A Comprehensive Approach to Rigor, Relevance and Literacy

Learning time
Learning time

2007 wraps up with a week long series of workshops at Lakeland High School in White Lake, Michigan. On Monday, I’ll do an opening session on rigor, relevance and literacy strategies in the content area for the entire high school faculty.  But it doesn’t stop there.

On Tuesday, I’ll guide a group of about 15 teachers in classroom walk–through training. They will form a peer support group to assist teachers in reflecting on their instructional practice. Wednesday, I work with the Lakeland ninth grade team designing interdisciplinary approaches to integrating the themes across the curriculum. On Thursday and Friday, I work with selected departments to assist them in developing lessons in their disciplines. In addition, I’ll be giving an evening presentation for parents, school board and community. They need to have an understanding of new perspectives in teaching and learning.

I have to congratulate school principal, Bob Behnke, on his comprehensive approach to supporting his teachers. He’s leveraging one professional development day and a rotating pool of subs to give his faculty a variety of settings to reflect on instructional practice and develop new approaches.

The week proved to be a very rewarding opportunity for me to work with a creative group of teachers in workshops and walk-through sessions. Here’s some of the follow up emails I’ve received from teachers at Lakeland –

It was a pleasure to meet with you today.  Thank you for conducting the inservice in a way that was engaging.  It was a special treat to attend an inservice for something that will definitely benefit me, my students, and our school community.  Too often we are asked to attend workshops that have great ideas and, I’m sure, the best intentions, but they fall short.  I really appreciated having the opportunity to discuss freely the state of education, identify areas where we can apply rigor and relevance in our classrooms, and time to work with my peers.  Walking out of the inservice with materials, resources and ideas I can implement tomorrow is icing on the cake.
Thank you!


I wanted to thank you again for the work you did this past week at Lakeland.  I know that the vast majority of the faculty found your information useful and several informed me that they had already incorporated some of the rigor and relevancy into their lesson plans.  This shows me their willingness to realize that they can improve the way they teach to really reach students at a higher level.  This would not have happened if you had not put a mirror to their faces and let them know that they are good teachers who could be doing more.


Peter –
I just wanted to thank you for spending a week in our building, and in particular for the work you did with us on Wednesday regarding the 9th grade teams.  So often our professional development is mostly talk with very little time for application, but I truly appreciated the resources, ideas, and opportunity for professional discussion that your session provided for us.  I particularly loved the digital book idea.  In fact, I’m planning to implement it right away in my current unit.
Thanks again, and take care,

Image credit: flickr/Temari 09