Story submitted by the Laguna Beach Unified School District:
Two years ago, Thurston Middle School science teacher Ina Inouye Wu started the Thurston Middle School Staff Book Club. The club meets once a month and functions as a professional development opportunity that allows staff to share instructional methods and discuss creative classroom strategies. The research- based reading material is presented in an interesting format with an array of informative teaching.
Principal Jenny Salberg commends the dedication of the staff. She said, “Our amazing staff continues to discover new ways to collaborate and share ideas. This year’s book is focused on the Common Core Implementation and provides time for teachers/staff to connect and discuss implementation strategies.”
Last year the club focused on the book, Classroom Instruction that Works: Research–Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. This year they are reading two books, Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading and Navigating Implementation of the Common Core State Standards: Getting Ready for the Common Core Handbook Series, Book One.
The cross-curricular collaboration plus the opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives and approaches are important benefits of the club. Participants include staff from administration, art, home economics, language arts, leadership, math, physical education, science and social studies.
Thurston language arts teacher Laura Silver remarks, “Our staff book club is great. It is a truly diverse group with so many perspectives, yet we are all dedicated to learning new techniques or strengthening our trusted ones. The group instills professionalism and sense of camaraderie in each of us. Personally, I don't want to become complacent and want to keep up on the research; this group addresses both those pieces.”
Ms. Wu states, “The Thurston Middle School Staff Book Club fulfills our desire to grow professionally, to spend time together outside the classroom, and in the end, our students benefit.”