Novice Reduction for Gap Closure

Novice Reduction for Gap Closure

Published: 3/21/2018 2:47 PM

Making a Moral Imperative a Reality

On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education, welcome to the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure web pages.  Within these pages are information, resources and tools designed to assist schools and districts reduce the number of students scoring at the novice level and improve overall student achievement.

On this page, you will find background information about Novice Reduction and a step by step guide for how to use these pages efficiently and effectively to create and implement a plan that is intentional and tailored to a school or district’s individual needs and points of leverage.

Tools, Resources, and Videos

Every page on the Novice Reduction website has been updated and enhanced to better serve schools and districts.  These additions are game changers for schools and districts in their journey for student success, particularly in closing gaps!  There are resources and videos of Kentucky districts,  schools, administrators and teachers doing the real work of Novice Reduction. 

Two distinct districts share the evolution of their Novice Reduction Work:

Tonya Isaacs, Assistant Superintendent of Estill County, Jessica Mullins, principal at Estill Springs Elementary, and middle school teacher, Donald Norton take us on Estill County’s journey in Novice Reduction. Total time 2:46.


Mr. Marion Sowders, Superintendent of Casey County Schools, shares his vision for student success and novice reduction through instrumentally implementing highly effective professional learning communities. Click on the image below to view the video. Total time 3:35.


Professional Learning Communities Page

Instruction Page

Resources and Strategies for Gap Closure 

Standards and Curriculum Support  

Look Who’s Getting it Right

Navigating the Novice Reduction Pages

On the left hand side of the overview page is a dashboard (gray box) with links that connect you to information and resources aligned to the six Key Core Work Processes. Within those links, are pages which contain tools such as diagnostics, sample 30-60-90 day plans, websites, articles, and videos of educators from around the state who are working diligently to make an impact on student achievement, specifically in the area of Novice Reduction. 

The Continuous Improvement and Assessment pages include:

  • information about Quality Tools which can help ensure systems of continuous improvement;

  • resources  for how to effectively use data to improve school practices that will reduce novice performance; and

  • resources specifically catered to helping school/district leadership acquire the knowledge and skills needed to help staff use the assessment process and its results effectively to improve achievement.

This link aligns with key work processes Design and Deliver Assessment Literacy and Review, Analyze, Apply Data Results.

The Environment and Support pages contain tools and resources schools/districts can use to ensure they are offering the environment and support that all students deserve. This link aligns with key work processes Design, Align, Deliver Support Processes and Establish Learning Culture and Environment. Pages under this link include:

  • material aligned to helping schools/districts understand the importance of implementing a systematic, comprehensive intervention system which addresses academic and behavioral needs for all students;

  • resources to assist schools with creating a safe, inviting, and engaging learning environment through implementation of evidence-based practices; and

  • insight into the role student support services plays in ensuring students reach proficiency.

The Instruction link contains information and resources provided reflect the importance of ensuring Tier I instruction is the highly effective, culturally responsive, evidence-based core or universal instruction, provided to all students in the general education classroom. On the Overview page:

  • an interactive and printable diagnostic tool that can be used for core instruction at the school and classroom level;

  • information on John Hattie’s Barometer of Influence, and specifically resources and videos relative to the use of Metacognitive Strategies, Direct/Explicit Instruction, High Yield Instructional Strategies, and Universal Design for Learning;

  • a page for school and district support is the Resources and Strategies for GAP Closure page

    • research-based strategies and resources which have been found to be effective with students who fall within an identified subgroup or GAP area;

    • data charts, articles, and videos provide viewers an in-depth look at what has to be done to close the achievement gap; and

  • additional pages under this link include Math Design Collaborative, Literacy Design Collaborative, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

The Standards and Curriculum Support link aligns to the key work process of Design and Deploy Standards. It is well known that standards drive the curriculum alignment process, but it is important for schools to feel empowered to think innovatively and to be visionary when it comes to curriculum development. On this page:

  • effective sample curriculum documents provided to the Novice Reduction team from schools/districts from around the commonwealth (NOTE: there is “not just one right way’ to create effective curricula documents and final decisions regarding the deployment of standards and documentation of curriculum should be determined by schools/districts);

  • the Kentucky Academic Standards

  • resources for how to build and guide initial curriculum development work

A link added to the dashboard is Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). This page encompasses many resources including:

  • an operational definition of what makes a PLC;

  • a quick explanation by Richard DuFour of what PLC’s involve and how they are beneficial to the educator community; and

  • video interviews and explanations from educators around Kentucky sharing the evolution of their PLC’s, their PLC protocols, and how their PLC’s impact student achievement.

The next link is our Novice Reduction: Look Who’s Getting It Right page. Viewers are invited to take a look into Kentucky schools for a glimpse of successful practices impacting novice reduction. Kentucky educators and students are taking time to share what has been working for them on their journey to meet the goals of  Novice Reduction and to become College and/or Career Ready. Videos on this page are organized and aligned to each of the six key core work processes.

Look Who's Getting it Right!

Student, Teachers, Counselors and School Leaders Share Success Stories

Reference the Look Who's Getting it Right webpage to take a look into Kentucky schools for a glimpse of successful practices impacting novice reduction. These Kentucky educators and students are taking time to share what has been working for them on their journey to meet the goals of Novice Reduction and to become College and/or Career Ready.

Embarking on the Journey

Reference the Embarking on the Journey video to learn about the first two steps that should be taken before utilizing the helpful resources on the Novice Reduction web pages.

Step I: Understand the Need Behind Novice Reduction

The Novice Reduction for Gap Closure White Paper lays out the foundational beginnings of the Novice Reduction work, lists related regulations and statutes and the Key Core Work Processes/Classroom Evaluation and how they were selected to guide the Novice Reduction work. In Appendix A there is a matrix that demonstrates the connection between the Novice Reduction Key Core Processes, the Kentucky Framework for Teaching and the Characteristics of Highly Effective Teaching and Learning (CHETL). 

Step II: Complete Needs Assessments to Identify Areas of Leverage and Concer

The Key Core Work Processes should already be a part of the intentional work of schools and districts at both the strategic and classroom levels of implementation.  After becoming familiar with the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure White Paper, a leadership team is ready to develop a full understanding of where their school or district’s areas of leverage and concern are in relation to the Key Core Work Processes. 

Utilizing the two tools below will allow teams to purposefully engage with the key core processes and the strategies that support them. 

Key Core Work Processes/Strategic Evaluation
Key Core Work Processes/Classroom Evaluation
SWOT analysis tool 

The tools found on the Systems of Continuous Improvement webpage will be valuable resources to utilize regardless of the final area chosen for improvement.

Step III: Utilizing the Tools on the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure Web Pages

Reference the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure Web Pages video that gives a brief introduction to the resources that can be found in the Novice Reduction pages.

There are four sections of the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure web pages, one for each anchor process:

There are then several pages found within each of these areas that provide resources and tools to support work in each of these areas.  Most pages include a diagnostic and all pages include a sample 30-60-90 Day Plan for implementation. Contact information is located at the bottom of each pages if more support is needed.


Once areas of leverage and concern have been identified, the diagnostics found on the Novice Reduction for Gap Closure web pages can be utilized to further identify where work needs to be focused. The diagnostics can be filled out online or in printed form. Resources are provided on each page to help with focus areas.

30-60-90 Day Plans

Each page also has a sample 30-60-90 Day Plan to help schools and districts begin the work.  These plans are in word form so they can be adjusted to fit individual school or district needs. Reference the 30-60-90 Day Plan Explanation.  Plans can be found in the right hand side resource box on each page.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Susan Greer
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-5130
Fax (502) 564-8149
NoviceReduction for GapClosure Standards & CurriculumSupport Instruction ContinuousImprovement & Assessment Environment & Suppor

Related Resources

Novice Reduction for Gap Closure White Paper

Key Core Work Processes/Strategic Evaluation

Key Core Work Processes/Classroom Evaluation

Continuous Improvement Quick Links

Novice Reduction is all about implementing processes and systems of continuous improvement. Ensuring the system is monitored and evaluated using quality tools for success is an essential piece. Visit the link provided for more information and support in efforts to put tools of continuous improvement into action. 
Systems of Continuous Improvement Web Page

Instructions for using a 30-60-90 Day Plan

30-60-90 Day Plan Template 

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Template

SWOT Instructions

PDSA (plan, do, study, act) 4 Square Template

Let Us Support Your Work

There is support for schools and districts by Regional Novice Reduction Coaches and the Novice Reduction Coordinator located at KDE. These supports are available to assist teams in working through these tools, web pages, and in planning.  They are only an email or phone call away and look forward to hearing from you!


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