Vision in Action
Below are examples of how the district's vision is building on the capacity of our faculty and staff, and supporting the growth, development and success of our students.
- A young scholar who has been significantly behind since kindergarten has received individually designed interventions from one of our language arts specialists, as well as Tier 1 instruction from her classroom teacher that has included reading and writing workshops. As a result of her teachers' coordinated efforts, she has increased almost three reading levels in a little more than three months and is almost at grade level.
- A student with special needs was having a difficult time getting along with his peers. In fact, relationships had deteriorated to the point that no one wanted to play with him by the end of last year. However, a teacher from the next grade level specifically requested to have this student in her class, and then undertook the task of building a classroom culture around him. She showered him with positive attention and love, and publicly celebrated him as a learner and person. He now loves school and all of the other students want to be his friend.
- Our two middle schools sent five of their teachers to a two-day Restorative Justice training session that was held on a weekend at Dominican University. Below are reflections from a couple of the participants.
"Thank you so much for the opportunity to begin the journey of learning to facilitate circles. Sitting in a circle for 14 hours this past weekend was a life changing experience. We entered this training as cordial colleagues or acquaintances, but left with stronger connection to each other. I am so hopeful that I will one day be able to facilitate this type of meaningful circle here with students, while also having the opportunity to participate in a circle with other staff. Making those connections creates a nurturing environment where learning opportunities and collaboration are much more meaningful." - Jen Olsen, Social Worker
"...Our instructor emphasized how important it was to build community between us, which led us to realize how critical it is to build that same type of community in our classes and school. While doing this, I not only learned how to facilitate the process, I was able to strengthen my relationships with my coworkers and get to know them on a much deeper level. During each break, we couldn't stop talking about ways we envision doing Peace Circles in our classes, our teams and our departments..." - Katy Alejos, ELA Teacher
- Four of our principals shared how the vision is guiding the work they are doing in their buildings on a daily basis to support student learning for every child we serve.
“I use our Super Team meetings to look at student level data [with staff]. For instance, last Thursday in the eighth grade meeting, they wrote our student intervention plans. The assistant principal then met with students to do a goal setting session, after which I made sure we assigned Tier 3 students (students who are approximately two grade levels below in instruction) to interventionists. They [students] met with the interventionists during WIN period.“ - Principal LeeAndra Khan, Brooks Middle School
“I meet bi-weekly with my LAS to monitor students’ progress. We are also using Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), which is an intensive, small-group, supplementary literacy intervention for students who find reading and writing difficult. In addition, I regularly discuss reading level growth and concerns with our teaching specialists.” - Principal Keshia Warner, Whittier Elementary School
“We monitor student progress in different ways depending on the area of need and intervention type. For example, I meet with teachers in team meetings where they are planning instruction and monitoring progress through student work samples. I also facilitate RtI (Response to Intervention) meetings where we examine more formal assessments to gauge progress and adjust interventions/instruction based on students’ growth.” - Principal Sarah Mendez, Hatch Elementary School
"I put together a focus group comprised of eighth grade boys. I met with these students twice prior to winter break in order to determine their interests, begin building a level of trust and rapport with them, and gain insight into the type of after school programming that would best help them learn, grow and achieve. During these meetings, they answered questions about the positives and negatives of our extracurricular activities. They also talked about wanting the time/opportunity after school to do their homework and play. I took the information and feedback they provided, and developed a program that was specifically designed to meet their needs.
We had eight eighth grade boys join us for the first day of the new program. On that day, we conducted a peace circle, spent time getting to know each other and established norms for the group that include: respect, good personality, lit (have fun) and loyalty. Since then, our attendance has climbed to an average of 12 to 15 students per session. We work for the first 30 to 45 minutes, and then typically play basketball the rest of the time. Not only have I seen these students make marked academic progress since joining the program, I have also had the chance to strengthen my relationships with them in a very positive and productive way." - Principal Todd Fitzgerald, Julian Middle School