Tatum Elementary is a model of engaging students

The Dallas ISD is proud to be the site of outstanding neighborhood schools such as the Tatum Elementary. Learn more about our neighborhood campuses at the Discover Neighborhood Schools event on April 9th ​​and 23rd. Learn more here.

The students sit together, their eyes fixed on the teacher, watching intently and listening as he explains today’s goal: They are learning the sound of letters. Their eyes follow his movements as they show how successful they will be. They listen carefully and then repeat. Now, she urges them to approach a partner and with a similar gesture explain what they are and how they are learning. They move and speak with one voice.

In this kindergarten class at Tatum Elementary School, a teacher engages his students through peer-to-peer movement and collaboration to help them understand and master their educational mission. They use this clear learning platform as a springboard to ask each other questions while collaborating. This is a formative assessment at work – monitoring student learning to provide ongoing feedback.

Tatum Elementary is a Dallas ISD model school on this teaching method, also known as Learning Assessment, said Kirstan Barbie, the district’s AFL program manager. “When people want to see an example formative assessment practices or Assessment for learning, we take them to Tatum to see it in action. It is a process used by teachers and students to recognize and respond to student learning in order to improve learning. during to learn. ”

Barbie said the model of education is used in kindergarten to fifth grade in Tatum, one of 16 district campuses – elementary, middle and high schools that are AFL campuses.

Tatum Elementary is a model of engaging studentsTatum, a neighborhood school in downtown Grove, is 50% African American and 50% Spanish, and 98% of its 430 students are economically poor. The school is a bilingual school, which means that Spanish speakers are in bilingual classes.

Principal Enrique Rodriguez says he has seen positive changes in school classrooms since the AFL implementation in the 2020-2021 school year: “Some of the changes are due to the student agency.” he said. “It means that students know what they are learning during the day and know the concepts they need to master in order to achieve a rigorous level in day-to-day learning. Student voice is a very important factor – students discuss it with each other. do, seek feedback, give feedback to their peers and teachers, collaborate, are really their learning agents. This is ultimately what we want.

“We want the teacher to sit as a facilitator, not just the students take instructions that have been an example of this for many years. When you enter our classrooms, you will hear that students are working under the guidance of a teacher based on their learning. It was definitely a change for us that promoted the student agency. ”

Tatum Elementary is a model of engaging studentsThrough this approach, students become more involved and motivated, the principal said. “They know what to do when they do don’tdon’t know what to do – they turn to their peers or their teachers. They have a learning goal and certain standards that will help them in their learning. They are excited. “

Principal Rodriguez was chosen by his executive director, Daniel Petters, to lead the initiative, and work began with a group of highly educated teachers who experienced the success and spread it throughout the school.

“These teachers tested the experiences in their classrooms and saw the benefits. Once it started, we spread it all over the school and the teachers really saw the value, the change in the look and sound of the classrooms. We began to see the success of our students and the voice that was given to them in the guide. It’s really about equipping teachers with the tools to succeed and see the benefits and success in their students. “

Tatum Elementary is a model of engaging studentsBarbie lends campus leadership to succeed in the experience at Tatum. “Principal Rodriguez, his assistant principal Norman McNeill and their two mentors have a really strong understanding of teaching and are able to convey it to teachers,” he said. “Because teachers’ willingness to take risks and try new experiences and leadership’s willingness to engage and learn alongside teachers when you go to Tatum, teaching and learning seem different. So now they are role models. “

He notes that Tatum was able to make progress even at the height of the pandemic. “When distance learning was difficult, when we were in simultaneous learning, they were still able to run with it and test it with their third to fifth grade teachers. In the spring of 2021, they began showing information and showing videos to the executive team. During the school year, they continued to grow and excel. ”

Tatum has consulted with Corvin, a professional development book publisher, and John Hattie, a professor in Melbourne, Australia, who is listed for his work on V.isible Learning, which is the largest educational database in the world that actually works in the field of education. “Therefore, Tatum is in a period of continuous improvement, improving their processes so that their students get the best education,” Barbie said.

Tatum hopes to become a certified school for Visible Learning +, said principal Rodriguez. “There are three levels of the certification process. This year we hope to reach the first level and in the coming years to the other two. And we hope to continue to be a role model for other schools that want to go through this process. ”

Only a small number of schools around the world have taken advantage of certification. “Tatum will be the first Texas urban school to receive this award,” Barbie said. “They will then be used as role models for other campuses and schools across the country.”

But for Tatum students, the most important thing is success in their studies. Perhaps Atara, a second-grader, best describes it in a diagram she draws to show the elements of the plot in the story. When the director asks how he knows he will be successful today, he says: “Because I can define the plot structure and I can define the key elements and I can define the decision.” When asked to explain the word resolutionshe defines it as “the end of the story when they figured out how to solve the problem”.

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