During the past two months, INDE members have participated in a variety of training and development opportunities that support the continued development of the Little Red Nature Campus (LRNC) program. On March 8, a small group attended a one-day training session on project-based learning hosted by the Eau Claire Area School District and run by Wisconsin Innovative Schools Network. The very next day, members of INDE, along with staff from the ECASD and Sandy Benton of the Wisconsin Green Schools Network, attended the Every Teacher a Leader (ETaL) Northwest Regional Summit.
The ETaL concept is based on research that shows a correlation between teacher leadership and higher student achievement. The goal of the summit was to give teachers the space and structure to workshop problems within their schools or districts. Our team joined groups of teachers from all across the region and worked collaboratively within our teams and with advisory partners to develop action plans that address some of the challenges we have identified in bringing the LRNC program to life.
A key goal of the LRNC program is to recruit and serve students with educational disadvantages. Research has shown that students with educational disadvantages are often underrepresented in charter school admissions. Our work during these trainings centered on developing a plan to engage community and district partnerships in a strategic effort to build relationships with community service organizations and with our district’s elementary schools, ensuring all children who could benefit from this program have equal access to LRNC. We came away from ETaL with concrete plans to make area families aware of the option, understand the application process, easily complete application materials, and ultimately have equal opportunity to gain access to the school.
We look forward to further developing our program with these students in mind and hope to provide Eau Claire with an alternative educational environment for all children, including those who might struggle in the existing environment.
-Erica Zerr & Beth Martin & Anna Rybicki