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What is Learning Focused Schools (LFS)?

The Douglas County School System has adopted Max Thompson's Learning-Focused Strategies (LFS) Model for instruction in all K-12 classrooms The Learning Focused Schools model provides strategies and solutions based on practices found in schools with 90 percent of their students achieving proficient or higher on standardized tests with 90 percent poverty or racial diversity. These practices and strategies focus on five areas critical to academic success: Planning, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and School Organization.

The Learning-Focused Schools Model is a comprehensive school improvement model that provides schools with a consistent language for learning that is organized into a framework designed explicitly for raising student achievement.

This framework organizes the U.S. Department of Education’s exemplary schools evaluations and the research-based strategies that impact achievement the most:

  • Planning through team-based or learning communities
  • Prioritizing and mapping curriculum
  • Effective use of graphic and advance organizers
  • Instructing vocabulary in context
  • Using summarizing strategies
  • Extending thinking strategies

Moving beyond those effective strategies, the Learning-Focused Schools initiative also specializes in connecting reading comprehension, writing across the curriculum, accelerating and scaffolding learning, balanced literacy, differentiated assignments, and more focused primarily on learning and raising achievement.

Learning Focused Schools Tip

 Research shows that much of learning occurs in social situations and learning is first a social activity before it is a cognitive activity. Students’ ability to learn dramatically increases when they are given an opportunity to discuss the learning with each other.

Some ways you can use collaborative pairs include:

 Numbered Heads is designed to ensure active involvement on the part of learners by giving specific tasks to each partner.

1. Students pair and select who is the #1 and who is the #2. (Example: The person who lives the closest to school is #1 and the other partner is #2.)

2. The teacher announces the task and the time limit. (generally from 30 sec. up to 90 sec.)

3. #1 does_________________; #2 does___________________. For example, #1 describes all the things you would see in the tundra and #2 writes down what #1 says. Then they switch roles for the next example.

 Think-pair-share requires individuals to think about the topic before pairing up to discuss the information.

1. The teacher explains the task while students listen.

2. Students think independently (silently).

3. Students pair with a partner and discuss their thoughts.

4. Students share with another group OR the class.

Pair-Checking is designed to support guided practice of a procedure. This requires students to explain their answers to one another and allows the teacher to circulate and help groups that need assistance.

1. Partners do the first three chemistry problems independently.

2. Partners stop and agree on answers to the problems before repeating the process for the next three problems. If their answers differ, the students explain their methods to each other and try to decide who is correct. If they cannot agree, then the teacher should be asked to intervene.




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