To Promote Student Learning
Strategies for promoting collaboration between stakeholders involved in special education:
Teacher collaborations - The collaborative relationships that are to be found and developed
in the school are like the tree of education. There are as many different branches as there
are teachers. There are as many different roots as there are supporting staff. The
administrative staff serves as the trunk; they hold the framework of the tree together. The
tree taken as a whole then gives a much greater support to the student and his or her
educational growth than any one teacher/branch alone could do.
Classroom Management is like the leafing out of the tree of education. There are many
different styles of management. Some work better with various subjects, ages of students,
and spectrum of exceptionality included in the classroom. Some leaves are broad and
have many uses. Some are narrow but intricately interlaced. Just so, classroom
management is a key to student learning.
Student and Family relationship and collaboration are of course like the other little
hatchlings which are growing and learning and the rest of the flock scattered throughout
the tree or even forest.
Another aspect of classroom management are the rules and forms of discipline and corrective action that that will be used. Lesson plans that have alternate plans as well as adjustments for the different learning styles and abilities of the students are a key aspect of classroom management. Teachers should be organized and and be familiar with district and school expectations, as well as what is going on in the school community. Keeping in contact with parents is also part of the management process.
Student learning can be promoted by the effective collaboration of teachers. According to Burden (2013) collaboration can be summarized in the following statements:
- To meet the needs of students:
- Consult peers, principals, counselors about students with misbehavior problems.
- Discussion of best practices, information from data.
- To get ideas and support.
- To improve professional competence by engaging in professional development activities.
- Teachers learn how to apply new instructional techniques, check for student understanding, and integrate technology into instruction, etc.
- Mentoring, co-teaching, support groups.
- To provide leadership when addressing a school improvement issue.
- To become agents for change and improvement, serve on task forces.
- To be better advocates for students.
Burden, P.R., & Byrd, D.M., (2013). Methods for effective teaching: Meeting the needs of all students (6th ed). Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.
School collaborative relationships develop when schools agree to cooperate on new levels and across borders that previous traditions and technical equipment had established.
- Collaborative relationships between schools allow charter schools to reach students that might otherwise have been lost. In 2012 in Chicago the Perspective Charter schools have had a 99% acceptance of their students into colleges and universities. (90% of these same students came from homes under the poverty level of income.) ("Collaboration Customer Success", 2012).
- Collaborative relationships between schools also reach out to students in areas and circumstances that hinder their success in traditional school programs. Many western states have online schools to enroll students who live on far flung ranches and cannot attend a local school.
- Collaborative relationships between schools have served to broaden a peer group in order to challenge critical thinking and higher levels of analysis on the part of students. This in turn leads to observable increases in levels of student growth.
- One best practice that many schools are sharing is a Harkness table/philosophy/discussion. It is a style of group discussion that has been proven to improve students’ critical thinking and test scores.
- Another best practice is the inclusion of advanced tech equipment to allow students to access and collaborate with a spectrum of other settings such as shared lessons with students in other countries or sponsorship of a classroom by a particular university.
Collaboration customer success. (2012). Retrieved from http://http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/unified-communications/hosted-collaboration-solution-hcs/case_study_c36-727329.pdf
- School-led collaborations often arise as an effort to create a team approach to learning. The team approach views all aspects of a student’s life as a part of the learning process. With this view, collaboration between the school and the community comes naturally. Joint projects and events designed to bring a variety of groups together in support of the student will improve the life and outlook of all involved.
- Community-driven collaborations often arise in the wake of a tragedy. The catalyst of a tragic event can be the driving force to create lasting change and better the outlook for all involved. Such collaborations often are sponsored by community athletic organization, churches, service or philanthropic clubs, ethnic organizations, local businesses, health facilities, or media organizations. When these groups work with the school to better the lives and outlooks in a community, student learning is improved.
- School/community collaborative relationships must be carefully thought out and systematically planned so that they can incorporate the strengths of all parties.
- School/community collaborative relationships must be built on work relationships not just on personal connections. This is necessary to avoid the “drama” pitfall that comes when personal connections deteriorate.
Increase Engagement and Active Participation
Studies of cooperative-learning strategies regularly report an increase in engagement and active participation in the learning process, which in turn increase student motivation, time on task, and retention times and improve cognitive reasoning and the ability to see from others' perspectives.
Some teachers feel uncomfortable with cooperative learning because it requires that they assume more of a facilitative role than a direct instructional one. And students occasionally complain about not being able to work with friends or being unfairly assessed because one student in the pair or group doesn't do his or her share.
What is good about cooperative learning (student relationships)
- self-awareness: recognizing feelings and identifying interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
- self-management: managing feelings and behavior to control impulses and persevere in achieving important personal and academic goals.
- social awareness: understanding the needs and feelings of others, while appreciating similarities and differences among individuals and groups.
- relationship skills: maintaining positive relationships with others.
- responsible decision making: making good choices and contributing to one's school, one's community, and the world.
LETTER TO PARENTS
March 10, 2014
Parent and Students:
It is hard to believe August started this week. In my school that means teacher placement letters went out to families this week. I know some family are busy back to school shopping for supplies. Although my school sends home a letter to inform the families of teacher assignments, I believe the true partnership is with me. It puts me at ease to have families of my 6th, Social Studies Self -contained class learn more about the teacher. I’m excited about the opportunity to get to know you, as well, and I’m looking forward to a happy and productive school year.
This year we will focus on the following curriculum areas:
United States History
I believe for this to be the best school year a student can have in my class that a partnership must be formed between the family and myself. My classroom and time is always available for parent and students throughout the school year. There are four area that I believe will help us have a successful school year.
- Family classroom volunteers: I believe it is important for children with special needs to understand that they have support and help. I think parent volunteering supports learning.
- Family school communication: Ready to Learn Middle School believes in clearing communicating with parents and students. Our IEP focuses on the student and what best for the student. In order for us to achieve the results of the IEP the lines of communication must be open for everybody to express their views and opinions.
- Family school partnerships: Parental involvement enhances academic performance. The more intensely the parent is involved, the greater chance of academic success. Parental involvement leads to better classroom behavior.
- Community connections for families: Our school believes in connecting our families with community resources to help when there is a need or concern. We have a full time volunteer community liaison to direct parents to all available resources both local and national.
There will be a monthly newsletter detailing what is going on in your child’s classroom. What topics are coming up and what topics are being discussed. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me by email or phone. I also welcome appointments to meet me in person. You can contact me at 706-888-0000 or Leronehb@yahoo.com.
Let’s work together to make this the best year ever!