Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2004

District studies teacher collaboration

November 24, 2004

Backed by overwhelming approval from school district parents, a proposal in the Basehor-Linwood School District to allocate more time toward teacher collaboration could be approved as soon as next month and implemented as early as next school year.

The issue of scheduling more time for teachers in like subjects to coordinate areas such as testing, curriculum and lesson plans was a topic of discussion during a Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting Thursday, Nov. 18.

At the work session, three district teachers, who toured area school districts with collaboration times built into the yearly calendar, spoke with administrators about what they learned during their research.

Don Swartz, director of building operations, said the teachers found the collaboration time was a useful tool for the school districts they toured -- Eudora, Lawrence and Kansas City, Kan.

"The consensus was none of the other (districts) said they could survive without it," Swartz said.

A recent survey of school district patrons, in which administrators received approximately 700 responses, indicated 94 percent of parents indicated they would be in favor of "some sort of teacher collaboration time," Swartz said.

The collaboration time would be different for educators from an in-service day or planning period. With collaboration time, the teachers would have guidelines for what mandates a productive use of time, but would not have a "district design of what needs to be done," Swartz said. The teachers would be free to choose what areas to cover during the collaboration periods, he said.

As of now, the school district is considering various scenarios for allocating the planning time to teachers. Those scenarios include one collaboration day per nine weeks or a half-day of school per month, among others.

"Just about every school district has this," Swartz said. "And just about everybody does this differently. There's every imaginable way to do it."

The administration will make an official recommendation for School Board members to consider at the December board meeting.

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