One of the silver linings teachers reported coming from the pandemic was forming a deeper connection with colleagues. Teachers came together virtually to share tips, plan lessons, relate challenges, and just check in. Now that we are back in-person, it is important to continue this collaboration, but the same questions that existed pre-pandemic still remains: How do teacher teams use their time to build their collective expertise in the practices that matter most for improving student achievement and how do we maximize the chances that a fine professional development experience translates into practice?
All the right factors were in place at Fletcher Maynard Academy in Cambridge, MA last year, and this month’s video interview with school coaches Kelly Rowan and Patricia Duggan tells the story. Fletcher Maynard Academy is a PK-5 public school located in Cambridge, MA, serving 276 students, including 88% students of color and 77% students with high needs (students with disabilities, English language learners, and students from low-income households). The diversity of students’ learning needs is met with a multi-tiered system of support for both academic and social learning.
Guided by RBT Consultant Reena Freedman, the course instructor, and led by then Principal Maisha Rounds and the leadership team, this school achieved stunning results in student gains in both math and literacy by focusing on deep collaboration of teams in a new way.