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Project Wisdom: Title II Alignment Document


Funding Through Title II, Part A; The Teacher and
Principal Training and Recruiting Fund 20 U.S.C. 6601–6641

Title II, Part A Purpose: To provide grants to state educational agencies, local educational agencies, state agencies for higher education, and eligible partnerships in order to —

(1) increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly-qualified teachers in the classroom and highly-qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and

(2) hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.

Program Description: This program is carried out by increasing the number of highly-qualified teachers in classrooms; increasing the number of highly-qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals by holding LEAs and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.

Specific information can be found at:
http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/index.html

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles

As stated in the USDE document titled "Improving Teacher Quality States Grants, ESEA Title II, Part A Non-Regulatory Guidance" (October 5, 2006), LEA officials should exercise leadership in these key ways, among others:

 

  • Instilling a strong commitment to professionalism among teachers, principals, and other school and district staff and actively promoting the importance of strong school leaders (p 28).

Commitment to Professionalism and Promoting Strong School Leaders

Project Wisdom was founded in 1992 and is one of the oldest and most respected character education programs in the nation. This program instills a strong commitment to professionalism among teachers, principals, and other school staff by actively promoting strong, caring, and ethical leadership on campus through the implementation of research-based tools designed to achieve that objective, among others.

These tools include, but are not limited to, the following:

Project Wisdom Library of Broadcast Messages

The centerpiece of the program is a proven-effective collection of thought-provoking broadcast messages that are read over the PA or in-house television system each school day. These messages encourage a more positive and effective school climate by setting the tone for the day and creating an expectation of good character and successful behaviors for everyone on campus - students and staff alike.

More specifically, the Project Wisdom Library of Broadcast Messages encourages everyone on campus to be honest, responsible, and caring individuals. Our data indicates that educators benefit as well as students because of these daily broadcasts. A few key findings from 2013 third-party evaluation include:

  • Decreases incidents of student teasing and/or bullying.
  • Decreases discipline referrals to the office.
  • Affects the school climate in a positive way.
  • Has a positive impact on teacher morale.
  • Increases students’ self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
  • Stimulates student conversation about character issues.

"The program has definitely had a positive impact on our school climate and the way kids speak and treat each other."   - Laurie, High School Principal, MN

"Project Wisdom provides a positive start to our school’s day." - Kathy, Elementary Social Worker, NY

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles

 

Project Wisdom Educator Resource Site

This highly-rated online resource is available to every educator on each licensed campus with a current subscription. Resources include quality character education materials that help students develop social, emotional, ethical, and civic skills. Includes additional broadcast messages and corresponding lesson plans. These classroom activities support educators in setting an expectation for success, benefiting teachers as well as students.

"It is wonderful to see student conversations that are deep and rich surrounding different character issues." - Lindsay, Elementary Teacher, WY

"Very helpful and a lot of 'spring-board' ideas."
- Steven, Elementary School Teacher, WI

Weekly Support and Morale Boosters

Project Wisdom deploys a weekly email to all registered users of its Educator Resource Site. Each user receives a weekly character-building morale booster written just for educators. Also featured are inspiring stories written by educators. A 2008 evaluation indicates that ninety-two percent of respondents enjoy reading the published teacher stories as they share best practices and encourage each other in their craft.

These email deployments also encourage educators to do and be their best both personally and professionally. Written specifically to inspire staff in their noble endeavor as educators, these deployments foster ethical and caring attitudes and behaviors on campus. Topics such as the following are addressed: workplace stress, mentors, interpersonal communication with students and colleagues, teamwork, the nobility of the teaching profession, difficult students, challenges in the classroom, etc.

 

  • Creating a strong community expectation that students and their schools can succeed.

Fostering Strong Community Expectations for Student Success

Project Wisdom is a schoolwide initiative that reaches everyone on campus and reaches out to the community. The daily broadcast messages set the tone for the day while establishing a strong expectation for success both ethically, behaviorally, and academically for every individual on campus from students to educators to ancillary staff.

Many Project Wisdom schools involve the community by inviting community members to serve as guest narrators of these broadcasts. Of those that do use community members, over half involve community leaders and city officials. Involving the community in the implementation of Project Wisdom demonstrates to the students that the entire community cares about their character, social, emotional, and academic development and that they have an expectation for student success.

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles

Title II programs must:

Sec. 2101 (1) - Increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly-qualified teachers in the classroom and highly-qualified principals and assistant principals in schools.

Sec. 2123 (1) - Developing and implementing mechanisms to assist schools in effectively recruiting and retaining highly-qualified teachers, including specialists in core academic subjects, principals, and pupil services personnel.

Increasing Student Academic Achievement and Retaining Quality Teachers

With regard to increasing student achievement: Emerging evidence suggests that character education programs enhance academic performance and help both students and schools succeed (Benninga, Berkowitz, Kuehn, Smith. "Character and Academics: What Good Schools Do." Phi Delta Kappan, Feb. 23, 2006).

With regard to improving teacher and principal quality: Forty percent of the four million American K12 teachers are discouraged. Their number one complaint is student misbehaviors (Public Agenda, "Teaching For a Living," 2009). Ninety-seven percent say good student discipline is a precondition for any successful school (Public Agenda, "Teaching Interrupted," 2004). Many highly-qualified educators are leaving the profession because of these pressing issues. The Project Wisdom curriculum directly addresses these concerns. Implementation of Project Wisdom can be an effective hiring tool because Project Wisdom schools enjoy fewer incidents of teasing and bullying, as well as fewer discipline referrals (Key findings, third-party evaluation. Beth Manke, PhD., California State University, 2013).

Once quality teachers are attracted and hired, retaining such teachers is easier because of improved school climate and elevated teacher morale. Key findings of this same third-party evaluation indicate that the Project Wisdom program has a positive effect on teacher morale and affects the school climate in a positive way, all of which help to determine the school’s ability to hire and retain high-quality teachers.

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles
Sec. 2122 9(B) - LEA's must submit a description of how the activities will be based on a review of scientifically-based research and an explanation of why the activities are expected to improve student academic achievement.

Scientifically Research Based

A document titled "Is Project Wisdom Scientifically Research Based?" is available for review at: www.projectwisdom.com/ERS/
Resource_Public.asp?key=Research

An independent, scientifically-based evaluation of Project Wisdom conducted by Dr. Beth Manke of the Department of Human Development at California State University, Long Beach, is available for review at:
www.projectwisdom.com/ERS/
Resource_Public.asp?key=Evaluation_13

Qualitative data indicating that Project Wisdom improves student academic achievement is available for review at:
www.projectwisdom.com/ERS/
Results/CE_Academic2.asp

Sample comments include:

"Many students have written statements about their commitment to improve their academic
performance as a result of the weekly schoolwide writing we do on the worksheets." - Doug, Junior/Senior High Principal, OR

"I have observed [a student] gain confidence and use the powerful messages to improve her overall
perception of school and increase her academic success." - Mike, Middle School Principal, PA

"Many examples of how improved class behavior has positively impacted student learning."
- Kevin, Elementary Assistant Principal, IL

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles

Sec. 2122 (D) - Understand and use data and assessments to improve classroom practice and student learning.

Assessment Tools

Project Wisdom provides assessment tools for use with campus administration, staff, students, parents, and area businesses. These assessments can be used by LEAs in conjunction with state assessment standards. By disaggregating all collected data, LEAs will be capable of determining the overall needs of the school. These assessment tools are a standard part of all Project Wisdom programs.

Sec. 2122 – Improve student behavior in the classroom and identify early and appropriate interventions to help students.

Improved Student Behavior

Reductions in classroom disruptions caused by misbehaviors allows for more time on task and improved learning conditions. Key findings from the 2013 third-party evaluation indicate reductions in discipline referrals and more specifically, reduced incidents of teasing and bullying. Improvements in social-emotional competencies such as self-awareness, social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making also improve student behavior in the classroom.

"One of the benefits is that referrals to my office are significantly down." - Denise, Elementary Principal, CA

"Discipline referrals have decreased tremendously. Students are more aware that they are in charge of their own behavior." -  Amy, Elementary Principal, FL

"Students are better equipped with the tools to solve problems and to make good decisions."
- Juanita, Elementary Counselor, TX

Intervention Tools for the Discipline Process

Available through the Project Wisdom Educator Resource Site is an extensive collection of journal pages that encourage students to reflect and write about poor behavioral choices in the classroom. These are available online to all registered users.

Project Wisdom offers a collection of online, infraction-specific discipline intervention tools titled Beyond the Infraction for secondary students. These tools encourage students to think beyond the infraction and toward the goal of learning from poor choices. These tools provide educators with a springboard for discussion about the student misbehavior in the classroom and a strategy for improving student behavior.

"Responsibility for their own decisions and actions has been encouraged." - Jill, High School Teacher, TN

Title II Part A How Project Wisdom aligns with these principles

Sec. 2122 (b)(9)(c) – Involve parents in the child’s education.

Involving Parents and Caregivers

Parents are encouraged to participate by acting as guest narrators of the broadcast messages and through many of the activities included in the collection of elementary-level lesson plans. Many schools use community guest narrators, including parents and grandparents.

There is also qualitative data to suggest that students share the "Words of Wisdom" with their parents and caregivers.

"I have had parents catch me on campus or around town that will tell me what an impact it has had on their children. Their children will tell their parents about the Words of Wisdom for the day and will tell parents about their disappointment if the Words of Wisdom were not broadcast one day." - Lauren, Counselor

More qualitative data about parent and caregiver involvement available at http://www.projectwisdom.com/ERS/Results/Parents.asp.

Parents with students involved in the discipline process are also encouraged to partner with the school in developing the students’ personal adjustment, positive social interactions, and good character. This is accomplished by communicating with parents via the Beyond the Infraction worksheets completed by students during the discipline process. The worksheets can be placed in student discipline portfolios to refer to when communicating with parents about the disciplinary action that was taken.

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