As we have progressed at Pea Ridge High School, we have seen a drastic increase in collaboration. Our administrative team collaborates on many levels. Our teachers are collaborating in PLC’s, not only school-wide but across buildings. Our students and teachers are using advisory, teams, ILT/SLT, clubs, and AGS to collaborate and create positive impact in our community.
Our students are getting more opportunites to collaborate than ever. PBL in all of our classrooms has students working together in an engaging educational manner. Many students spend part of their ILT socializing with other students or in the teacher commons getting individual help from teachers. Our 1 to 1 intitative and GAFE in the High School allows learning to continue for students, and collaboration to always be a possibility. Some teachers and students collaborate at night, on weekends, and even from different locations in the building! Our PRMBA students get to collaborate on a daily basis through iSchool and Career Pathways.
In AGS we have seen students gain respect for other students by completing community service, sharing character education projects, and creating PSA’s. During the first week of Novemeber our AGS groups competed against each other in a canned food drive but it didn’t stop there! Students were challenged to come up with a design that they could build out of the cans they had gathered. The results were impressive and ranged from football stadiums, cartoon characters, helicoptors, and the state of Arkansas. At the end of the day, our students had gathered over 3,000 cans to donate to the community food drive.
Educators want to make sure that our collaboration has meaning, rubrics, and products, but frankly what we have seen unfold from our collaboration is relationships. With collaboration as the most important factor, our AGS curriculum at the High School has created bonds with teachers for students. The AGS committee creates the curriculum, and our AGS teachers meet with the same students each day. All students are getting mentoring, grade checks, personalized learning, and relationships with an adult.
One thing our committee of teachers who create the curriculum for AGS have found is not all teachers use the information equally. Some teachers are going above and beyond to build relationships and collaboration, while others get the information out in a “less engaging” way. Collaboration is personal and not “created equal”. It varies from school to school, student to teacher, teacher to teacher, and PLC to PLC.
Although we have seen collaboration vary depending on the comfort zone of those involved, one thing we know- our culture has improved. Students are coming to school, our teachers are coming to school, and the most revealing fact: our pastry count is up. We have had more donuts, cakes, and cookies in our teacher dining area than ever!