Renton Innovation Zone
The Renton Innovation Zone (RIZ) includes Hilltop Heritage Elementary, Bryn Mawr Elementary, Campbell Hill Elementary, Highlands Elementary, Lakeridge Elementary, and Sartori Elementary.
RIZ schools are committed to racially just practices and outcomes. We recognize the historical and systemic inequality of educational practices and the impacts on BIPOC children and communities. In order to undo past injustice and prevent further educational harm, we commit to decentering dominant cultural norms by continually examining instructional, social emotional, and FACE practices. Further, we commit to mitigating harmful cultural and institutional influences on our schools in order to create racially just and equitable classroom and school experiences in the RIZ.
Principles and Practices
- Collaboration: Based on carefully designed pacing guides, teaching teams work collaboratively with content coaches and instructional leaders to plan instructional strategies, review mid-unit data and plan instructional adjustments based on this data.
- Professional Learning: Teachers participate in job-embedded professional learning opportunities through team learning labs. The content is directly related to what is being taught or is about to be taught. All members of the team participate, and the instructional leader participates so that he/she can monitor and support immediate implementation of the new strategies or content knowledge. Following professional learning, content specific coaching of planning and instructional practices supports rapid implementation.
- Data Usage Practices: Formative data is collected during the instructional unit as it provides the most effective basis for evaluation of current instruction and instructional adjustment decisions. Teams, including teachers, content coaches, and instructional leaders, collaborate to analyze and respond to this data, and more effective instruction results as verified by data. Assessments are pre-planned within instructional units. Additional assessments are added mid-unit as necessary.
- Principal as Instructional Leader: As the instructional leader, the principal actively participates in professional learning, instructional planning and data analysis. The principal is accountable to monitor instructional and collaboration practices to determine grade level and individual professional learning needs, data usage and responses, and to identify additional supports or adjustments to practice that may be necessary to ensure student learning outcomes are increasing.
- Operational Flexibility: As we seek to rapidly improve student outcomes, we have been afforded the option to develop and adopt practices that support our improvement efforts and that also allow for a rapid change if a new practice does not work. As we monitor instructional outcomes closely, we are provided the flexibility to adjust curriculum, instructional, assessment, and professional development or collaboration practices in response to student learning data.
- Building Culture: We assume responsibility for creating practices that maximize the social, emotional, and intellectual safety for all students. Our culture for learning includes effective student engagement and high expectations for all students.
- Family and Community Engagement: We build effective, culturally appropriate communication systems between home, school and community that are interactive. We encourage and support consistent and ongoing community and family engagement in school activities.
Our Guiding Principles/Commitments for Teaching and Working Together
- Positioning students positively and powerfully: Teachers position students as sense-makers and knowledge-generators who desire to invest and succeed in school. This involves noticing children, building relationships with them, valuing their perspectives, and attending to their thinking, curiosities, and capabilities. Thus, teaching requires reciprocity and relationship if we are to serve as the witnesses children deserve in school.
- Enacting teaching practices grounded in research and knowledge of learners: Teaching is both intellectual work and a craft. We prioritize acquiring deep knowledge of students and content and pedagogy and pair this with creativity and passion, fueling both learning and teaching.
- Designing classrooms and instruction for equitable learning: Teachers design equitable learning environments in which all children are engaged in robust and consequential learning. The physical layout of classrooms, materials available, and ways of organizing participation are prioritized to ensure student access to content and skills and opportunities to demonstrate their understanding.
- Disrupting systems of oppression: Teachers’ instruction and student learning is always conducted within the context of larger social systems, structures, and hierarchies. Our work together involves making the systems and structures surrounding teaching and learning visible, thinking about how they impact individuals and groups, and working together toward equity and advocacy.
- Disrupting deficit language and perspectives: What we do and say matters and is worthy of our critical analysis. We believe that our language and action constructs or constrains opportunities for children to build meaningful, positive, and sustained relationships to learning and one another. We focus particularly on collaboratively recognizing, interrupting, and revising language that explicitly or implicitly constructs deficit perspectives of children, families, or communities.