In the news: Team teaching benefits students and educators


Meghan Ensell

In the past, efforts to combat Arizona’s teacher shortage have focused on recruitment and frankly, haven’t worked, Brent Maddin, executive director of the Next Education Workforce initiative, told KJZZ 91.5 FM, a public radio station in Phoenix, Ariz. The initiative is helping schools move away from the traditional one-teacher, one-classroom approach and adapt a team-based model. 

“We’ve created the need to have one person in a box with a group of students every single day. I’m not convinced that it’s a) a job that is sustainable for educators, or b) really good at delivering the truly deep and personalized learning that our students, especially our students with the greatest needs deserve,” says Maddin.

Arizona’s largest school district, Mesa Public Schools, is working with MLFTC to build Next Education Workforce models in about a quarter of its 80 schools. Shaun Reedy, a second-year teacher at Mesa’s Westwood High School, told KJZZ that having four other teachers to lean on has been incredibly helpful. Read more.

After discovering alarming graduation data three years ago, Westwood High School tested a team-teaching model with a group of freshmen. “We only had about a 70% graduation rate and in looking at that data, we noticed the students that failed any of their core classes in their freshman year were at a higher rate of not finishing high school,” Vice Principal Vatricia Harris told KJZZ.

In moving to a Next Education Workforce model, teachers were able to collaborate in order to better support students, and also work together to create more engaging classes. Already, Harris says, they’ve seen success and the school moved it’s entire freshmen class to a team-based model. This effort was also done in order to support students who were affected by the pandemic, either academically, personally or socially. 

Westwood High School plans to expand this model of teaching to all grade levels. Read or listen to the story

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