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Teacher Spotlight: St. Lucie County, Florida

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We recently had the privilege of speaking with this amazing team from Florida:

  • Mandy Rowland, K-12 District Literacy Support
  • Kirstie Lickliter, K-12 District Literacy Support
  • Kate Ems, K-12 District Social Studies Support
  1. What is your background teaching with DBQ?
    St. Lucie Public Schools has been implementing DBQ for the past five years. It became abundantly clear that a resource was needed in order to enhance student understanding of informational complex text in the high schools. In order to build capacity, implementation was spiraled through the middle school grades and into high school. Learning from the positive impact of this trend, DBQ was then introduced into the elementary schools starting in grade 4. While seeing the success of DBQ in grades 4-11 for content area classes, we saw how LBQ could fit the need of the interdisciplinary connection of the Language Arts Florida Standards in the ELA classrooms.
  2. What’s working in your district?
    Our district implements the St. Lucie Public Schools’ Framework for Quality Teaching and Learning based on the work of Dr. Robert Marzano so that our teachers can plan and implement effective units/lessons with best practices in education. A direct correlation has completed between the best practices found within the Framework that we utilize and the DBQ Project process.
  3. What is special about The DBQ Project that has allowed you to collaborate so well?
    The DBQ Project has allowed us to collaborate so well because it crosses multiple content areas. DBQ Project makes a direct connection to Social Studies, but it also ties to ELA, Science, and Math. In St. Lucie County we see the importance of creating learning experiences for students where they can make linkages and connections to what they have learned in all of their classes in order to obtain deep understandings of their content. Not only are they making interdisciplinary connections, they are also seeing the same structure between DBQ and LBQ.
  4. How are kids reacting to the process?
    Repeated exposure to all of the DBQ Project resources has enhanced our students’ ability to pull and cite evidence from complex text. Thanks to the structure of the DBQ Project resources, students are now beginning to naturally transfer this skill into other primary and secondary sources.
  5. What advice would you give to administrators who are new to the DBQ process?
    We strongly suggest that others who are new to the DBQ process strategically plan which DBQ/LBQ each grade level will be covering based on the Social Studies/ELA standards as well as the scope and sequence. We would also recommend implementation in grades 4-11 in order to build capacity.
  6. What advice would you give to teachers new to the DBQ process?
    Deconstruct the DBQ/LBQ so that you own it before you teach it. Each unit is a living and breathing being based on your understanding of the sources. This way the units are not taught in a script-like manner. Run through all of the documents on your own before implementing with students so that you can come up with all of the possible responses. It is going to be messy! You have to gradually release this to the students. You cannot hand this to a student to complete independently nor can you do all of the work for them. Setting high expectations will equal results and deep analytical learning and understanding.
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