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Teamwork boosts learning in Woodland Public Schools

The Columbian
Published: April 29, 2023, 5:14am

WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools’ learning coaches are using collaboration, data analysis and innovative teaching techniques to help teachers improve student learning lost during the pandemic.

Improving student learning involves not just a student’s time in school but also benefits from close family involvement. Tara Eilts, learning coach at Woodland Middle School, coordinates all student interventions at the school. This includes setting up contracts with families to ensure that the students are managing the elements of their intervention at home while receiving progress updates regularly.

During Learning Walks, groups of teachers will visit their colleagues’ classrooms, observe techniques and strategies in action, then meet afterward to discuss what approaches bring the best results and where improvements could be made.

Fishbowl Coaching, a variation of a Learning Walk, has three or four teachers observe as a learning coach models a new teaching technique or strategy to a class. Following the demonstration, the group meets and discusses what was observed. Afterward, each teacher takes a turn teaching the lesson, with the rest of the group observing so all participating teachers can receive feedback.

Learning coaches monitor students’ progress to gauge their response to interventions, provide co-teaching and reflective conversations, and honor teachers’ individuality and style.