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"This Is Parkway" Digital Magazine

Project Parkway

Subcommitte 1/A/5 Essential Question:
How do collaborative planning structures in the Elementary schools support the implementation of the curriculum and increased achievement for students?

9/28/2009: What data will be collected to reveal current reality?

We will be looking at the following data:

1.  What are the hours for elementary schools in the following districts?  (How long is the elementary school day)

2.  Do these districts offer an instrumental music program during the school day at the elementary level?

3.  Do these districts offer a foreign language program during the school day at the elementary level?

4.  We will also request sample schedules from these schools to determine such factors as teacher plan time, and minutes spent on the core curriculum.

Districts to be studied will include:  Frances Howell, Clayton, University City, Rockwood, Wentzville, Ft. Zumwalt, Webster Groves, Lindbergh, Kirkwood, Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Ferguson-Florissant, Valley Park, Mehlville, and Pattonville.


3/1/2010: Key Findings

A. Positive Observations Revealed by the Data

• Parkway is one of the few St. Louis area school districts that offers a strings program in 3rd, 4th, and 5th, grades as part of the elementary school day.
• Parkway’s elementary school day is shorter, by 15-40 minutes, than most other districts in St. Louis and St. Charles counties
• Many districts in our area offer monthly opportunities for elementary teachers to work collaboratively through early release time

B. Identified Needs

The Subcommittee 5 Group believes, based on review of literature, research from area districts, and through informal dialogue with district teachers, that Parkway’s students would be well served by providing more collaborative time for elementary teachers. We discussed a variety of possible avenues to achieve this goal:
1. Strings for all students in grades 3-5
2. Monthly early release time
3. Lengthening the elementary school day by 15-20 minutes
4. Adding staffing to elementary buildings to release teachers for meetings
5. Modified scheduling practices to allow extended time

C. (If Necessary) Additional Data Needed

The following data has not yet been collected. Subcommittee 5 recommends these remaining pieces of information be collected prior to making decisions about the elementary school day:

I. Survey questions to teachers and parents:

1. Would you be in favor of lengthening the elementary school day by 15 minutes?

For ELEMENTARY Teachers:
1. Approximately how many minutes per week do you spend in collaborating with colleagues to plan learning activities based on student assessment data? Is this time adequate?

2. Would you be in favor of lengthening the elementary school day by 15 minutes?

3. Which of the following options would you support in regard to the elementary strings program?

• Make strings mandatory at grades 3, 4, and 5, with instruments provided for all students.
• Eliminate the strings program at the elementary level
• Offer strings at the 4th and 5th grade levels only.
• Offer strings as a before or after school program only.
• Leave the elementary strings program as it currently exists, including Suzuki violin forall third grade students and optional strings classes in 4th and 5th grades.

4. Would you be in favor of an early release day once per month at the elementary level for the purpose of collaboration?

II. Information from Parkway schools currently participating in “Learning Labs” for teachers to observe and collaboratively reflect on their practice

III. Information regarding development opportunities for learning best practices in teacher collaboration