William Keilbaugh began his career as a Special Education teacher. His experience in classrooms of children with special needs has served as the foundation of a career devoted to the education of children of all abilities. Working at Haverford since 1978, first as Supervisor of Special Education and then as Director of Pupil Services and Special Education, Dr. Keilbaugh became Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Elementary Administration in 1997. In 2006 he assumed the leadership of the district as its superintendent.
Dr. Keilbaugh is a 1971 graduate of West Chester University where he earned a BA in Political Science and a Professional Certificate for the Teaching of Emotionally Disturbed Children. He also holds a Master’s Degree from Villanova University in Political Science and a Professional Certificate from Immaculata University in School Psychology. He earned a doctorate at Temple University in Special Education and Educational Administration.
He began his teaching career at the former Harvard Avenue School in Swarthmore working for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, and, prior to coming to Haverford, he supervised Special Education for the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, PA.
Over the past four years, the Haverford School District has implemented a series of district-wide training initiatives through the Professional Learning Communities model that are integrally related to one another:
• Formative Assessment
• Differentiated Instruction
• Best practices of grading and assessment
• Best practices regarding homework
• Best practices regarding mastery learning
• The use of data in a format and timeline that allows immediate use of results to direct instruction at the classroomlevel
We are moving to a qualitatively different use of assessments and data.At the elementary level we have adopted the AIMS web assessment process for reading and literacy skills, will become our curriculum-based assessment tool in Language Arts. This system will provide quick, timely formative data to our teachers. Our assessments in math and language arts are now consistent across all elementary buildings.
At the secondary level, we are establishing common finals in all core content areas with a scoring and data management system that provides sophisticated analyses of student performance – OSCAR(Online School Centered Assessment Reporting). I am confident that we, as a learning community, will take full advantage of the timely and user-friendly data to improve student achievement.
Research (Jim Knight and DennisSparks – “Leadership and Change”) shows that change in teaching practices takes place if that practice is powerful.We ask, “What’s required for one idea to supersede another?” People adopt new ideas or tools when they are easily understood and work. Teachers leave behind old ways of teaching for more effective approaches when the new practices are powerful and easy to implement.
Educators are motivated to implement a teaching practice if it increases student achievement, makes content more accessible, improves the quality of classroom conversation, makes students successful and increases the love of learning.
The crucial point of our efforts is not professional development per se, but the experience of successful implementation that changes teachers’ attitudes and beliefs. Educators are knowledge workers. They solve learning problems every day in the classroom. They make decisions, collaborate and communicate with many others every day in the course of doing their work.
Professional Learning Communities, properly directed, are powerful and meaningful structures to initiate and manage detailed, comprehensive change. We continue to use all tools and resources at our disposal to improve student achievement and learning.