited to share my case study highlight of 2018-19, Milpitas High School.
Scope of work
Located in Milpitas California, between Oakland and San Jose, Milpitas High School (MHS) has over 3100 students. Thirty percent qualify for free or reduced lunch and about thirteen percent of students are english language learners. The math department alone has over twenty members, with varying years of experience from brand new to 30+ years in the classroom. When you look at the performance of MHS math students, they outperform the state in test scores. But when you dig deeper into the data you notice a disproportionate amount of integrated math 1 repeat rates and low state test scores for students of color, students with disabilities, and english language learners.
Plan of Action
2018-19 Initial contract: One day of professional development for the Milpitas High School math department and one day of guided instructional rounds with the math department chairs
2018-19 Additional contract: One additional day of professional development and once a month virtual coaching sessions for the math department chairs
Summary of Work
Workshop #1: Raising Student Engagement in Math
After an in depth discussion with the Assistant Principal, I created a professional learning experience titled, Raising Student Engagement in Math. I taylor made this session for MHS, bringing in examples from their adopted textbook and was aligned with their department pacing calendar. We did culture building activities like the Math Journey Map, experienced inclusive strategies like Which One Does Not Belong, and engaging classroom activities accessible to all students. One of my favorite quotes from my feedback survey was, “I enjoyed having PD that was targeted for high school curriculum. Too many PD is more elementary math based, which is not applicable to me. Juliana was a great resource!”
The following day I led the two department chairs through very informal instructional rounds. This was the first time they had ever been in their colleagues classrooms during instruction. A highlight was witnessing three teachers using strategies they had seen presented in the PD just the day before! We discussed what they noticed and began talking about potential areas of focus for the department.
Workshop #2: Rigorous, Relevant and Engaging Instructional Practice
Again, taylor made specifically for MHS, I made sure to bring in examples from their textbook in their current pacing. I presented strategies to make rich tasks accessible for all students and a strategy to increase engagement of all students in a safe way. Again, the feedback was phenomenal, one highlight is that 83% of teachers said they are “extremely likely” to use a strategy presented at the workshop in their classrooms
Math Leadership Coaching
To ground my work with the department chairs, I gave a pre-survey (in January) to all department members about various department culture areas like “Math department collaboration time is valuable” and “There is trust built within our department.” After looking at the pre-survey data I asked the co-chairs to select a goal, which culture area would they like to see growth in? They selected “Department members are engaged.” The pre-survey results yielded a 2.9 out of 5, five being strongly agree.
After 2 days of PD and 5 sessions of virtual department chair coaching the 2018-19 school year was coming to a close. I administered a post-survey to all department members with exactly the same questions. The results are shown in the graph below.
As for the department chairs chosen goal? They ended with a 3.7, a 0.8 point growth in just one semester!
Another data highlight from the end of year survey was the answer to the question, “Have you used at least one of the strategies presented in the November or April workshops in your classroom?” with an astonishing 100% of teachers selecting yes!
Whether you’re a teacher, department chair, admin, or district level director, read a testimonial from someone in your shoes.
“Love that Julianna tailors her materials to the curriculum that we use. So everything she brings to the workshops can be taken back to class immediately.”
The Department Chair:
"It was a great opportunity to work with Juliana. I have learned more than I could imagine from our book discussions. I wish I could have gotten to know her earlier so I could work even better with my Math department colleagues."
The Assistant Principal:
“Not only did we need to build leadership capacity in our department leads, but our teachers needed guidance utilizing new engagement techniques to teach their curriculum. Juliana collaborated with school and district administration to align her professional development with the school and district vision. We are excited to have our teachers work with Juliana for another school year where we will go in depth with regards to teaching practices and grading.”
The Assistant Superintendent:
"I am thrilled with the results and I look forward to seeing these positive results in adult practice impact students learning at high levels. I am very impressed with Juliana's level of professionalism and follow through, as well as the transparency of her work. It is evident that she loves what she do and has a deep understanding of the content, pedagogy and adult learning theory. It is also evident that our teachers are growing in their practice and confidence as they find her services beneficial and practical.”
My thoughtful work with MHS in 2018-19 resulted in an extended and larger contract for the 2019-20 school year - the biggest complement! I am looking forward to providing the start of the school year PD, PD throughout the school year, and continued department chair coaching as we dig deeper into data and grading practices. Change takes time and I’m humbled that Milpitas has trusted me to collaborate with them in this journey. Check out the case study about Milpitas along with two other clients from the 2018-19 school year on my new Case Study page!