Friday, February 10, 2006
Steamboat Springs Students think and learn in different ways, so they sometimes need to be taught in different ways to succeed, district teachers learned Friday during an in-service work day.
While students took the day off, teachers from all four district schools brainstormed and discussed teaching methods taught by the Schools Attuned Program, a methodology developed by University of North Carolina professor Mel Levine.
In a letter sent to parents last week, high school Principal Mike Knezevich said the program "provides a straightforward, practical system for recognizing variations in the way children learn and uses their strengths to help them become more successful students."
Knezevich said students with excellent memories might do well in history class, but if they have difficulty with hand-eye coordination, they will struggle in physical education. The Schools Attuned Program, he said, provides guidelines for helping students bridge those gaps by using their strengths and identifying and improving their weaknesses.
Area teachers expressed enthusiasm for the program Friday.
"It made me ask: 'What am I asking my students to do, and what are my expectations?'" said Cindy Gay, a biology teacher at the high school. "If students are not successful, why not? And what am I going to do about it?"
Knezevich said implementation of the program's ideals is one of three long-term goals for the high school. The school also hopes to develop a curriculum based on an "understanding by design" model -- a framework for instruction that leads students to deeper understanding of content, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The high school aims to foster professional learning communities among teachers, encouraging collaborative work and interaction in all areas of instruction.
Many high school teachers have received previous training and instruction in the Schools Attuned methodology. Kneze--vich said Friday's workshop was intended as an introduction to the program for teachers in other local schools and as a step in spreading the program throughout the district.
Friday also was a day for teachers and administrators to meet with their colleagues, talk about work and socialize.
"We don't have enough chances to come together as a district," Steamboat Springs Middle School Principal Tim Bishop said. "This has been a really nice opportunity."
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