Finding power in collaboration, Cimarron wins national Emergenetics award
Written by Mike Santoyo
PARKER – Four years ago, Cimarron Middle School teachers and staff saw an opportunity to improve how they collaborate with students and how students collaborate with each other. Now, four years later, not only have they succeeded in these efforts, they have also been named the National Student Teacher Emergenetics Program (STEP) School of 2016.
STEP was designed for students and teachers by Emergenetics International, an organization that works to improve the way people work together and evaluate themselves. STEP provides students with a science and research-based survey that provides them with a report detailing how they think and behave. This report can be utilized to improve collaborations between teachers and their students, students and their peers as well as help students understand themselves better.
“Five years ago we did Emergenetics with our staff, which is the adult version,” said Cindy Corlett, Vice Principal and STEP facilitator at Cimarron Middle School. “We found that right after we initially started doing it, we found the power in collaboration, honoring each other’s differences, finding out more about ourselves, and we saw just a huge increase in deepening our understanding of working with others.”
After implementing Emergenetics with Cimarron staff, teachers were excited to see how this could work for their students. They discovered STEP and brought it into their school.
“It’s something we wouldn’t want to live without now. It’s a little bit of work, but the payoffs are huge for us,” Corlett said. “It works anytime you’re working with a human whether it’s an adult or a student. It can tell you how they prefer to behave and think. It helps in all content areas.”
STEP has improved the way that Cimarron students and teachers are collaborating in various aspects of their education.
“When students work in groups on projects, one of the first things they do is look at and share their thinking preferences and their behaviors with each other to deepen their understanding of working together,” Corlett said. “We’ve really done some big things with implementation and learned a lot of lessons along the way.”
Corlett considers the national level award a great honor.
“I’m really proud of the work we’ve all done at Cimarron,” she said. “Our deep seated philosophy that we’re built upon is really helping students find themselves. We’re champions of the individual and we want students to understand that this is the time in their lives that they can explore a lot of things and learn about themselves as they move forward. Being champions of individuals, this tool has really helped us to both differentiate and personalize education to support all students.”
“Doing this for the benefit of our students has been epic for us.”