Curriculum and Instruction
I believe a school’s curriculum should be rigorous, engaging and student-centered. The main focus of instruction should be to teach 21st century skills: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. I believe this because as a student I did not have this type of education. I was taught to memorize and restate exactly what I was told and I did not learn as much as I could have. There are many topics to be addressed about curriculum including its rigor, pacing, level of engagement, interventions for subgroups, and assessments. However, the most important aspect of curriculum and instruction is delivery of the instruction. This is done by teachers and they should be able to work with the curriculum to make it the best that it can be. This will be accomplished through teacher collaboration and fine tuning of the curriculum. It is vital that teachers are motivated to teach the best way possible, and working together to use the curriculum to its full effect will result in the highest student achievement. I have worked with my colleagues to develop learning communities to develop curriculum and create projects to support student learning. This creates an environment where teachers and students are motivated to learn.
Parent and Community Involvement
I believe a highly effective school is one that partners with the parents and community members to make it the best it can be. Parents and community members can be an untapped resource for schools to use when in need. I believe this because I have worked at schools where there is little to no parental involvement and others where there is an abundance of involvement. The schools without parental involvement can still be great schools, but what makes a fantastic school is one that works together with parents to make a school that benefits all stakeholders. Parents and community members can support schools in so many ways including fundraising, volunteering, supporting students, and facilitating special events. The aspect of parental involvement that I want to focus on is open communication between parents and teachers. If parents and teachers can work together to make a child’s learning experience better, the student can achieve much more. I believe starting off the year by having teachers and parents discussing student learning and how it will work best for everyone will begin the year on a positive note and will support student achievement. At the beginning of the school year, I reach out to parents by email to introduce myself and let them know that I am available to them for any questions and concerns throughout the year. This opens the channel of communication between the parents and myself which allows for a great support system for all students.
Discipline and School Climate/Culture
I believe a positive school culture revolves around unity and cohesion amongst all stakeholders. In order to create this type of school culture, a school should have rules for the entire school to follow. Three possible rules could be: be safe, be kind and be productive. If everyone at a school follows these rules, everyone will have clear expectations and it will create cohesion for discipline. I believe this because I’ve been at a school where every classroom uses the same rules, which creates continuity between grade levels and classrooms to promote cohesiveness at the school. Schools that do not promote cohesion between classrooms can cause confusion. If the entire staff works together to create a positive school climate by establishing clear expectations that everyone is expected to follow, it will bring everyone together to create a cohesive unit. I worked at a school that had this cohesiveness. Every teacher and every student, no matter the grade level, knew the rules and all teachers could expect the same behavior from all students. The school worked so closely together to create a strong, positive school culture and it showed. Students followed directions no matter which teacher was talking, and everyone was motivated to behave to maintain a positive learning environment.
I believe that technology is a new, extraordinary tool that allows teachers and students to do things we were never able to do before. Technology allows us to prepare students for the 21st century workforce, allowing students to experiment, and produce work that is relevant in today's society. I believe this because I have seen how students can flourish when given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning using technology. Students are eager to use technology and we should use this motivation to support their learning. Technology allows students to research, communicate, collaborate, produce documents, and slideshows, all while being creative. The aspect of technology I want to focus on is allowing students to be creative. For so many years, state standards focused on students learning content one specific way. With the Common Core State Standards, students are encouraged to show their thinking in creative ways. Technology allows students to be creative while learning content at the same time.