Our highly qualified teachers are the foundation of our academic programs at Van Allen Elementary School. Teachers take part in Professional Development Days and collaboration minimum day professional development activities with district staff. These meetings include grade level peers from other sites, administrators, the district coach and other experts. During the meetings, teachers examine best practices, receive professional development, examine student work and assessment data from curriculum assessments, and plan collaborative projects.
Updated training in GLAD strategies is also a major emphasis for all teachers. Teachers have the opportunity through Professional Learning Community activities to collaborate with peers at Van Allen School or with other teachers in the district at least once per month with sub release, to work during the school day to develop best practices and materials for instruction. Teachers receive regular feedback from the principal on their use of instructional objectives, checks for understanding, and higher order questioning strategies, areas that teachers have received professional development in to improve their instruction. Teachers are also expected to use sentence stems to encourage students to respond in complete sentences.
Staff meeting time is allocated twice a month for sharing of strategies and resources to increase teacher effectiveness. Our staff has been working together to develop questions and tasks for the different Depth of Knowledge levels. Currently, at least one teacher from each grade level has received in depth training in PLC, and we are diligently working towards answering the 4 guiding questions: What do we want students to learn? How will we know if they are learning? How will we respond if they haven’t learned? How will we respond if they have learned?
This year the Instructional Rounds process is teacher led. A team of teachers will be collecting data on our Problem of Practice: At Van Allen School we will develop number sense through collaborative conversations, Number Talks, targeted mathematical tasks, key academic vocabulary, math games, and use of manipulatives. This will be made evident by frequent interaction between students and vocabulary supports such as sentence frames, CCD, graphic organizers, and anchor charts during instruction.