Ayers Institute Case Study

Robertson County Schools

Increasing Academic Rigor; Working with Adult Learners

Partner Robertson County Schools
Location Robertson County (Tennessee)
Timeframe Started 2016; Completed 2016
  • Increase awareness of adult learning theory
  • Focus on increasing rigor
  • Build capacity in teachers and leaders
Program Elements
  • Customized professional learning

Robertson County School District is located 25 miles north of Nashville and serves 12,000 students in grades K-12.  This school system demonstrates a focus on enabling all students to reach and exceed high academic standards.  As their mission indicates, the educators in this district work to ensure that “all students are prepared to succeed in life.”  Decatur County Schools’ engagement with the Ayers Institute began in the fall of 201 when Cheryl Killebrew, Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator saw the need to equip Robertson County’s teacher leaders with skills to enhance their work with adult learners, and ways to coach teachers to increased academic rigor.

This initial vision put forth by Ms. Killebrew led to a professional learning opportunity for approximately 40 district and school leaders, literacy leaders, and instructional coaches.  Coaches from the Ayers Institute planned and presented professional learning sessions focused specifically on increasing academic rigor and working with adult learners.  At the conclusion these sessions, one literacy leader said the session with Ayers coaches was, “Exactly what I needed. The Ayers Institute is amazing! Thank you for all you do for educators!” An instructional coach said she received, “more tools than expected, especially how to relate to adult learners.”

This initial professional learning partnership centered on the district goals of collaboration and increasing academic rigor, and we expect that there will be other opportunities to partner with Robertson County Schools.

“I plan to incorporate this new learning about working with adult learners," said one Robertson County school leader, "and to work on being an active listener. To listen with empathy and not sympathy.”

Partnership results:

  • Increased understanding of how to work with adult learners
  • Increased focus on rigor and differentiation at all levels

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