CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Bloom Township High School District 206 is using a new program that helps teachers and students use comparative thinking to make decisions and see results.
The program started in Bloom Trail High School last fall. Teachers and administrators gave a presentation to the School Board on Jan. 14 to demonstrate how they are using the program and what students have seen so far.
Deb Williams, from Bloom Trail, said the initiative started with the freshman class. Once a month, freshmen are taken to an assembly during first period. While the students are in assembly, the teachers participate in a professional development exercise that emphasizes comparative thinking as a learning tool for students.
Comparative thinking is a process by which students compare different models to determine which one is most correct. It allows students to come to reasonable conclusions without exhaustive, time-consuming research.
The Bloom Trail teachers are learning a teaching method called CLUB. By all using the same teaching strategy, teachers will instruct the students in the same manner, regardless of the subject.
“This will help the students find consistency in language, arts, math, and science,” Williams told the board.
Williams said the students also benefited from the assemblies they were in while the teachers learned the new methods. Some of the topics in assembly have included cyber bullying, time management and study skills.
“While the teachers learn about incorporating comparative thinking into their lesson plans, the students are learning skills to help them maximize their time and efforts,” Williams said. “It has been a win-win so far.”
The use of assemblies and developing teachers in-house has kept cost to a minimum, Williams told the board.
School Superintendent Lennell Navarre said he supported the program.
“We have been working very hard to raise the number of graduates in our district, and reduce the number of dropouts,” Navarre said. “Programs like this will sharpen students’ skills and help achieve that goal.”
The next step for the program is to expand to the sophomore class later this semester.
In other district news, New Era Academy, a charter school for students ages 12 to 18, gave a presentation. New Era is a visual and performing arts charter school and also offers core subjects.
After the presentation, teachers and administrators commented on New Era's proposal to be a charter school for the district. Their major concern was that a charter school would redirect money from the state away from the district.
The board voted unanimously to deny the New Era Academy proposal to become a charter school for the district.