Successful Transitions is a three-year project focusing on the development and implementation of a self-directed, regional, professional development structure for approximately 50 regional K-12, community college, and university faculty in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, supported by a grant from College Spark Washington.
This work was supported by the College Spark Community Grants Program, Eastern Washington University, the Community Colleges of Spokane, and the following school districts: Cheney, Columbia, Deer Park, Lind-Ritzville, Mead, Spokane, and West Valley.
Focusing on the goals of decreasing the proportion of high school graduates placing into developmental courses and increasing the proportion of college students satisfactorily completing college-level ELA and mathematics courses, project participants address high school to college transition difficulties in both ELA and math. A professional learning project was established to target the complex and persistent problems of students’ high school to college transition. Professional learning through inquiry helped us to examine our practices in relation to the problem. This regional collaborative professional development project consisting of ELA and math faculty from Eastern Washington University, Community Colleges of Spokane, Spokane Public Schools, and area rural districts shows common problems of practice across sectors and content areas.
The three main problems of practice identified are 1) independent learning, 2) critical reading and writing skills, and 3) critical thinking and problem solving skills. An important aspect of inquiry learning is in sharing results of our work, both internally and externally, which allows for collective learning about the problem and its possible solutions (Morris & Hiebert, 2011; Palmisano, 2013).
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