Professional development pandemonium reigned right after lunch on Thursday at Cattell Elementary School. Bedlam broke out in the cafeteria, where the school’s staff was halfway through Day One of a two-day timeout for some intense PD as Cattell joins the growing cohort of DMPS schools transitioning to the Schools for Rigor curriculum model.
What was all the hubbub about?
Nothing particularly rigorous, actually. To begin the afternoon session, a rousing – truly rousing – Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament was on the agenda. In less than five frenetic minutes, the staff champion was crowned, amidst much esprit de corps.
Then it was back to the work of learning targets, success criteria and turning teachers from spoon-feeders into facilitators.
Cattell is one of seven schools classified as 2018-2019 Schools for Rigor Treatment Schools. Their training in the new model is provided by district personnel from schools in the first two SFR cohorts, whose training came directly from SFR developer Learning Science International (LSI). Besides Cattell, the other schools in Cohort 3 are Greenwood, Hillis, Jackson, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Street elementary schools and Callanan Middle School, bringing the overall total to 29 districtwide.
Elsewhere, a sampling of what was going on at other schools around the district on the first of two days devoted to staff PD, when teachers become learners, included:
- Hoover/Meredith “partnership in learning” focused on International Baccalaureate collaboration, teaming, inquiry and reflection.
- At Central Campus, all staff, including clerical and custodial, trained in cultural proficiency to better understand and serve students there.
- Downtown School staff worked toward becoming a “Gold Standard” PBL (project-based learning) school.
- Hiatt Middle School concentrated on assignment of “purposeful tasks.”
- Merrill Middle School devoted some time to ensuring more seamless handoffs between regular classroom teachers and substitutes.
- At Garton Elementary School, teachers did exercises in productive struggle planning to help students learn how to problem solve.
- Teachers at Callanan Middle School learned how success criteria can raise expectations for all students.
Different strokes for different staffs. The common denominator today and tomorrow at all 60+ schools is meaningful PD sessions transferable to classrooms and student achievement the rest of the year.