It's 8:00 AM the bell rings, students are still placing backpacks in their cubbies, the teacher is still making copies for the morning assignment, and no one is listening to the announcements being made. Does this sound familiar? This is a typical morning in most schools in West Virginia.
We plan to break this cycle of inefficiency with an emphasis on bell to bell instruction. How? With advanced planning and a school-wide classroom management system, each teacher and student will know the expectations and will be given the support needed to meet these lofty expectations.
We have all heard the phrase - time is money - well in school time is learning. The more efficient teachers are with instructional time the more effective students will learn. Teachers can be trained and supported throughout the summers to establish curriculum for the entire school year. This model eliminates scenarios where teachers are running to the copy room during class to print a worksheet just to keep the students busy until lunch. Each assignment will be thought through and each project carefully planned ahead of time. The teachers will know what they will be doing well in advance and will have more time to spend on assessing the students to stay apprised of their progress and make appropriate adjustments along the way.
Achieving greater classroom efficiency requires more than just advanced curriculum planning by teachers as many inefficiencies arise from the process of students acclimating to different class rules and expectations for different instructors. In many cases, such variation in class rules and expectations causes anxiety and worry that detracts from the learning experience. Utilizing standardized class rules, similar curricular design, and holding expectations constant throughout the school eliminates a lot of the inefficiency in the learning process. Classrooms will even be set up in a similar manner so that students will know where to get materials as needed.
Will this limit the freedom a teacher has in their classroom? No, while this approach requires a higher degree of coordination on basic curriculum choices, within this general structure a teacher is actually enabled to move past just trying to keep up with the day to day and is able to focus on what else can be done to achieve student success. This heightened efficiency and awareness of student needs will be the expectation at West Virginia Academy.