In addition to effective leadership, the teachers recognize a team of like-minded colleagues, a block schedule, and district innovation for supporting their success.
With a teaming structure in place, administrative tasks become streamlined,
providing more time for in-depth conferences. Curriculum planning can
be conducted with teams instead of individual teachers. Students and parents
benefit from the coordinated communication and monitoring across the students'
courses and activities.
Block Schedules and Project Learning
With teaming well established, Wiley began researching alternatives to the typical 7-period, junior high school schedule. He prepared a proposal to implement a block schedule at O'Leary. His report addresses the history, pros and cons, and conclusions from experienced schools.
The move at O'Leary to block scheduling has afforded teaching teams the opportunity to develop extended units, and to take advantage of interdisciplinary teaching for in-depth student learning.
In the state of Idaho teachers are required to pass the Idaho State Technology Competency Exam certifying knowledge of effective uses of technology for teaching and learning. Twin Falls District set a goal to be the first district with 100% technology-certified teachers. All three teachers have passed this exam.
Access and Use
For the It's a Wild Ride project, the teachers wanted to use photogates, a probeware tool which offers precise measurement of motion. The school had not acquired any, yet Meile and Theresa managed to convince a company to send them two.
In 1998 O'Leary Junior High was chosen by the Albertson Foundation to receive one of the Albertson's High Tech Classrooms complete with 25 computers, Pasco probes, graphing calculators, a SmartBoard, and videoconferencing equipment. When not in use with students during the school day, these classrooms are used for staff development for teachers in the local area.
One full-time integration specialist is available to help teachers integrate technology into the curriculum. This is a new position and is still in the experimental stage.
. . . and who else is @work when the technology is still running?