As an educator, one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my job is to spend time in our schools observing, listening and learning about what our students are experiencing in the classroom. Each week, I enjoy discovering innovative teaching methods that are being implemented by our talented instructors as well as determining impediments to teaching and learning to address. The insight gained during my visits to schools helps inform the work of the administration. This week, I observed several things that are encouraging.

 

Rousseau McClellan Montessori School 91 Visit:

  • Impressed with the whole-to-part learning approach
  • Student learning plans are shared with families weekly and monthly
  • Evidence that teachers plan collaboratively
  • Teachers shared that they appreciated the additional professional learning days afforded to them this school year
  • Evidence that teachers have been unpacking our new state standards and aligned them to their curricula
  • Students are clearly taking the lead on learning, presenting their ideas and applying learning
  • Lots of volunteers in the hallways reading with students
  • Individualized learning is a theme throughout the building
  • Very pleased with the probing questions from teachers to challenge the thinking of our students
  • The multi-age classroom setting is embraced and executed well

 

James W. Riley School 43 Visit:

  • Very grateful to have Butler University as a strong partner; they have manicured the grounds with amazing landscaping
  • Teachers are collaborating in professional learning communities “PLCs” in fourth grade
  • Great to see new and veteran teachers working together 
  • Teachers are analyzing data to inform instruction and remediation efforts 
  • Results from assessments are shared with students to build ownership
  • Special education coach is here modeling for others; the inclusion model for special education is a bright spot
  • Very impressed with the special education staff; can’t tell the teachers from the assistants, everyone owns the work
  • Evidence of guided reading and best practices for literacy block 
  • Many volunteers as well; fortunate to have very engaged faith-based partners
  • School is in the transformation process with opportunities and lots of promise (new principal); will re-visit the school soon to see continued improvement