• Exploring New Methods for Professional Learning in Elementary Schools
    We are exploring new ways to imbed professional learning in the the school day.  Two elementary schools are trying different models.  Follow their blogs to read about their progress and successes.
    SPARK is a transformational movement to shift the culture in our school. Our hope is to "spark" a rich culture of learning among our teachers by allowing them to be immersed in the practices of instructional design that meets the needs of our students. Our immersive professional development model will utilize a flexible schedule that will allow three regular classroom teachers to serve as SPARK teachers.  These three teachers will work with grade level bands to plan lessons that integrate content using STEAM tools.  Teachers will bring their students to the SPARK room on a regular rotation where the students and teachers will experience innovative instructional design with the guidance of the SPARK teacher.
    However, this model is not just about getting STEAM tools in the the hands of students; the STEAM tools are simply a starting point.  SPARK is about establishing and ongoing immersive professional learning structure that will have lasting impact. We envision our model as a long-term structure for teacher growth and learning.
    What if professional learning was designed to occur in the general classroom for both teachers and students simultaneously?  When faced with teaching digital learning components, such as programming and robotics, many teachers feel inadequate and lost.  Would real-time professional learning provide teachers with the confidence to tackle integrating emerging technology across content areas?  Would bring in in a consultant during the school day help both teachers and the students design and align curriculum together? 
    This model is a new way of learning for us all.  We think this process of real-time learning across the curriculum. involving teachers and students, can change education. We hope to change the norm and raise the bar for our students by learning together.