For four days of the week of February 9, two classes in Robert Andrews and their teachers had a very special experience.
Ms. Sandy Figueroa, an associate and partner of Ms. Regie Routman, both experts in teaching and literacy, was a guest or "resident" teacher. Ms. Figueroa worked with a Grade 6 class and a Grade 8 class, for one period each morning, for four days. She demonstrated teaching practices which have been shown to be effective in improving students' writing (and reading), across all subject areas. Administrators and teachers from RA and three other Middle Years schools, along with two RETSD Assistant Superintendents, were observers of the teaching in the morning, and used the afternoons to discuss their observations, participate in Learning Walks through several classrooms in the school, and to discuss implementation plans.
As the "Hub" school for this initiative for all of the Middle Years schools in the division, RA has the benefit of having teachers work directly with Ms. Figueroa during each residency, and to have many more teachers observe her. Since this was the second year that Robert Andrews School has hosted the Residency, we now have four "hub" teachers, and almost every teacher has observed her.
RA teachers in all subject areas are very excited and have begun to implement the new teaching practices they have observed. In addition, they have devised and implemented whole school practices such as RAW (Robert Andrews Writes) and RARE (RA Reads Everyday), daily writing and reading time. We have already observed significant changes in students' interest and abilities in reading and writing, which we feel will eventually increase students' engagement in learning and in their achievement across all subjects.