On August 24, ASA staff participated in a full day of professional development. ASA teachers spent the morning working together and on their own as we began the process of documenting our curriculum. Ms. Bonnie Lindgren, Director of Teaching and Learning, started the day by introducing Atlas -- an online system for writing, researching, and communicating curriculum. She provided background and instructions for using Atlas and the process - Understanding by Design - that guides the development of curriculum planning. All teachers were then given time to work on their unit plans, either individually or in teaching teams. The Leadership Team and a Core Team of experienced teachers offered help and suggestions with the process. This year's goal is for every teacher to create at least two well-developed unit plans for each class they teach by the end of the school year. Teachers embraced the opportunity to discuss, reflect on, and develop unit plans that will guide student learning. The afternoon sessions were differentiated for various groups and included training on: determining and using student reading level, the Elementary School math program, Second Step, and RenWeb, as well as time for groups of teachers who all teach the same subject to continue discussing and sharing their curriculum.
We have received overwhelmingly positive comments and appreciation from teachers for providing them with this dedicated time to learn more about and to work with tools and processes that enhance their teaching and lead to improved student learning.