Florida Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math are uniformly in place at each grade level to target what skills students are expected to learn. “But the fact is,” says Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “there is so much standards information given to teachers, do they really have time to thoroughly research the best practices for student achievement? We can’t afford the luxury of seeing what works over time. None of us wants even one child to miss an opportunity to learn and progress.”
The Wakulla Standards Approach to Learning (SATL) training focuses on how to unpack a standard, identify the needed skills to master each standard, create effective lesson plans, and assess each student according to what has been taught. Unpacking a standard is the process by which a teacher identifies the vocabulary and needed prerequisite skills in order for a student to master a grade level skill.
“The SATL training idea came together from a team effort,” says Pearce. “Chief Academic Officer Sunny Chancy researched effective programs across the state that help teachers and students; Chief Finance Officer Randy Beach found money saved in other areas such as energy conservation in order to pay teachers a stipend to attend; and the Instructional Services Office created the curriculum for the training.”
Susan P. Tillman, who coordinates support for teaching elementary curriculum, led Instructional Coaches Christina Whitfield, Holly Harden, Alex Kauffman, and Angie Gentry in developing and teaching the training to fit Wakulla’s teachers. Curriculum Coordinator Katherine Spivey facilitated using best practices from other trainings like AVID and Kagan.
Other interested elementary teachers, as well as secondary teachers in Wakulla, will be offered the opportunity to take part in SATL training in the summer and fall. At the conclusion of the training, teachers will have the tools to implement the best standards teaching in their classrooms.
Notes Pearce, “We have to give our teachers paid time outside of the school day when we’re faced with new requirements. With these SATL practices in place, teachers’ hard work should be evident through higher percentages of students mastering the Florida Standards.”