At Riverview High School in Mesa, Arizona, teams of educators use technology to scale deeper and personalized learning for multi-age cohorts of students. Twenty minutes away, the 3rd-grade team at Stevenson Elementary School leverages inquiry learning approaches to ignite students’ curiosity and build their agency. Further south, a 10-person educator team at ASU Preparatory Academy–Polytechnic’s Spark Institute deepens and personalizes learning for 7th and 8th graders through problem-based approaches and collaborative learning structures.
All three have implemented Next Education Workforce models to better support learners and educators. New open-source resources developed by ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College illustrate how the schools bring together teams of educators with distributed expertise to deepen and personalize learning for all students. The resources join a growing collection of school spotlights, designed to help other schools develop teaming models.
Riverview High School
Riverview High School is a small, alternative high school within Mesa Public Schools. Most students attending Riverview have been removed from their previous schools for disciplinary reasons, or are transitioning from juvenile detention or a residential treatment center.
The school employs two educator teams: a junior high school team with four educators working with 30–40 students, and a high school team with seven educators working with 60–80 students. The teams are joined by MLFTC teacher candidates, a counselor, social work interns and licensed therapists.
Each team has a designated lead teacher to support, develop and lead, as well as serve as a liaison between the team and the principal.
In the future, Riverview plans to develop the school’s leadership bench depth by rotating leadership roles and identifying lead planners for key areas such as technology and inquiry.
Stevenson Elementary School
Stevenson Elementary School is a Title I school in Mesa serving roughly 570 students, pre-K through grade 6. The 3rd-grade team is the school’s first team to pilot the Next Education Workforce model.
The grade 3 students have an educator team consisting of three certified educators — one of whom serves as the lead teacher for the team — and three MLFTC residents. The team is also joined by several shared team members: a Title I specialist, two special educators and three specials teachers. The team is currently identifying community educators to work with the students.
The lead teacher ensures all team members have appropriate responsibilities. For example, the certified math teacher focuses on math instruction and support. MLFTC residents’ strengths and areas for growth are considered in matching them with a certified teacher. Early in the year, residents do not teach large groups of students independently, but instead, take on more teaching responsibilities over time and progress to teaching classes.
ASU Prep Poly: Spark Institute
Spark Institute is made up of approximately 250 students in grades 7 and 8, while the educator team includes 10 certified teachers. Three of those teachers are core content area teachers for grade 7, three for grade 8, and four work across both grade levels. Two MLFTC residents and experts from the community are also part of the team.
The roles of the educators on the Spark Institute team vary. The team includes a combination of experienced educators, novice educators, preservice teachers and community educators. Educators fill the roles that match their current levels of knowledge and skill, and their responsibilities increase and differentiate as they grow and develop. For example, a subset of the team engages in a leadership rotation, gathering leadership experience and building the team’s leadership bench depth.
Looking ahead, the team aims to designate a lead teacher and, in turn, provide additional opportunities to distribute expertise and advancement pathways for team members.