Hi there! Thank you to those who attended our Incoming Grade 2 Parent Meeting on June 28th. It was a very successful discussion. I apologize for those who were on Zoom, and we were forced to end the meeting a little earlier for you. In summary, we heard parent concerns regarding their child's first grade year. I heard that students received varying instruction, expectations, and experiences. We discussed goals for all of our students moving forward into next year:
As a school, we must improve communication and collaboration with our families and with our staff.
Teachers must reach out to parents regularly and not just wait until the end of a term or end of the school year.
We must improve our use of valuable student data available to us to inform our instruction in our classrooms. We need to make sure that our amazing teachers are properly trained and understand how to use data to best inform their instructional methods to their students.
We need to apply personalized learning into each student's day. This means as a school and as educators, we must meet our students where they are at. All of our students learn a bit differently and may be at different learning levels. This is okay! We must value this and make appropriate instructional lessons for all of our students.
We must immediately begin closing learning gaps with our students. This will be done my improved instructional planning, regular data meetings with teams and administration, and ensuring that we have a strong understanding of each of our student's learning styles - and apply our instructional methods to accommodate for our learners. Our learners should not be forced to accommodate for us.
Appropriate interventions need to be in place in all of our classrooms. For example, during a mathematics class, whole class instruction should be limited to 10-15 minutes tops. Students must then be broken into small groups and/or partnerships based on their individual needs. Students will be working on different concepts, different levels, and rigor will look differently throughout the classroom. The teacher must be working with each of his/her students and focus in on differentiated instruction (varying instruction) to best meet the individual student needs.
We are looking at bringing in more personalized learning opportunities for our teachers and students. This includes iReady Personalized Learning, intervention programs, and making sure that all of our teaching staff are on the same page.
It is up to Administration to ensure that our teaching staff is adequately trained on everything that they are expected to do in their classrooms. Teachers should not have to "fend for themselves" in planning and finding lesson resources.
At the school level, we must have improved professional development for all of our staff so they are better prepared in their classrooms. No one "knows it all." We all can improve - and this goes for any occupation! We need to form a culture that fosters this common understanding of continuous fine tuning of our instructional craft here at Windham Academy
Our culture must be of continuous learning for our staff and students.
We must have the resources in place so ALL of our students can learn and grow at their individual levels.
We will be implementing a mentor program for all of our newer teachers. We have hired designated mentors (longtime teachers who have recently retired) for our newer teachers to help them grow and be successful. This is a must and we have made sure this is already in place. Teachers need support, not only from their peers and colleagues, but also from their administration and mentors - again, just like any occupation.
In closing, I can assure you that we are already working on all of the above. We are committed to ensuring that any learning gap that was created for which ever reason is closed. Our second grade team (and all of our grade level teams!) is committed to ensuring this happens. Administration will be working with all of our grade level teams to ensure that all of our students are getting adequate and appropriate instruction from Grades K-7. Also, please know that all new hired staff were hired for specific reasons. All of our staff (returning and new) will be prepared for their positions. We will be working towards consistency throughout our wonderful school. There are tremendous educators here and tremendous educators who have been hired. As a parent myself, I want what is best for my children both academically and social emotionally. I will be taking this approach as the Director here at Windham Academy. We all must communicate, collaborate, and have open and honest dialogue to best support the instruction that takes place at Windham Academy. This will be our focus!
As I mentioned at our meeting, Sara and I will be happy to meet with anyone 1:1 to discuss any individual concerns, individual questions, etc. Please reach out via email to schedule such a meeting (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us at 603-236-7900 between the hours of 9am-1pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the summer. Also, FYI - Class lists will be released no later than the first week of August. I wish you all a wonderful summer and please know your child's success at Windham Academy is at the forefront of us during all planning for next school year.