Top 10 Quotes (and Photos) from Dr. Robert J. Marzano’s Visit to Palm Beach County Schools for Rigor

Dr. Marzano with Area Superintendent Ian Salzman and Calusa Elementary Principal Jamie Wyatt.

Dr. Marzano with Area Superintendent Ian Salzman and Calusa Elementary Principal Jamie Wyatt.

During the week of May 20th, Robert J. Marzano visited five Schools for Rigor in Palm Beach County, Florida, where he toured classrooms to see teachers implementing strategies in the Essentials for Achieving Rigor instructional model. The Schools for Rigor are a partnership between Learning Sciences International and the Palm Beach County School District, with the goal to significantly increase rigorous instruction throughout each school. This visit allowed teachers and principals to voice their opinions and ask questions about the instructional model co-developed by Dr. Marzano and Learning Sciences International. Below, we share the top 10 quotes from Dr. Marzano and teachers and principals who met with him for some insightful and encouraging conversations.

What Dr. Marzano Had to Say:

“The difference between the expert and the novice is that the expert has multiple ways of doing things and the novice has only one.”

“Historically what you are doing is so different from the way teaching has been approached. It’s been: Here’s the content, I know what it is, you don’t, it’s in the textbook, now I’m going to give you a test. But to teach new content, you have to unpack it.”

“We do get engaged with something we are struggling with, but it can’t be struggle out of compliance. It’s got be struggle out of a sense of wonder or accomplishment.”

“To hear your stories about students jointly planning, collaborating on learning, well, you can’t do that in the classroom without making the kinds of shifts you’re making here. You can’t do that without making the learning explicit.”

What Teachers and School Leaders Said

“Because I teach dance, we don’t traditionally have much dialogue. The kids don’t traditionally talk back to me and tell me what their misconceptions are. But in having conversations with my kids this year, I’ve realized I really need to take a different approach. Because before, they really weren’t understanding the what and the why of what they were learning, the deeper thinking.”

                 –Dance Teacher, Alexander Dreyfoos High School of the Arts

“Grades are not always reflective of knowledge content. This is what I love about scales. Teachers can pull out a scale with a parent and say, here are the targets we use to get to this level. Here’s the goal. Your child mastered all these, but is still struggling right here. Once the child gets that piece, they’ll be able to do this… Here’s how you can support them at home. We can get them here together.”

                  –Amy Dujon, Principal, Acreage Pines

“At first, we put scales up because we heard it was a good idea. But now we know how to put use them. We worked together as a team to create the scales in the math department. Now they are working documents and students know why they are using them. The difference is night and day.”

                 –Teacher, Palm Springs Middle School

A typical 8th-grade learning scale at Palm Springs Community Middle School.
A typical 8th-grade learning scale at Palm Springs Community Middle School.

“As we moved away from behavior-based scales, we started moving into having our standards-based scales, and how that scale was a true progression of thinking and learning for our students.”

–Teacher, Calusa Elementary School

I find that my teaching is a lot more focused on students providing evidence to me…they now have an understanding that this is what I expect from them.”

– Teacher, Calusa Elementary School

“The Learning Sciences professional development has really refined and honed our skills.That’s the foundation we needed in order to be ready to teach our students rigorous content.”

                  –Teacher, Calusa Elementary School

At Demonstration Schools, kids routinely refer to their scales to see how to meet their learning goals for the lesson or unit.
At Demonstration Schools, kids routinely refer to their scales to see how to meet their learning goals for the lesson or unit.
Caption: Staff, district leaders, and Learning Sciences team together at Palm Springs Community Middle School.
Caption: Staff, district leaders, and Learning Sciences team together at Palm Springs Community Middle School.
Caption: With a new focus on rigorous learning to meet state standards, Demonstration School students are asked to provide evidence of their thinking.
Caption: With a new focus on rigorous learning to meet state standards, Demonstration School students are asked to provide evidence of their thinking.
This Demonstration School math teacher has developed innovative ways to get students applying mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios.
This Demonstration School math teacher has developed innovative ways to get students applying mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios.

Other articles you might like:

We believe that the most important thing a teacher or leader can do is to fuel each student’s passion for learning. When this is achieved, a lifetime of accomplishment becomes possible for that learner. Through partnerships with schools and districts throughout the country, we help educators and leadership transform each classroom into a powerful learning environment that prepares students for lasting success in school, the global workplace, and beyond. Our vision for the future is big and bright, and we love helping schools get there. Learn more about Learning Sciences International.