Jefferson Teachers Take Leadership Role In Academics

“Something I had not thought of before we met in the English Language Arts Super PLCs was to provide Lexile scores to the exploratory groups like music, art, FACS and physical education,” said Norm Arthurs, Jefferson Middle School ELA teacher, to the Jefferson Learning Leadership Team. “They are all trying to incorporate ELA into their lessons and said it would be very helpful to have that reading information for each student as they consider articles or books for the students to read.”

“The exploratories don’t always have the information that the classroom teachers have, but they are instructed to infuse literacy into their curriculum,” said Carm Proctor, Jefferson principal. “It’s important to include them in all literacy discussions, so I think this is a great idea.”Arthurs was discussing a recent Jefferson inservice day program, which allowed group discussions across grade levels in ELA and math. The “Super PLCs” were a direct suggestion of the Leadership Academic Team, which meets once a month for one hour to provide additional support and offer resources to teachers for instruction.

Facilitated by Arthurs and math teacher Gina Hess, the volunteer group has a representative from every grade level and subject area. It is a place for sharing successes and challenges, discussing items that are important to Jefferson Middle School’s academic success and developing academic strategies that are shared with the smaller, grade-level and subject-based PLC groups.

“The most beneficial part of the Learning Leadership Team is that it is an avenue to share strategies and challenges across curriculum and grade levels,” said Hess. “It is a great way to keep open communication about the building’s academic needs.”

The group discusses the Common Core Standards, how they have changed instruction and strategies to implement them in the classrooms. The group also reviews the upcoming self-assessments each Jamestown school must complete for the Focus Review, including an in-depth analysis of what is needed at all levels at Jefferson.

“We hope that the team is a place where teachers across grade levels can share ideas, get questions answered and receive resources and strategies to help them in the classroom,” said Hess and Arthurs. “We offer support to the teachers, and our entire focus is on improving instruction throughout the building. The goals of this group are ever-changing based on the needs of the building and the needs of teachers.”

“We acknowledge the fact that teachers and staff are having to work harder with less,” said Proctor. “The Learning Leadership Team is volunteering their time to help communicate the building’s goals to the smaller PLC teams in the building. Our goal is all the same, to enhance instruction to improve learning, and the team is instrumental in achieving that goal.”

Members of the Jefferson Learning Leadership Council are: Arthurs, Hess, Brenda Brown, Jeannine Gambrel, Tambra Hallett, Ruth Kriese, Julie Livengood, Adam Mason, Olivia Nelson, Liz Pardue, Martin Rich, Daniel Rizzuto, Stephanie Wilson, David Hickey – assistant principal, and Proctor.