McAuliffe International School, (Denver, CO). At McAuliffe International School, core content (social studies, science, math, and English Language Arts) teachers do not plan their own lessons. Instead, a lead planner for the course curates the curriculum and develops the units and lessons for the team. Once the lessons are ready for the upcoming week, the lead planner meets with the teacher team to help teachers internalize the most important part of each lesson. The school calls this process “intellectual preparation.” During intellectual preparation, teachers receive slide decks for presenting the lessons to their students. They also receive the texts and materials, the lesson objectives, and the exit tickets. Because all of this is completed in advance by the lead planner for the core teachers, the teachers are able to focus on HOW they are going to deliver the lesson versus trying to figure out WHAT they are going to teach the next day. This process empowers teachers to anticipate student errors, to formulate back pocket questions, and to plan how to monitor student work and provide feedback to students. This shift significantly increases the quality of instruction in classes. New teachers with high quality lessons can focus on lesson delivery and classroom management. The most effective and experienced teachers have autonomy to go above and beyond the provided baseline lesson and have the art of their craft shine through in their lessons.
The lead planner model is of benefit to students as well. Every student, regardless of who they have as a teacher, is given the same learning opportunities. They are presented with the same rigorous texts, objectives, tasks, assessments, and exit tickets. The quality of a student’s educational experience at McAuliffe is not dependent upon winning the “scheduling lottery” and getting the best teacher. The high quality of students’ educational experience is assured because every teacher is aligned on when, what, and how lessons will be taught.