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Painesville City Schools Teaching Case

Overview of District Improvement Efforts

For more than five years, the Painesville City Local Schools have been engaged in a comprehensive process of district-wide improvement supported by the Ohio Improvement Process. Painesville’s intensive efforts to identify, understand, and address the issues impacting district performance led to a multi-faceted campaign of instructional improvement. The improvement strategies embraced by the district center on five main areas:

  • District-wide curriculum strategies to scaffold improvement,
  • Key structures to support improvement efforts,
  • Leadership to guide and sustain improvement,
  • Development of a district-wide shared vision, and
  • Responsiveness to district families.

Curriculum Strategies to Scaffold Improvement

The Painesville City Local Schools developed and deployed a district-wide instructional framework that includes strategies to bolster the reading and language arts program and practices to support student learning. Key components of the literacy and language arts program include:

  • guided reading, centerpiece of the elementary language arts program, providing differentiated and leveled instruction, and using cognitive processing tools and graphic organizers to support chunking, comprehension, and interpretation;
  • Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), intensive short-term intervention providing daily, small-group instruction that supplements the classroom literacy program;
  • use of formative and summative assessment to inform instruction, supported by extensive professional development for teachers; and
  • programs for differentiating instruction and monitoring progress, as well as cultivating independent reading and writing.

Painesville also has implemented practices and structures to support student learning, including standards-based grading, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and academic supports for English Learners (ELs). The district’s new standards-based grading system aligns assessment practices with the applicable Ohio Learning Standards; closes the loop between instruction, assessment, and grades; and unifies instruction and assessment across the district.

With Hispanic students comprising about 50% of district enrollment, and with 30% of district students exhibiting limited English proficiency, Painesville has implemented an English Language Development (ELD) program district wide. Teachers receive training in Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) to address language objectives. The district supports the incorporation of ESL teaching methods and related outlooks in all classrooms, and provides targeted supports to English learners in the upper grades, including bilingual paraprofessionals who assist English learners with school assignments.

Painesville has implemented other initiatives to support student learning, including a daily period for intervention and enrichment, use of team teaching to facilitate differentiation, and incorporation of a system of “tiered” scaffolds into general instructional practices.

Reflective Questions

Approximately half the students enrolled in Painesville’s schools are Hispanic, and about 60% of the Hispanic students exhibit limited English proficiency. In a district with such a high proportion of Hispanic English learners, it’s likely that strategies for improving these students’ academic achievement will elevate the district’s performance as a whole on Ohio accountability tests.

  • What three additional strategies or programs might the district choose to implement in order to address the instructional needs of Hispanic students with limited English proficiency?
  • What outcomes might result from use of each of these new strategies?