While students enjoy day off, teachers study curriculum’s strengths, weaknesses

Published 2:17 am Monday, September 20, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - While students enjoyed the warm weather on a day off on Thursday, Niles Community Schools teachers were stuck indoors in a teacher in-service.
Teachers gathered at Niles High School, Ring Lardner Middle School, and Ballard Elementary School to analyze data and identify strengths and weaknesses in school curriculum.
Teachers at the high school used MEAP test results and answers from a Parent Teacher Student Survey conducted in June, to identify strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum.
Teachers were divided into five groups based on the subjects they taught, reading, writing, social science, math, and science.
Kelly Gaideski, a consultant from the Berrien County Intermediate School District and former teacher at Niles High School, was on hand to help the teachers.
Earlier in the day, the high school teachers met with the middle school teachers at Ring Lardner to discuss how to align the curriculum to provide students with a more cohesive experience as they move from school to school, Niles High School Principal Betty Perkins said.
Teachers compared MEAP test results to the curriculum taught in the school to determine if the results of the tests were in line with the curriculum taught at the school.
After comparing the data, teachers examined how the curriculum was taught and determined any strengths and weaknesses in their teaching methods.
Based upon the identified strengths and weaknesses, teachers went about restructuring the curriculum to make it more effective in teaching the students what they need to know.
In a wrap-up meeting at the end of the day, the teachers reported the progress they had made and what they determined necessary to improve their curriculum.
Many teachers identified a lack of curriculum articulation as the main weakness in their curriculums.
Every teacher reported that the improvements to the curriculum would not come easy.
Gaideski said she was very excited about the progress the teachers made during the in-service. "This is what school improvement should be," she said.
Assistant Principal Molly Brawley said the day was productive. "We have a lot of work to do still, but we made some good progress today," Brawley said.