HCDOE Professional Terminology

AYP- (Adequate Yearly Progress) was established under NCLB as the measure that states must use to show that their schools and school districts are effectively working to meet basic state standards for math and reading, as well as for attendance and high school graduation.  Schools that do not maintain adequate yearly progress are often casually referred to as being “on the list.”  State education departments may intervene if a school does not make AYP for two years in a row.  The Writing Assessment accounts for a large percentage of the Reading/Language Arts score.


ELL- (English-language learners) is a broad term used to describe students whose second language is English—that is to say, children who are raised in homes where the main language spoken is not English.  Not all Hispanic students are ELL students.  Many of our Hispanic students do, in fact, speak English at home and are, therefore, not ELL students. 


IEP- (Individualized Education Plan) is a personalized educational plan created for students who have been identified as having specific educational disabilities.  The IEP team (which may include the classroom teacher, a special education teacher, a parent, and/or other interested parties) works together to determine the modifications necessary for each child.  Modifications included in a completed IEP are non-negotiable and must, by law, be followed by the classroom teacher. 


RTI- (Response to Intervention) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs.  Student progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for another method of instruction and/or intervention in both general and special education classes. Students’ response to the documented intervention is the standard by which students can be considered for special education services.


6-Trait Writing- is a method of writing instruction that focuses on equipping students with six identifiable traits of good writing (Good Ideas, Organization, Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Voice, and Conventions) rather than strictly focusing on format and conventions. Several sources for 6-Trait activities can be found in reproducible activity books as well as on the Internet.


Thoughtful Classroom- is a long-term professional development program by Silver, Strong, and Associates, based on the work of Robert Marzano, that focuses on identifying the hidden academic skills used in successful schools. These skills include using research-based practices, instructional diversity, and purposeful curriculum design. Through the Hamblen County Thoughtful Classroom partnership, teachers learn strategies by working together in Learning Clubs.


Learning Clubs- are small groups of teachers who meet together on a regular basis to discuss instruction, support and implement new strategies, and reflect on student work samples. 


ILT- (Instructional Leadership Team) is a team of four persons from one school (including the principal) who attend countywide training sessions on Thoughtful Classroom strategies. After receiving training, the ILT then trains their entire faculty in the strategy.  


Vocabulary’s CODE- is the Thoughtful Classroom method of vocabulary instruction which moves children through activities that allow them to connect with the term, organize the word with other words, deep-process the word, and exercise using the word.


Task Rotation- is the Thoughtful Classroom method of student assessment using activities or questions from all four learning styles—Mastery, Understanding, Interpersonal, and Self Expressive. 


Compare and Contrast-is the Thoughtful Classroom method of leading students through examining similarities and differences when given the criteria for examination, then using the identified information in a synthesis task.


Reading for Meaning- is the Thoughtful Classroom method for focusing students’ reading and enhancing comprehension by giving readers anticipatory statements with which they agree or disagree, then reading the text to find evidence that supports or refutes the given statement. 


New American Lecture-is the Thoughtful Classroom method of lecture delivery that consists of “hooking” students’ interest to the topic of discussion, “chunking” the information into segments, guiding students’ notes with the use of a graphic organizer, and reviewing the lesson through questions using the four learning styles.  



Curriculum Map- is a strategic scope and sequence of state standards to be used as a guide for instructional planning.  Committees of teachers were convened for the design and publication of these maps.  Standards are divided into six-weeks grading periods to give teachers a reference for pacing coverage of material.

SPI- (State Performance Indicators)- are tasks that, when proficiently executed by a student, show evidence that the knowledge and skill for the standard have been met. 


GLE- (Grade Level Expectations)-is a statement that defines what all students should know and be able to do at the end of a given grade level. GLEs give further definition to the content standards.


Checks for Understanding-are tasks that teachers use as criteria for ongoing assessment throughout the instructional process.


*Special Note: criteria from all three categories can be included on standardized tests.

Rigor- is the degree to which an instructional strategy or assessment is carried out. In planning lessons, the rigor of the class activities should be equal to the intended intensity of the standard.



TVAAS (Tennessee Value Added Assessment System)- provides information to teachers, parents, and the public about how schools are doing in helping each child make academic gains each year.  Value- added analysis takes the gains each student makes from year to year and compares it to a normative sample of students from that same subject in the same grade.  The expectation is that all students, whether high achieving or low achieving, will experience a minimum of one year’s academic growth. Achieving more than one year’s academic growth will result in positive TVAAS scores.


Mentor- is a veteran teacher assigned by the administration to a new staff member to serve as a reference, guide, or counselor.  This person is available to the assigned new staff member to answer general or everyday questions about teaching at the school.  The mentor is a good resource to ask for assistance with school-specific tasks such as school policies and staff procedures.


Instructional Coach-is an individual whose job is to assist all teachers in a given grade level with instructional strategies, classroom management, or other areas related to teaching and/or student learning.  This person is willing to schedule time to be in a teacher’s classroom to observe, assist, or model instructional strategies.


Title 1-is a federal program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provides additional funding to schools with a large percentage of low socioeconomic status.  The monies from this program are handled through the Federal Programs Department at Central Office.


Sick Leave Days- are days that can be used by a teacher who is ill or otherwise unable to perform regular teaching duties.  Sick leave forms should be filled out prior to absence if possible, or immediately upon return.  Staff members on a ten-month contract receive 10 sick leave days each year. If these days are not used, they will roll over to the next year and each subsequent year until retirement.


Compensatory Days (Comp. Days)- leave days that can be earned by teachers by putting in hours above and beyond the regular school day while involved in duties not compensated by pay or supplement.  Activities can include events such as Open House, ballgame duties, chaperoning after school events, etc. Activities such as coaching duties where employees receive supplemental pay are not eligible for comp. days.  Comp. time logs should be turned in to the school administration prior to absence and comp. time absences should be approved prior to the absence.  7 ½ hours=1 comp. day.  (Parent-Teacher Conferences are considered part of the teacher’s contract and, therefore, are not eligible for comp. time.)


Personal Leave Days- are days that can be used to teachers who need to be absent due to personal reasons (non-medical) such as vacation, etc.  Teachers on ten-month contracts earn two personal leave days each year.  Personal leave days that are not used within the school year will roll over to the next year in the form of additional sick days.


Professional Leave Days- are days provided to teachers who are attending administration-approved professional development activities that take place within the school day.  In most cases, the school will pay for a substitute for a teacher on professional leave.  Any activities that require professional leave must have the funding source identified and must be approved two weeks in advance by the school administration, funding provider, and director of schools. Whenever possible, professional leave days should be requested two weeks in advance. 


Administrative In-service- is a professional development sessions that are planned and assigned by the Department of Instruction.  Sessions are typically countywide and take place prior to the first day of school.  Activities can include opening session, standards training, etc.  Each teacher is assigned five administrative days per school year.


Flex In-service-is a professional development session that are planned and assigned by the individual school administration.  Each principal assigns 12 hours of activities that focus on school improvement. 


Optional In-service- is a professional development session in which each individual teacher chooses to participate.  Teachers must participate in nine hours of optional training of their choice. This training must be completed outside the regular school day.  Activities must be approved for in-service credit and can include HCDOE workshops, Lakeway Reading Council meetings, workshops held by accredited institutions, meetings with instructional coach, etc. Any activities attended during the school day are not considered optional in-service. 


Who To Ask

Questions about duties or assignments?  Here is the person to contact.


School Based Activities/Duties-

Mentor or Principal


Textbooks or Technology Equipment-

School Librarian/Media Specialist


Integrating Technology with Instruction-

Instructional Technology Coach


Instructional Strategies/Curriculum-

Grade-Level Instructional Coach


In-service Activities/Leave Days-



Thoughtful Classroom-

Mentor or Instructional Coach


IEP/Special Education Modifications-

School Special Education Teacher


ELL Modifications-

School ELL Teacher



Personnel Liaison, Central Office



Business Office, Central Office