Principals' Preview 2nd Semester Instructional Guide


Welcome to this special Principals' Preview Edition. In this guide, we will provide/target several goals for our 2nd semester. Please read over this announcement carefully as it will aid each of us in reaching our targeted objectives and help assist/refine our efforts in our common journey.

Purpose of Guide

our path to success...

The purpose of this guide is to inform and assist the professionals in our building. The ultimate goal, or shared vision, is student success and achievement: when our students succeed, we succeed.

The details in this guide will help focus our energy on specific aspects of our profession and ultimately lead to increased student engagement, interventions for targeted AMO groups, aligned assessments, and supports (remediation) for our students that require additional provisions.

The guide will have many attachments added to the main document, along with relevant videos. Again, it's important for you to be fully informed/aware of the content in this notice: we are a team and need each other's expertise and devotion to reach our ultimate goal.


Lesson Planning

What a difference in a small span of time! The lesson plan template devised at our school, which was created by many stakeholders, has been shared with several schools in our district. Central office personnel has lauded our efforts and praised the progress of our teachers in adapting lessons plans to that of best practices supported by the VDOE.

While many of our teachers are excelling in the realm of lesson planning, there are some who still need help/assistance. If you need assistance with the new lesson plan template, please see your evaluator or grade-level administrator as soon as possible. In addition, you can seek assistance from a co-worker if needed.

Lastly, make your lesson plans count! Lesson planning takes a great deal of time. Get the most out of them by planning for differentiated instruction, aligned assessments, instruct-to-construct, etc. The suggestions provided to you this year by administrative staff is the culmination of standards issued by the VDOE, various professional development platforms, Virginia TTAC, and best practices detailed via state-sponsored seminars.

  • Each teacher is responsible for the content placed on his/her lesson plan. While common lesson planning is noteworthy and a part of HCMS culture, each teacher’s classroom population is met with specific/individual needs. The lessons presented to the students population should reflect this factor.
  • Each teacher should be familiar with the information on the lesson plan and how it relates to the curriculum framework of the VDOE.
  • If you plan with another person, or group of persons, you should be a vital component in the end product of the lesson plan.
  • Excluding the formative assessment factor (additional notes at the end of the day), the lesson plan uploaded to Google Drive should match those presented to the student population.
  • SOLs, along with the specific standard that you are assessing that day, should be noted in the lesson plan.


While there are many details related to instruction on the AES website, in this guide, we are only going to focus on Framing the Lesson (FTL) and Lecture component.

Details on Framing the Lesson

Framing the lesson is an integral part of your lesson. The FTL portion lets the student know what he/she is responsible for, how it relates to the SOL, and the steps you are going to take to reach the objective. At any time throughout the lesson, the student should know the why/how of the lesson. Compare the FTL to a syllabus. In college, students are provided a syllabus. The syllabus demystifies the path to success in the course; likewise, the FTL provides a clear path to success. In addition, the student becomes acquainted with the terminology of the VDOE and correlated standards.

  • Verbally alert the student to the state’s standardized objective.
  • Verbally alert the student to the teacher’s three-part (quantitative) objective. Should contain the same verbs (Depth of Knowledge) used in the SOL.
  • Provide an itinerary. The itinerary provides a clear path as to how the student will meet the intended objective. Review the itinerary with the student population before instruction begins.
  • Verbally alerting the student to the formative and/or summative assessment, which corresponds to the Criteria for Success (CFS) listed on the three-part objective.
  • Verbally detail any foreshadow. The foreshadow alerts the student to upcoming deadlines, important notices, exciting events, etc.
  • Verbally alert the student to homework alerts: deadlines, expectations, etc.
  • Review
Details on Lecture

The teacher is the main source of information in the classroom. The direct instruction component of any lesson is of "extreme" importance. Given that fact, it's important to plan for various "processing" opportunities throughout your lesson. At HCMS, we term this processing component "Instruct-to-Construct." Every 8-10 minutes of direct instruction, the teacher should plan for a "processing" activity. So, in a 60 minute class, approximately 3-4 activities should incorporated into the teacher's lesson. Listed below are some details surrounding the lecture component of the lesson plan template.

  • 8-10 minute instruct to construct. Students must construct meaning from content delivered.
  • Plan with differentiation in mind. The average class contains various AMO groups and different tiered levels.
  • Whole --> Group --> Individual Instruction
  • Tiered instruction and "purposed grouping" based off data obtained via formative assessment.
  • The lecture component is goal driven with ample opportunities for turn/talk with follow-up.
  • Suggested: Announce transitions... during the transition, teacher lets the student population know how the upcoming activity relates to the objective: provides ownership.

The assessment provides direction to the teacher and student. Imagine going to the doctor because of an illness. The doctor walks in, without examining you, states you are fine and walks out. This doctor didn't properly assess you. Due to this fact, we would like to imagine that you would be pretty upset and would seek help from a different medical professional.

In the same manner, teachers are constantly assessing their students. You, as a professional, consistently assess whether your students are meeting specific objectives/standard placed before them. The assessment phase of your lesson is more than a routine practice. The assessment detail should provide you with a sense of direction, along with alerting you to possible weaknesses.

On average, teachers at HCMS have between 80-90 students per day. At first, evaluating this many students on a daily basis can seem problematic/difficult; however, with proper guidance/direction/resources, the assessment portion can be completed with minimum time and effort on the teacher's part. Click the following links for ideas on various formative assessment ideas and guides...

Details on Formative Assessments
  • Occurs daily, directly related to objective and Criteria for Success (CFS).
  • All students should be assessed. The formative assessment is different than the summarization/closure. For more information on formative assessments, please visit the AES website.
  • Used to direct instruction on following days: warm-up, tiering, grouping, etc.

We all need additional supports at time... our students are no different. Identifying students at need, along with providing necessary supports to clear confusion, is a vital step towards reaching accreditation. The remediation program at HCMS, aside from the ReaingPlus initiative, is designed to allow more time for one-on-one support for our students.

Be sure to read the following details of our remediation plan and incorporate the standards into your practice. If you have any questions, please see your grade-level administrator at your earliest convenience...

Details on Our Remediation Program


  • Pull 3x per week.
  • Each teacher pulls his/her own students.
  • 10+ students pulled each session: at least 80% of students pulled should come from tier 2 and/or tier 3.
  • If teacher is pulled for conference and/or Sp. Ed. purpose, call to see if another teacher can fill the need. If not, schedule the remediation for another day (same week).


  • Pull 2x per week.
  • Each teacher pulls his/her students.
  • 10+ students pulled each session: at least 80% of students pulled should come from tier 2 and/or tier 3.
  • If teacher is pulled for conference and/or Sp. Ed. purpose, call to see if another teacher can fill the need. If not, schedule the remediation for another day (same week).
The Warm Demander Approach...

Demanding high expectations is essential to maintaining a positive culture in your classroom. Students will only adapt to the standards you set before them; however, at the same time, the student needs to know that his/her efforts are noticed and appreciated.

There is a delicate balance that needs to be struck in each class, a sort of unspoken rule/policy that creates the environment needed to drive success. For example, if the teacher is too warm and doesn't have high expectations, the methodology doesn't work. On the same token, if the demands are too high and the teacher doesn't create a positive rapport with the student population, the same "dead-end" may arise. Below are some suggestions that may help you create that perfect atmosphere and drive home the success you have been reaching for:

The Rapport Comes First
The Demands Come Second

Even though it's that time of the year again (SOL preparation), we don't have to go into this session with a sense of fear or an overwhelming presence of the "unknown." By consistently/constantly assessing our students with purposeful/rigorous assessments, along with tiering/supporting the students that are struggling, we can go into this testing with the assured confidence of success.

Use the strategies below to demystify the SOL and prepare our student population for the upcoming standardized testing.

Details on SOL Preparation
  • End delivery of new content 3-5 weeks before day of test.
  • Provide SOL packets for all core subjects.
  • Provide ample time to become familiar with Test Nav 8. Also, take practice SOL test during the aforementioned time-frame.
  • Detail test-taking strategies during the 3-5 week time-frame.
  • Appropriate tiering and purposed grouping to be ongoing during this time frame.
  • Share SOL Curriculum Framework Standards and Test Blueprint with students and use them to assess student population. Student population should be comfortable and knowledgeable of ALL content on the curriculum framework.
  • Have students answer the "Essential Questions" correlated related to your specific discipline.

Due to our reconstituted status, administrators will be visiting your classes on a more frequent basis. During our stay, we are looking for key items/details. Our goal is not a "gotcha;" rather, our goal is to provide you with a clear picture on best practices and to assist you in aligning your lesson with the various standards mentioned throughout this newsletter/article.

We are a team! No "one" person will get us accredited, nor will "one" person change our culture to that of success/achievement. Rather, as a collective effort, we will cross the finish line as a successful establishment/school. Please know that your administrative team is well-aware of this fact and want to assist you in meeting the standards detailed above.

  • Administrators are in your class for approximately 10 minutes during a walk-through. During the walk-through, the administrator is looking for the following: SOL with sub-strand, three-part objective, posted itinerary, differentiation of instruction (see AES website for further information), procedures/routines, student engagement, instruction related to objective (SOL), student knowledgeable of content/objective, etc.
  • The exact observation targets specific criteria, dependent upon arrival time: beginning of class, lecture, closure.
  • Walk-throughs and observation rates will increase 2nd semester. Feedback will be transparent and geared towards aiding the teacher in his/her profession.
  • Components, as detailed on the AES website, should be evident throughout the lesson. Differentiated instruction that targets AMO groups, along with different tier levels, will be considered/examined during the observation.
  • Walk-throughs and observation rates will increase 2nd semester.
  • Feedback will be transparent and geared towards aiding the teacher in his/her profession.


Providing feedback is essential for growth. As teachers, you are constantly providing feedback to your students. The feedback you provide is intended to grow your students into a standard of excellence. Likewise, the administration at HCMS is driven to provide honest/transparent feedback to the teachers via walk-throughs and observations.

The feedback provided to the teachers is not intended to be a "gotcha" moment, nor is it intended as a necessary negative; rather, the feedback is designed to "grow" each and every teacher to a standard of excellence via the incorporation of "Best Practices." It's important that we, as a school community, embrace this mentality as we move forward as a united team.

If you have any questions, or concerns, please see your grade-level administrator at your earliest convenience.



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