Thomas Metcalf School and University High School cohorts are in the early planning stages for National Board Standards Component Two: Differentiation in Instruction.

For this component, candidates will have to gather, analyze, and assess student artifacts that demonstrate the ways their instruction and assessments are differentiated to account for the strengths and weaknesses of individual students. Moreover, they must articulate their evidence within the framework of the National Board’s Five Core Propositions, the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching (AAT), and the Danielson model.

Cohort leaders Kim Walker-Smith and Kate Pole have stressed with Lab School candidates that the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching is not linear, but is instead a tool to foster and articulate reflective and accomplished teaching. The candidates have been working with this model to create this habit of mind.

In addition to their leadership roles with the cohorts at Metcalf and U-High, Walker-Smith and Pole have presented to other educators who may have interest in replicating the Lab Schools approach including other Illinois teacher education administrators, school leaders (principals, HR, and union leaders), and Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Board of Higher Education representatives. One such presentation entitled “National Board Certification and Professional Development Schools: Advancing the Profession” was presented at the IACTE fall conference, followed by a presentation to a panel of edTPA stakeholders from P12 sectors on the methods our schools use to uphold, reinforce, and prepare our teacher candidates for the edTPA process.

At Metcalf, Walker-Smith and National Board Certified Teachers Peggy Finnegan and Ginnell Barke have applied the work of the cohort to the school’s improvement plan goal of Differentiation in Instruction. A segment of school improvement time is designated as a schoolwide work session on the use of the National Board Core Propositions and the Architecture for Accomplished Teaching, while referencing the Danielson Framework to improve and reflect on the way each teacher’s practice impacts student learning.

A newsletter to communicate this work is forthcoming and will be displayed each month for the Illinois State University community. At U-High, a link has been added to the homepage that offers a general outline of the cohort’s work.

We are proud of the continued work of the Lab Schools National Board Cohort and are looking forward to updates throughout the year.