Staff members at Westside Community Schools continue to demonstrate high efficacy and craftsmanship by putting students first. This was evident as WCS staff members attended multiple training sessions during the first week back for staff refining their teaching craft and expertise. This year, each elementary grade level will have one topic they will focus on during five different learning sessions throughout the year.
All kindergarten and first-grade teachers spent 8 hours on August 9th and will receive between 12 and 20 hours of explicit instruction on instructional routines that focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, and sound blends. WCS is partnering with Lynette Block from the State MTSS team to implement this training. Instructional routines are similar to classroom/behavior routines, a consistent format that is generalizable for teaching specific skills, an explicit, interactive, research-based format, designed to engage students and increase their chances for successful learning.
“Routines are the foundational architecture for creativity, and in the classroom they give birth to deeper reading, rich writing, and meaningful conversation.” —Tanny McGregor, author of Comprehension Connections
All second and third-grade teachers spent 6 hours on August 9th and will receive a total of 12 hours of reflection and student learning focused on math mindset. The 5 sessions are led by Karin Mussman, Michele Patterson, Sarah Meraz, and Diana Williams. Click to see a previous article about math mindset. Teachers will focus on:
- Everyone can learn math to the highest levels
- Mistakes are valuable; mistakes grow your brain
- Math is about connections and communicating; math can be represented in words, diagrams, graphs, pictures, equations that can be linked to each other
- Questions are really important; ask yourself: why does that make sense?
- Math is about creativity and making sense
- Math class is about learning, not performing; it takes time to learn and it is all about effort
- Depth is much more important than speed
Fourth-grade teachers will be spending the year refining their skills on how to personalize learning for all students. Teachers spent the entire day with National speaker and author, Jim Rickabaugh learning about WCS’s philosophy of personalized learning and focusing on providing voice and choice for students. Teachers will spend the rest of the year working with Personalized Learning Collaborators (Andrew Easton, Katie Sindt, Kristin Hogan) focusing on WCS’s five elements of personalized learning.
1. Knowing Your Learners. 2. Voice and Choice 3. Flexible Groups and Space 4. Data Informed 5. Technology Support.
Fifth and sixth-grade teachers are continuing to improve student writing and critical thinking by focusing the year on Text Dependent Analysis (TDA). WCS is partnering with Janet Foss from ESU 3 to provide the year-long focused training.