Teacher-led ideas and collaboration create winning momentum | The Chalkboard Project

Teacher-led ideas and collaboration create winning momentum

Thursday, June 25, 2015 Jasmine Winslow

Being involved in the CLASS Project earned us tickets to Minnesota!

Yes, Minnesota. Let me explain…

Our CLASS design team in Mt. Angel has been working together for three years now. Mt. Angel, a small school district with scarce resources, is located 18 miles northeast of Salem. Though our CLASS implementation plan for the 2014-2015 school year was not funded, we still decided to move forward with a small part of the plan through a professional development mini-grant available to teachers.

In January 2015, we successfully secured a winning grant that funded 11 teachers (me included) at St. Mary’s Public School to be trained to implement a supplementary reading program called Logic of English (LOE). The program’s author, Denise Eide, teaches the concept that the English language does, in fact, have rules and if we teach students these rules, they will become far better readers and spellers. We not only used the video trainings available from LOE, but the grant allowed us to hire substitutes so our grade-level teams had implementation time to plug the lessons into our current schedule, and even have Skype sessions with Denise to tackle questions with implementation.

While grade-level teams planned and worked together to implement the curriculum, a new level of cross-grade level collaboration also developed. My first-grade team would tell the second-grade teachers how excited they were going to be to get this batch of kids next year, and the kinder teachers would tell us the same thing!

Our collaborative efforts not only brought us closer together as co-workers, but final analysis of the data showed that student outcomes in reading increased as well. Staff and board members were impressed with our findings and our excitement after viewing a short video we had produced, and were even more excited about St. Mary’s potential of future reading success.

When I shared the video with LOE author Denise, she told me she had tears streaming down her face. She wanted to continue our collaboration together by offering our district two free slots at her week-long Master Teacher Training Course in Rochester, Minnesota, July 27-31! We know this opportunity will strengthen the collaborative commitment we have made at St. Mary’s Public School, and I can’t wait to see how far we go next year!

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