Academic Focus: Essential Questions

Asking the Four Essential Questions guides us to have an authentic focus on our students’ learning. At Hedges School this year, we are deliberately sharing our academic focus with our students. It seems so simple; however, many times we leave our students out of our planning. We follow manuals, pacing guides, or stick with what we have always taught. Focusing on the Four Essential Questions guides us to reflect and to plan more effectively.

For Teachers:

  1. What do students need to know, understand, and be able to do? (Learning Goals)
  2. How will we determine if the outcome has been accomplished? (Assessments – Formative and Summative)
  3. What strategies will we use to best influence learning?(Strategies, Activities)
  4. What will we do to support students who don’t learn or reach proficiency before expectation? (Intervention and Enrichment)

For Students:

  1. What do I need to know, understand, and be able to do? What is the Learning Goal?
  2. How am I going to show my learning? What is the assessment?
  3. What do I need to do as a learner to achieve the learning goal?
  4. Thinking about my learning…..
    • How am I doing?
    • Have I reached my learning goal?
    • What do I already know?
    • What do I need to work on?

As a team, we have worked diligently to truly understand the common core standards and what the student expectations are for learning. Each grade level has developed essential standards for students. These standards answer question number one and describe what our students need to know and be able to do.  These are not the only learning goals for our students; however, as our students meet proficiency with these standards, they are guaranteed to be well-prepared to succeed in the next trimester and/or the next school year.

Our essential standards are a living document that is revised and updated at the end of each trimester. This has been challenging and worthwhile work for our team! I am grateful for their efforts and dedication to student learning. I am also thankful to one of my favorite mentors, Mike Mattos, for his guidance as we began this endeavor. His passion for students consistently learning at high levels is contagious!

During the next few weeks, our team will increase our focus on question number two. Below is a video of a teacher guiding her students to clearly understand how to show their learning. Learning Goals & Scales. I look forward to sharing our progress toward creating success criteria.

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Thank you Hedges Team!

FullSizeRender 25As I reflect on this school year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the Hedges Team! Thank you for your perseverance, commitment, and collaboration to support our students to achieve high levels of learning. My appreciation for our Hedges Community comes from three perspectives as I have had the opportunity to be a member of this team as a classroom teacher, a parent, and as the principal.

Today my heart is heavy to know my youngest child will spend her last school day at Hedges as an elementary student. While at the same time, I am confident that she is academically and socially prepared for the journey to middle school and beyond. As a teacher, a mom, and an administrator, I thank each of you for individualizing each student’s academic experience and for guiding all of our students to view a growth mindset to continue to achieve increased success! I am deeply grateful to be a member of a team who works together with a respect for each other’s educational knowledge and experience. Our students are incredibly prepared for the next school year because of the time each of you took to develop relationships to know and understand how each of our students learn.

Thank you for your laser like focus and relentless efforts to support our mission and vision:

Learning For ALL…No Excuses, No Limits!

Our vision is to foster and maintain contagiously positive, collaborative, and mission-focused relationships. Together, we guide, support, and encourage ALL students to reach high levels of learning and individualized success.

Enjoy a well deserved and rejuvenating summer! I am looking forward to beginning another successful 2015-2016 school year on August 31st. 🙂

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My Leadership Philosophy: my vision for my school

As a elementary school principal, I believe:

  • I have a moral obligation to lead and support educators within a school community to provide high quality instruction that enables ALL students to make significant academic and social achievement gains, regardless of socio-economic background and learning differences.
  • The foundation of a school’s success is collective trust, collaboration, and shared leadership among administration, staff, and parents who work as a team with a laser-like focus and passion for the academic and social success of each student.

At the heart of my leadership is establishing authentic relationships. The vision for my school consists of a collective pursuit of maintaining a healthy school culture that consists of:

  • Genuine collaborative relationships
  • Clear communication
  • Clarity and coherence with universal beliefs and expectations
  • Collectively striving to intentionally guide each of OUR students toward high levels of academic and personal success
  • A pure focus on student learning, allowing formative data to drive instructional and behavioral decision-making

Establishing trust is the foundation for measuring my success as a principal. As trust is maintained, the climate and the culture are positive and collaboration to achieve the vision of  “Learning for ALL…No excuses, No Limits!” is possible.#SAVMP