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RANGELY I The four-day school week will provide teachers with plenty of professional development focused on helping teachers become better at their craft. Twelve weeks of school, 12 weeks of instruction, 12 weeks of walk throughs and evaluations on the four-day school week reveal the following key observations, findings and data.
Collaboration with colleagues is essential in other professions. Law firms require attorneys to meet on a weekly basis to review issues and strategies in their cases. Architects, engineers and construction managers meet weekly to track progress and solve problems as a building takes shape. Educators are professionals and they, too, benefit from the insight, expertise and collective effort of a team of colleagues. Collaboration is not an add-on; it is an essential element of professional practice.
Research shows teachers in high-achieving districts spend more time on collaboration. The non-teaching time in these districts includes observing colleagues teaching, analyzing student learning and engaging in lesson study and action research. RE-4 understands that a teacher who is working with a colleague to perfect a lesson or review examples of student work is engaged in highly productive activities that can have a positive impact upon student achievement.
Parents, teachers and students have made positive comments on how well they like the four-day school week. Surveys will be disseminated by February 2011 to give an accurate analysis of thoughts and opinions of the four-day school week.
Our current track record is improving — the chart above illustrates a “Kodak moment” of data after 12 weeks.
“We will aggressively and continuously seek ways to assist our educators by providing time for them to work together to address the challenges they face each day in the classroom.”
Professional time is a precious resource. In light of the strong correlation between meaningful collaboration and improved student achievement, it would be disingenuous for anyone to argue that they want better results but are unwilling to provide this important cost-neutral resource to achieve our goals of high growth and achievement. The Rangely School Board revealed their priorities by approving the recommendation of the four-day school week. Of course, collaboration must be done right. We will continue to be clear on what good collaboration looks like and be disciplined in keeping to those precepts.
— Dr. Barry Williams, RE-4 superintendent