The 2014/2015 school year is in the books and the next is fast approaching.   It was another successful year for our District as we continued to move forward with our strategic plan.  We embraced more project based learning, pushed out more of the Common Core and it was also a year to execute new ideas for learning. 

In some cases we tore down the walls…..literally.   

In Brittan Acres, White Oaks and Heather a hole was punched in the wall allowing the flow of students through the two rooms.  In the Brittan Acres classroom there was a combined classroom of 57 students.  Two teachers managed the class.  This set-up allowed for a deeper dive in various subjects and also more targeted learning to challenge each student to their appropriate level. 

I had an opportunity to sit down with Jennifer Heinschel and Kelly Earlywine, teachers at Brittan Acres to discuss how their team teaching worked.  By dividing who was teaching each subject, they were able to each spend more time on their core areas.  For example, Mrs. Heinschel could spend more time prepping and planning math and writing while Mrs. Earlywine could focus on social studies and science.  Each could do a deeper dive on their subjects, and reading instruction responsibilities were shared.  When not teaching the main subject, the other educator could spend time with students to do more individualized learning.  This team teaching approach allowed them to model collaboration for students, encourage them to work within teams, and allowed the educators to create very flexible groupings based on student need.

This innovative approach to teaching was a success and is just one of the many creative ways our school district is approaching learning.  We will continue to look at new ways to educate our children and to provide them with a 21st century learning experience. 

As an example, this year we have a record number of teachers signed up for project based learning training. The 2015-16 school year will bring more opportunities to explore ways to execute on our strategic plan and to provide new learning opportunities for our students.