The AIW coaches worked with Kelliher to create Teacher Teams that examined evidence of instruction, teacher tasks, and student learning to determine the levels of Construction of Knowledge, Disciplined Inquiry, and Value Beyond School. As a result, Tim has recognized changes in practice: “Teaching has greatly improved in ways that visibly demonstrates relevance, more sustained classroom discussions, higher-order thinking, and enhanced engagement on the part of our students.”Tim Lutz is the Superintendent of the Kelliher Public School in Minnesota. Since the 2013-2014 school year, Kelliher has worked with the AIW Institute to strengthen the curricula, improve instruction, and enhance student learning in their school. “We hoped that, through professional development and professional learning communities, we could support teachers in developing more rigor, greater real-world relevance, and higher-order thinking/questioning demands,” Tim said.
While adapting practice, when necessary, is a primary goal in implementing AIW, the ultimate goal is to enhance student learning; Tim claimed that district test scores have already increased, especially in reading.
Implementing AIW in a school is not adding an additional initiative. Rather, Teacher Teams in Kelliher have utilized the AIW framework to strengthen the existing professional development activities, teacher evaluation processes, and improvement efforts for a Focus School.
In addition, in doing this work, the level of “collegiality and trust” among the staff has increased, “including the level of trust and support that teachers perceive from administration,” Tim said. This is not surprising: schools that seek to enhance school climate do so by focusing on the work to be done to support teachers and their practice.
Moving forward, Tim is looking to expand the use of AIW in his district and beyond: “We hope to continue utilizing AIW to support and reinforce the work of current and future teachers in our district. We also hope to expand the network of area schools participating in AIW in order to improve opportunities for area-wide professional development and collaboration.”