Professional Learning Time involves teachers of the same subject across schools coming together to review and rehearse new lessons with one another. tors co-plan a lesson together, then practice teaching the material to small groups of students while being observed by a school leader and a curriculum content director. The entire team later analyzes student learning to determine how to adapt the lesson plan more successfully in their own classrooms. Over time, the program has become highly customized, with teachers reviewing student assessment data together and determining the best ways to respond to diverse student needs through tutoring and other supports. Culture of Collaboration FirstLine’s Altman notes,“The collaboration is incredible. The teachers are challenging each other, and there’s much more rigorous thinking.” The payoff for this teamwork is increased student achievement despite higher standards in English, Math and Social Studies. In fact, last year FirstLine was the second-highest-performing network of open admissions schools in New Orleans. FirstLine’s finely tuned techniques are a powerful example of how New Orleans can continue to invest in people as the city steps into its next 300 years. Instead of basic, limited professional development experience at the start of a year, FirstLine is leveraging BCM’s investment into a continuous learning system year-round, across sites and subject areas. The dynamic methods reflect the way FirstLine values its staff, prioritizing supports for teachers to become better educators for our youth. Moving Forward “The next stage of gains has to be about continuing to improve how we prepare to teach our lessons,”says Altman regarding the remaining grant period.“We’ll be asking, ‘What are the moves we need to make in our heads to be better prepared?’” In other words, FirstLine will continue to push and evolve best practices. At BCM, we look forward to the next wave of results. “FirstLine identified that people still really matter.” — Alvin David BCM Program Director, Education Grants