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Early Out Wednesday - 2018

 

Early Out Wednesday

For many years, the Emmett Independent School District has had early-out Wednesdays. Each Wednesday the students are released one hour early to allow teachers the time to work together to ensure that all students are learning at high levels. John Hattie, in his research, has identified Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) as the number one influence on student achievement. “CTE is the collective belief of the staff of the school in their ability to positively affect students. A school staff that believes it can collectively accomplish great things is vital for the health of a school.” visible-learning.org/2018/03/collective-teacher-efficacy-hattie

To facilitate this process, the Emmett Independent School District is providing the time for teachers to work together and the training and support to use this time to improve student achievement effectively. Before school started, all certified staff spent two days in intensive training learning how to analyze student data, develop achievement goals, and how to work together to improve their instructional practice in the classroom. The process is called Professional Learning Communities (PLC), and it is a journey we have been on for the past three years. During early out Wednesdays, teacher teams strive to respond to four critical questions:

  • What do we want our students to learn?
  • How do we know if they have learned it?
  • How will we respond when some students do not learn?
  • How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?

The first question is answered by looking at Idaho State Standards and reviewing our curriculum. Each year, during the first week after school is out, a team of teachers reviews student achievement data, the District’s curriculum, and our pacing guides to determine the changes needed for the coming year. During the early-out Wednesdays, grade level or content level teams may break this down to what should be teaching at this specific time in the school year.

The second question, “How do we know if they have learned it?” Is answered when the teacher teams examine results of recent formative assessments. During the weekly team time, the teachers collectively look at the results to see what concepts the students did learn and which ones they did not learn. Teachers might discuss why one class of students may have done better on the assessment than another class.

Answering the next two questions is where most of the team discussion will take place. For those students that did not learn, teachers discuss different ways to teach to concepts and what interventions are needed to ensure that all students are learning. They also explore what extensions or enhancements of the curriculum teachers need to use for those students who are already proficient on the concepts.

By using our early-out Wednesdays effectively through a structured collaborative process, teachers and the district can respond to the individual needs of all our students. As educators, it will take our collective belief and work to ensure that all students are learning at high levels. Providing teachers with the time to work together is one way we can accomplish this goal.

 

Wayne Rush