A Teacher-Led School Changes the Norms

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This article is more than 9 years old.

In some cases, it might take a real emergency to try something radically new.

Stephen Sawchuk's article in EdWeek explores how a Detroit middle school has transitioned to a teacher-led school, step by step.

At Palmer Park Preparatory Academy, teachers are gradually assuming administrative duties to become the city’s first teacher-led school. An extended day, part of the district’s reform policy, gives the staff time every afternoon to compare teaching strategies. And finally, a new, pilot schedule for 7th and 8th graders lets teachers regroup the middle school students in different English/language arts and math classes frequently, based on the students’ performance and how quickly they are learning new material.

One of the biggest changes is rejiggering schedules to allow for more individualized instruction as well as time for teacher planning. As with the School of One in New York, this school is using data from each student to create a personalized schedule.

A student who succeeds in algebraic concepts but struggles with geometric ones could be regrouped for those specific lessons, while others whose performance rises steadily could move ahead.

It's a complex model with a lot of variables, but it's noteworthy and worth following up on.