Rigor: The Irvington Understandings

  • On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, the Irvington Board of Education, District administration and school principals shared a deep conversation on the topic of instructional rigor. Employing a text-based discussion protocol that utilized multiple print resources including the article Rigor Redefined, by Tony Wagner and calling upon school-based and personal experiences, this collection of school district leaders collaborated on developing a common understanding of the concept of rigor that will be used to guide our on-going work and will inform our aspirations for our students learning experiences.

    These understanding also align with IUFSD’s Theory of Action 1:

    Theory of Action
    If we provide students with rigorous, authentic learning experiences rooted in a comprehensive curriculum, then they will acquire the knowledge, skills and dispositions of successful 21 st Century learners that will prepare them to thrive in a rapidly evolving global society.

    In order to develop successful 21st Century learners that will be prepared to thrive in a rapidly evolving global society, the Irvington School District will:

    ● provide students with rigorous authentic, learning experiences
    ● develop a comprehensive curriculum that includes:
          ○ aligned and articulated content
          ○ defined learning outcomes
          ○ a balanced and systematic approach to assessment
          ○ 21 st Century skills and dispositions - problem solver, flexible thinker, collaborative learner, effective communicator, empathetic citizen, and self-reliant, reflective, creative, risk-taker.

    Rigor: Our Understandings
    In the Irvington Union Free School District, we believe instructional rigor to include the following characteristics:

    ● Risk taking, critical thinking, and the development of problem solving skills;
    ● Belief that failure is a learning experience and “productive struggle” in learning is productive;
    ● Differentiated learning opportunities;
    ● 21st Century learning dispositions;
    ● Inclusion of optimal learning environments;
    ● Emotional component of learning;
    ● Collaboration;
    ● Developmentally appropriate instruction and learning;
    ● Evidenced through the transfer of skills and knowledge;
    ● Students demonstrate the cognitive “heavy lifting” with teacher support;
    ● Personalized learning and student agency;
    ● Regular and thorough student feedback;
    ● Consistent high expectations;
    ● Measurement of student learning and growth;
    ● Safe-space for exploration;
    ● Self confidence and value for resiliency;
    ● Embedded through curriculum design; and
    ● Support through professional learning and teacher coaching and observation.