Research Triangle Park, NC—On December 2, RTI International hosted its first peer networking event titled High Quality Teaching and Learning. The event featured presentations that touched every facet of educating youth, from sessions focused on effective teaching to promoting growth mindset among parents, students, staff, and the community.
In attendance were 30 curriculum specialists, teachers, researchers, principals, counselors and central office personnel. Angela Quick, Ph.D., head of RTI’s School Services team and senior research education analyst at RTI, opened the day-long event with a reminder to, “Take this time to learn and grow from your peers as they share innovative practices that empower all students to reach their highest potential.”
Throughout the event, presenters shared research-based practices that lead to positive changes in students’ outcomes. Teachers from Tri-county Early College High School presented a session on their school’s new education paradigm, in which students design their own learning experiences with the help of their teachers.
Adam Haigler, a teacher a Tri-County, explained, “The student becomes the self-motivated explorer of knowledge.” There are no bells to signify the changing of classes, and students are not assigned grades at the end of each semester. Instead, Tri-county has moved towards competency-based grading.
At the end of the session, one participant shared her excitement for learning how competency-based grading actually works in practice, “I feel excited about teaching and learning with this approach, education needs to be focused on the kids and what they want at their own pace.”
The event ended with the participants sharing their own experiences and lessons learned with the presenters. In one session, teachers participated in a research study that is exploring models of teacher leadership and compensation. The other session engaged school and district staff in a discussion around strategies for addressing the teacher retention crisis.
High Quality Teaching and Learning was the first of a series of peer networking events. The next event, titled Systemic Solutions, will take place Feb. 7, 2017. The event will focus on identifying and sharing solutions to root causes to deep, persistent challenges in classrooms, schools, and districts. The call for session proposals is now open.
The third and final peer networking event for the 2016-17 school year, Collaborative Leadership, will take place June 27, 2017.