REFLECT & PLAN
If you do this in your school or district, reflect.
- Similarities and differences
- Lessons learned
- Additional considerations
If you don't do this in your school or district, create a condensed action plan.
- What do you need to get started?
- What resources do you have in place?
- How could this be implemented?
As a way to conduct research and development at the high school level, smaller cohorts of teachers engage in focused professional development with clearly outlined goals. Instructional leaders are as interested in learning about the process of developing online courses and flexible units as they are in seeing the teachers' final products.
Online Course Design Cohort
Beginning in the summer of 2016, teachers at Ephrata High School had the opportunity to take a fresh look at the curriculum, adjust the delivery for online learning, and create a fully online course on Schoology. The Ephrata Area Education Foundation sponsored this effort.
To help support innovation, teachers were asked to work in teams of two to create one course. Classes were created as if the student were taking it independent of the traditional classroom. Ten teachers worked to develop courses for Algebra III/Trigonometry, Civics, Economics, Financial Literacy, Principles of Physical Science, and Spanish IV. Students already enrolled in face-to-face versions of those classes were given the option to pilot the fully-online versions of the course during the 2016-2017 school year.
Members of the Online Course Design Cohort took a site visit to Downingtown, where they met with Kristie Burke about DASD's flexible scheduling and the development of online and hybrid classes.
The Civics and Financial Literacy courses became part of our Life Ready Graduate certificate program. The Algebra III/Trigonometry, Economics, Principles of Physical Science, and Spanish IV content was used to support the offering of flexible learning environments.
Flexible Learning Cohort
The first Flexible Learning Cohort was organized in Spring of 2017. Over the course of 6 weeks, groups of five teachers at a time receive three days of intense professional development in order to build and implement a project-based unit that will be taught in a flexible learning environment, giving students control over the time and place of their learning.
By the end of the experience, the Flexible Learning Cohort of teachers will be teaching in a flexible learning environment that incorporates innovative and engaging teaching strategies including, but not limited to: 4Cs, formative assessments, problem-based/project-based learning, and effective use of technology tools. Teachers will have the capacity to choose the most effective teaching strategy for each unit and lesson.
1. Teachers will be able to defend classroom instructional practice based on current best practices.
2. Teachers will connect learning to real world issues.
3. Students will have greater control over how they learn and develop their skills.
4. Curriculum will be realigned to 4Cs, PBL, personalized learning, and LRG.
5. Engagement will increase for both students and teachers.
6. Quality of interaction time (teacher/student) will improve.
7. 100% of teachers will implement, reflect upon, and respond to formative assessments.
8. 100% of cohort teachers’ students will participate in problem/project-based classes.
9. Student and teacher satisfaction will improve.
1. Teachers select a unit to redesign.
- Duration of 3-6 weeks of instruction.
- Real world connection to content that lends itself to project-based/problem-based learning.
2. Teachers redesign the unit over the course of 3 full-day professional development sessions.
- Receive direct support, input, and coaching from PD team (administrators + instructional coach).
- Receive direct support, input, and feedback from colleagues in the cohort.
3. Teachers implement the unit.
- Teacher and student pre- and post-assessments serve as data for action research.
- Conversations with teachers and students provide valuable feedback about the experience.