State su­per­in­ten­dent vis­its two Caro­line County schools

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - Schools has shifted. In ad­di­tion to step­ping into class­rooms in Lock­er­man Mid­dle School and Ridgely El­e­men­tary School, Salmon spoke with school ad­min­is­tra­tors about the chal­lenges and suc­cesses of the new method’s im­ple­men­ta­tion. CCPS be­gan us­ing the Es

DEN­TON — State Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon vis­ited two Caro­line County schools Thurs­day, Oct. 11, to get a first­hand look at the stu­dent-cen­tered teach­ing method to which Caro­line County Pub­lic in the 2017-18 school year. De­vel­oped by Learn­ing Sciences In­ter­na­tional, it shifted the school sys­tem from tra­di­tional teacher-fo­cused meth­ods to a model that en­cour­ages the devel­op­ment of skills needed for

good-pay­ing jobs in the new econ­omy: Team­work, face-to-face com­mu­ni­ca­tion, crit­i­cal think­ing and per­sis­tence in the face of fail­ure.

The method uses team-based learn­ing, rather than lec­ture-based. Stu­dents work in teams, of­fer­ing their opin­ions, learn­ing to ac­cept crit­i­cism, giv­ing con­struc­tive feed­back and find­ing out fail­ure is not the end, but rather a path­way to learn­ing.

Caro­line County Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens, Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Pres­i­dent Louise Cheek and board mem­bers Kathy Dill and Tol­bert Rowe told Salmon the first year was chal­leng­ing.

Some stu­dents, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors and par­ents ob­jected to the new method, es­pe­cially at the se­condary level.

“Any time there’s some­thing new, there’s push­back,” Rowe said. “But now we’re see­ing what these kids can do, and I think we’re get­ting over the hump.”

Some teach­ers em­braced the new method quickly, Sae­lens said, while oth­ers still have not moved much be­yond putting the stu­dents’ desks to­gether.

“There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween a ‘fur­ni­ture group’ and a team,” Sae­lens said. “We still have some teach­ers just putting kids in fur­ni­ture groups. We are do­ing a deeper dive this year into the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a team.”

School prin­ci­pals with an in­struc­tional back­ground han­dled the change well, Cheek said, while

those who had op­er­ated more as build­ing man­agers un­der the old meth­ods strug­gled.

In ad­di­tion to help­ing stu­dents de­velop the “soft skills” em­ploy­ers say they are look­ing for, the new teach­ing method had some un­fore­seen ad­di­tional ben­e­fits.

Sae­lens said there has been a big de­crease in dis­ci­plinar y ac­tions across the school sys­tem, as stu­dents are more en­gaged in the new team-based style of learn­ing.

She said the em­pha­sis on group dis­cus­sions has helped English­language learn­ing stu­dents pick up the lan­guage more quickly. Rowe said the in­creased in­ter­ac­tion has also helped those stu­dents con­nect with their peers.

Stu­dents are also kind to one an­other when dis­cussing group tasks, Sae­lens said.

“They’ve learned to say ‘I re­spect­fully

dis­agree, and here is my ev­i­dence,’” she said.

“There’s still work to be done, but we’re on the right path,” Sae­lens said. “I think we all now un­der­stand our ‘why.’”

At Lock­er­man Mid­dle School, Prin­ci­pal Nikki VonDenBosch, As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Court­ney Handte and As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Jonathan Grow led Salmon on a tour that in­cluded stops in seventh and sixth grade class­rooms and the band room.

In a math class, six spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents with in­di­vid­u­al­ized ed­u­ca­tion plans learned along­side their gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion class­mates.

In a lan­guage arts class, each stu­dent in groups of three had an as­signed role: A re­source man­ager made sure the team had the needed ma­te­ri­als, a fa­cil­i­ta­tor made sure ev­ery­one in the group voiced

their opin­ions and a pre­sen­ter ex­plained the team’s work.

At Ridgely El­e­men­tary School, Prin­ci­pal Lee Sut­ton and As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal An­to­nio An­geloni took Salmon to kinder­garten, first, fourth and fifth grade class­rooms.

In one class, stu­dents worked in teams to draw a di­a­gram fig­ur­ing out the width of a rec­tan­gle, when given the perime­ter and length mea­sure­ments.

When some teams got stuck, the teacher helped guide them to find the an­swer on their own.

Af­ter her tour of both schools, Salmon said she was most im­pressed by the level of stu­dent en­gage­ment in ev­ery class­room.

“Teach­ers are fa­cil­i­ta­tors of learn­ing, rather than de­liv­er­ers of learn­ing,” Salmon said. “I’m en­cour­aged by the po­ten­tial of this strat­egy.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

From left, seventh grade Lock­er­man Mid­dle School teacher Krista Ben­nett works with stu­dents as Prin­ci­pal Nikki VonDenBosch, Mary­land Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon and Caro­line Pub­lic School Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens look on Thurs­day, Oct. 11.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.