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Better teaching in less time in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Middle School expects to elevate the level of teaching by spending less time in the classroom.
PRMS students Kaceja Calder

Prince Rupert Middle School expects to elevate the level of teaching by spending less time in the classroom.

This September, middle school teachers will begin to meet each Wednesday from 2:05 to 3 p.m. to share ideas and create cross-curricular projects as part of the timetable pilot project the school is putting together.

Ken Minette, PRMS principal, said the timetable project would help share teacher expertise already in the school by giving teachers an hour a week to meet and share ideas.

"We just want to do a good job with our students, and have a richer learning environment," Minette said.

PRMS and middle schools across the province have been using collaboration as a means of making schools more inclusive and engaging for all students by incorporating co-teaching and cross-curricular activities when possible.

Minette said past collaborative efforts at PRMS have been successful, and staff unanimously agreed on doing the project in the next school year.

"What we're trying to do is embed time where teachers get to meet and have those really important discussions, whether it's about teaching curriculum content or just talking about students that are potentially at risk," he said.

Minette said for teachers it can be hard to bounce ideas off each other when they're alone in their classrooms, and with the busy schedules many teachers have, it's hard to set time aside to work together on what teaching methods work together.

On the surface, it would appear that students would lose an hour of classroom time every week, however, Minette said that isn't necessarily the case.

Minette said the school currently has the daily advisory class every day for 40 minutes, where students receive their daily physical activity, as well as health and career education.

But the school has more time assigned than required, so cutting an advisory class a week wouldn't put students behind.

The remainder of the weekly hour will take approximately 40 seconds from each class throughout the week, which is acceptable for every grade level aside from Grade 8, because Grade 8 schedules require more instructional time than other grades.

Students can choose to go home an hour early or stay in school and participate in homework clubs or activities in the gym, with support staff, childcare workers, Aboriginal support workers and administration at PRMS assisting in supervision.