When Page Middle School opens in the fall of 2015, both Page and Peasley Middle School will return to serving sixth, seventh and eighth graders in Gloucester. With two middle schools intact again, a new approach to instruction called project based learning, or PBL, may be implemented within the middle school curriculum.
PBL is an alternative to teacher-led instruction and the traditional rote memorization currently employed to ready students for state standardized assessments. Although that type of instruction will still take place, school division superintendent Ben Kiser told the Gloucester School Board Tuesday that PBL is "a move past assessment based learning."
With PBL, instruction is more student-centered and there is more emphasis on learning by doing. "The experience has been that students become more engaged and the data suggests where they are connected, they do better," explained assistant superintendent Chuck Wagner. Along with PBL, he said there will still be a place for the direct delivery of instruction.
Page principal Ginny Wilburn and Peasley principal Bryan Hartley have selected teachers to join them in learning more about PBL and how it may be best implemented here. From Page, Wilburn said teachers Kim Pickett, Craig Doolittle and Rachel Emde will be part of the planning committee. She also asked Gloucester High School teacher Emily Finerfrock to join the planners.