As I continue to work with school districts around the country, I am encouraged by the countless “aha! moments” that teachers and administrators share with me.

These aha! moments usually come when they begin to see the paradigm shifts that occur gradually in classrooms as the Payne School Improvement Model becomes embedded in their schools and districts. Teachers and administrators are beginning to see how each piece of the puzzle—A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Learning Structures, and Meeting Standards and Raising Test Scores—is a perfect fit, if you will, for achieving a shared understanding poverty and its patterns, understanding the importance of using mental models to create bridges between concrete and abstract concepts, and looking at data through a more prescriptive lens. By looking through this lens, teachers and administrators are better able to see that solving the puzzle of reaching all students is as simple as putting each piece in place, one at a time.

As I work with teachers and demonstrate how to use data so that each student’s name appears on the data grid in a specific area—or possibly several areas—teachers almost always experience an aha! moment. By looking through this different lens, teachers are able to see each student and his/her needs in a more prescriptive, manageable way. The No Child Left Behind factor becomes less threatening, and teachers are empowered because they now have the data, the knowledge of resources, and the practical classroom strategies to help their students grow in cognitive capacity. The Payne School Model is not only changing classrooms all over the country, it is giving our teachers—the daily practitioners—the tools they need to navigate the ever-changing world of education.

About the Consultant:Patti Albright of Baytown, Texas has been an educator for thirty-one years. Patti taught kindergarten through junior school and she served as her campus language arts coordinator for the past 25 years. Patti also served as a district trainer in critical thinking skills, vocabulary strategies, effective questioning strategies, and curriculum writing. She worked with at-risk students and struggling readers for the duration of her teaching career and developed curriculum for the slow learner at the district level. Patti was named the 2005 Elementary Teacher of the Year and received the Amegy Bank Outstanding Campus Teacher of the Year in 2005. Patti has a husband and two children.