In 2021-22, after more than a year of online learning, School District U-46 made a commitment to continuously improve all of our systems to ensure they work for all students. We coined our work U-46 Rising. Embedded in this work is our renewed focus on improving classroom instruction through implementing academic teaming across all schools with a handful of elementary schools selected as model schools for this work. These initial five elementary model schools include Creekside, Channing, Laurel Hill, Parkwood, and Willard, and they are known throughout our district as Schools for Rigor and Equity.
As a School for Rigor and Equity, the entire school staff receives additional professional coaching and support from our partner organization, Learning Sciences International, in order to ensure that every teacher and administrator has the support, tools, and resources they need to implement academic teaming in the classroom. In addition, these schools receive extra resources to provide time for teacher teams to meet weekly with an instructional coach to review student progress and work collaboratively to plan instruction.
Our goal with this effort is for every student to engage in daily instruction where they collaborate with their peers on rigorous, standards-aligned tasks that require critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. There are three parts to academic teaming:
- Standards-Based Student Evidence: This focuses on the alignment between the daily learning target, the grade-level standard, and the level of thinking required of the task students are working on.
- Activating Students to Achieve the Standards: This focuses on the level of student teaming required to complete the task, including whether or not the task requires students to use academic vocabulary, engage in productive struggle, and monitor the learning of the team.
- Monitoring to Take Action Within the Lesson: This focuses on how the teacher monitors each team and provides in-the-moment feedback when needed. It also includes the aspect of students monitoring their own learning to reflect on whether or not they have met the target for the day.
For the 2022-23 school year, nine additional schools will be added as Schools for Rigor and Equity: Tefft Middle School, Independence Early Learning, Clinton, Coleman, Fox Meadow, Harriet Gifford, Highland, Oakhill, and Timber Trails elementary schools.
We visited our initial five model schools to share their journey using academic teaming and here is what each had to share. The following video also shares the academic teaming journey of all five model schools, enjoy!
2021-22 Schools of Rigor and Equity
- Creekside Elementary School
- Channing Elementary School
- Parkwood Elementary School
- Laurel Hill Elementary School
- Willard Elementary School
2022-23 Schools of Rigor and Equity
- Tefft Middle School
- Clinton Elementary School
- Coleman Elementary School
- Fox Meadow Elementary School
- Harriet Gifford Elementary School
- Highland Elementary School
- Oakhill Elementary School
- Timber Trails Elementary School
- Independence Early Learning Center