All school buildings in the Indianola district dismiss students one hour early to ensure that teachers have the structured time to collaborate.

Teachers gather in groups that may be by content, grade level, or mixed grade level, and their collaborative work is centered on five questions:

  • What is it we want all students to learn?
  • How will we know if each student has learned it?
  • How will we teach it?
  • How will we respond when some students don’t know?
  • How will we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?

The middle school teachers have learned through their professional development how these five questions guide their work, which is the basis for being a Professional Learning Community (PLC). The teachers also use Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) to score their tasks, instruction, and student performance in order to make improvements that will increase rigor and coherence among teachers and classes.