Two other initiatives are accompanying the one-to-one technology program being instituted in St. Clair schools starting this academic year.

Board of education members were given a school climate report during their August meeting that focused on the “Champion Teaching” and “Leader In Me” initiatives.

Classes in the R-XIII district began on Aug. 15.

“The focus on ‘Champion Teaching’ and ‘Leader In Me’ models will improve student engagement while teaching students to be their own learners,” Assistant Superintendent Nadine Myers said in a report to the R-XIII board. “These models will complement the technology initiative already under way.”

According to information shared at the board meeting, through the initiatives St. Clair students will be able to broaden their learning while doing it responsibly with the use of technology and direction from their teachers.

Champion Teaching

Specifically, “Champion Teaching” incorporates 49 techniques that increase student engagement while improving teaching strategies.

“The techniques hold teachers and students more accountable,” information from Myers stated. “If techniques are implemented correctly, a student cannot sit in the back of the class unengaged or give an answer of ‘I don’t know.’”

At the same time, a teacher will not be able to lecture from a desk where he or she often loses the interest of the students.

Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion” instruction tool centers on offering effective teaching techniques to help teachers become champions in the classroom. The techniques are concrete, specific and are easy to put into action quickly, information states.

Among the techniques are “No Opt Out,” which shows how to move students from the blank stare or stubborn shrug to giving the right answer every time; “Do It Again,” which focuses on when students fail to successfully complete a basic task, doing it again, doing it right, and doing it perfectly results in the best consequences; and “No Warnings,” which shows how to effectively address misbehaviors in a classroom.

Leader In Me

The “Leader In Me” program adds to the “Champion Teaching” model but also creates the desire “to be your best” through the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Stephen Covey developed that program that presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that are presented as universal and timeless.

Information states that Covey’s book first introduces the concept of a paradigm shift and prepares individuals for a change in mindset. It helps them understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from others and asserts that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other.

Once people are prepared for this, the seven habits are introduced in a proper order.

The first three habits — be proactive, begin with the end in mind and put first things first — surround moving from dependence to independence.

The next three — think win-win, seek first to understand and then to be understood, and synergize — have to do with interdependence.

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence and is called sharpening the saw.

Training for St. Clair teachers on the initiatives continued over the summer.