Conditions for Learning Conference Resources

Conditions for Learning:

Effective Practices to Support Student Engagement and Success

September 14, 2012


All Presenter Bios

*Note: The clips are not interactive and are only for viewing. The scroll bar is located at the bottom of the page.

Welcome and Logistics

Dr. Cynthia Cave, Director, Student Services, Virginia Department of Education

Dr. Patricia A. Popp, State Coordinator, Education of Homeless Children and Youth  Program, Project HOPE-Virginia


Setting the Stage: A National Perspective

Dr. David Osher, American Institutes for Research ( Bio / Presentation )

Dr. Osher describes the importance of public policy’s emerging focus on conditions for learning. He describes specific school experiences that can contribute to low academic achievement and at risk behaviors, as well as the positive impacts resulting from high levels of school social support and school academic press. Dr. Osher emphasizes the need for schools to focus on the conditions of learning for students and proposes the key components of safe and successful schools.

Pre-Video Guiding Question

1)      What would you say are the key components that allow a school to be successful?

Video- Setting the Stage: A National Perspective

Post-Video Guiding Questions

1)      What key components were identified?
2)      Which of the key components of safe & successful schools” does your school already exhibit?
3)      Which key components are less evident at your school?
4)      Slide 4 lists school experiences which contribute to poor school climate and low academic achievement:
- Lack of connection
- Lack of safety
- Teasing, bullying, gangs
- Negative relationships with adults and peers
- Uncaring interactions
- Low expectations
- Academic disengagement
- Academic frustration
- Poor role models
- School-driven mobility
- Reactive punitive approaches to discipline

Rank these in order of importance at your schools (which are in most need of being addressed). Compare your rankings with your colleagues. What are some strategies to help teachers and staff work towards developing a school environment with conditions conducive to learning?


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Susan Barrett, Sheppard Pratt in Maryland ( Bio / Presentation)

Ms. Barrett shares her ideas on School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) systems in order to establish positive conditions for learning in respect to engagement, safety, and environment. She emphasizes and explains the importance of providing teachers with the support necessary to bridge the implementation gap; by providing supports such as feedback and coaching, teachers are able to more effectively implement effective strategies for their students.

Pre-Video Guiding Question

1)      Think about a program or intervention your school attempted to implement in the past years. How successful was it? What worked well? What improvements could have been made?

Video- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Post-Video Guiding Questions

1)      Identify an examples of Tier I, II, and III services your school provides. What is your school’s process to determine the level of support students require?

2)      Consider the program or intervention you discussed prior to the presentation. Did an implementation gap exist? If so, where and how could the program be improved?

3)      How prevalent is coaching in the roll-out of new programs or interventions at your school? If coaching takes place at your school already, how could it be improved to improve the implementation of new programs or interventions? If coaching does not take place, what first steps could you take to encourage coaching when rolling out new programs or interventions?


Conditions for Learning: YouthBuild, USA

Dr. Sangeeta Tyagi, YouthBuild, USA ( Bio / Presentation )

Dr. Tyagi describes the successes of YouthBuild U.S.A., a national program with over 273 local programs serving approximately 10,000 low-income youth. The students that YouthBuild serves have typically been pushed out of school due to suspensions or expulsions, or have been adjudicated and are coming from juvenile detention. Dr. Tyagi shares how YouthBuild is based on a positive youth development framework and advocates service and leadership within YouthBuild students. She further shares stories and experiences that depict the types of strategies, approaches, and beliefs YouthBuild practices and attempts to instill within students.

Pre-Video Guiding Question

1)      What services does your school division offer to students who are suspended, expelled, or frequently absent?

Video- Conditions for Learning

Post-Video Guiding Questions

1)      Which types of supports identified in the presentation are in place already at your district? Which could be added to your district’s policy on students at risk of dropping out of high school?

2)      What types of partnerships do your schools have with youth-serving organizations?

3)      What is working well already? What else could be done?


Educate Every Child, State of the Commonwealth

Angela A. Ciolfi, JustChildren ( Bio / Presentation )

Ms. Ciolfi shares data on students and suspensions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and explains how school exclusion hurts everyone, not only the excluded students. She shares strategies and interventions to reduce suspensions and improve school climate and also provides examples of progress made here in Virginia Public Schools.

Pre-Video Guiding Questions

1)      How does your school work with its most challenging students?

2)      Explain your belief in regards to school exclusion: when may it be necessary? Does it work?

Video- Educate Every Child, State of the Commonwealth

Post-Video Guiding Questions

1)      What are some reasons why excluding students hurts everyone?

2)      Does your school gather and analyze school suspension and expulsion data? Who is being suspended or expelled at your school (by race, grade level, gender).

3)      What effective policies do you think may be beneficial to your school? What makes these policies more effective?


Pulling it all Together

Dr. John Almarode, James Madison University ( Bio / Presentation ) 

Dr. Almarode describes the plasticity of the brain and how the effectiveness of a teacher can impact student learning. In fact, Dr. Almarode shares that genetics does not define intelligence and that students change brains every day. He further shares Hattie’s (2012) research on factors influencing student achievement and conveys the message that the behaviors and practices of teachers have a stronger effect on student learning than external factors or classroom factors often accepted as having a high impact on student learning. He describes the needs of our brains, and explains what teacher can do to make sure students are prepared to learn.

Pre-Video Guiding Questions

1)      What are some examples of classroom strategies you believe are most effective?

2)      Which has the greater impact on student achievement: student expectations, feedback, time on task, class size, socioeconomic status, teacher subject matter knowledge?

Video- Pulling it All Together

Post-Video Guiding Questions

1)      Which of the rankings of influences on student achievement surprised you the most?

2)      What types of classroom practices may help stimulate the brain? Which do you intend on promoting at your school?

3)      Which strategies can you use tomorrow? What will you do differently?