Three East End school superintendents, who launched a forum at Stony Brook University Thursday night on improving education, are coming to Shelter Island for a public meeting tonight.
The plan is to hear more about “team teaching” and enhancing the learning experience for both faculty and students.
Shelter Island Superintendent Michael Hynes announced plans at the Thursday night forum for an alliance among the three local educators — himself, Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, who takes the helm at the end of the current school year in Greenport, and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steve Cohen.
The new alliance is in its preliminary stages, Dr. Hynes said in a follow-up interview Friday afternoon. But he envisions it could involve sharing of staff among the three districts and is likely to embrace at least two other districts — one on the South Fork and another in middle Suffolk County.
Dr. Hynes is not ready to divulge which two other districts are primed to join the alliance. But he said the goal is to begin a more collaborative approach to education on the East End and see the movement spread throughout the state.
The concepts of collaborative education discussed Thursday night offer “a much better way and a proven way,” Dr. Hynes said. He pointed to successes in Canada and Finland — both with excellent educational systems based on the collaborative idea.
Thursday night’s forum at Stony Brook was an outgrowth of a conversation among the three East End educators about a book written by two of the guest speakers — Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan, who wrote “Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School.”
The authors participated in Thursday night’s educational summit, along with Finnish educational expert Pasi Sahlberg, currently teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education. But what the three men who started the process fear most is a stimulating discussion followed by a void. That led to plans for Monday night’s meeting where Shelter Island social studies teacher Brian Doelger will take the lead in speaking about how team teaching is working at the school. Both Mr. Gamberg and Dr. Cohen will be bringing members of their own faculties to Monday night’s discussion scheduled for 7 p.m.
The discussion will focus on how to take the human and social capital in each of the three districts and use it effectively in all three districts, Dr. Hynes said.
“It just made you proud to be a teacher,” Mr. Doelger said, praising the Thursday night forum, which was attended by a quarter of the Shelter Island faculty. “It wasn’t a complaint fest,” he added.
The need for collaboration among teachers is “so important,” Mr. Doelger said. While teachers are always encouraged to have students collaborate on projects, until recently, they failed to set a good example, he said.
Among the ideas the experts spoke about at the forum was the reality that rating teachers failed to improve their abilities, but collaboration spurred them to do better work and be more creative day by day.
Instead of simply eschewing the Common Core standards and the method of rollout that frustrated many educators, what the three superintendents wanted to do Thursday nigh was provide a clear alternative, Dr. Hynes said.
“You have to start somewhere,” Dr. Hynes said. Monday night is really “a platform” to begin to see what the three districts can achieve together, he said.
The meeting is open to all at the Shelter Island School beginning at 7 p.m.