Dr. David Ryan, Superintendent
30 Linden Street
Exeter, NH 03833
For Immediate Release
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Media Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
SAU 16 Holds Regional Competency Based Education Training for Teachers and Administrators
Representatives from SAU 16, Oyster River, Raymond, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newmarket and SAU 44 Attend Workshop Led by 2Revolutions
EXETER — Educators from around the New Hampshire seacoast gathered in Exeter this week to participate in a three-day summer institute on furthering student-centered learning structures, culture and practices within their schools.
Student-centered learning is a component of competency based education — an instruction model focused on providing a customized educational experience for all students.
On July 9-11, 194 teachers and administrators from SAU 16, Oyster River, Portsmouth, Raymond, Hampton, Newmarket and SAU 44 gathered at Exeter High School for inspiration, learning and to develop “problems of practice” (an area to work on and improve) for the upcoming school year.
“As we head into the next school year, we want educators in each school to identify areas where they can better empower students in their education,” Assistant Superintendent Christopher Andriski said. “Although this may look different at each school, we’re all working toward the common goal of improving services to students.”
2Revolutions — an education design lab that works with schools to implement new learning models — designed and led the learning institute.
“What we’re trying to do here is give everyone in the room the tools and resources they need to embody competency based education,” 2Revolutions Founder/Partner Adam Rubin said. “Our goal is to help educators build their capacity on the ground and create a system that is sustainable as they continue with this work for years to come.”
During breakout sessions on Thursday, educators got to work developing their problems of practice, outlining areas where their districts could support their peers in deepening their practice, as well as areas for leadership to engage stakeholders more strategically through improved internal and external communication.
Educators from East Kingston — kindergarten teacher Marne Dohrmann, fifth grade teacher Carol Miller and Principal Steve Tullar — will work on establishing a positive school culture for everyone in the building and community. This means delving into areas like communication, flexible classroom and outdoor spaces, and new curriculum requirements to see what needs to be modified.
“East Kingston is a really good school, but part of why we’re a good school is because there’s constant motion,” Principal Tullar said. “We want to make sure our foundation is solid. And this isn’t about looking at discipline issues or students misbehaving in the hallways, it’s about who we are as a school and how do we work together to achieve our goals.”
At the middle school level, educators centered their problem of practice around better communicating the SAU 16 vision of district graduates to all stakeholders.
Small groups of teachers and administrators worked together to identify solutions for different areas within the school they noted as “barriers.” These included traditions within the school (like the cafeteria dictating class schedule), the transition to competency based education and the social emotional learning component within instruction practices.
Moving forward, Principal Patty Wons plans to create a competency based education committee that will focus solely on working to help students, faculty and staff overcome these barriers.
“Not everybody understands the why behind our vision of the graduate and the work we’re doing to achieve that, so this school year we’re really going to focus on better communicating our methods and reasoning,” Principal Wons said. “We recognize there’s work involved in doing this, but we’re excited to move forward.”
At Exeter High School, the group at the institute designated their problem of practice around improving their feedback surveys — from administrators to teachers and vice versa, along with students to teachers.
“We want to make sure that the way administrators, faculty and students are giving and receiving feedback is done so in a way that is positive for everyone involved,” Principal Michael Monahan said. “Through this institute, we’ve been putting together some excellent resources and developing some great ideas that we can implement.”