The Model Classroom teacher provides new and experienced kindergarten teachers an opportunity to witness the powerful effects that a rich literacy environment, exemplary teacher, and high expectations can have on the lives of students. In that way, she is acting as an important change agent in our profession – one who models the very change that is hoped others will embrace, who illustrates for them what effective teacher looks like, and who inspires others to strive for what is possible for children.
CLI Model Classrooms
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CLI Model Classrooms are eye-openers: by showing what is possible, they dramatically raise teacher expectations, producing better performance from teacher and student alike.
CLI establishes Model Classrooms in schools in low-income neighborhoods with student populations typical to the area. We provide Model Classroom teachers with training that is both intensive and sustained over time, and furnish their classrooms with large numbers of quality children’s books and literacy materials. The result is nothing short of transformational: a classroom where students thrive in an environment of support and challenge.
Visiting teachers from within the building and from other schools are able to see first-hand the remarkable student success resulting from rich literacy environments, exemplary teaching, and high expectations for students. Model Classrooms give insight into the best teaching strategies and classroom learning environments for teachers of children who begin school with little early literacy experience. The experience of seeing best instructional practices in action in a real classroom elevates teachers’ expectations for their students and for themselves. Teachers leave motivated to reflect on their own teaching and begin implementing best practices they’ve observed.
Ideally, a school should have a Model Classroom in each grade. Since 2004, this has been the case at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown, PA, where 98% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. A CLI Model Classroom in each of the kindergarten, first, second, and third grades has allowed for continuity of high-impact reading and writing instruction for children through four critical years. The result has been a dramatic increase in third grade student scores on the state test -- from 20% to 70% -- and the.National Title I Association’s 2009 Distinguished School Award.
Every CLI Model Classroom teacher is also part of the CLI Model Classroom Network, a sustainable framework for supporting Model teachers over the long term in a collaborative learning community in which teachers study best practices and share ideas and challenges. The Network’s monthly Leadership Development Meetings facilitated by CLI Professional Developers help to deepen their knowledge of instructional practices and relevant research.
Being part of the Network also helps them become ‘teacher-leaders’ within their schools. As teacher-leaders, CLI Model Classroom teachers collaborate with their grade-level colleagues to standardize literacy instruction and establish benchmarks for student and teacher performance, ensuring that students’ literacy education is consistently excellent throughout the grade level.
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future reported in 1998 that teacher quality accounted for over 90% of the variation in achievement in schools with students from similar backgrounds. The report states that teachers should increase their instructional knowledge by visiting successful teachers in action, getting exemplary instruction from which to model their own practices.
A Graduate of a CLI Model Classroom (10 Years Later)
CLI currently maintains 215 CLI Model Classrooms in 10 cities.
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