As a Title One, English Language Learner (ELL) magnet school, we have always been challenged to raise the expectations for our students in an effort to decrease the achievement gap. Our staff accepted the challenge enthusiastically as we implemented a newly aligned English Language Arts curriculum to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that had been written solely by a team of in-district teachers. The new curriculum incorporated all of the Guiding Principles that are the trade mark of the CCSS. The teachers in the building were excited to teach again, and the students were engaged.
We have been impressed with the progress that our students made, and with the staffs’ ability to embrace change. As time progressed, we continued to reflect on our practice. We formed a Professional Learning Community (PLC) encompassing the third grade teaching team, the reading teachers, and the Data Specialist. Our thinking began to shift. This question framed our discussions: How can we make the lessons, and ultimately the learning, more meaningful to our students? The answer: Effective Collaboration.
We use a collaboration model that has been successful in our school. This collaboration has transformed our literacy instruction. Through effective collaboration, we now scaffold complex text so all readers can share the same reading experience.