CMS teachers adapt to 'team' teaching system

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Next fall, the concept of "team" is going to be used at Craig Middle School a lot more than on just the playing fields.

The school's approach to educating its seventh and eighth graders will revolve around a team concept used by CMS teachers, CMS Principal Steve Wiersma told the Moffat County Board of Education Monday night.

An example of how the teaming system works, Wiersma said, is a group of teachers, one math, one science, one English and one social studies are a team.

That team of teachers works with the same group of students, and that team of teachers works together to coordinate that group of students' lesson plans.

For example, a history teacher can implement a concept being taught in math class into his or her teaching lesson, and vise versa, he said.

The team of teachers also works together to distribute time allotments amongst themselves.

If more time is needed in a particular subject area during a given week, the teacher in that subject area can work with the team for that needed time.

"The teachers work together and they plan together," Wiersma said.

The teachers can also work together to make sure students are not tested in numerous different subject areas in one day, which can often happen in the traditional system, Wiersma said.

More details need to be worked out about how the new plan will be implemented, Wiersma said, but the traditional CMS system could change significantly.

"Right now we are driven by a 45-minute bell," he said. "A lot of schools that use the team concept have gotten rid of the bell."

The teaming concept is partially or fully implemented by 79 percent of middle schools nationwide, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Schools are beginning to catch on that while students in middle school are too old for the one classroom elementary school system, they are not quite ready for the high school system of moving from class to class every 45 minutes, Wiersma said.

"Right now we have a very structured, inflexible day with independent contractors teaching each class," Wiersma said.

That will change next year, he said.

"With this new concept we'll be able to do more work with the time we have," Wiersma said.

A group of six teachers, Wiersma and a parent volunteer have traveled to several schools in Colorado to study schools with the team concept in place.

Kelly-Anne Kirk was the parent, and she visited a middle school in Loveland.

She said she was sold on the concept by how she saw it work at that school.

She said she was impressed with the teachers' attitudes in the school and how they worked together for the better of the students.

"If they have a problem with a student they're concept is it's not my problem as a teacher," she said. "It's our problem as a team."

Kirk is a mother of four, and said each one of her children is very different from the other.

All of the different personalities can thrive under the team concept, she said.

"In a concept like this the students don't get lost," she said.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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