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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

When does your school collaborate?

When does your school collaborate?

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Our school currently has an early release every Friday at 2:00. Students leave with the bell, while teachers and administrators stay until 3:15 to collaborate. This began in 2008 and has evolved and improved since that time. I am interested in any other schools who do something similar to this. Our Other Core teachers meet w/other PE teachers throughout the district. Fine Arts team sometimes meets as a whole, other times they break into Elementary & Secndary teams. At other times, the entire faculty may be needed together. The same is true for grade levels; they meet weekly and discuss student data, better strategies, wht is working and what is not. Can anyone refer me to some strong articles or research in this area? Jenny

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John Bennett's picture
John Bennett
Emeritus Faculty in the School of Engineering / University of Connecticut

Absolutely there must be face-to-face discussions. BUT at the same time, don't forget other electronic opportunities: I'm thinking here the ability to have a group list on Twitter or a blog / threaded discussion list on the school system's computers or the participation in blogs or discussion lists such as this particular one. The most important reason for use of these electronic opportunities is the fact that you can usually quickly go to the particular tool and post the question, the concern, the reference material, etc. WHEN IT IS MOST CLEAR AND RELEVENT to the one doing the posting.

April Chamberlain's picture
April Chamberlain
District Technology Integration Specialist for Trussville City Schools

I work in a very unique school system that is committed to professional development/collaboration. In our primary and intermediate school, they meet once a month for learning lunches in which they have duty free lunch backed with specialists (PE, art, music, etc.) to give 1 hour 15 minutes of designing. The Intermediate School has also restructed time once a month for teachers in the grade level to design for 3 hours at a time while students are taught by other specialists, volunteers, etc. Three years ago, the middle school created a daily schedule where every teacher has two breaks. One for themselves and the other professional development. The professional develop time, CAP, is lead by school administrators and teacher leaders Mon - Thursday with Friday being for conference, updating websites, entering grades, etc. This has completely changed the conversations and work in the school. CAP is planned based on data and moving the school forward to achieve the mission. This year, the high school has late arrival day everyday for students (8:30). Teachers meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for Collaborative Prep from 7:45 - 8:20. During this time, teachers meet in one of four rooms with teacher leaders and administrators to support designing engaging and challenging work for all students to learn at high levels. We still have after school faculty meetings once a month at each school along with other professional development opportunities before, during and after school. The only way to grow a school is to grow its faculty.

Jenny Davis's picture
Jenny Davis
Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment Union, MO

Thanks for the tip. Actually, we're checking out webcams now and tryint to utilize SharePoint options that we currently have available. I had not thought of the value of what we are doing right now. Great tip! thanks!

Stephanie's picture
6th grade math-PA

We actually have a collaboration built in to our middle school schedule. Once every 4 days we get to collaborate with our department teachers for one hour. At times the collab time might switch to a grade level meeting if need be. It is a well needed part of our schedule!

MJ Ewald - 12665's picture

We too use early release time once a month. We also have departmental PLC groups that meet once a week as each department has common planning time in our high school. It's done wonders for exchanging ideas, evaluating standards, and generating common assessments. The feedback and discussion is tantamount to our continuing development as a department. It's definitely been a valuable addition to our school schedule.

Sara's picture

I used to work at a school where there were floating subs every other Wednesday for about 45 minutes. During that time grade level teachers met to discuss school issues. It was a wonderful idea that became clouded with the administrators agenda instead of the grade level. This did however open classroom doors that had never been opened. The teachers began having lunch together in each others rooms and planning evaluations and shared grading to get a consensus grade. I would love to have that again it help so much to be consistant at least in the grade level of six teachers!

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