I miss the days when the same group of core teachers taught the same group of students. These students would rotate between the core teachers’ classrooms. Once a day, the teachers would meet to discuss curriculum and interdisciplinary lesson design, but more importantly, these educators would have healthy conversations about their group of learners. Since they all instructed the same students, it was easy to exchange ideas, successes, and opportunities to improve student success.
With large school populations, diverse course options, and limited human resources, many schools have restructured this best practice to meet current campus conditions. Although educators and learners cannot be as systematically connected as once before, with the use of technology however, we can create a similar collaborative atmosphere…virtually.
As part of the Freshman Transition Program at our high school, we have invited all freshman educators to participate in the #VirtualTeam concept. It is outlined here: Fish Net Protocol 14- 15. The protocol (or virtual team) is triggered by excessive behavior, excessive absences, or extremely low grades at progress report. One of the learner’s teachers initiates the process and communication continues via an e-mail thread. We started Virtual Teaming about five weeks ago. In order to introduce the protocol, I employed the human touch and visited every freshman professional learning community to answers questions and offer my support. I wanted to personally emphasis that any team of teachers with administrative support (the freshman assistant principal and the freshman counselors) can improve any student situation. Now, every freshman learner on our campus has an individual team of teachers and administrators for additional support when needed.
Although it’s only been a short period of time since its introduction to our campus, we have seen strong indicators of future success, including a reduction discipline referrals (supported by a restorative mindset), a reduction in course failures, and increased concern for learners missing 3 or more days without campus knowledge. I continue to look forward to sharing concrete information over the next few months.