September 16, 2006 in SatValley

Collaboration time worked into schedule at CV schools

Treva Lind Correspondent
 

With the start of school, Central Valley educators began something else new: teacher collaboration time built weekly into the schedules of all elementary and middle schools.

Each Thursday, the majority of CV elementary and middle schools start one hour later. Summit School, Barker High School and other special programs are following a different collaboration schedule.

As parents adjust to this transition in the beginning, schools are offering a quiet study session for students dropped off Thursday at the regular 8:20 a.m. time for middle schools or 9:05 a.m. time for elementary schools.

“We’ve been communicating with parents since this past spring about this change – that buses, breakfasts and school will all be one hour later on Thursdays,” said district spokesperson Melanie Rose.

“What we’re telling parents is if they need to drop off at the regular time until they can make other arrangements for child care, there will be supervised quiet time for students. It will be time (for) working independently doing homework, reading, completing school assignments.”

“We’re asking families to support this collaboration time for teachers.”

The new Central Valley Kindergarten Center on Barker Road also implemented the one-hour later Thursday schedule, Rose said.

For the first collaboration time this week at Liberty Lake Elementary School, Principal Linda Uphus said the process went smoothly.

LLES has 648 students, and staff counted 48 to 50 who came to the quiet session.

“They came in and were sitting at cafeteria tables, and each brought something quiet to do such as reading,” Uphus said. “The students were excellent. We had supervision, but the kids were very independent.” Then they went outside for recess at 9:40 a.m. until the bell for classes rang at 10:05, she added.

She said the first staff collaboration meeting included a large group discussion. Later meetings will have staff break into teams.

“We talked about if this was the perfect year and this was the last day of school, what does that look like, what does that mean for students learning? We counted the experience in the room, and it added up to 686 years of experience. We have never had time to go deep into discussion together about student learning and drawing from one another’s strengths for how to meet individual student needs.”

CVSD board members voted unanimously on May 22 to allow collaboration time during the regular school day with a “late start one day per week” schedule, beginning this school year.

The Central Valley School District took this step in a series of initiatives to strengthen student learning and teaching. School leaders say the weekly collaboration will allow teachers and staff in teams to address how to respond when a student experiences difficulty or exceeds expectations.

“As school professionals work together, instead of in isolation, a sense of shared responsibility and accountability is created, focused on the success of each student,” a district article said.

The district’s two high schools built collaboration time into those schedules two years ago, and the schools’ schedules will remain unchanged in the 2006-07 school year.

EVSD planning includes community input

A number of residents and school staff will embark this month on strategic planning for the East Valley School District.

To help provide direction for the next three to five years, the EVSD board recently invited more than 200 community and staff members to be a part of a Phase II East Valley Strategic Planning Team involved in two fall meetings.

“The goal of the planning process is to gather a cross section of input that will help the board develop and implement a new districtwide strategic plan by spring of 2007,” said Michael King, board president, in the community letter.

All-day meetings are scheduled for next Saturday and Oct. 21 at East Valley High School. For the first meeting, a Phase I Core Team will report on internal and external trends, strengths and challenges that may impact schools, resources, strategies and academic results. The Phase II planning team will then help identify key values and beliefs and re-examine current mission and vision statements, King said.

The second planning meeting will include review of work completed and identification of key strategic goals. Both planning sessions will be facilitated by Skip Bonuccelli, a veteran educator from the Washington State School Directors Association.

Mountain View students go to college

More than 160 eighth-graders will head to college for one day.

Mountain View Middle School has arranged for eighth-grade students to spend next Wednesday visiting Gonzaga University, Spokane Community College and Eastern Washington University for the new “College Day.”

Tammy Fuller, MVMS assistant principal, and counselor CarlaBagby got the idea during a leadership camp with ASB students last year.

“It was our hope that if we took eighth graders at the beginning of the year, it would help them with their goal setting,” said Fuller. “They have to write students plans for the year as they progress toward high school. It’s a good time to expose them to their options.”

Fuller said they hope to schedule a similar tour of the Spokane Skills Center.

MVMS students also are about to take the district’s Explore test, which helps middle school students assess their skills and interests in exploring future careers.


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