- In an effort to close the achievement gap, leaders of the Dearborn (MI) Public Schools created a “3D Community” composed of English language development specialists, instructional literacy coaches and special education resource teachers who collaborate to share practices that focus on student growth, achievement and engagement, district Superintendent Glenn Maleyko and Rose Aldubaily, director of English learners and compensatory education, write in a District Administration article.
- The specialists also co-teach with regular classroom teachers to demonstrate these practices, which are designed to address the needs of the district's student population, in which half are English language learners, 8% are special education students and 73% fall below the poverty line.
- One such practice is the special small group instructional model created by the English Language Development Department that provides newcomers with additional assessments and instructional support for literacy.
With one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, district leaders of Dearborn Public Schools are using the power of collaboration to achieve results that individual teachers could never achieve on their own. The district’s new 3D Community model, its building leadership teams, a collaborative professional learning community model, and the co-teaching practices all speak of a concerted effort to use teacher collaboration to address a massive undertaking.
Harry K. Wong, a well-known educational author, once said that the trademark of effective schools is a culture where all teachers take responsibility for the learning of all students. Jason Perez, a principal and faculty member at Concordia University said, “The key to strong collaboration is recognizing that a student shouldn’t be the responsibility of only one teacher, but of all teachers.”
Perez goes on to say, “A professional culture requires teachers who are willing to share, support, and explore together. Developing a collaborative culture will result in reducing teacher attrition, improving student learning, and creating the type of school that everyone searches for when they decide to become an educator.” As the example of this school district indicates, collaboration, when used effectively, can solve many problems that are unsolvable on their own.