Teachers in the SSRSB will again be organized into the Collaborative Learning Team model during the Embedded Time days to enhance professional learning for teachers. There is overwhelming evidence that student learning and student engagement increase when teachers have opportunities to work together as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). A recent evaluation of the collaborative learning teams from all current schools indicates that teachers are engaged in valuable learning and are adjusting their teaching practices to improve student engagement and achievement.
The Collaborative Learning Team is the structure that is the shift from working in isolation or working in groups to working in high-performing collaborative teams focused on learning. The goal is to develop a systematic process in which teachers work together, interdependently, to analyze data and adjust practice accordingly to improve learning for all students. A focus on learning means a clear focus on what the school must become in order to help ALL students learn. It means a focus and commitment to the learning of each student. It also means the educators in the school are also continually learning
When CLTs are working as intended, teachers work collaboratively to address the following questions:
1.What do we want our students to learn?
2.How will we know is all students are learning?
3.How will we respond when some of our students do not learn?
4.How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who are proficient?
This intentional collaboration allows the educators to learn along with the students. In the SSRSB the work that occurs during embedded time looks like:
- Teachers meeting in interdependent teams using their professional autonomy to collaborate, innovate, debate and create.
- A meeting agenda is co-created by the team members.
- Teams examining curriculum.
- Teams examining instructional and assessment practices.
- Teams creating common assessments and analyzing the results.
- Teams planning ahead, before the actual team meeting.
- Teams calling upon program support staff or Instructional Coaches to contribute to their work.
- The Instructional Leader participating in the conversation.
- Examining the school improvement plan to look for areas of alignment in CLT work … and vice versa.
Collaborative Learning Teams in the SSRSB meet 14 times over the school year for 90 minutes. Teams keep notes on their work sessions and are grouped together as a minimum of two teachers (often 4 to 6). Principals are engaged, aware and participate in the CLT work and Program Support Staff and Instructional Coaches are often called upon for participation as required. School schedules were adjusted to allow for this time to occur and at CDS this resulted in all students receive 315 minutes of instructional time.