KIEM Site Visit to Washington

On Wednesday, there was the second Instructional Site Visit at Washington Elementary School for the year. School district administrators, principals, vice principals, and teachers from various Eureka City Schools came to Washington Elementary School to observe and provide feedback for ways the school can improve moving forward.

At a Eureka City Schools District meeting last spring, a team of teachers decided on six instructional norms, or areas of focus, for schools to work towards improving.

"Not only is it a more organized method of thinking about instruction, it's actually things that have been proven through research to work for student learning. And so we need to maximize. Students are with us about six to seven hours every day. We need to maximize the time of instruction that's happening inside the classroom and these are proven ways to maximize that time and maximize the student learning," said Fred Van Vleck, the Superintendent with Eureka City Schools.

At the Formal Instructional Site Visit at Washington Dlementary School on Wednesday, a group of 20 school administrators, teachers and officials with the school district examined the progress that Washington Elementary School has made toward addressing the two instructional norms the school is working on for the year. They are “communicating clear instructional objectives to students” and “developing positive student-teacher relations.”

"Times are changing. We have new standards that we're implementing. The Common Core Standards. Our testing is changing and so you can't just sit back. You have to stay ahead of those movements and make sure that you're doing the best job possible for students," said Jennifer Johnson, the Principal of Washington Elementary School.

At the end of the visit, two reflective questions were posed to school staff by the team of visitors.

"It's not just a "yes" or "no" type question that the staff can answer. What it is, is it talks about some of the things that we saw in the site visit and poses some questions on how they're going to move the instructional program forward based on the instructional norms," said Superintendent Van Vleck.

But school officials say all the schools in the district, not just the one receiving the instructional site visit, benefit from the process.

Teachers from other schools participating in the instructional site visit say the process can teach them things they can bring to their classroom.

"It's actually really inspiring. You feel more connected as a district. So it's a whole group working together for the best needs of our kids and you get to see such a happy atmosphere with so much engagement at the schools and it's really inspiring," said Jennifer Derks, a sixth grade teacher at Zane Middle School

"The more we can share information and share ideas and strategies, I think the better it's going to make the entire district," said Principal Johnson.

One visit at a time.

The progress that Washington Elementary School makes towards addressing the two reflective questions posed on Wednesday will be examined at the school’s next site visit in the fall. Each school is focusing on two instructional norms per year.