Friday, October 17, 2014

Learning Teams Launched

Each school year presents new and exciting opportunities for learning and growth - certainly for students - but equally important for faculty and staff. To that end, this year we have launched the Vancouver College Learning Teams.

This is an opportunity for the adults at the school to come together on a regular basis to “exercise their intelligence” in the service of the students.

Already, teams have come together to explore topics such as:
  • Learning Empowered by Technology using specific apps (e.g. Notability, Google Apps, Board Maker) 
  • Differentiated Instruction & Technology
  • Technology & Science in the Kindergarten Classroom
  • Faith Formation across the curriculum
  • Problem Based Learning
  • School Advisory Program 
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Olweus anti-bullying program
  • Growth Mindset book study
  • Teaching Games
  • “Make to Learn”
In an effort to maximize the potential for these teams to have complete success we put in place a few parameters and "environmental" considerations, namely:

1. We created time in the day for teachers to meet. Every Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to teacher collaboration. These Learning Teams will operate during this time.

2. We asked staff to come up with Collaboration Commitments. These are the commitments team members make to each other before, during and after collaboration time.

3. We are asking teams to report out on their learning during full staff meetings - thus allowing for a cross pollination of ideas across the entire campus. This also shifts the focus of staff meetings from "information sharing" to a "learning and sharing"

4. We created a collaboration schedule that removed the Elementary School, Middle School, Senior School silos - thus allowing teachers from across the K-12 spectrum to join common teams. As a K-12 campus, it will be exceedingly important that we continue to overcome the tendency to silo and instead take full advantage of the  K-12 learning spectrum. 

5.Each teams will be provided resources, upon request, to deepen their learning experience.

Already, teachers are acting on their learning team initiatives. For example, some teachers are asking for increased student use of technology in classroom (from specific apps to increased access to devices). Other teachers are starting to incorporate Growth Mindset teaching in their classes and still others are reexamining their assessment and grading practices.

All of this is part of a continuing plan to make teaching and learning more engaging, enriching and empowered for our students and teachers.

My early sense is that these learning teams will be a great source of innovation and improvement for our learning community.

Still Figuring It Out.....