30 Minutes of Daily Flex Time:
8:40 am to 9:10 am (30 minutes) from Monday to Friday
WHAT DISTRICT AND SCHOOL LEADERS CAN DO to improve education agency in their professional learning systems
- Make all professional learning decisions only in serious consultation with teachers and principals. Ensure at least 50% teacher representation on school and district teams that are responsible for every stage of decision making, from planning and data analysis to design, implementation, and evaluation.
- Rethink organization of the school day so that educators have time to meet regularly to collaborate with colleagues to im rove teaching and learning.
- Involve and support teachers in analyzing data and identifying teaching and learning challenges.
- Establish learning communities where educators solve problems of practice and share res onsibility for colleague and student success.
- Give teachers choices regarding their professional earning, including with whom they work and where they focus their learning.
- Ensure that professional learning is for the purpose of continuous growth, not evaluation.
- Resist the temptation to scale up or mandate a particular form of professional learning without thoroughly examining the context in which it will be implemented. Understand that learners must want to improve their practice and see how the learning opportunity will help them do so.
“Flex time”, would include time for:
- 1. Tutorial time for all We currently offer 25 minute tutorials. We would like to replace these 25 minute tutorials with 30 minute “Flex Blocks” to improve effectiveness for all students and teachers. We would offer small group tutorials in classrooms as well as larger group tutorial sessions in the cafeteria. These sessions would involve both Peer Tutors and teachers. These can be small group tutorials or large groups. Examples as follows:
- Math Mondays
- Writers Workshops (Tuesdays)
- Science Struggles? (Wednesdays)
- Finishing Projects, from essays to Home Ec. to Tech Ed
- Enhancing English Conversations (Fridays)- for ELL students
- Study Teams would be formally set up so we have students helping students under the direction of teachers and staff. These groups can function off timetable and without help but all students would be organized into groups. All students would be asked to work in groups of 3. Employers today are asking us to produce students that can work in teams, problem solve and communicate, this would be one step towards producing 21st Century Learners.
- Peer Tutoring/Mentoring Courses: Increasing the number of students in formalized peer tutoring blocks woutd greatly increase the block count for the school and see more staffing available. At present, Prince of Wales has the lowest block count in the V.S.B. Peer Tutors would be incorporated into Flex time.
- Project Based Learning could be offered and students could work on projects during flex time and have teachers on hand to offer help as needed. Changing the shape of the day may allow more staff time and structure to explore PBL.
- “Long Blocks”: Long blocks can be called as needed by staff to change the shape of a teaching day. Long blocks combine two blocks (Flex block and first class, which rotates over the course of the year) to allow teachers to have longer, more flexible classes periodically. These long blocks could incorporate field trips, labs, speakers or longer assessments. We offered some long blocks this year and they were well received and well utilized by staff.
- Professional Development: This time would be coordinated with Pro-D Committee work to avoid the “pop in, pop off and pop out” effect of Pro D work. Themes and ideas targeted in Pro D could be further explored. For example, our focus for next year is on increasing integration of aboriginal perspectives and emotional competency across the curriculum. This work- and the time to do it – would increase the ability of the staff to deliver instruction in these areas and raise the staff capacity.
- Inquiry teams would be set up so teachers can work as teams on implementing the new curriculum, exploring new and engaging learning resources, incorporating technology into instruction, collaborating on ways to better meet the needs of a diverse group of learners and building cultures of thinking, inquiry, collaboration with both staff and students.
- Modeling: Students learn by watching what we do more than by hearing what we say. When students see teachers learning professionally, collaborating effectively, engaging in inquiry, embracing growth, supporting students in diverse ways, helping students help students, this will have a profound impact on student learning and long term student success.
- Mentorship: Experienced teachers who are interested in mentoring new teachers can use some of this time to receive mentorship training and to facilitate mentorship sessions with newer staff members.
- Prep Time: Teachers would take prep time when Flex Time falls during their first block prep (this would rotate during the year), so that all staff get the contractual 14% prep time by years end.
We would like to run Flex Time as a two year pilot project to see what impact it has on our school culture, on student learning and success, and on teacher effectiveness and well-being. We would be happy to gather anecdotal data on this from staff, students and parents and report back to the board with our findings.
The Flex Time model has been approved by the PW Staff Committee and is supported by the PW Professional Development Committee who will be active partners in supporting the collaborative inquiry, mentorship and professional development parts of the program.
The Flex Time model is also fully endorsed by the PW PAC. Parents also like to have some flexibility to occasionally have their students
get some extra sleep during this time at their discretion (see current research on the devastating effects of sleep depravation).
This model was fully supported by our Staff Committee and developed by a collaborative group of parents, students, teachers and school administration.