The mission of Brook Dale Elementary School is the effective teaching and learning through high expectations, equitable, and digital learning environments to have academic success for every student based on collaborative partnership.
What do you consider to be the primary purpose of teacher evaluations?
The primary purpose of teacher evaluation is to offer administrators and coaches with the required information to support the educationists. Explicit resources and feedback are provided to the teachers after evaluations using pertinent information gotten through observations.
How was the mission, in your school, created and who was involved?
The mission of the school was created as a result of a collaborative effort of all stakeholders.
What strategies do you recommend for effective classroom management?
Effective classroom management begins with being consistent and concise. All behaviors should be addressed; appropriate or inappropriate, through praise or redirection. It is important that a culture of trust is developed within the first week of school.
What is the vision of your school and how does it align with the district vision.
The vision of the school is to graduate every student with the required world-class knowledge and skills, college and career ready.
What do you feel are the key components of maintaining high staff moral?
The key component of maintaining high staff morale is based on a culture of trust, support, and respect.
How have you motivated your school and staff to buy into the vision and mission?
I believe in praising my teachers' efforts both orally and through material forms. We celebrate areas of growth on standardized assessment quarterly through celebrations during faculty meetings. Additionally, we have monthly celebrations acknowledging teacher efforts and hard work for the month.
How do you empower teachers and include them in decision-making?
Teachers are empowered by providing them with opportunities to present to their peers, providing leadership roles within the school and community. Teachers are included in the decision-making process of the school accreditation process, and usage of federal funding.
What are some decisions that only you make?
The final decision on all aspects of the school will be made by me, however I believe in input from all stakeholders. Ultimately, decisions have to be based on solid information (data) and not opinions or feelings.
What role should technology play in teaching and learning?
During this millennial age, technology is the wave of the future; therefore it is infused in every aspect of the instructional day. Currently, the school is privileged to have one to one devices (iPads) in the classroom. Teachers are required to incorporate technology in the lesson to provide students opportunities to communicate and research. It has made a significant impact on students' learning when used effectively.
Would you say that most of your decisions about curriculum are data-driven?
All instructional decision is based on data. Bi-weekly teachers meet with a Data Coach to dive into their grade level/school data and make decisions for small group instruction and intervention. Teachers collaborate and share strategies that are working in their classroom, based on noted improvements in their data.
How do you encourage communication in your school and what are the primary means
We believe in being transparent with our community and parents. We provide open communication through the usage of our website, monthly newsletter, and electronic call-out system. Teachers are encouraged to send weekly newsletters and homework sheets home. Progress reports and interim reports are sent home to provide parents with a glimpse of their child's work. We believe in keeping our parent aware through constant communication.
How do you decide to whom to delegate certain tasks?
Many of the tasks of the daily operations of the school are delegated to members of the leadership team. These four man teams have specific areas of responsibility (Literacy, Numeracy, Child Development, and Title One).
Where or what do you do see your weakest link?
The only noted area of weakness, based on data, would be our parental involvement. As a result of poorly attended school events, we have made deliberate efforts to promote parental involvement. Specific initiatives include preparing dinner after events so that parents will not worry about the need to cook or find a meal for their family after events. We also celebrate our parent volunteer during a planned luncheon. We are making a great stride.
What do you feel are important elements in decision-making?
The most import element of decision-making for our school is to include all stakeholders in the process. This will promote buy-in for any decisions made concerning the school.
What is the role the community and parents in your school?
The community and parents play a vital role in our school culture. We include our stakeholders in the decision making process and solicit their comments concerning the school. They are our supporters and advertisers. We exist through their support. We invite our community and parents into volunteer, mentor, and provide support for school initiatives.
What qualities or characteristics do you believe make up a good teacher?
A good teacher is one who believes that all students are capable of learning. He/she is analytical and baseball instructional decisions on data collected through various means. Good teachers are creative and make learning engaging and exciting for students. Good teachers make learning possible by honing in on a students' strength (noted learning style) and use it as a vehicle to teach areas of weaknesses.
For a marginal teacher, what are some strategies you would use for remediation?
All teachers are provided support; the however marginal teacher will receive consistent support. Planned meeting to collaborate about the lesson, frequent observations, and feedback provided by Instructional Coaches, peer-visits will be scheduled, and attendance to specific professional development sessions to develop areas of concern will be required to provide support to the teacher.
What are the things you look for as evidence that the classroom is an effective learning environment?
engaged throughout the lesson. Students collaborating and researching as a group will be a key component during the lesson. The use of technology by students to present, communicate, and create projects will be noted as well. Students will be allowed to facilitate their findings and provided strategies that assisted them in their learning process. Also, opportunities for students to think on higher, deeper levels (analyzing, applying) will be evident throughout the lesson.
What would you hope to see in a 5-minute walkthrough in a classroom?
During a five minute walkthrough, I would hope to see collaboration among students and a teacher assisting groups or conducting a small group intervention. I would hope to see actively involved participants in groups discussing the topic and using strategies to assist group members.
What types of professional development do you offer to your teachers?
Our staff is provided with staff development based on targeted areas of need noted through the usage of the Eliot Observational Tool. Noted areas of PDs include unpacking the state standards, small group intervention, and data analysis.
The interviews conducted made a few conclusions about the administrators and how they are similar and different albeit to some extent. For one, the administrators are all interested in the well-being of their students. Their goal is the success of the students to be influential people in the society which they stand firmly on and plan all their objectives towards the achievement of these goals.
Other than that, their leadership is one that is involving in nature. What I mean is that the administrators are open to ideas from among different stakeholders in the school. There is an excellent and open relationship that fosters good communication among all the school stakeholders. As such, most of the school programs are well represented by all stakeholders and although the administrators have the final say about certain issues, these are not born from within but come from rigorous consultation to ensure that everyone's voice is heard and that the deliberations and decisions made are for the best of the school and the students.
The teachers are a core element of the school and are given enough freedom to express themselves. Further, each of the administrators also knows the importance of motivating the teachers as it trickles down to their class performance which in the end is good for education. Furthermore, teachers are allowed to chip into the vision to ensure that they are on board so that as a unit, the school is well able to meet the objectives of the school. The administrators are lucky that the teachers who form an important support group especially in the implementation of their plan are fully behind their vision. Even with that, it is not obvious that all the teachers or other staff of the school is behind the plan, and it is, therefore, important that the administrators identify some of the people who may not be on board, learn why they are not on board, and implement plans that will see their voices heard and their issues met.
It is also important to note that the administrators value the role of technology going forward into the future. In fact, these technologies have been implemented in the school with iPads in each class which has also increased student involvement in the learning process. This is a step towards making education and learning a more interactive process with better participation which leads to better understanding, and in the end, better results.
The strategies that the administrators have included the inclusion of different stakeholders in the decision-making process which is important to ensure that everyone's voices are heard, also, the boosting of teachers morale by affirmations and monthly get-togethers that help identify the steps taken each month and the problems, solutions, and recommendations for the issues that arise every day. Together with that, there is the Eliot Observation Tool to measure staff development that is to help identify the areas of growth and the areas that need help to come up with solutions for the same.
The barriers to achieving the required results include the lack of parent involvement in certain aspects of the plan. Parents are an important segment of a school. It is important that the parents back the administration fully in everything they do, and raise their voices where they feel there is a problem. However, the parents are not fully involved in the school programs. However, the problem is being mitigated by organizing parent-teacher dinners, parent-student projects and other activities that will see the parents participating more in the development of the children and the school in general.
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