School districts are becoming professional learning communities as students and teachers join together to research and discuss education issues.
In the Woodward School District, this is an approach that is not only focused on teaching the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s new performance standard, but also creating a new culture of learning.
Woodward School Curriculum Director Michelle McDonald says that the effort is to transform the district into a professional learning community. “Traditionally teachers taught in virtual isolation. The way most of us understand teaching is that there is one teacher, they close the door and teach in one classroom,” McDonald said.
Teachers will be provided special time to meet and collaborate with each other on how the needs of struggling students can best be met. They will also simultaneously meet the needs of the more advanced learners who require more advanced curriculum. When teachers function alone in a vacuum, they are limited in their abilities to provide more opportunities for learning to students of different skill levels.
“For instance, say you have a student who is struggling in math. The team would get together and discuss all of the aspects of this particular student and work together to formulate a strategy to help that student,” she said.