This year, the Iowa State Board of Education recognized Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District by honoring the school with the Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award for their accomplishments in reducing the achievement gap in their school. In an online post from the Iowa Department of Education, Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School Principal Jason Klingensmith answered questions and revealed some of the work the school has been doing that has led to their success. In response to the question, What, specifically, is your school doing to push all-student advancement?, Mr. Klingensmith referenced their strong professional learning communities (PLCs) and implementation of Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW). According to Mr. Klingensmith:
We believe strongly at Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School that all students can achieve no matter their backgrounds or needs. Within our collaborative communities of professionals (PLC’s), where we work to improve our pedagogy, it is our belief that successfully implementing and embedding the AIW Framework (Authentic Intellectual Work) into our teaching and learning has had a broad positive impact on student achievement. The focus on Conceptual Understanding, High Order Thinking and Substantive Conversations changes the teacher’s approach to planning and instruction and changes students’ perspective that learning means conceptual understanding over memorization or mimicking a procedure. The continual work our teachers do within their Professional Learning Communities is invaluable to the success of our students.
The AIW Institute is proud to work with Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School and would like to congratulate them on their award and, more importantly, successfully reducing the learning gap for their students. Congratulations!