Canyon Springs High School has continually improved student achievement over the last several years. Five years ago, the graduation rate was a dismal 47 percent. Last year, it was 91 percent!
That success has been achieved through a system in which all stakeholders are held accountable, including students, parents, teachers and administrators. The system has three main components: credit retrieval options, academic improvement opportunities and increased teacher efficacy through professional learning. This article will focus on the professional learning component.
Canyon Springs utilizes a seven-period day in which teachers only teach for five periods of the day. Of the two periods without students, one is the traditional preparation period in which teachers can grade work and lesson plan.
The other period is called a professional learning period when teachers attend professional learning workshops provided by instructional coaches on campus several times during the month. Teachers also meet in Professional Learning Communities to discuss their learning and implementation of the new skills and strategies learned.
Classroom walk-throughs are conducted by administration and school leadership to collect data and to provide teachers with feedback on their implementation of the new strategies and skills. Engaging teachers in this process increases teacher efficacy, student engagement and ultimately student achievement.