Collaboration Leads the Way at Bremen

Collaboration Leads the Way at Bremen

Students at Bremen High School were recently treated to a cross-curricular instructional experience thanks to the collaboration of two teachers and the Midlothian Police Department. Dr. Chad Augustine's Criminal Law class joined forces with Mr. Jerry Ward's Auto Mechanics class on Friday, September 6 for an educational overview of a police squad car. The demonstration was led by Officer Ryan Gulli of the Midlothian Police Department who explained to students how the equipment and technology of the car worked.

After learning about the car's camera, lights, radios, and sirens, Mr. Ward then taught students about the mechanical capabilities of the patrol car including the electrical system, engine, and tires. Students were also given the chance to tour the inside of the vehicle. Including the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the squad car and in the backseat.

"Collaborating with Mr. Ward and Officer Gulli gave both classes a unique perspective and better working knowledge of a police squad car," Said Dr. Augustine. "We like offering this opportunity to the students at the beginning of each semester because it builds trust and a better rapport between Bremen students and the Midlothian Police."

This isn't the first time students and the community have seen collaboration as a working example at Bremen High School either. In fact, Dr. Augustine has been working with the Midlothian Police Department since the fall of 2017 allowing his students to learn from professionals in the field. The Midlothian Police Department travels to the school seven times throughout each semester and teaches students about squad cars, handcuffing, Miranda Rights, Terry Stops, types of popular crimes, riot gear, DUIs, social media, drugs, fingerprinting, and juvenile justice. The students also get to take a field trip to the police department where they hear from officers and get to tour the facilities.

Bremen's Collab Lab also unites teachers while sparking collaboration and creativity. Located in the corner of Bremen High School's library is a room that looks like nothing out of the ordinary, but actually serves as a collaborative place for teachers to brew creativity and take their innovative efforts to their classrooms for students to enjoy. The space is called the Collab Lab and features a white-board wall, TV projector, and conference style seating. While it may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, teachers regularly come to the Collab Lab with one goal in mind – to share ideas and inspire.

Unlike a teacher's lounge, staff come with the focus to work and motivate their colleagues. Discussions range from how teachers are best using new technology in the classroom, how lesson plans can be combined to teach students new skills and open them to new environments, or even how teachers are best handling student behavior.

For Dr. Augustine, the idea to collaborate with Mr. Ward stemmed from meeting and speaking with other teachers in the Collab Lab. Once the two of them connected on that idea, they were then able to provide this unique opportunity to students fostering new and continued relationships with the local police and peers. Students can use the information from the cross-curricular experience to grow their career interests and apply what they have learned to a broader understanding of course topics in relation to the world and real-life practices.

"The act of collaborating allows teachers to provide students with a learning environment coming from multiple perspectives and different career points of view," says Dr. Augustine. "The space (Collab Lab) is a great professional area to exchange teaching ideas and strategies among educators at Bremen."

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