2012–2014 Commissioner's Schools – Dissemination Grant

Hamilton Central School

District Overview

The Hamilton Central School District is located in the center of New York State, in the village of Hamilton. The district was identified by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as having one of the highest performing junior/senior high schools in New York State. Hamilton CSD proposes to disseminate its curricular and instructional practices aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), including support for literacy and writing skills across the curriculum and targeted, ongoing professional development.

District-Identified Strategy for Increasing Student Achievement

The Hamilton Central School District reports that it has designed and implemented a successful strategy for developing rigorous curricular and instructional practices aligned to the Common Core that has led to increased student achievement. The district reports that its strategy for increasing student achievement can be replicated in low performing schools. The district strategy includes the following steps:

  1. A needs assessment utilizing an outside, objective, highly qualified consultant group. The needs assessment involves input from all stakeholder groups, particularly teachers, and identifies the root cause(s) of student underperformance. The district notes that the needs assessment process is important for several reasons:  it provides a quantifiable, in-depth analysis of student achievement data; it gives teachers a voice in the process which fosters ownership and buy-in for the outputs and future plans; and, it unites the entire learning community to move forward and meet a common goal;  
  2. Targeted goal setting based on needs identified and the identification of relevant professional development necessary to meet goals;
  3. The development of a three to five year professional development plan. The professional development plan includes student performance goals and benchmarks, professional development schedules, and other necessary resources. The plan will be monitored and formally revisited every three to six months for modification based on teachers’ needs.   Initially, teachers at the lower grades are provided with professional development to initiate the change process and to shift expectations. Teachers at the secondary level are trained in strategies to address immediate, critical student needs and to complete the pre-K-12 cycle. As a result, the entire pre-K-12 community has the same expectations of students; that is, a common vocabulary and a compilation of evidence-based instructional strategies designed to improve student performance;  
  4. The identification of procurement of outside funding opportunities to support the plan. The school and district will obtain funding to buy materials and provide teacher training. Potential funding sources may include grants, BOCES services, local business support, individual and/or alumni group donations; and
  5. Professional development and training for district leadership. The district level leadership will be trained in the professional development process and in the assessment techniques that will be used throughout the change process to enable them to increase growth in knowledge and practice.
Proposed Outcomes

As a Dissemination Grant School, it is a goal of Hamilton CSD to provide Replication Grant Schools with the training and support necessary, to make meaningful change in their school communities and improve student achievement.
As the result of partnership through this grant, Hamilton CSD suggests a replication school should expect:

  1. Increased capacity and efficacy of the entire school community through realization of a change process based on their needs assessment and implementation plan;
  2. Assistance in the development and implementation of a three to five year comprehensive and targeted professional development plan to meet the specific needs of each Replication Grant School; and
  3. An environment of partnership, collaboration and mentoring to encourage and support Replication Grant Schools throughout the process and establish a mechanism for virtual visits to Hamilton’s classrooms, as well as coaching by expert teachers and ongoing assessment of the implementation process.

Dissemination Plan

The Hamilton Central School District will provide the following to each Replication Grant School with which it has partnered:

  1. Printed materials detailing the change process;
  2. An introductory webinar or teleconference detailing the process;
  3. One initial site visit – The district will initially send a three-member team comprised of an administrator, a teacher and a consultant to each Replication Grant School to assess needs and share information. Each Replication Grant School will also identify a Transition/Change Team to coordinate activities with Hamilton CSD staff;
  4. A collaborative relationship to develop a Best Practice Plan with tasks, timetables, and responsible parties for moving through the process;
  5. Provision of support to the Replication Grant school in determining staff development plan(s) that will allow their individualized transition plan to be developed and implemented;
  6. Schedule monthly (or as needed) Skype or phone conferences to collaboratively monitor the Implementation Plan, develop the targeted three to five year Best Practice Plan, brainstorm strategies, and troubleshoot; and
  7. Schedule a project-end site visit. Hamilton CSD will send the three-member team, to each Replication School at the end of the project period to review progress, celebrate success, and discuss sustainability beyond the grant period.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the Hamilton CSD Commissioner’s Dissemination Grant proposal and partnership opportunity as a Replication Grant School, please contact:

Diana Bowers, Superintendent
Hamilton Central School District
47 West Kendrick Avenue
Hamilton, NY  13346
(315) 824-6300

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Last Updated: December 27, 2012 2:27 PM