Churchill County School District discusses framework initiative geared toward students, educators |

Churchill County School District discusses framework initiative geared toward students, educators

By Thomas Ranson Nevada News Group

Preparing children for the future has always been the goal. 
Now, it’s time to ensure all students are ready for life and to become engaged citizens in the community. 
Naite Waite, an Innovations and Professional Learning facilitator, presented during Wednesday’s Churchill County School District board meeting an update regarding the Learner-Centered Framework and Modern Teacher. With evolving technology and the landscape of society changing, Waite said it becomes even more critical to prepare students for entering the real world after high school. And equally important, ChurchillCSD is striving to provide more opportunity for its educators as the district continues to evolve. 
ChurchillCSD serves six schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to high school with 3,235 students and 491 students. Almost 82% of students graduate high school.
“The efforts we engage in over the next several years will lead us to the ‘Big Dream’ —a context where students are self-directed learners, engaging in experiences that grow and shape them through choice, trial and error, persistence, collaboration with adults and other students, and is bigger than a traditional classroom,” ChurchillCSD Superintendent Dr. Summer Stephens wrote in a message about the framework initiative. “The district’s major goals of ensuring all learners are life ready and engaged citizens must drive our work each and every day as we remember our mission of ‘Everyone Always Learning.’ We are embarking on exceptional experiences that will create amazing opportunities for our learners (both children and adults).”
In Waite’s presentation, he discussed inspiring innovation through modern learning and how educators can build on accomplishments since the first high school was founded in 1906. Technology has evolved tremendously, beginning with chalkboards and progressing to overhead projectors. In 2016, Chromebooks were issued to all middle school students and two years later, all students received them. Promethean Boards were installed in classrooms three years ago and just this year, internet connectivity and resources were made available for all students. 
“The job of schools was to prepare kids for society,” said Waite, who emphasized the need to be flexible. “Of course, the times are changing as always. Now, workplaces are a different place if they’re a place at all. We have lots of collaboration. It’s very important for students to learn about adaptive thinking.” 
Waite said the classroom needs to adapt to the changing society, which has shown already from moving from traditional classrooms settings with direct instruction and students using paper and pencil to working in collaborative groups using paper, pencil and Chromebooks, and emerging various teaching and learning methods. Waite said the goal is for personalized learning and assessments, and flexible learning environments. 
ChurchillCSD’s Theory of Action focuses on four pillars: life ready, individual, partnerships and professional growth. 
With a learner-centered approach to education, individuals will be able to demonstrate the traits of the profile of a learner and realize increased achievement. By focusing efforts on social, emotional and academic development, it will lead to a healthy and rewarding life. Building partnerships with colleagues, students, parents and community members will lead to increased trust, support and parent and community engagement. With focused professional growth and implementing sound practices, strategies and platforms, learning environments will be created that are mutually enriching, productive and successful for all stakeholders. 
The instructional model targets learner-centered focus, modern school culture, deliberate learning opportunities and competency-based assessment.
With learner-centered focus, personalized opportunities are created to support life-ready individuals through self-advocacy, learning pathways and personalized and responsive learning environments. Modern school culture provides intentional opportunities that lead to a healthy and rewarding life through positive and supporting relationships, growth mindset, learner nurturing and Positive Behavior Intervention Support. Deliberate learning opportunities will guide students on transparent learning pathways with learner-centered framework, student-centered mastery, data-driven assessment and varied, frequent and authentic-informing. 
“Everything we are doing is focused on the strategic plan and these guidelines. Now, we’re beginning to come together to support one another and give us a more effective movement,” Waite said. 
Waite also discussed the rigor framework, which involves depth of knowledge, student answer strategy, question stems and activity prompts, and learner-centered task. The framework will help outline learner expectations for skills students are expected to know and do, allow them to respond to their learning and answer in ways that make sense to them, allow for thoughtful dialogue and meaning-making, and give students a voice and choice in how they demonstrate their learning at their pace. 
Waite concluded the presentation with professional learning as there are several district-wide opportunities, including implantation specialists assisting with the Learner-Centered Framework design and implementation, modern teacher platform for self-paced learning and the District Leadership Team participating in shared celebrations and progress reports together and with their staff.