RPIC ICS Implementation Digital Module 8: Construct Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams
© 2015 to 2023. Elise M. Frattura and Colleen A. Capper. School Modules for ICS Equity. All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, modify, or distribute this work without written consent from the authors. Please email [email protected] to obtain such permission.
1. Current Practices Based on Common Assumptions
The first time we place a student in a remediation or intervention group, low-ability group, skill-specific group, or a group based on their disability, also becomes the first step to institutional marginalization that denies students access to high expectations and high-quality teaching and learning. These practices result in students falling further behind, as depicted in the Cycle of Student Failure (Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Cycle of Student Failure
To intentionally interrupt this deficit-based, reactive cycle, the ICS Equity Framework and Process sets in motion a proactive, assets-based system, beginning within Cornerstone 1 and the first six Digital Modules/Steps in Cornerstone 1:
Digital Module 1: Know the History of Educational Marginalization
Digital Module 2: Shift from Deficit to Assets-Based Thinking and Language
Digital Module 3: Engage in Identity Development
Digital Module 4: Apply Equity Research
Digital Module 5: Develop Equity Non-Negotiables
Digital Module 6: Conduct Equity Audit
In Cornerstone 2, Digital Module 7/Step 7, the ICS Framework and Process re-aligns teams to the equity non-negotiables. In Digital Module 8/Step 8, the ICS Framework and Process aligns students and staff to Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams. In Cornerstone 3, Transform Teaching and Learning, we will create naturally proportioned and heterogeneous large groups, small groups, and one-to-one instructional opportunities.
In so doing, we provide a continuum of services for all students based on the individual student (e.g., horizontally, see Figure 3 below) rather than based on a traditional vertical continuum of segregated placements (see Figure 2 below). In providing a continuum of services on a horizontal axis (Figure 3), educators are better able to move from pull-out and self-contained instruction, to a proactive education based on the individual interests of each child. Educators consider the individual interests of each child based on how each learner brings in information and shares what they know the most often.
Figure 2 demonstrates a traditional continuum of services from the least restrictive to the most restrictive environments, and is most often applied to students with disabilities, but is also typically applied across all students in a deficit-based system.
Figure 2: Traditional Vertical Continuum of Services
In Figure 3, we provide a continuum of services on a horizontal axis. Doing so allows each learner to experience large group, small group, and 1:1 instruction based on their individual needs.
Figure 3: Continuum of Services Based on the Individual Learner
Rigorous, identity-relevant core instruction paired with common formative and summative assessment, comprises a high-quality instructional approach to learning. When Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams design instruction based on each learner, the amount of fragmented and non-instructional time decreases, while instructional time and continuity increase.
In this Digital Module 8/Step 8, we focus on the work of Constructing Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams. In Digital Module 9/Step 9, we focus on Designing Identity Relevant and Rigorous Teaching and Learning for All Learners through strategies and practices that have the greatest impact on student learning. As with all the other ICS Equity Cornerstones and Digital Module/Steps, Cornerstone 2 remains grounded in our Equity Non-Negotiables. Below are the ICS Equity Non-Negotiables discussed in Digital Module 5/Step 5:
1. Eliminating inequities begins with ourselves.
2. The system is responsible for student failure.
3. All staff are aligned to Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams to support cohesive instruction.
4. Students are proportionally represented in the core of teaching and learning.
5. C3 Teams intentionally develop each other’s capacity.
6. Instruction is based on Identity Relevant Teaching and Learning (IRTL) and created for each learner the first time the concept/skill is taught.
7. Policies and funding are aligned to these Equity Non-Negotiables.
2. Equitable Best Practices
The Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams represents multiple classrooms at the same grade level in elementary schools. The C3 Teams represent multiple sections of a grade level and subject area at the secondary level. For example, if at an elementary school, the third grade level includes three sections/classrooms of third grade, the Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Team will co-create lessons for all three classrooms of students. At the secondary level, if Algebra 1 includes four sections, then the C3 Team will plan for the four sections.
The majority of C3 Teams meet for a minimum of two times per week, for 45 minutes to an hour.
Elementary level C3 Teams often focus on one content area for each meeting. For example, if the elementary C3 Teams are meeting on Tuesday and Thursday every week from 7:15 – 8:00 a.m., they may use the first Tuesday to focus on Literacy and the first Thursday to focus on Science, and then the second Tuesday the C3 Team would focus on Social Studies and the second Thursday the C3 would focus on Math. In this manner, each grade level C3 Team is focusing on the content every two weeks.
The most essential practice for advancing equity is for educators to develop their Collective Equity Capacity via designing lessons for a diverse normative – nothing is more important. Thus, the time being allocated for C3 Team meetings must be the utmost priority for each C3 Team member and meetings must not be scheduled when some members are available, but others are not. We often suggest before or after school, during shared prep time, during specials for the elementary school level, or meeting after school one day a week with special teachers, or at other times such as early releases and student lunch periods, etc. We understand that finding a scheduled time per week is not easy, but it is necessary. Many schools also turn to professional development days and summertime to complete long-range planning and scheduling.
Once team members determine at least two times per week to meet, they then must ensure that the time is highly structured in order to be the most productive and effective. Lesson plans are written for at least one week block at the elementary level, a 1.5-week block at the middle level, and a two-week block at the secondary level.
The following is a recommended agenda for the C3 Team meetings:
- 3 lessons ahead
- 10 minutes review implementation of the previous lesson(s) – apply any changes on and then save the document
- 10 minutes review current lesson to be implemented
- 25 minutes complete next co-developed lesson plan
- Signatures of team members are essential
- 2 minutes save all lesson plans in a shared folder
- Then… other conversation
b. Develop an ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) Template
The ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) Template allows Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams to document the skills and instructional practices for those students who require continuity in the application of specific strategies (often defined as interventions or specially designed instruction). In this manner, skills that may require repetition across content areas are synthesized and embedded into those instructional practices by the C3 Team.
Importantly, the number of students being identified for Tier 2 and 3 “interventions” reflects a response to a deficit-based system. The more proactive an educational system becomes via the ICS Equity Framework and Process, the less students will need to be identified or meet any criteria for Tier 2 or 3 interventions or for specific learning disabilities. Further, as a school moves from a deficit-based system to an assets-based, proactive system, fewer students will require an ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) Template.
Educators may want to create an electronic ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) for efficiency. For students with disabilities, special educators may complete the ISAAG after each IEP meeting. The ISAAG provides a means to clearly document individualized skill development (e.g., academic, behavioral, and/or social-emotional) for each student and confirm the implementation of instructional strategies (to be detailed in Digital Module 9/Step 9, Design Identity Relevant Teaching and Learning for All Learners) to support the development of those specific skills across the content areas.
Table 1: ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) Template
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We have learned of many problems with co-teaching, confirmed by the research on the ineffectiveness of co-teaching (Hattie, 2012). We do not support co-teaching models for the following reasons:
- Co-teaching or team-taught classrooms often host an unnatural proportion of students who struggle academically or behaviorally or who are eligible for special education. With a C3 Team, all students are naturally proportioned.
- Co-teaching or team-taught classrooms are supported classroom by classroom, whereas the C3 Team plans across all classrooms at the grade level or multiple sections of a specific course at the secondary level.
- Little co-planning often occurs in a co-teaching or team-taught model in the manner in which we expect C3 Teams to co-create a lesson. Specifically, in co-teaching, the lesson is often developed by the general educator and the special educator adapts and modifies the lesson, often limited to instruction for students with disabilities.
- The general educator remains the content expert and the special educator often functions as a support to the general education teacher. With a C3 Team, all team members facilitate learning.
- At the secondary level, co-teaching or team-taught classrooms are low-tracked classrooms. With a C3 Team, all course sections are at grade level or above.
- Co-teaching or team-taught classrooms often become a teacher-dependent model, with the special education teacher and general education teacher dependent on each other. With a C3 Team, all teachers share expertise to intentionally develop each other’s capacity.
Within Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams, educators purposely develop each other’s Collective Equity Capacity. C3 Teams work together to determine how a child learns best and the teachers incorporate those understandings into their co-plan. In so doing, the C3 Team can more effectively co-serve all students within heterogeneous large and small groups, one-to-one within Tier 1, or within the core of teaching and learning.
Often, the Professional Learning Community (PLC) is conceived of separately from the equity work evolving within the district and schools. In this manner, equity may not be at the core of the work of the PLC. The members of the PLC may still be using a deficit-based lens and view the student as the problem, versus the system as the problem. When this occurs, the Professional Learning Communities may perpetuate inequities by reviewing achievement or behavioral data and determining that the student needs a specific intervention, rather than determining instructional changes within the core, in order to better meet the needs of the student. In addition, if the PLC functions separately from the Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Team, mixed messages occur as to best practices based on equity.
Specifically, district equity audit data reveals that students who are placed in low-ability groups or self-contained classrooms, provided resource support in pull-out practices, or are assigned to low-tracked classes from kindergarten through middle school, are further behind their peers in high school who are not placed in these programs. According to Carter and Welner (2013), “the achievement gap has not arisen by coincidence; children learn when they have opportunities to learn, and gaps in opportunities have led to gaps in achievement.”
In contrast, within proportionally represented classrooms and courses, educators monitor the progress of students to inform instruction forming a continuous feedback loop, allowing for immediate instructional changes to better educate each learner. When the C3 Team addresses student strengths and needs in lesson plan design, students are provided multiple opportunities to be able to demonstrate their understanding of the specific information across multiple content areas over the course of five days a week, seven hours a day, through a variety of instructional and assessment techniques. In this manner, educators integrate and align all tiered instruction to the grade-level standards in Tier 1, instead of implementing research-based interventions after the fact through a deficit-based model.
Many schools implement practices such as core plus more, that require students to be grouped by ability, yet longitudinal equity audit data does not support this practice. Instead, such practices function in the same manner as any other segregated practice, in that it requires students to be responsible for synthesizing information and bringing that information back to the core of teaching and learning, resulting again in fragmented instruction and decreased learning.
Furthermore, students must try to synthesize and apply the information learned in ability groups by also working against the stereotype threat (Steele, 2010) that is inherent in these practices. Instead of creating a segregated and leveled intervention block somewhere else during the day, educators can extend the time in core instruction for all learners.
Again, we highly encourage C3 Teams to rely on the ICS Skills at a Glance Template as previously discussed (attached to the end of this Digital Module) to better track and support learners who are receiving interventions, especially as a determination for Specific Learning Disability (SLD). As mentioned earlier, the ICS Skills at a Glance (ISAAG) provides C3 Teams a template for embedding student-specific goals throughout a lesson or multiple lessons throughout the student’s day. In so doing, the C3 Team provides synthesized and cohesive learning experiences with embedded opportunities for repetition.
Many educators believe that only teachers with specific certifications may work with students who meet eligibility for special education services. For example, many educators believe that Specially Designed Instruction (SDI), a requirement for students eligible for special education, can only be delivered by a licensed special education teacher. Such a misperception perpetuates a pull-out model. Yet, most teachers agree that students who need the most continuity in instruction, receive the least cohesive education when being pulled out for instruction.
When we believe that only specific educators can provide specific instruction to specific students, then we expect students to synthesize information from many different experts and environments, and to generalize what is taught in a pull-out environment back to the general education classroom (the same classroom where students have missed significant instructional content while being pulled out). Such practices perpetuate the alarming national gaps in access and learning, not only for students with disabilities (Love, 2019), but for all students.
Importantly, students with intellectual disabilities comprise only a little over 1% of students labeled with disabilities. Thus, by definition, all other students labeled with a disability do not have an intellectual disability. Yet, learning for students identified with a disability remains at an all-time national low achievement level, due in part to the amount of interrupted education they experience that requires students to synthesize the information back to the core of teaching and learning.
To meet the letter of the law and resolve this problem, Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams co-create lesson plans based on how each learner brings in information and how they show what they know, the most often. The C3 Teams are also responsible for incorporating IEP goals and other foundational skills, specific to each student, throughout each lesson created. In this manner, the C3 Team is synthesizing information into a lesson for each student, rather than expecting the child to carry the information from a different environment and teacher and synthesize it within the core instruction.
We recommend using ICS Skills at a Glance to better track and support any learner with specific needs from an Individualized Educational Plan, Tier 2 or 3 interventions, or for students labeled as ELL or Advanced Learners, as needed. ICS Skills at a Glance provides C3 Teams a way to embed student-specific goals throughout a lesson or multiple lessons throughout the student’s day. In this manner, the C3 Team provides synthesized and cohesive learning experiences with embedded opportunities for repetition.
The Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Team then signs off on the lesson plan, allowing any educator who is a member of the C3 Team to deliver instruction. Keep in mind that schools often expect paraprofessionals to provide Specially Designed Instruction, absent a lesson plan. A C3 Team moves beyond such deficit-based practices by consistently providing cohesive instruction through the C3 Team.
Teachers who have predominantly removed students for instruction, in a resource room or someplace else, will shift from providing reactionary instruction (as discussed in Digital Module 1/Step 1) to providing proactive identity-relevant teaching and learning through the Co-Plan Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams. The roles of special educators, English Language Learner teachers, speech and language pathologists, interventionists, advanced learning teachers, and reading/math specialists, will shift from one of spending time remediating, advancing, or reinforcing core instruction to coaching and intentionally developing the capacity of each one of their C3 Team members, in addition to selectively co-serving in classrooms depending on the C3 Team lesson plan design.
These teachers will become active members of multiple C3 Teams and model high-quality teaching and learning in the core, in place of removing students for intervention or remedial practices. We recommend that such teachers function on no more than three Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams.
After the School Leadership Team aligns all educators to Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams (Digital Module 7/Step 7), the School Leadership Teams can provide year-long training on how to function on a C3 Team via the ICS Equity Digital Modules/Steps 8-10, and as part of that training, create the C3 Lesson Plan Template.
The C3 Lesson Plan Template includes the following essential elements:
- Define the cluster of standards or essential learning targets (both foundational and content standards).
- Provide clarity of what will be introduced in large group instruction that is only 10% of the instructional time.
- Share appropriate information from the ICS Skills at a Glance for each student that has one.
- Define what will be achieved in heterogeneous small groups, by interest, for 90% of the instructional period.
- Define what engagement, instruction, and assessment will look for each heterogeneous small group.
- Clarify what staff will facilitate learning and where – staff schedules.
- Sign off on the lesson for all C3 Team members.
Table 3: Suggested C3 Lesson Plan Template
We recommend that all School Leadership Teams begin with the C3 Lesson Plan Template suggested, attached as an Appendix at the bottom of this Digital Module. Once all C3 Teams have co-created lessons with the suggested C3 Lesson Plan Template, the School Leadership Team may gather feedback and revise the form to better meet the needs of all team members, while maintaining the essential elements of the C3 Lesson Plan Template noted above.
All C3 Teams must have access to a shared electronic folder by content, grade, and classroom, where all lesson plans (current and past) are shared and organized. In addition, such folders can be used for instructional resources and C3 Team planning schedules.
The step-by-step process to co-create a C3 Lesson Plan aligns with the C3 Lesson Plan Template discussed above.
- What is the cluster of standards or essential learning targets?
- What will be introduced in the large group?
- Do we have all our Skills at a Glance completed for each student who needs one?
- How will we meet the gifts and challenges of each child using our ICS Skills at a Glance?
- How will students be engaged in learning? What Identity Relevant Instructional Practices will we use? (Discussed in Digital Module 9/Step 9 Design Identity Relevant Teaching and Learning).
- What will be achieved in the small group?
- How will students be divided into heterogeneous small groups (identity relevant engagement, how they bring in information)?
- How will students show what they have learned and know?
- What staff will facilitate learning and where – staff schedules?
- C3 Team signs off.
These steps paired with the C3 Lesson Plan Template ensures continuity of instruction, embedded skill development across content areas based on interest, and heterogeneous small group instruction, resulting in increased learning for all learners. Rather than following a boxed, core curriculum, instructional practices are based on common core and state grade level and above foundational and content standards developed by the district.
After the completion of a C3 Lesson Plan, each Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Team decides where specific team members should provide support. The following questions assist in determining who should be in what classroom, to model for the staff or facilitate learning for specific students:
- What staff members need to view the facilitation of instruction to increase their own capacity?
- What students require specific facilitation of instruction to become more capable learners and by whom?
- How will the C3 Team grow best in facilitating heterogeneous small group instructional practices where both students and staff learn more?
Over time the learning capacity of both staff and students increases, with the continuity of instruction.
3. ‘Operationalize’ Our Work
Educators have been operating in isolation of each other and remediating for over a century, yet, we have little to no data that proves the effectiveness of these practices. Therefore, as we move into Digital Module 9/Step 9: Design Identity Relevant Teaching and Learning, we will identify the strategies and practices that provide the greatest impact on student learning and how these strategies and practices can be embedded in lessons for the diverse normative of students. As we move forward to creating our C3 Lesson Plans, it will be essential to keep the following points in mind:
- Determine the C3 Team membership as described in ICS Digital Module 7/Step 7.
- Confirm specific meeting times.
- Understand that the continuum of services/education must be provided on an individual basis absent any stereotype threat.
- Define the role of team members.
- Adopt the C3 Lesson Plan Template for the school and the district that is consistent for all Co-Plan to Co-Learn to Co-Serve (C3) Teams.
- Designate a shared electronic location for all resources and lesson plans by content.
- Provide a step-by-step process to co-create a lesson.
- Determine how the lesson will be staffed or facilitated.
- Students should receive instruction in small heterogeneous grouping patterns that support a diverse normative 90% of the instructional time.
- Large group instruction is provided 10% of the time or less, to set the stage and organize the heterogeneous student groupings.
- The facilitation of all learning must be rigorous, cohesive, and comprehensive.
- All teachers (special and general educators, interventionists, ELL, speech, etc.) should share in the facilitation of instruction.
- Specially designed instruction (SDI) is provided in the core of teaching and learning through the C3 Team, to provide students with repetition and reinforce the transfer of skills learned to other subject areas, thus increasing the number of minutes a student is provided SDI.
- Teachers sign off on each lesson plan to verify who created the lesson and that SDI requirements have been met.
In Digital Module 9/Step 9 we will delve into designing identity-relevant teaching and learning based on how each student brings in information, and how they express what they know the most often.
4. Creating Our Plan: Cornerstone 2: Transform Teaching and Learning; Digital Module 8/Step 8: Construct Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-Learn (C3) Teams:
In the next ICS Application, you’ll discuss and then identify the current practices that must be interrupted, and discuss considerations for sharing the information in this Digital Module along with the steps necessary to ‘operationalize’ such recommendations.
Review Learning Target(s):
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The PLC and How it Can Create Inequities and Equities, and the Role Staff Play in Completing Co-Planning:
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Sample Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-LearnTM for 6th Grade English Language Arts Class
Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-LearnTM Lesson Plan
- (15 min) Review implementation of previous lesson(s) – Apply any changes on saved document
- (10 min) Review current lesson to be implemented
- (25 min) Complete next co-developed lesson plan
- Save all lesson plans in folder
Step 1: Summary of Student Profile
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Co-Plan to Co-Serve to Co-LearnTM Template
Cite textual evidence to support an analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Review Rubric: (Q2)
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Staff Completing Co-Planning
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A Comprehensive Approach to RTI: Embedding Universal Design for Learning and Technology James D. Basham, Maya Israel, Janet Graden, Rita Poth and Markay Winston Learning Disability Quarterly 2010 33: 24.
Capper & Frattura (2009). Meeting the needs of students of all abilities: How leaders go beyond inclusion. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Carter & Welner. (2013). Closing the Opportunity Gap. Oxford University Press.
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Love, Bettina L. (2019). We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. Boston: Beacon Press.
Steele, Claude. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi : and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Wright, S. (2012, May 15). Flipping bloom’s taxonomy. Powerful Learning Practice. Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2012/05/15/flipping-blooms-taxonomy/.