South Carolina’s Battery Creek High School has adopted a teacher professional development program from Pearson, aimed at improving student achievement through teacher learning communities. Pearson is underwriting the cost of the program for one year to showcase its potential at Battery Creek.
Pearson Learning Teams is an evidence-based collaborative model that brings together teachers to learn from each other, refine their skills and regularly assess the effectiveness of their teaching strategies in producing the desired student outcome. The program is based on a five-year comparison study that included 15 Title I schools serving 14,000 mostly low-achieving, limited English proficient students. Achievement in the schools using teacher learning teams rose by 41 percent overall—and a whopping 58 percent for Hispanic students—relative to a comparable group of schools that used other methods.
And according to a recent study in the Elementary School Journal, major gains in student achievement can be made when schools use teacher learning teams to work collaboratively and follow a structured protocol—exactly the strategy behind Pearson’s Learning Teams.
Battery Creek High School administrators and teachers participated in a two-day Pearson Learning Teams institute in August, where they received training on the Pearson Learning Teams structured process and protocols. Teacher-facilitators and administrators also practiced the interactive leadership skills they will implement while guiding the work of their fellow teachers in similar courses or grades. At the direction of Principal Edmond Burnes, each workgroup used data to drive decision making to identify student needs and instructional solutions that address those needs.
Pearson advisors will continue to work with administrators to provide support and assistance to teachers throughout the school year.
“Our teacher workgroups have become professional learning communities. Data discussions have taken place, and student needs in ten core subject areas have been identified,” said Edmond Burnes. “It is our belief that this wonderful collaborative effort of preparing to meet the needs of students will foster improvement in student achievement.”
Almost 4,000 teachers at 175 schools across the US are using Pearson Learning Teams to improve instruction and student achievement. For example, in a spontaneous expression of support, more than 40 teachers in one large public school district wrote to their superintendent, saying that Pearson Learning Teams is the best professional development they’ve ever had and asked that the programs be continued despite a severe budget crisis.