SETTING UP A TRAINING
The training: The CRISS staff provides a two to four day (12-24 hours) in-service training at the adoption site. These days can be consecutive or separated to provide time for implementation between sessions. Because the CRISS workshop includes activities which require participants to be actively involved, the training enrollment is capped at 30.
Participants: We recommend at least two teachers from each content area and an administrator from each building attend the initial workshop. It will always be better received if the participants are allowed to volunteer. [Remember, no more than 30 per training.] Ultimately, all teachers, administrators, and support staff should be trained.
Training length and format: The two-day format provides a thorough overview of the CRISS Principles and Philosophy and a selection of the CRISS Strategic Learning Plans listed on the Agenda. The three and four day workshops cover all areas of the agenda and allow time for teachers to develop learning plans. Many schools/districts selecting the four-day format divide the time into two 2-day sessions. During the second session, in addition to experiencing new learning plans and working on classroom applications, time is spent sharing CRISS experiences, trouble shooting problem areas for teachers, and celebrating successes. The advantage of the longer workshops is that teachers will have more time to develop lessons which can be directly implemented in their classrooms. If a district contracts with a National Trainer who lives near the training site, it is possible to break the total hours into smaller segments, e.g.,
two hours after school one day a week for six to twelve weeks.
Training materials: For the training fee [see Costs], each participant receives a copy of the CRISS training manual, used extensively during the workshop. In addition, each participant will need a copy of the
Materials Packet. The CRISS National Trainer will provide the district/school with an original copy of the "Materials Packet," a collection of reading selections and strategy forms to be used during the training. The site will make a copy of the packet for each participant. It is important for teachers to bring texts or other classroom materials they are currently using so they may use work time to develop appropriate lesson plans.
Training facilities and equipment: Because group interaction is important throughout the workshop, a room with tables set for four to six people is recommended, with a head table for the presenter, O/H projector, and projection unit. The following equipment and materials may be needed by the trainer to properly conduct the training. (Please check with your trainer for his/her specific needs.)
Overhead projector and screen
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Projection unit (with its own screen, if possible)
VCR or DVD player with TV or ability to connect to projection unit
Boom box or tape player
Box of blank transparencies
Pad of flip chart paper and stand
30 magic markers (assorted colors)
5" x 8" cards (for name tents)
Blank copy paper (or scratch paper) to be used for activities, notes, etc.
SELECTING A LOCAL FACILITATOR
To promote a good adoption at a site, a district or school should select one person to be the Local Facilitator (LF). The LF is someone who is respected and who has credibility with the teachers. If the district becomes committed to Project CRISS, the LF is a person who could become a
CRISS Certified Trainer (CT). The facilitator will meet on a regular basis with the teachers who have been through the in-service training. The LF may meet with teachers individually during planning periods or in group meetings after school. These meetings should be for support and sharing. LFs find distributing a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter of ideas to be very helpful. The LF may facilitate the use of
CRISS Cornerstones, which provides follow-up support after the first year of training.
At a time decided on by the facilitator and teachers, there should be a full or half-day (release time) sharing session. A newsletter of CRISS applications and lesson plans should emerge from this session. The LF is also a liaison between the trained teachers and the CRISS staff and/or the CRISS National Trainer. The Project CRISS staff at the National Office in Montana should be notified at once if there are any questions or problems. Together the facilitator and staff will determine the scope and method of follow-up.
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PLANNING FOR AN EFFECTIVE CRISS ADOPTION
- A need is established in the district for adopting Project CRISS (test scores, teacher concerns).
- The district identifies a Local Facilitator (curriculum director, reading resource teacher, content teacher, etc.) who is responsible for directing the project.
- Department chairmen and key teaching staff discuss and support the adoption of Project CRISS.
- School board members support the adoption of CRISS.
- Teachers are oriented and allowed to volunteer for the CRISS in-service.
- The Local Facilitator (LF) contacts the National Training Coordinator in the Project CRISS office to schedule a Level I training (minimum of 12 hours). It is a good idea at this time to also plan for a follow-up session (one-half to one full day) about three months after the initial training.
- Teachers and key administrators from the district, along with the LF, participate in the CRISS in-service. The maximum size for a workshop is 30 participants.
- Teachers bring texts and/or other materials used in the classroom so they can begin developing curriculum and lesson plans.
- The LF arranges to visit classrooms of project teachers on at least a bi-weekly basis to help with implementation.
- The administrator initiates classroom walk-throughs (as described in CRISS for Administrators) on a regular basis to evaluate how CRISS is being implemented throughout the building.
- The LF organizes formal and informal follow-up sessions for trained teachers to review CRISS philosophy and to talk about implementation, adaptations, successes, and failures. These meetings can be planned for before or after school or during scheduled teacher in-service days.
- LF reviews additional support components offered by the project—
CRISS for Parents workshops,
CRISS for Students semester curriculum, CRISS Cornerstones for follow-up support, CRISS for Administrators,
The Video Journal of Education videos,
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- The district, with the help of the LF and the CRISS trainer, evaluates the effectiveness of the program in addressing district, teacher and/or student needs and goals. Adaptations, modifications, or changes are made in the program to better meet district needs.
- The district has the LF and other teachers and/or administrators trained as CRISS certified trainers. Their role will be to support the trained teachers and to train new and/or untrained staff. The district might also train teacher and resource room aids, substitute teachers, and
- CRISS follow-up and support sessions should continue to be offered on a regular basis during teacher in-service days and at before or after school meetings.
KEEPING THE PROGRAM GOING THROUGH A
VARIETY OF FOLLOW-UP OPTIONS
- FORMAL HALF-DAY OR LONGER SESSIONS
The Project CRISS staff strongly recommends at least one "formal" half-day or longer follow-up meeting with the original CRISS trainer. This session should be scheduled within three to six months of the initial training. The purpose of the follow-up is to reinforce the project's philosophy, help teachers with any problems, and provide time for sharing successful lessons, examples, and adaptations of CRISS strategies. During a full-day session, the trainer will introduce additional CRISS strategies and allow time for learning plan development.
- CRISS CORNERSTONES WITH CD-ROM
Project CRISS has designed a follow-up program which can be used by teacher partners or small study groups. Each lesson reviews CRISS principles or strategies and is matched with a section of the CRISS training manual as well as with a video segment from the Video Journal of Education's video edition based on Project CRISS. Cornerstones provides 15 follow-up lessons which can be used to provide follow-up for an extended period of time (six months to two years). CRISS recommends using Cornerstones after the first full year of implementation.
- ADDITIONAL FOLLOW-UP IDEAS
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- Encourage sharing of CRISS lesson plans at staff meetings or at volunteer before/after school meetings.
- Develop a newsletter which details CRISS use by various teachers.
- Provide a day and site for planning period meetings where teachers will share their strategy use with other teachers having the same free time.
- Set up a peer observation schedule where pairs of trained teachers observe each other and look for the CRISS philosophy in action.
- Use the CRISS "Level of Use Matrix" to assess teachers' implementation of CRISS theory and strategies.
- Include CRISS theory and strategy application examples in teacher assessment portfolios.