OMHS begins internal improvement process

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—This month, Oak Mountain High School faculty kicked off a year and a half long process to increase the quality of instruction at the school through observation, information gathering and goal setting.

On Jan. 15, a group of faculty began the observation and information gathering stage through an exercise called “instructional rounds,” OMHS Principal Dr. Kristi Sayers said in a Jan. 20 phone interview.

The group of 10 teachers, representing each department at the school, visited and observed 12 classrooms. They then shared their experiences and identified strengths, areas of improvement and patterns they observed.

“The teachers we visited did not know they were being visited,” Sayers said, explaining the goal was to observe classes as they actually happen each day.

What the teachers saw was very encouraging, Sayers said. In the 12 classes that were visited, Sayers said the group noticed students working together to solve problems and teachers applying real world situations to lessons.

“Anytime you have your students solving the problem, that’s true learning… anytime you can make learning applicable to students’ lives, that’s much more effective,” Sayers said. “That’s a good feeling as a school and as a leadership team.”

Sayers said the instructional rounds exercise was also beneficial to teachers, as they got to observe teachers in other subjects and see strategies they could apply in their own classrooms.

“The teachers who participated were excited themselves as learners,” Sayers said. “It opened up lines of communications between teachers.”

Instructional rounds will continue through the end of the school year, and findings will be presented to the entire school community in May, Sayers said. The information gathered will be used to set goals for the entire school, then professional development will be provided in order to reach the goals.

“It’s a powerful process,” Sayers said.