SWCSD hosts Teachers College to talk reading and writing instructional design

This week, staff in a number of our schools engaged in professional development with Columbia University’s Teachers College and hosted university representatives to support improving the instruction we deliver in our classrooms.

Through professional development and year-long studies with some elementary, intermediate, and middle schools in the district, the Columbia University and SWCSD partnership exists to refine and implement cutting-edge, instructional practices that benefit students. In short, representatives instruct teachers on how to implement new approaches to reading and writing. From there, staff immediately implement those concepts in a hands-on and engaging way directly with students.

In one such fourth grade lesson this week, students became the experts and were challenged to read and write in a new way. An emphasis in these lessons is placed on discussions that involve less of the teacher and more of the student. In this model, the teacher reads the book and provides prompts to students – giving them the agency to reflect and respond in their own words.

To be a university partner, prospective schools must meet selective criteria through a heavily screened application process. The South-Western City School District has been a partner district since 2014 and is one of only 200 national and international schools that have this distinction outside of the New York area.

While this type of professional development and university partnership may sounds complex, the desired outcome is simple:

Studying the craft of how we implement lessons helps us better how we meet the needs of students.

In refining these literacy-based instructional strategies, our staff is becoming equipped with the evolving tools necessary to take students to new heights and help them be all that they can be.

The final component to this instructional coaching program within our schools involves Columbia University’s Homegrown Summer Institute. These institutes each summer offer the same quality of support offered throughout the country and even internationally, but tailored precisely for our SWCSD teachers to meet our specific needs, in state-of-the-art methods for teaching reading, writing or phonics, and they energize collaboration across a school and district.

In the event you are a SWCSD educator looking to be a part of the 2022 Summer Homegrown series, contact:

Margaret Towery, Curriculum Coordinator at margaret.towery@swcsd.us
K-12 ELA, Social Studies, Library Services

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