Graham Junior High School has set four goals for the 2013-14 school year, including providing a common planning period for teachers, a focused intervention period to address students, increased student engagement and the continuation of its Bring Your Own Technology Initiative.
So far, the planned period for teachers has been successful in allowing teachers to strategize instruction for all students, plan activity-based lessons and foster interdependent professional development among staff.
“All of our kids are getting similar instruction based on teachers' styles,” said Joe Gordy, principal of Graham Junior High School.
GJHS is also implementing focused intervention periods scheduled during the school day. They are primarily geared toward students with gaps in learning or conceptual understanding of grade-level materials. These students are then screened to see what additional instruction is needed to fill in those gaps.
Another goal implemented this year is the increase of student engagement through activity-based instruction and technology integration. GJHS faculty is planning outlines and criteria, participating in district and campus leadership planning processes.
“Our teachers are doing a good job at it,” Gordy said. “Teachers are (there) to engage students and give them the opportunity to enjoy learning and to sum up their own learning of things.”
Students participate in activity-based assignments and write procedural text over what they have learned.
“(Teachers are) just giving different ways to make it more engaging and relevant,” Gordy said. “This gives them that relevancy for why they need to know it. We're constantly trying to work on student engagement.”
Through GJHS's fourth goal, students have used their own tables, cell phones and other devices for education in the school's Bring Your Own Technology Initiative.
“It's a way for us to expand the reach of our devices," Gordy said. "The more we teach students about technology, the more they (become) interested in learning with technology, and the better off they are in their future.”