Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

School board discusses teacher professional development Monday

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jun 21, 2017
Photo by: Nicole Major/Ledger photos Lisa Greenig addresses the Fairfield school board during its regular meeting Monday night about Authentic Intellectual Work.

Fairfield Community School Board members received an update Monday night about teacher professional development about the Authentic Intellectual Work process that the school has been using since 2009.

According to the AIW website, its mission is to fundamentally transform the quality of student learning through teacher professional development by using the AIW framework to foster deep reflective practice. The AIW framework is focused on academic instruction, student construction of knowledge, conceptual understanding, and elaborated communication to answer questions resembling the complex intellectual challenges of work, civic participation, and managing personal affairs in the contemporary world.

AIW utilizes an action plan with a set of rubrics that teachers, administrators and students would need to continually meet to see gains.

The district began the five-phase AIW pilot program in 2009, and it went live in 2010.

Although the AIW process had the potential of being fully implemented within three years, district curriculum director Marci Dunlap said, “Full implementation is contingent upon how long the schools spend in each phase.”

“We spent so much extra time on building fluency,” Dunlap said, “we haven’t been working down and ensuring that it’s in practice.”

However, Dunlap discussed the steps necessary to make sure that all teachers are AIW trained.

Dunlap said the current focus would be bringing the middle school and high school up to speed.

“It’s time for [FHS principal] Brian [Stone] and me to press the improvement together,” Dunlap said during an interview today. “We will write it into the action plan, but no one entity writes an action plan; it’s a collaborative endeavor. It takes a village.”

Dunlap said the school would continue to follow the plan, but only move teachers from training mode into professional habits of practice.

“We want it to be the way we do business at FHS,” she said. “We will be monitoring and adjusting our plan to ensure that it moves into professional habits of practice.”

Some board members expressed concerns about how long the program has taken to come to scale.

Paul Miller asked why there hadn’t been more progress since 2009.

“We’re in eight years here,” he said.

Dunlap said the timeframe on the AIW website was theoretical, but that the district had experienced administrative turnover in the last few years that stifled the program’s growth.

Dunlap asked the board members what they expected to see in student growth from the program.

Jennifer Anderson asked Dunlap how she measured student growth.

Joe Carr said he wanted to know who would be accountable for the program’s outcomes.

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