Dr. Chalstrom's blog.
In 2012 the Iowa Legislature embarked on a series of education reform initiatives. One of the first was a mandate that teachers in all Iowa schools spend 36 hours each school year collaborating with each other on a variety of professional development issues. By law, the 36 hours were in addition to a district's regularly scheduled professional development days. Furthermore, teachers needed to engage in "peer review" during this time. Peer review is meant to analyze and provide constructive feedback on each other's instruction in the classroom.
In order to meet the legislative mandate, the Cherokee CSD began 2:30 early outs. During this time, our teachers are actively engaged in collaborative and peer review efforts. Two major activities are taking place: Authentic Intellectual Work, (AIW), and the implementation of Professional Learning Communities, (PLC).
AIW is an activity where teams of teachers and administrators examine instructional activities/lessons that are taking place in the classroom and provide constructive feedback in a supportive, safe environment. The purpose is to improve instruction and rigor in content areas.
Professional Learning Communities are small teams of teachers who spend time researching specific issues, practices, and data analysis in order to improve instructional practices and increased achievement from students.
The purpose of the collaboration time on Wednesdays is to provide research based activities that not only improve instruction, but will result in increased student achievement for our students.
This article was re-posted from Dr. Chalstrom's blog http://centralofficecherokee.blogspot.com/2014/01/230-early-outs.html