GIPS urges teachers to embrace change and help kids thrive

Grand Island students perform at an assembly for staff members (NTV News)

It's back to the drawing board for Grand Island Public Schools and teachers like Blake Teichmeier, with a new strategic plan guiding the district.

“Really moving it more to where it's kids discussing things and doing the majority of the learning,” said Teichmeier, a middle school teacher.

Throw away the old lesson plans; The days of lectures are gone. Educators say the world has changed, and say education needs to be transformed.

Walnut Middle School Principal Rod Foley said, “This is going to be huge lift for our teachers. We're going to think differently, we're going to do things differently, plan differently, but you know what, this isn't about us, it's for our students.”

The district has a new strategic plan to prepare students to thrive in a changing world.

But it won't be easy for teachers, especially at three schools demonstrating more rigorous curriculum.

Teichmeier said, “I think there was a lot of pushback at first, just because it's really new. We know there's a lot of changes coming with it. But I've really seen with a lot of those same teachers a softening, a lot of things we can see that'll be beneficial.”

A pep rally complete with inspirational ballads and fight songs welcomes teachers back, to learn the new vision.

There are four main pillars to the new plan:

  • Empower educators to be instructional leaders
  • Personalize learning pathways for students
  • Design decisions by using data
  • Partner with our community

Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover closed the staff assembly, encouraging team members to rise up and meet the challenge.

She said, “When we saw empower our teachers and principals to be instructional leaders, that means we want them to get the training and feedback to make the proper adjustments in their classrooms. We want them to have the courage to allow students to have freedom where students are in control of their learning.”

District leaders have laid out 11 goals, that range from preschool to high school, and beyond, getting kids more prepared for college and career.

School Board President Bonnie Hinkle said, “That's where it's going to make a difference and the whole community will benefit from that, not just the individual child and their family.”

Educators say they have the opportunity to transform from how they've always done things.

Teichmeier, a middle school teacher, said, “It's going to make us better teachers and as young teachers, see how in the long run it's going to help us out.”

Learn more on GIPS website.

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