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Enumclaw School District

Superintendent's Message

Mike Nelson photo

Dear Friends,

Our incredible Enumclaw Schools Foundation sponsored an amazing professional learning opportunity for our 6 - 12 secondary math teachers. Together, our teachers traveled to Vancouver to observe and learn strategies in building thinking math classrooms to engage all of their students in learning. I am grateful for these staff members who went above and beyond to keep their practice current and relevant for students.

Here are two reflections from their experience:

“I appreciated the chance to see a thinking classroom in action. Being able to watch someone who is very talented is such a learning experience. A thinking classroom is not just a set of practices, the feeling tone of the room reflected an appreciation of learning.”
-Steve Henry

“I am always thankful for opportunities for growth. Our trip to Vancouver did not disappoint. Observing other colleagues always gets my thought processes going. From methods of content delivery to simple interactions I found myself thinking....
hat would this look like in my classroom?
What am I willing to try?
What am I willing to risk stepping out of my comfort zone?
How can my colleagues and I support each other?”

-Christy Weinbrecht

This week, I had the opportunity to visit Jason Patterson’s classroom at TMMS. I wanted to hear from students if they had been impacted in two areas:

  1. Vertical non-permanent surfaces
  2. Randomized groupings

When I walked in Jason’s room, I could clearly see the vertical non-permanent surface stations around his classroom. These are areas that 2-3 students gather to solve a usually open-ended math task. After a quick opening, Jason shared a math task they would be working on and then pushed a button on his computer that randomized students into groups of three and assigned them to one of the vertical non-permanent surfaces around the room. Students efficiently moved to their correct location and began to talk about and solve the problem.

Finding new strategies rooted in research that supports student learning and implementing them is definitely a demonstration of courage over comfort. Starting anything new provides some level of discomfort for our staff and our students. Observing, adjusting and asking questions help us come out of what education researcher John Hattie would call “the learning pit” and have learning breakthroughs for our students.

In partnership with you,

Mike