Student Task Force Begins to Rebuild

CIA Gives Voice to Students about Their Learning

Gabriel Philipp, Staff Writer

Nearly two years in hiatus, the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (CIA) student task force has returned to campus under the guidance of Mrs. Kirsten Soroko, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator.

The goal of the CIA task force is to teach both teachers and students how to be effective instructors  and learners, through the core values of the committee that focus on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The task force will also help students to give and accept feedback.

The overall aim of the CIA Task Force is to give students a voice about how they learn.

The teacher CIA Task Force meets as a separate committee, although both the students and teachers have collaborated in the past. 

On October 5, students met to gain insight about the task force and its goals. It’s important to note that the student CIA is not an official school club. Clubs need to be in action for three years before they can be administered as an official club.

“We are starting to revisit the student CIA task force,”  said Soroko. “We were very active pre COVID and had worked together for almost three years and had built up student voice and choice. The students who were involved in the task force integrated their findings into projects. The teacher CIA Task Force also did  research and completed projects. In the end, both the students and teachers were evaluating and giving each other feedback.” 

Soroko truly believes that it is time to revitalize this student-led task force and bring it back on campus because what students think is important about curriculum, instruction and assessment will give them ownership and voice about how they learn.

“Whether you’re an athlete, a member of the band or part of Pinkerton Players, you’re still a learner,” said Soroko. “Providing an opportunity for students to share their voice and perspectives about understanding about their own learning is super important.”

As the student CIA committee rebuilds, there will be a focus on the recruitment of younger classmates to the program. Having younger members in the student CIA will be key to rebuilding the committee.

A major component of the CIA encourages the importance of feedback.  With the establishment of teacher and student task forces, strong communication forms. 

“We all should be learning from each other,” said Soroko. “We need to be able to receive feedback so that we can grow in our areas of need.”

For some time now, the school has had a lead teacher program in which these teachers work as instructional coaches. According to Soroko, what makes the lead teacher program successful is that using research to guide instructional and assessment practices helps teachers to experience their content through a different lens with the aim of increasing student achievement. 

Through extensive research, the CIA committee has been finding ways to involve students in their education.. Many students are realizing it is ok to take risks with their learning and that they should ask questions about things they don’t understand, and research them to get their own understanding of the topic. The ultimate goal is to make students more passionate about their learning.

The student CIA had its second meeting on October 26. Based upon the number of students who attended the initial meeting and who asked great questions, it appears that the CIA Task Force has a promising future. 

“I’m excited,” said Soroko. “I’ve asked a few teachers who wanted to kind of rebuild this program up and they’re very excited about it. I think it’s really important that we involve students in the process of building this committee because it really is their program, their perspective on curriculum, instruction and assessment, and the learning that goes on here.”