Sunday, April 6, 2014

Austin Experiences Project Based Learning...

If you've followed us for any length of time, you know that Austin Elementary is on a journey to implement the Schoolwide Enrichement Model (SEM).  You also know that as a district, we are digging deep ("soaking") into the CISD Learning Framework.  Additionally, each campus has been charged with selecting a learning design model (UbD or PBL).  Austin Elementary has selected Project Based Learning because of how closely it aligns with SEM Enrichment Clusters.  Put all of this together, and you have somewhat of a PD melting pot.  

With that in mind, we set out to design a meaningful learning experience for our educators that (hopefully) can kill three PD birds (SEM, Learning Framework, and PBL) with one stone.  Thus, our Austin educator PBL unit was born!  If done correctly, this educator PBL unit could help strengthen our understanding of the relationship between SEM and the CISD Learning Framework, AND provide the opportunity for our educators to actually experience a PBL unit as we go through the training.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SEMCamp @ Austin

Austin Elementary is a school of passionate individuals (both learners AND educators).  We're so passionate about what we do that we included it in our guiding purpose...

"At Austin Elementary, we are driven to unlock the passion
and cultivate the uniqueness inherent in every learner."

One of our passions as educators is sharing our experiences of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model with others.  That's one reason why on Friday mornings we continually play host to educators from other campuses curious about what SEM looks like "in action."  

With that in mind, we have dreamed up what we affectionately call SEMCamp. This will be a 3-day experience designed for classroom teachers and administrators alike where we will dive deeply into the Schoolwide Enrichment Model and how it can impact a campus.  Check out this Smore, and learn more about what SEMCamp could do for your educators!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

PD... It's Not Just For Teachers!

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, there is at least one thing you know for sure... At Austin Elementary, we are passionate about giving learners the opportunity to explore and grow with their interests! That is the foundation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM).

Aside from fostering those interests and passions, SEM also provides us with a vehicle to strengthen and build reciprocal relationships with our community and local businesses.  This is evidenced by our weekly E-Time visitors from around the community and the countless ways that our learners have made a difference in Coppell (through fundraising, community service projects, etc.).

The next step in strengthening that school/community relationship is inviting our parents and community in to actually partner with us in facilitating enrichment clusters.  Today, our SEM Coordinator (Liz Malone) is doing just that.  Hence the title of this post:  PD... It's Not Just For Teachers!

We are thrilled to have a group of community/parent volunteers going through "SEM Boot Camp" and experiencing the same professional learning as our Austin educators.  Here are just a few things they are exploring-

  • What is the difference between E-Time and Enrichment Clusters?
  • What is the "WHY" behind our work with SEM?  What "WHY" do they bring to the table in wanting to share their passions/interests with our learners?
  • What are the 5 components of a strong Cluster?
By inviting our community to be a part of our professional learning, we hope to further strengthen our commitment to building reciproal relationships with those around us and provide more authentic enrichment experiences for our learners. 
Want to know more about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model at Austin?  Check out our SEM Blog!