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          Investigators of Practice


          The Byram Hills School District developed a course for tenured teachers as an option for professional learning and growth, overseen by the District's Evaluation Committee, to train teachers in a structured approach to collaborative inquiry, or classroom action research.

          The teachers and administrators participating in the course, now called, Investigators of Practice, select a focus inquiry based on their current professional needs. Participants survey the field of literature to provide background knowledge for their inquiry project. With the support of their colleagues and a trained facilitator, the teachers and administrators collect data, analyze and reflect upon the data, take action, and continue the process of data analysis and reflection. Throughout the process, teachers share their learning and discuss their participation in the inquiry process. You can read more details about our first year endeavor in consultant Diane Cunningham's article, Teachers as Investigators of Practice (2011).

          While teaching has been traditionally viewed as an isolated profession, Investigators of Practice to develop a community of learners through team learning (Senge, 1990). To this end, we believe in sharing our learning with the greater community for others to review, analyze, contribute to, and build upon. "You should not underestimate the effect of your contribution, word is a declaration of membership in that community and also of a willingness to contribute something meaningful to it" (Gawande, 2007, pp. 255-256).

          Enjoy the summaries of our investigations into our practice as educators. We hope you will find insights that stimulate your interest in becoming an investigator of your practice as well!

          - Presentation to the Board of Education. December 9, 2014.
          - Research study on the effectiveness of our action research course. August 2014.

          "The truly successful teachers are those who constantly and systematically reflect on their actions and the consequences of those actions. This constant reflection results in the acquisition of new knowledge as it pertains to the teaching and learning process" (Mertler, 2009, p21)



          New for 2019:

          Using Studio Habits of Mind for Assessment in the Art Classroom
          Amy Menasche
          Art, 9-12, 2019

          Go Learn It!
          Kristin Budden, Steven Borneman
          Chemistry, 9-12, 2019

          In what ways can we differentiate homework to increase student achievement, motivation, and integrity?
          Barbara O'Connell
          Mathematics, 9-12, 2019

          Studio Lighting
          Lila Horn, Jayne Karlin
          Photography, 9-12, 2019

          Choice-Based Art Education (CBAE) & Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB)
          David McMichael
          Art, 9-12, 2019

          Teaching Inquiry in an Enrichment Class
          Meg Johnston
          Enrichment, 3-5, 2019

          The Homework Experiment 
          Ann-Marie Pasquale, Tim Kaltenecker
          Mathematics, 6-8, 2019
          (Also published in the journal, Curriculum MattersVolume 1.)


          Previous Year's Summaries:

          The Purpose of Homework and Student Success
          John Clark, Julianne Rentz, Ruben Torres
          Social Studies, grade 11, 2017

          Co-Teaching Methods
          Laura Borneman, Julie Calemmo, Nicole Cavelieri, Mary Beth Devery, Jaime Karp, Peggy McInerney, Heather Nimsger, Robin Zilli
          Classroom & special education, K-12, 2016

          Implementing a Standards-Based Grading Approach in the Film 1 Curriculum
          Michael Chuney
          Art, 9-12, 2016

          Co-Taught Models of Success
          Gina Cunningham, Deborah DeFrancesco, Dr. Evan Powderly
          Co-teaching, grade 6, 2016

          Critiques Using Media
          Lila Horn, David McMichael
          Art, 9-12, 2016

          Creating and Implementing a Standards-Based Grading Current Events Elective
          Joanna Lewick
          Social Studies, 9-12, 2016

          Incorporating Aspects of Standards-Based Grading into a Traditional Math Classroom
          Barbara O'Connell
          Mathematics, 9-12, 2016

          The Effects of Computer vs. Journaling in a Sixth Grade Language Arts Class on Overall Quality and Quantity of Writing
          Kim Smith, Mary Staudt
          English, grade 6, 2016

          Designing a Classroom to Meet the Needs of a Student in the 21st Century
          Sheila St. Onge
          Social Studies, grade 6, 2016

          The Effect of Implementing Open-Ended and Open-Start Questions in the High School Mathematics Classroom
          Rebecca Barnum, David Bruskewicz
          Mathematics, 9-12, 2015

          Co-Teaching within the Consultant Teacher Model
          Laura Borneman, Julie Calemno, Nicole Cavalieri, Mary Beth Devery, Dr. Yvette Thompson, Peggy McInerney
          Classroom & Special Education, K-2, 2015

          Standards-Based Grading in the Art Classroom
          Michael Chuney
          Fine Arts, 9-12, 2015

          Conceptual Thinking for AP Art Portfolios
          Lila Horn, Jayne Karline, David McMichael
          Fine Arts, 9-12, 2015

          Exploring the Relationship between Student Engagement and High Quality Work in the Art Classroom
          Amy Menasche
          Fine Arts, 9-12, 2015

          Using Standards-Based Grading in the Mathematics Classroom
          Barbara O'Connell
          Mathematics, 9-12, 2015

          The Impact of on Students' Reading Development and Habits
          Barbara Barthelmes
          Library, 6-8, 2014

          Exploring Co-Teaching Models in the Elementary Classroom
          Laura Borneman, Nicole Cavalieri
          Grade 2 and Special Education, 2014

          Integrating Google in the Classroom to Enhance Student Collaboration
          Judy Brewster
          Enrichment, 3-5, 2014

          Strategies to Approach more Complex Texts
          Joanne Buckley, Karen Vetter
          Language Arts, grade 6, 2014

          Self-Directed Learning in the Art Classroom
          Michael Chuney
          Fine Arts, 9-12, 2014

          The Elements of a Student Learning Community
          Deborah DeFrancesco
          Social Studies, grade 6, 2014

          The Impact of Immediate Feedback on Student Achievement in the World Languages Classroom
          Bob DiMartino, Ed Eagle
          World Languages, 9-12, 2014

          The Most Effective Feedback for Student Achievement
          Luisa Graniero
          World Languages, 9-12, 2014

          Deconstructing the AP Scoring Process through the Use of Student Exemplars and Rubrics
          Lila Horn, Jayne Karlin
          AP Art, 9-12, 2014

          Adapt and Persevere
          Laura Jones
          World Languages, 9-12, 2014

          An Implementation Study: The Impact of a Wireless Network on Curriculum, Instruction, Student Learning, and Professional Development
          Dr. Tim Kaltenecker
          Technology, K-12, 2014

          Mastering Basic Math Skills
          Kim Karoglanian
          Special Education, grade 7, 2014

          Resilience in the AP Classroom
          Joanna Lewick
          Social Studies, 9-12, 2014

          Effective Techniques to Support the Successful Integration of Google Apps for Education
          Al Lovelace, Rekha Singh
          Technology, K-5, 2014

          Using the NYS ELA Modules on Evidence-Based Claims and Greek Mythology to Enhance Students' Mastery of the Common Core Standards
          Kim Smith, Mary Staudt
          Language Arts, grade 6, 2014

          Gender-Based Strategies to Improve Classroom Environment
          Judy Brewster, Meg Johnston
          Enrichment, 3-5, 2013

          Developing Quality Kindergarten Math Assessments
          Linda Cantatore, Lisa Jacobsen, Leisa Palmer, Danielle Wall
          Mathematics, K, 2013

          Scaffolding Math Learners' Paths to Success
          Pui Cheung, Jennifer Toland
          Mathematics, 3-5, 2013

          Quality Feedback for Visual Arts Students
          Michael Chuney
          Visual Arts, 9-12, 2013

          Quality Student Feedback for Kindergarten Students
          Mary Beth Devery, Linda Haracz, Mardi Marrow, Jean White, Cathy Wilkens
          Kindergarten, 2013

          Improving Pronunciation in Target Language
          Robert DiMartino, Edward Eagle
          World Languages, 9-12, 2013

          Attending to Your Attention?
          Laurie Fleishman, Trisha Haase, Kimberley Karoglanian
          Special Education, grade 6, 2013

          What is Quality Feedback?
          Leslie Goldfarb, Kirstin Russell, Susan Tyrrell
          Mathematics, Grade 1, 2013

          Characteristics of Successful Feedback Methods in the Visual Arts
          Lila Horn, Jayne Karlin
          Art, 9-12, 2013

          How the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory Informs Classroom Practice
          Laura Jones
          World Languages, 9-12, 2013

          Can Higher Quality Feedback Lead to More Growth in Student Writing?
          Joanna Lewick
          Social Studies, 9-12, 2013

          Facilitating Stations for Feedback: A Work in Progress
          Catherine McCarthy
          World Languages, 9-12, 2013

          An Inquiry into Assessments: The Relationship between Self-Grading and Student Performance
          Duane Smith
          English, grade 12, 2013

          Providing Individualized Feedback to World Languages Students
          Melissa Stahl
          World Languages, 9-12, 2013

          Improving Student Learning by Imbedding the Common Core Standards for Reading into the Grade 6 Social Studies Content Area
          Deborah DeFrancesco
          Social Studies, grade 6, 2012

          How Can Assessments Inform My Daily Teaching?
          Leslie Goldfarb
          Mathematics, K-2, 2012

          Active Listening: A Key to Understanding
          Trisha Haase, Douglas Maier, Michelle Smith
          Science, grade 6, 2012

          Exploring Unlike Denominators with Persistence
          Meg Johnston
          Enrichment, 3-5, 2012

          Building Basic Math Skills for Students with Special Needs
          Kim Karoglanian
          Special Education, 6-8, 2012

          The Keys to Successful Intervention: Assessment for Learning, High Quality Instruction, Meaningful Discourse
          Anne Olivieri
          Mathematics, 3-5, 2012

          What Do You Want to Know? Exploring the Role of Curiosity in the Classroom
          Dawn Selnes
          Enrichment, 6-8, 2012

          What Does it Mean to be Advanced in Elementary Math?
          Jennifer Toland
          Mathematics, 3-5, 2012

          Assessing the Effectiveness of the Social Problem-Solving Training within the Second Steps Social Skills Program
          Karen Kushnir, Gina Cunningham, Dr. Ellen Medd, Dr. Yvette Thompson
          Psychology, K-8, 2011

          Engaging the Reluctant Student in the Physical Education Classroom
          Denise Barnard
          Physical Education, 6-8, 2011

          Exploring the Elements of Good Questioning Techniques in the Classroom
          Deborah DeFrancesco
          Social Studies, grade 6, 2011

          Target Language and Vocabulary Use for Advanced Level Spanish
          Edward Eagle
          World Languages, 11-12, 2011

          Interviewing Our Youngest Math Students
          Leslie Goldfarb
          Mathematics, K-2, 2011

          Student Interviews and How They Can Be Used to Determine RTI Interventions in Language Arts
          Maria Keily
          Language Arts, 3-5, 2011

          Developing Effective Student Collaboration
          Douglas Maier, Michelle Smith
          Science, grade 6, 2011

          Applied Action Research Summary of 'Learn to Inspire'
          Gary McCarthy
          Counseling, 9-12, 2011

          The Student Interview: A Qualitative Glance at Student Learning
          Peggy McInerney

          Mathematics, 3-5, 2011

          Evaluating the Impact of the TI-Nspire for Differentiation in the Math Classroom
          Barbara O'Connell
          Mathematics, 9-12, 2011

          Student Interview as a Diagnostic and Formative Assessment Tool Inside the RTI Process
          Anne Olivieri
          Mathematics, 3-5, 2011

          Student Math Interview to Aid Student Learning and the RTI Process
          Jennifer Toland
          Mathematics, 3-5, 2011

          The Effectiveness of Classroom Action Research as a Professional Development Tool
          Dr. Tim Kaltenecker, Carol Fisher
          Administration, K-12, 2010


          Conducted between 2010-2015 by the Byram Hills High School Guidance Department.
          For more information, contact Dr. Michael McGrath at mmcgrath@byramhills.org.


          Why do students struggle at Byram Hills? A retrospective, analysis, and strategic plan (2014)
          Christopher Borsari, Dr. Michael McGrath

          An examination of student motivation at Byram Hills High School (2012)
          Dr. Michael McGrath, Susan Buchman, Duane Smith, Melissa Stahl

          Student anxiety and stress at Byram Hills High School (2011)
          Kristina Wilson, Matt Allen, Thomas Andriello, Joanna Lewick, Anne Kaplan, Susan Buchman, Larry Nadell, Maria Montalbano, Steve Borneman

          Transition to Byram Hills High School (2011)
          Gary McCarthy, Megan Salomone, Robert Sammon, Cynthia Sullivan, Cathy Friedensohn, Laura Jones

          An examination of student transformation at Byram Hills High School (2010)
          Dr. Michael McGrath, Gary McCarthy, Kristina Wilson

          Emotional analysis of interactions between students, teachers, counselors, and school leaders (2009)
          Dr. Michael McGrath, Gary McCarthy


          • Any names of students mentioned in the summaries have been changed and specific details that might lead one to identify an individual have been altered.
          • All summaries are the property of the Byram Hills School District.
          • Feel free to contact the authors should you have any questions or comments.

          For additional information, contact Dr. Tim Kaltenecker, Deputy Superintendent.







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