Fall / Winter 2010

Middle school students demonstrating inequalities and how to represent them as a human number line.

Students use a “Jigsaw” activity to teach each other different ways to use the same concept.

Algebra students’ work is displayed demonstrating the concept of balance in life and through math.

Karen D’Avignon
November 2010

Timber Creek High School Rocks!
No Child Left Behind requires every public school to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for each student and school. AYP reflects student proficiency in math, reading, and writing, as measured by statewide assessments. AYP also takes into account other measures of success, such as high school graduation rates and the number of students participating in statewide assessments.

During the 2009-2010 school year, 23 public schools in Orange County made 100% AYP. This means a significant amount of students increased their proficiency in math, reading, and writing. Timber Creek High School was thrilled to be one of the 23 schools making AYP in Orange County….quite a distinction for the tenth largest school district in the nation!

Prior to opening in the fall of 2001, Timber Creek High School was raising the bar on student achievement. Determined that educating students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE) would be a hallmark for the school, Principal John Wright hired teachers who were receptive to inclusive practices. Mr. Wright recognized the need for these students to receive instruction from highly qualified teachers in inclusive, general education classrooms rather than segregated learning environments. At Timber Creek, students with disabilities would be valued as full members of the general education classroom while receiving supplemental support, as needed, from ESE teachers.

A few years later, teachers began to see a need for additional student support in Algebra 1A classes. In response to this growing need, ESE teacher Kay Turley and general education teacher, Susan Lee, partnered to offer one period of co-taught math. At the end of their first year using the co-teach instructional model, all of the students in their class passed Algebra IA and all made significant gains on the math portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Due to these successful outcomes, another co-taught math class, Algebra IB, was offered the following year. Each year another co-taught class was added, and each year, student data reflected learning gains– results that can be attributed, in part, to the support offered through the school’s inclusive practices!

Timber Creek now offers a co-teaching instructional model in the following classes:

• Algebra 1A and IB
• English I and II
• Informal Geometry

Support facilitation, a less intensive model of in-class support and instruction, is also provided in these classes:

• English I and II
• World Cultural Geography
• Integrated Science
• Ecology
• Zoology
• American History

The Florida Inclusion Network has partnered with Timber Creek to support the implementation of inclusive education and provide professional development in the application of differentiated instruction. Forty teachers have participated in small study groups, called “Communities of Practice”, learning how to apply the principles of differentiated instruction directly to their subject area classrooms. In 2009, a summer institute on differentiated instruction was offered and attended by approximately 25% of the school’s staff. And more professional development activities are in store for this school year!

Timber Creek High School has experienced other accomplishments related to student outcomes. Newsweek magazine has ranked the school as one of the Top High Schools in the Nation. The school is also a Red Ribbon Certified School because of its proactive approach to student safety and substance abuse prevention and education. Also noteworthy: Timber Creek is one of Florida’s Power Library Certified High Schools. To earn this honor, a school must have an outstanding media center that collaborates with its staff and a comprehensive literacy plan and program. Lastly, Timber Creek is a State Demonstration School and Model for its innovative Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Program.

Timber Creek High School brings it on! Timber Creek High School rocks!

Michelle Nason, English I teacher (left), and Kim Pavlonnis, ESE support facilitator, make an impressive partnership.

Maritza Almodovar, ESE support facilitation teacher (left) and Jackie Drisgill, English II teacher work on lesson plans for co-teaching.

Samantha Bell, ESE- Support Facilitator (on left) and Michelle Nason, English I teacher, collaboratively plan.

Karen D’Avignon
November 2010