Faculty Collaboration – DeSales has created collaboration space for teachers

Anastasia Quirk

Tour many school campuses and you will see that the school of today is not like any school you may remember. From technology-focused classrooms to the addition of online learning, education has made a dramatic change even in the last five years. However, there is one change that is still on the horizon for many area schools that is already in place at DeSales High School — formalized teacher collaboration.

We embrace technology as a tool for learning, communicating and collaborating; however, we know that face-to-face collaboration is just as valuable.

Recently, DeSales realized that teachers needed a private, permanent place to meet for small and large groups. Throughout the week, faculty often met in a classroom and had to be sure their whiteboard notes were erased before students returned. The current situation wasn’t working, so the team brainstormed a solution that would allow a place for teachers to call home. From this session, the Teacher Collaboration Center was born.

Through the generosity of many, the school was able to renovate a space for a Teacher Collaboration Center to mirror, in many ways, their recently opened Student STEM Center.

As a school focused on student-centered learning, we prioritize the opportunity to facilitate conversations on how we can best meet the needs of our students individually and as a group.

Because of our student body size, we have the flexibility to provide the space and resources necessary to ensure that these conversations happen regularly.

The new space is equipped with movable collaboration tables and chairs, wall-to-wall whiteboards, flipcharts, charging stations and all of the supplies you might need for brainstorming and collaborating. This space allows teachers across various Professional Learning Communities to share information that will enhance student learning.

DeSales faculty in each department and grade level share a common planning period each day. This allows members of the faculty to meet with their peers across the grade levels and within the same grade.

Throughout the day, the faculty use their time together to share strategies for instruction, intervention and classroom management. They work together to bring students to a successful understanding of skills and ways to continuously move them forward.

In an age when individualized education is a priority, meeting every student where he is, understanding what that looks like, and developing a plan to move him forward can be a challenge if a teacher is doing this alone; however, when a team of teachers comes together bringing all of their resources, knowledge of that student’s strengths and challenges, and a desire for the student’s success, great things happen.

Anastasia Quirk is principal of DeSales High School.

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