Ashley Q. Giska is Superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the Laurel School District in Laurel, DE. Prior to this position, he served as assistant principal and then principal of Delmar High School in Delaware. During his tenure there, the school accelerated from review status into the academic “Top 5” in the state in ELA, mathematics, and science and was ranked the #1 US News and World Report public high school in the state of Delaware in 2013.
Ashley came to Laurel in 2015. Since then, the district has been among the highest achieving in Delaware for student growth in ELA and mathematics.
Ashley’s master’s degree is in Educational Leadership from Salisbury University in Maryland. He is passionate about implementing high-quality instructional materials and leading rapid school turnaround through a systems-thinking approach. He has presented on these topics at national conferences including the National Summit for Principal Supervisors (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and at the ASCD Empower 19 Conference (Chicago, IL).
Ashley is on Twitter at @AshleyQGiska.
Ashley would love to talk to anyone interested in Laurel’s experience implementing the high-quality curricula used in the district. Additionally, he co-chaired the state of Delaware’s Academics and Equity School Re-Opening Task Force and would be happy to speak about that work.
Laurel School District’s Implementation Journey
In 2017-28, Laurel School District piloted Bookworms in K-5 and Illustrative Mathematics in grades 6-8. In 2018-19, they expanded implementation to include Illustrative Mathematics in K-5 and in the high school. In 2019-20, they added Bookworms middle-school curriculum and Louisiana Guidebooks for ELA in 9-12.
Laurel partnered with the University Of Delaware Professional Development Center for Educators (PDCE) for coaching across content areas. The initial focus of coaching was building strong routines and structures in the classroom. Then, as teachers got more familiar with the instructional routines, coaches focused on building teachers’ content knowledge and content vocabulary so that they became more confident and competent in teaching the texts and the skills in the curricula. In the third year of full implementation, PDCE continues to guide teacher PLCs, conduct walk- throughs with instructional leaders, and coach teachers in the classroom as they improve their skills.