Team-building, collaboration and techniques to grow student achievements lead the efforts

Early Release Wednesdays might mean getting out of class early for West Linn-Wilsonville students, but for staff it means an opportunity to do some learning of their own. The following are highlights from Wednesday, Jan. 17.

At Lowrie Primary teachers focused on writing. Staff worked to develop a common understanding and selected key chapters from "The Guide to the Writing Workshop" to look at. Teachers created groups of mixed grade-level members with specialists. Each group took on a chapter of their own to read and discuss before creating learning posters for the entire school to view and learn from. Lowrie teachers also read key chapters from "Writing Pathways," using checklists to set goals and work ensuring students are mastering skills that inform there is discussion and an exchanging of opinions in small group work.

Inza R. Wood Middle School started with some team-building activities before diving into work around writing. Staff also reviewed student survey data, reflecting on their practices, before engaging with equity work called "20 things that I can do to be a better multicultural educator."

Wood staff continued their work around equity, collaborating as a large group as well as smaller groups. Teachers weren't afraid to be vulnerable, either, sharing classroom and life experiences of racism, injustice, and other inequities. The overall goal was to improve practices while making Wood as safe and welcoming of a school as possible.

At Wilsonville High School, staff continued work with author Zaretta Hammond's "Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain," also focusing on two of the five dimensions from the "Center for Educational Leadership; Classroom Culture and Environment and Student Engagement." Staff had time for collaboration and reflected on specific student relationship data. Staff then broke into their Small Collaborative Team and shared their reflections before creating steps to take action with their ongoing collaborative work.

Now, staff will implement what they learned into the classroom. The district's next Professional Growth Wednesday is scheduled for Feb. 7.

— West Linn-Wilsonville School District

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