Collaborative Learning: It’s Not Just for Students The five charter schools comprising FirstLine Schools are no strangers to innovation. Witness the Edible Schoolyard pro- gram with its hands-on cooking and gardening classes, and NOLA Tech, a career and technical education initiative which has evolved into a citywide career tech program. “The collaboration is incredible.Theteachers are challenging each other, and there’s much more rigorous thinking.” — Jay Altman CEO of FirstLine Schools FirstLine’s approach to supporting teachers is equally lead- ing-edge. The transom grant awarded by Baptist Community Ministries, now in its second year, originally was designated for Teacher Prep Day, which offered scheduled times for over 200 teachers to receive professional training, with the end goal of improving student learning and outcomes. Above, L to R: Connor Roberts, Social Studies Teacher; Mary Phillips, Science Teacher; Nicholas Herring, Social Studies Teacher Aide; Mattilyn Karst, Social Studies Teacher; Allison Post, Director of Science; Kim Frusciante, Director of Social Studies; Julia Dezen, Manager of Primary Math; Danielle Wright, Science Teacher Teacher Prep Day, However, Has Evolved “It’s gotten bigger and more sophisticated,”says Jay Altman, CEO of FirstLine Schools, about the initiative now called Professional Learning Time.“Teachers who teach the same subject come together across our four K-8 schools, and through peer feedback and shared expertise, they become better faster.” Going Deeper The urgency for teachers to improve their methods is motivat- ed in part by the more rigorous school standards introduced by Louisiana in 2013. To help students absorb the new mate- rial, teachers first needed to develop a deeper understanding of each subject. The grant, $450,000 over three years, supports this goal. For example, part of Professional Learning Time involves teachers of the same subject across schools coming together to review and rehearse new lessons with one another. In the recently introduced (and enthusiastically received) Lab Sites, instruc- FirstLine Schools Transom Grant in Education 4