As teachers in the Jackson County School System returned to work after the holiday break, many found themselves spending their first day away from their home school.
The teachers gathered by grade or subject at the schools throughout the county to work on power standards guided by the Alabama Course of Study.
According to A. J. Buckner, curriculum and instruction director, the long range goal is for each class to have a one pager with the year-long power standards and the additional nine weeks standards by the end of summer 2021. Teachers began this project by working independently before joining together with others in their subject area.
The teachers selected standards which are essential to their class and must be mastered by all students to earn a passing grade for the course. Teachers worked on the standards for each nine weeks of their class during the first semester. The January meeting was an opportunity for the educators to share and compare their lists.
The teachers worked collaboratively to determine which standards are the most critical at each grade level. This ensures that teachers are on the same page and feel more at ease about which standards need the most focus.
It is hoped that this will help reduce teacher stress and reduce unrealistic or inconsistent expectations put on students. Every educator knows that there is never enough time to teach everything.
English teachers met at North Jackson High School. Social Studies teachers were at Skyline. Math teachers were at North Sand Mountain and science instructors met at Dutton. These were the teachers in grades sixth through high school. Each session had designated leaders to help met the goal set for that day’s meeting.
Elementary teachers were also spread throughout the county. Kindergarten teachers were at Bridgeport Elementary and first grade teacher at Macedonia. Second grade teachers met at Stevenson Elementary while third grade teachers were at Flat Rock. Those who teach fourth and fifth grades gathered at Stevenson Middle School. The k-5 teachers of math met at Woodville and all PE instructors were at Rosalie.
Each grade and core subject selects a representative to meet at the Jackson County Board of Education Central Office in February. The purpose of this meeting will be to identify any gaps, weaknesses, or neglected items and to vertically align the standards. The power standards are those critical for student success.
As the teachers prioritize the standards they are able to identify the important prerequisite skills students need before tackling current grade level or course standards. They can then choose high quality resources to support their students’ learning. This is an opportunity for teachers to do in depth instruction with their subject matter.