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Every Student, Every Day


QTL News & Stories


A Place Where Everyone Can Enjoy Learning
August 2009

District-wide initiatives draws teachers of all different grade levels together for professional development, collaboration.

TEXARKANA, AR - Texarkana's Genoa School District is like many others across the country these days; working hard to raise standards and improve student performance in a world of shrinking budgets and increased competition. But what makes this southwest Arkansas school system unique is its effort to involve all grades in all schools toward a common goal.

This summer elementary, middle and high school teachers participated in joint professional development led by The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning. It was a new experience making teachers a more active part of the equation.

"I haven't had an opportunity to work so closely with elementary and middle school teachers," said Gia Falls, a high school math teacher. "I learned a lot from the collaboration."

And that collaboration reinforced the relationships that get a large part of the credit for student success here.

"Our students do well because of the good relationships between students and teachers and teachers and administrators," added middle school principal Deloris Coe.

It's part of the district's plan to build a solid learning community.

"We stress learning for all," says Genoa Central High School Principal Bobby Hart. "This means that learning is as important for adults in my building as it is for students." Hart points out that when adults exhibit a love of learning, it's reflected in the students. "They see adults enjoy learning and all of a sudden school is not a 178-day grind, it's a place where everyone can enjoy learning."

The result is a district-wide atmosphere and culture that focuses on learning.

"Our staff will take what they learned back to the classroom," added Genoa Central Elementary Principal, Jane Scott. Scott said the collaborative sessions gave members of her staff "different ways of doing different things."

Debbie Coffman, instructor with The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning (QTL) lead the week of professional development with Genoa's teachers and staff. "It was a great week," Coffman said. "The teachers here enjoy the atmosphere their administrators have created for them."

"We see the professional development from QTL as the first step in the 'Good to Great' process we are implementing in Genoa," says Hart.

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