Sharon Thurman, who serves as literacy staff developer for the Daviess County Public Schools district, is one of only 12 educators in the nation who has earned the “Certified Literacy Design Collaborative Juror Badge” level of certification from the Literacy Design Collaborative. As part of her work to help DCPS teachers with LDC modules, Thurman underwent training as a national juror. Since then, she has participated on the national jurying team to review modules from across the country to determine if they meet the standards to receive “Good to Go” or “Exemplary” designation. Thurman explained: “One of the LDC’s core tools is the module, which is basically an instructional plan that uses literacy to teach content. A module uses a framework developed by literacy experts that has common core standards ‘hard-wired’ into it. Teachers select a content standard and build their instructional plan.”
“The LDC organization uses a ‘jurying rubric’ to help teachers ensure alignment with the CCSS and the LDC framework,” Thurman said. “This rubric was developed in partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) at Stanford University and tested with educators from across the country.” She attended a training with LDC and representatives from SCALE in January 2014, earning a ‘trained juror’ badge; and since then has participated in national jurying or peer review of modules from across the country.
Thurman described the process by which modules are reviewed: “Teachers may submit modules they have developed and taught to LDC. This is not required; teachers can use the jurying rubric for self- or peer-reflection, but LDC provides this opportunity so teachers can receive feedback from trained jurors. Modules submitted for national jurying are assigned to two trained jurors who review them using the jurying rubric. Each component of the module is scored ‘Work in Progress,’ ‘Good to Go’ or ‘Exemplary,’ and the two main parts of the module – the task and the instructional ladder – receive overall ratings. After each juror scores and provides feedback individually, they compare scores and come to a consensus. These consensus scores and feedback are returned to the teachers. This process provides teachers with a rare opportunity to have feedback to help improve instruction. Modules scored ‘Good to Go’ and ‘Exemplary’ are recognized in the online LDC Core Tools curriculum library so teachers across the country can use them.”
Thurman said the juror training has strengthened her work as a coach of DCPS teachers. The district has used LDC modules since 2010, helping teachers meet the literacy demands of the common core state standards, which require all teachers to use literacy as they teach content standards. “Each time I work with another juror to review modules, my knowledge of instruction that gets to the intent of standards deepens,” Thurman said. “So far, I have worked with jurors in Florida, Arkansas, New York and California, and I have reviewed modules developed by teachers across the country – finding great texts, resources and instructional strategies – which I share with teachers in our district.”
Thurman is one of only a dozen educators in the United States who has earned the elite Certified Juror Badge. That honor reflects her commitment to setting an example of being the best educator she can be. “To become a better juror, I have also scored several calibration modules; these are modules scored by SCALE,” she said. “When my scores align with the scores determined by SCALE, I earn points. I recently earned enough points to receive the ‘certified juror’ badge. According to Rob Kantor, the community practice manager at LDC, I am one of 12 in the country who has earned this level of certification.”
Thurman, who has also earned National Board Certified Teaching designation, said, “Completing LDC’s national juror training and scoring calibration modules to earn the certified juror badge was challenging; and reviewing modules as a national juror is time-consuming; but working to improve instruction for DCPS students, and students all across the country, is worth the effort and time.”