Thursday, October 6, 2016

PTO Learning Walk

Our first PTO Learning Walk of the year was a huge success (except for the fact that I got so carried away with the discussion that I forgot to take any pictures!).

During the PTO meeting, I had a chance to describe our approach to the "Why school?" question and the type of transformative classroom practices that we strive for at WJHS.

My presentation started with the fact that at WJHS we strive to be about more than a test score.  We operate under The Wildcat Way so that our core values drive us, not curricular mandates or standardized tests.

We're also strive to build a school that students run toward rather than away from.  We want students to be excited about coming to school and learning. We believe that visitors to our school should walk away convinced that learning is a joyful act worthy of celebration.

The PTO got to hear a brief explanation of the type of instructional transformation that we work for daily.  Our teachers strive to:

  • Teach like Google exists.  
    • We want to eliminate the tedious pursuit of one right answer and provide students with problems to solve rather than stuff to memorize (and then forget?).
  • Get Real.  
    • We want our students tackling real problems, creating real products, that make a real impact beyond the classroom walls.
  • Get Above the Line.
    • We want to move our students from passive consumers of information to active, creative, problem solvers.
    • We want to move from a completely teacher directed environment to more student choice and voice.

After the presentation, we visited several classrooms to look for evidence of the transformation described above and then we debriefed about what we had witnessed.

Not only was our learning walk fun, our parents learned a tremendous amount about what is happening in our classrooms.  I personally enjoyed learning from the parents and listening to their insightful comments about the things that we observed.

We'll have another PTO Learning Walk in the spring and I hope that you can join us.

Tim Sparacino, Principal