Superintendent George Arlotto today announced a new elementary school pilot program that will change the face of elementary education in the county and bring about increased opportunities for both students and teachers.
The Triple E: Enhancing Elementary Excellence initiative will provide students with an additional area of study within the existing school day and allow teachers to have much-needed increased collaborative planning time. It will be piloted at the nine elementary schools in the North County cluster beginning September 29, 2014.
“This is absolutely a game-changer,” said Dr. Arlotto, who was joined at the announcement by Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County President Richard Benfer and elementary principals from the schools in the cluster. “This initiative will allow schools to engage elementary students in rich, thematic student-centered learning that is project-based, and exciting, while simultaneously addressing the long-standing issue of a lack of collaborative planning time for teachers. Through rigorous and relevant instruction, increased access, and enhanced opportunities, the project also is aimed at accelerating the pace at which the school system is elevating all students and eliminating all gaps.”
Each of the nine schools in the cluster has chosen one of four themes on which to focus, and will provide additional instruction based on those themes. As students rotate between those and other non-core subject classes such as physical education and the arts, core subject teachers will be meeting in teams to discuss instructional practices and develop plans to increase student achievement.
The themes chosen by schools in the cluster are:
- International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program: Overlook Elementary School
- STEM in Society: Ferndale Early Education Center and Hilltop, North Glen, and Park elementary schools
- Arts & Humanities: Belle Grove and Brooklyn Park elementary schools
- Global Studies: George Cromwell and Linthicum elementary schools
The program is being implemented within the school system’s existing budget, with no additional funds needed. Teachers for the new classes have already been hired, and are now preparing instructional lessons. Students will not see any change in their core subject teachers when the program begins.
“We have talked for years and years about the issue of planning time because it is crucial to the success of our students,” Benfer said. “Elementary teachers have been at a huge disadvantage compared to their middle school and high school counterparts, and this goes a long way toward fixing that. We are fully supportive of this pilot and hope to see it expanded across the county next year.”
More information on the themes being introduced to schools and on the changes in student schedules can be found by clicking the links below.