Curriculum supervisor: Teachers have something to learn, too

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PETERSBURG – The school district’s new supervisor of curriculum and instruction told school board members Monday, Jan. 28 that teachers will collaborate in “Professional Learning Communities” to share instructional practices and improve student learning.

Jennifer Baldwin, who was recently approved as curriculum and instruction supervisor, said that the days of the “hero teacher” that is everyone’s favorite are over. The district has to try and make every teacher the one that students want to pick, she said.

 

Professional Learning Communities allow teachers to work together and share their best ideas. Rather than working individually, teachers collaborate and each can learn something from the others, Baldwin said.

The formal study of instructional practices helps improve student learning, she said. “Systems can only be as good as the people working in them,” Baldwin said.

For example, a group of school nurses and physical education teachers recently met to share ideas to make the playground safer during recess. 

“They wanted to take the number of injuries on the playground down, to make the playground safer,” Baldwin said.

Professional Learning Communities can be grouped according to grade, subject matter areas, cross-grade levels or problem oriented groups. The groups will develop goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, Baldwin said.

“We want to continue to grow and develop,” she said. “That is achievable with practice, practice, practice.”

Some things have to be “overcome,” she said, like the teacher that says, “Oh well, I gave the kids the opportunity to learn.”

Education continues to change and teachers have to be willing to change, grow and learn, just like the students, Baldwin said.

“Things are different than they were 30 years ago,” she said. “We’re programming children to dominate this century.”

Teachers will meet again in February to expand on their ideas and more training would be offered in March, Baldwin said. 

 


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