At Teach BIG, we believe that vertical alignment is essential for continued success within the learning process. Imagine the process of building a structure. There are many teams that are required to complete the task- inspectors, plumbers, framers, electricians, etc. Without one of these components, the structure would never reach its state of completion and full potential. In fact, if you remove a component of this project, it can be detrimental. The learning process mirrors this so eloquently.
Each teacher, at every grade level, serves a purpose. Removing quality instruction at any level of a student’s educational journey can also be detrimental and leave learning gaps. When teachers are using the same teaching structure, terminology, and concepts at every grade level, students grow and develop at an accelerated rate. Imagine what it would be like to have students exposed year after year to the same vocabulary and experiencing the same concepts in a grade-level appropriate manner. As students go from grade to grade, it would no longer be about teaching our students how to read or write, but about perfecting their existing skills so that they can read and write more effectively at each grade level.
Vertical alignment helps to “cancel out” more traditional predictors of student achievement such as socioeconomic status, gender, race, and teacher effectiveness. In addition, teachers will learn to better communicate and collaborate with their peers, helping them understand how their instructional decisions contribute to students’ overall learning. This would result in accomplishing our ultimate goal- expert, college-ready communicators. In the end, vertical alignment is not simply an option within education, it is essential to success.