I am delighted and honored to be a part of a school community that is guided by high expectations, unwavering commitment to the success of all students, and a strong sense of community. Our staff consistently goes beyond what is expected and required to create a positive learning environment where children feel safe, valued, and respected.
Over the course of the past year, staff members have embraced opportunities to extend their own learning. In addition to taking advantage of the superb professional development program offered by the district, teachers have also been involved in numerous graduate level courses at area universities. During building-based staff development time, we utilize a "professional learning community" model whereby grade level teams improve teaching and learning by meeting regularly to apply best practices to lesson design. Teachers use assessment data to drive these instructional decisions according to the following model:
- Utilize a common assessment in order to gather data on a standard where student performance should be improved.
- Analyze performance on the assessment.
- Determine priorities for improvement areas.
- Identify instructional strategies.
- Set measurable performance goals.
- Implement strategies.
- Reassess, repeating the cycle until goals are met, and then identify a new standard.
Research points to collegiality as a hallmark of effective schools. The “Professional Learning Community” model fosters collegiality, cultivating and maximizing the reserves of expertise in our schools.
The parent community has been critical to our success. Our exceptionally well organized PTA provides a wealth of programs and resources ranging from an extensive after-school enrichment program to community service opportunities. We have had a wonderful variety of enrichment programs come into the school, supporting and extending curricula. The PTA also provides the funds for many materials and projects, which we would otherwise have to do without. Our staff is most appreciative of the tremendous support that we have received from the PTA!
Of course, our students are the fabric of the school. Their lives are woven together in a way which connects us all. Each is unique adding vibrancy and texture. We celebrate our students’ uniqueness, but also try to help them to see their connection to the whole. It is our interconnectedness, as a school community, that makes us stronger, more resilient and better able to adapt to the changes and demands of each new year.
I look forward to our continued growth as a community of learners.
Janet G. Carey