Turning An Entire School System on to PBL for the Long-Term

  • The School: Aviara Oaks Middle School

  • The Challenge:
    Aviara Oaks is a huge school, with a staff of 45 teachers for grades 6-8. With such a large team, the teaching staff naturally featured a wide range of personalities and approaches to curriculum development. When the school board requested that each school do one PBL project in 2016/2017, Aviara Oaks struggled with how to adapt to this new teaching paradigm.

    How would the school create a structure and resources to enable its large teaching staff to put PBL into practice promptly?

  • The Solution:

    • In order to create an effective action plan for Aviara Oaks to engage its students with PBL our plan would enable a comprehensive introduction of PBL
    • We would work with the teaching staff during their after school professional development (PD) sessions throughout the 2016-2018 school years.
    • We would provide a variety of PD sessions, including two 4-hour “Back to School” professional development trainings.
    • We would include 90 minute workshops throughout the year during PD days, with topics ranging from “Assessment 2.0” to “Exhibiting Student Work”, to dive deeper on relevant topics.
    • We would deliver 1:1 project coaching during planning times to guide them in planning school projects and preparing for implementation
    • We would offer steadily available support; we established regular phone communications with the principal, allowing for guidance and debriefs as needed.
    • We offered summer availability, meeting with teachers for 1:1 coaching as needed, to assure inclusion of as many teachers as possible.
  • The Results:

    • Aviara’s teachers took advantage of the PD opportunities-we provided 7 workshops over 2 years
    • Teachers quickly grasped concepts, finding PBL implementation to be straightforward, manageable, and inspiring.
    • Principal observed increased staff engagement and enthusiasm.
    • Principal noted successful implementation of PBL across all classrooms within the requested time frame.
    • Teachers expressed strong appreciation for the consistent presence and accessibility of the PBL training team, and for CraftEd’s familiarity with the unique considerations of AOMS.
    • Teachers received collaboration and 1:1 personal guidance as they planned fully-integrated, interdisciplinary projects for the first time.
    • Teachers were trained, inclusive of all content areas/classrooms.
    • Teachers received access to a library of supportive resources and services to continue to further the work.
    • Upon request, CraftEd has maintained an ongoing coaching relationship with the school for two years – and counting!
    • The school, which serves 1,117 students, now features at least 2 PBL projects/year in each class!
    • The school has requested additional sessions to guide teaching staff in advancing PBL into third and additional projects.

“Jenny’s work with our team over two years has provided a consistent touchstone and built an atmosphere of trust to support our development of quality PBL experiences for our students. When I have teachers coming to me regularly asking for collaboration time with Jenny to help push their work further, I know that we are onto something good”

– Bryan Brockett, Ed. D., Principal, Aviara Oaks Middle School