Vitality Through Excellence

Program Elements

The program will encompass four key elements:

  • The participation of the consortium schools in a series of workshops focused on increasing student achievement through guaranteed and viable curriculum and professional learning communities.
  • Active commitment by the participating schools to organize and implement teacher learning teams supported through on-site visits by project faculty and member schools.
  • Working half-day sessions with consortium principals to build instructional leadership skills.
  • Commitment of schools to gathering, recording and sharing results.

Participants will use the newly written mathematics curriculum framework, the Illinois State goals for learning, and additional resources to support and provide reference for the school improvement goals.


Implementation Plan and Timeline

Selection of Consortium Schools:

  • April 25 Information session at Loyola University Chicago.
  • May 5 Deadline for submitting written applications to the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness.
  • Week of May 8 School site visits.
  • May 16 Selected schools announced.

Goal One: Provide total schools professional development to help faculty and staff examine data and student work, set achievement goals in relation to standards, and form professional learning teams.

Workshops 1 and 2: Working with Standards (Ozar, 1994; Wiggins and McTighe, 2000)


  • Use backward design planning for instructional design.
  • Develop first draft of yearly plans, and essential outcomes and first semester units aligned to OCS mathematics curriculum and Illinois Learning Standards.

Dates: June 15 and 16, 2006 (2 days)

Workshops 3 and 4: Using learning results to make teaching decisions.


  • Develop working norms for professional learning teams.
  • Develop protocol for analyzing student work and for gathering and recording data.
  • Set SMART goals (achievement targets) for quarter 1.
  • Design common assessments for essential outcomes in mathematics for quarter 1.

Dates: August 9 and 10, 2006 (1 ½ days; end at noon for principal leadership meetings with superintendent).

Goal Two: Provide on-going coaching and support for professional learning teams.


  • On-site visits from project faculty and member schools' faculty and principals.
  • Consortium PLT meetings.
  • Instructional Leadership meetings with principals.


  • Work in professional learning teams for the 2006-2007 school year.
  • Use data to direct practice and improve achievement.
  • Provide supervision and monitoring of work of teams.


  • Six, grant-funded half-day meetings for teacher learning teams (September, October, November, 2006; February, March, April, 2007. Two school in-service days in January and June)
  • Three, grant-funded half-day principal instructional leadership training sessions. (September, November, March. Two school in-service days in January and June)

Goal Three: Record and Share Results


  • Learning Teams data collection, analysis and sharing.
  • Consortium data collection, analysis, and sharing.

Outcomes: Publish data on increased student achievement on targets.

Timeline: On-going and June, 2007


Evaluation/Assessment Plan

It is expected that with the support of the consortium and the skills acquired through the series of the workshops and on-site coaching, participating schools will see significant growth (10% - 20%) in their Terra Nova scores. We believe that this expectant growth in test scores, coupled with a more student-focused learning environment will positively impact the vitality of the schools. More specifically, the following measures will serve as indicators of success:

Products in each consortium school:

  • Written, agreed upon, and implemented yearly plan at each grade level in mathematics.
  • Written, agreed upon and implemented essential learning outcomes for each topic in the yearly plans, using OCS curriculum aligned to ILS.
  • Written and implemented common assessments (two per unit) for essential outcomes.
  • Established and active professional learning teams involving every teacher in consortium schools.
  • Protocol for examining student work, developed by teachers in consortium schools.
  • Published achievement targets (SMART goals) for each grade level in mathematics.
  • Electronically shared templates for gathering and reporting learning results.
  • Final reports of learning results.

Achievement (Deliverables)

  • Demonstrated learning gains on achievement targets in mathematics as measured by common assessments.
  • Gains in Terra Nova scores in mathematics. (10-20%)
  • Increased teacher efficacy measured through Teacher Efficacy Scale (Short Form) Hoy and Woolfolk (1993).


Responsibilities and Key Dates


  • Make consortium activities a priority for the school year.
  • Participate in all workshops. (June and August)
  • Participate in principal instructional leadership sessions. (September, November, January, March, June)
  • Collaborate with other principals to schedule teacher professional learning team meetings.
  • Use January and June in-service for consortium agenda.
  • Support consortium goals and teachers.
  • Monitor teacher participation through observation, conversation, and active coaching.
  • Make testing and other assessment data available to PLCs.
  • Assist teachers in gathering and reporting results.


  • Make consortium activities a priority for the school year.
  • Participate in all workshops. (June and August)
  • Participate in all PLC sessions. (September, October, November, January, February, March, April, June)
  • Contribute to the PLC by developing curriculum, setting target goals, writing assessments, analyzing student performance, and implementing instructional designs suggested by the team.
  • Share PLC work and results with other teachers.
  • Support consortium goals and teachers.
  • Hold each other accountable for student learning through observation, conversation, and analysis of student work.
  • Gather and report results.

VTE Consortium Leaders

  • Design workshops and instructional leadership sessions.
  • Review and give feedback to teachers and principals about their written curriculum, achievement targets, assessments and instructional decisions.
  • Make on-site visits to observe teachers and discuss needs and issues.
  • Attend PLC sessions.
  • Support data gathering and reporting.


Celebrate success.



Costs covered by Grant

  • Teacher stipends for summer workshops @ $50 per day per teacher.
  • Teacher substitutes for teacher PLC meetings during September, October, November, February, March, April @ $65 per day per substitute.
  • Professional services for workshop design and delivery, on-site coaching of PLCs, sessions with principals, on-going observation and consulting with teachers and principals.
  • Copying.
  • Books and supplies.

Costs covered by Schools

  • Hospitality at meetings.
  • Substitute payments in excess of $65 per day.
  • Additional copying and supplies as needed.