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Supporting Student-Centered Teaching and Learning

Staff participate in a workshopIsabelle True was learning about Rome in social studies when a team of Omaha Public Schools educators visited her classroom at Lewis & Clark Middle.
“They walked around the classroom and observed and talked to the teachers and students,” said True, a sixth grader.
What True didn’t know was that the group was also there to learn.
“It’s cool because students aren’t the only ones learning,” said True.
The group included principals, assistant principals, program directors, instructional facilitators and others. They were at Lewis & Clark as part of a three-day coaching workshop.
“As instructional leaders, we’re there to support them and to give them the resources and tools they need,” said Melissa Prante, Omaha Public Schools coordinator of early childhood education.

Coaching workshops bring together experienced educators – a team focused on continuous improvement in our schools. Coaches mentor teachers, offering ways to be even more effective and grow student achievement.
“The work of improvement happens every day in every classroom,” said Susanne Cramer, Omaha Public Schools chief improvement officer. “Coming together around instruction not only improves what students experience in the classroom but also improves culture and relationships in a school.”
Another resource supporting that work in our district is the Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool or eleot. Staff shared how eleot works during a Board of Education workshop in January. The tool tracks student engagement in the classroom. It evaluates things like student participation in discussions, how engaged they are in activities and how they collaborate with their peers.
“This is a K-12 tool that allows us to look at what a student is doing, saying and learning,” Cramer added.
Instructional coaching and eleot represent some of the tools we use to improve in Omaha Public Schools. Students also participate in statewide assessments measuring academic growth in reading, mathematics and science.

“Those are all sort of multiple measures that tell the story of how our improvement journey is going,” said Cramer. “We're always supporting our schools and leaders to have the tools that they need to grow.”