Meredith Nicholson School 96 staff members gather for professional development. For the last several years Meredith Nicholson School 96 has taken a professional development opportunity and expanded it. In the summer of 2008, IUPUI professor Dr. Annela Teemant began actively working with Meredith Nicholson staff. The goal? Develop the school as a district demonstration site for best instructional practices for English Language Learners (ELLs).

From 2008 to 2012, 24 Meredith Nicholson teachers were coached in a program developed by Dr. Teemant and Dr. Serena Tyra, called the “Six Standard for Effective Pedagogy and Evidence-Based Differentiation” In addition, 14 teachers earned their state English as a New Language licensure from IUPUI. Dr. Teemant even taught the courses in the Meredith Nicholson building!

“I feel I am in a very good position to describe the value and impact of Dr. Teemant’s work on our school community,” says Meredith Nicholson principal Mary Siefert. “I believe the strong partnership with IUPUI and Dr. Teemant has played an integral role in improving multicultural teaching at the school level.”

This partnership has truly shown how schools and universities can work together to improve public education. In 2012, Meredith Nicholson was recognized for their 22% gain in student achievement, the highest in the district. This past year, Meredith Nicholson showed additional growth in English Language Arts of 12% overall.

The knowledge, resources, and ideas for improving instruction shared by Dr. Teemant through her instructional coaching protocols and in courses are continually being used by teachers to benefit our students and even IUPUI student teachers placed in the building.

“We are now teaching our students who are learning English as a new language in ways that help them rise to their maximum potential,” says Siefert. “During our 90-minute literacy instruction, small group centers are the norm rather than the exception. As a school administrator, I am now looking for small group instruction, cognitively-challenging conversations with students, and high student engagement in learning as I visit classrooms.”

This school year Meredith Nicholson has partnered with Daniel Webster School 46 to assist them in professional development. The two staffs got together before the school year started to learn with Dr. Teemant. At the end of the year the schools will meet again to debrief on school successes.

Meredith Nicholson and Principal Siefert are grateful for the professional development from Dr. Teemant and hope to continue the partnership and expand professional development opportunities for staff.