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Verndale School achieves Level 2 certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools


by Trinity Gruenberg

The Verndale Public School achieved Level 2 certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools (HRS) on May 20.

The certification means the school has established Effective Teaching in Every Classroom, which focuses on the responsibility of both school leaders and teachers in ensuring high-quality instruction. It is about using a systematic approach to improving their overall instructional practices throughout the building.

Dr. Toby Boss, a Marzano Research associate, spent the day with Superintendent Paul Brownlow, HRS Coach Matt Parker, Julie Benson, Lisa Pingrey, and Principal Arick Follingstad to evaluate their Level 1 and Level 2 work.     

“This was an impressive visit,” said Dr. Boss in a video review of his certification visit.

Boss interviewed a group of randomly selected students to get their view of Level 1 and 2 practices. The students shared with him two things, a sense of belonging that the school made them feel like a family and everyone cared about them. The students also shared they felt there was a sense of order and the school continues to work on ways to make it safer.  Boss was also able to view the system in place for Level 2.

“They are also working on an evaluation system that, in my mind, is sensible, but also helps move any teacher forward,” said Dr. Boss.

He shared it was an impressive system and they are doing things that are thoughtful and smart that will serve the school well.

To achieve Level 2, several steps were implemented. 

The first key component of this indicator is having a school-wide instructional model that all staff know and are able to use as a guide for planning and delivering content.  The first page of the instructional model consisted of 10 design area statements that should be addressed on a regular basis.

“We have been developing the common language used in instruction and collaborative conversations within the building,” explained Principal Arick Follingstad. 

Each teacher has an Individual Growth and Development Plan (IGDP) goal for the year.  Teachers developed in multiple areas throughout the year, but their main goal (that they choose to work on) came directly from one of the 43 elements within the Marzano Framework. . . .

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