Even the most qualified and dedicated teachers can use some guidance.
Since the 2006-07 school year, the district's Teaching/Learning Cycle has served as a roadmap for teachers of all levels. The document offers a basic framework based on four basic principles – plan, teach, monitor and adjust. The Teaching/Learning Cycle offers specific guidelines under each of these categories, standards designed to offer teachers a common approach to thinking about instruction.
The district's Office of Curriculum and Instruction has worked hard to keep the document current and relevant for teachers in the ever-changing field of education. Starting last year, educators started a studied and detailed process to modernize the document from its initial design. Updates included adjusting the framework to fit the new evaluation system, state standards and to accommodate the ever-important role of technology in the classroom. What's more, the Teaching/Learning Cycle incorporates the latest best practices and research from the field of public education.
"While the science of teaching remains mostly the same, the art continues to evolve because there are far more influences that are a part of the conversation," said Dr. Floyd Cobb, executive director of the Office of Curriculum and Instruction. "As educators, it's important for us to remain current."
The updated document still features the original four basic principles, but the guidelines under each section now reflect the most current standards and research. The "Plan" portion of the framework, for example, offers guidance for an entire academic year, goals for specific units and designing tasks that promote creativity, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking.
The format of the document offers a concise and clear framework for teachers at all levels. Any Cherry Creek instructor looking for a route toward professional development will find a pathway in the Teaching/Learning Cycle, one that offers flexibility for all kinds of learners. The district's mission – "To inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care," – was the guiding principle behind the framework, as was the goal of creating a common vocabulary for teachers.
"Our goal was to be able to make sure we could use it as a jumping off point for a conversation about improving our practice," Cobb said. "Any time you have common language, it allows for a more focused dialogue about teaching and learning."
The full Teaching/Learning cycle is available online for the Cherry Creek School District community here. Physical copies of the framework are also available through the CCSD warehouse. For more information, call 720-886-5830.