My Experience with SREB and the Learning Design Collaborative

One summer evening in 2015 my principal called me at home. We discussed school and upcoming plans before she caught me off guard. “Dr. Carter would like for you to serve as the LDC coach for our district,” she said. What, wait? Coach? But I am a teacher, and what is LDC? How can I do this?  I thought I knew all the educator acronyms at this point in my career. So many questions flooded my head. I hesitantly and timidly agreed to the position, because that’s just what you do when the assistant superintendent asks you to do something.

The next school year, I attended LDC trainings and learned the process right along with my colleagues that I was charged to coach. It was initially challenging getting used to the increased rigor, multiple complex texts, backwards planning, and the productive struggle I was requiring my students to do. Another struggle was coaching teachers during year one while also learning the components of LDC myself. Being a person that is not outspoken and somewhat meek, I had to find a happy medium between being a friend to my colleagues and giving them productive feedback to help them in their journey with LDC.

Last school year, I literally dove in head first with LDC. LDC has made me a better teacher in numerous aspects. I feel I am a more thoughtful planner, I better know my standards, I am a better teacher of writing, I scaffold more than I used to, and I reflect on these modules and observe my students’ growth more. These things are due to implementing LDC. Last year I was humbled and surprised to be awarded the LDC Outstanding Educator of the Year at the national conference. I am grateful to have been exposed to Literacy Design Collaborative. It is not just a new program, but a way of teaching strategically and successfully. I always prided myself on teaching writing; however, LDC forced me to teach it using multiple and complex texts.

It pushed me as a teacher and pushed my students to think critically. The year before becoming a part of LDC was the first year in many years that we had a writing assessment during state testing. In the 2014-2015 school year prior to LDC, only 12% of my seventh-grade students and 18% of my eighth-grade students benchmarked in writing according to ACT Aspire tests. In the first year of LDC implementation, 43% of my seventh-grade students benchmarked and 47% of my eighth-grade students bench marked. In one year, my students went up nearly thirty points in their writing data. This data shows that LDC is a mainstay in any classroom. The assistant superintendent of my school district, whose son has been in my class for two years in seventh and eighth grade, has even said to me, “I see the change in critical thinking with my own child this year through LDC.” I still have much to learn in my journey with LDC, but I am blessed to be on board for the ride.

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