The Ideal School As envisioned by Jean Bowman, Amanda Nutt, and Margaret Pruden
Mission Statement • Our mission is to develop positive members of society with active and creative minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs. We stress the total development of each child: spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical.
Goals and Practices• Students will graduate from our school system prepared to enter the workforce with marketable skills and/or ready for the rigor of higher education.• All students will show improvement annually in academic achievement in core subjects as evidenced by national, state, and local assessments. Additionally, students will leave our schools being able to think critically, solve problems, analyze information, communicate effectively with others, and collaborate. They will be adaptable and utilize their curiosity and imagination.• Our School System will employ highly qualified administrators and teachers. Staff development for professional employees will be based on current educational research and best practices for the purpose of continually improving curriculum and instruction.• All students and employees will be afforded a safe and attractive learning environment that promotes healthy behaviors and positive relationships for work and study.• A safe and orderly transportation system will be provided for students.• A master plan will be established for the maintenance and updating of school facilities, including long-range planning for renovation, replacement, and/or building of additional facilities. The School Board recognizes that the schools were built by the community and encourages individuals and groups to access and use the facilities and grounds.• Technology will be integrated into all facets of the school division’s operating system as well as the delivery of instruction. All students will exit our schools with appropriate 21st century technology skills, which will enable them to compete in a global society.• The School Board and all schools will communicate effectively and openly with parents and the community about the needs, accomplishments, and challenges facing the school division. Every effort will be made to reach out to community members, businesses, and industries to involve them in our schools and to develop partnerships to benefit our students.
Designed to Inspire• Campus design will incorporate environmentally friendly materials and energy sources as well as providing flexible use of space and natural light. Herget Middle School in Aurora, Illinois is an example of a well-crafted design.• Retrieved from: http://www.designshare.com/index.php/projects/herget-middle/intro
Curriculum• The school system will use Common Core State Standard. The Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (“the standards”) are the culmination of an extended, broad based effort to fulfill the charge issued by the states to create the next generation of K-12 standards in order to help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school. What makes this curriculum relevant • The Standards set requirements not only for English language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so too must the Standards specify the literacy skills and understandings required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines. Literacy standards for grade 6 and above are predicated on teachers of ELA, history/social studies, science, and technical subjects using their content area expertise to help students meet the particular challenges of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in their respective fields.
Assessment• In accordance with the Virginia Department of Education’s requirements for public schools, the Virginia Standards of Learning assessments will be administered annually. In addition to the SOLs, each student will build digital portfolios with artifacts demonstrating their understanding of each subject. Image retrieved from: http://sophiehorncastle.myefolio.com/Home Image retrieved from:http://thepluggedinportable.edublogs.org/files/2011/11/2-1hiam4x.jpg
Effective Instructors The Hiring Process Characteristics Interview QuestionsCreative approach to Tell me about an activity or lesson you designed that you felt wasinstruction particularly original and engaging.Interpersonal & Without sharing identities, please, can you describe an educatorcommunication skills or co-worker with a personality trait you disliked? How did you approach the situation?Proficiency with How would you describe your relationship with technology in thetechnology or classroom? Can you give me some examples?willingness to learnProfessional Would you care to elaborate on the professional qualificationsqualifications listed on your resume? Do you have any other life experience that you feel has prepared you for this position?Classroom How would you establish order in your classroom on the first day?Management How would you deal with a child who failed to turn in assignments?
Effective InstructorsMaintaining Quality • Mentors for new teachers All first-year teachers will be provided with a peer mentor to ease their transition into their new career. • Peer collaboration A district-wide system will be established to support peer collaboration. Teachers will be encouraged to share classroom management strategies, files, rubrics, lesson plans, and presentations in a central database. • Classroom Management Teachers’ efforts to shape behavior with positive reinforcement will be supported through school-wide positive behavior incentives.
Social Atmosphere Recognizing Risk Factors• All teachers will be required to participate in annual training to identify students at risk.http://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/cps/mandated_reporters/cws5691/index.html• Guidance counselors will also meet with students throughout the school year to identity risk factors.• Teachers and counselors will be working together to identify any students who have one of the 6 major risk factors: The student is not living with two parents The head of household did not complete high school The family is below the poverty line Parents or guardians do not have consistent full-time employment The family receives welfare The student does not have health insurance
Addressing IssuesNew American family patterns• before and after school programs will be available to accommodate students whose parents need to be at work• coordinated school health initiativePoverty• teachers will use real life examples whenever possible to show students the value of education• schools will provide free/reduced breakfast and lunch to students in needTeenage parenting• sex ed will include all manners of contraception as well as abstinence• sex ed will be included as a non-graded element of curriculum by a trained instructor, parents will have the option to opt their child out of program• schools will help teenage parents arrange childcare so that the parent can remain in schoolAbused and neglected children• teachers will participate in training in recognizing children at risk• teachers will provide a stable and safe school environment that includes praise, concrete rewards, and constructive classroom control to help meet the needs of these childrenAlcohol and drug abuse• schools will hold annual anti-drug/alcohol abuse programs (age-appropriate)• conversations in class with students on the subject are encouragedAdolescent suicide• teacher training will help identify at risk students• Zero-tolerance policy for bullying
Welcoming DiversityWe promote cultural pluralism, which calls for an understanding andappreciation of the cultural differences and languages among allstudents. The goal is to create a sense of communitys wholenessbased on the unique strengths of each of its parts. Cultural pluralismrejects both assimilation and separatism, a philosophy that suggestseach cultural group should maintain its own identity without trying tofit into an overall American culture. Instead, it seeks a healthyinteraction among the diverse groups in our schoolsystem/community that is, each subculture maintains its ownindividuality while contributing to the community as a whole. Image retrieved from: http://www.swarthmore.edu/student-life/multicultural-affairs.xml
Diversity in Action • Programs Families for Students, which is a program which promotes family involvement and explicitly focuses on engaging families who reflect the full diversity of the student population. Families and students can share with other members of the group about their culture. • Affirmation Within the school system, students and faculty will be encouraged to share about their own culture and develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. • Attracting diversity Our school system encourages understanding and appreciation of cultural difference and languages among all of the students.Photo retrieved from: http://www.nccu.edu/academics/sc/liberalarts/globalstudies/
Integrating Technology The use of technology is a key skill in the 21st century. All students needto become adept at finding and analyzing information in the digital world andexpressing their ideas in a variety of digital formats. Our school will promote thatgoal by placing interactive whiteboards and iPads in every classroom andissuing a mobile device for educational use to every student in grades fivethrough twelve. Teachers will work with technology staff to develop andimplement lessons that address the Core Content usingtechnology tools that foster critical thinking skills.Students will demonstrate their technology fluencywith a digital portfolio, which will also serve as partof the students’ summative assessment for theCore Content. Teachers will need tomaintain a high level of digital fluencythrough ongoing professionaldevelopment to support students’progress. Image retrieved from: http://www.mtlsd.org/mellon/teams/ironbrigade/images/bloom%20pyramid.jpg
Managing Technology Within the School Across the District• One technology resource teacher (TRT) • Monthly TRT meetings with notes and assistant per building at the available to instructional staff elementary level • Input from staff to be considered at• Two TRT’s for each secondary building meetings with assistant staff based on student • Foster a strong partnership between population technology and instructional staff• Library media specialist to coordinate • Reward innovative instruction and with TRT’s and function as a technology collaboration as an incentive team• Assistive technology support will be provided as needed by specialists assigned to geographical clusters of buildings. Further Considerations• All students and their guardians will sign a deposit agreement at the beginning of the year to defray cost of loss, theft, or damage to mobile technology devices. Deposit fees may be adjusted on a sliding scale according to financial need.• All students will use school devices while in the building, not personal devices.• Texting feature will be turned off on school devices.• Apps may only be downloaded with the permission of staff.• Internet searching will be strictly limited by filters.• Students and staff will sign a binding acceptable use policy.
Historical Issues and ControversiesLocal controls vs. National standards The State will have legal responsibility for the school system • State legislature is elected by residents • Local school board shall meet with the State Board of Education to discuss how new policies will effect the school system School board is responsible for policy and administration decisions • School board will be elected to set terms by residents, they must have children in the school system and will be from different school zones within the school system • School board will be responsible for approving policies, budgets, school administrations • A school superintendent will be appointed by the school board, the superintendent will keep the school board informed on school issues, hiring school principals, drafting school budgets School principals are responsible for their schools • Principals will be hired by superintendent and approved by school board • Principals will hire teachers for their own schools • Principals will ensure that all teachers have proper training through out the year in order to provide the best education to students Teachers are responsible for education of the students • Teachers will be hired by the school principal • Teachers will be responsible for education students to the standards set by the school board
Historical Issues and ControversiesComprehensive education• Students with identified special needs shall have the curriculum adapted to their needsSecular vs. Religious education• Religion will not be a mandatory in the curriculum or at school events• Students will be allowed to hold and participate in religious clubs in the schools• Religious topic and materials may be used by teachers when used for the purpose of understanding different cultures, historical significances, and literary themes• Textbooks shall present all religions equally for educational purposesFunding• Federal funding- grants• State funding- state lotteries and a portion of sales taxes• County funding- a portion of personal property taxes• School fund raisers- must be approved by school board, will be used for “extras”What is BASIC?• All schools will be equipped with at least one computer lab & laptop carts• Classrooms will also have computers for students use, an interactive whiteboard & iPad• Science classrooms will have all equipment necessary for the science curriculum• Physical education classes will have all equipment necessary for the curriculum• Extra equipment desired by individual schools will be paid for out of that schools budget or by fund raisers
Laws and Ethics• Promoting Legal Awareness • Adhering to EthicalThe school system will hire teachers Standardsthat are well versed in educational Teachers and other members of thelaw, and strongly encourage all school system will be required to signteachers to take a course in Special an "Acceptable Computer Use"Education law, in order to ensure that agreement and "Drug-Free Workplace"all teachers understand the agreement. Teachers will be requiredimportance of following students IEPs to complete the online Child-Abuseand understand student LRE and Neglect courses. Teachersplacement. contracts will outline what are considered to be professional standards in addition to the rest of their annual contract. • Church and State Since many major holidays are religious holidays, it is unreasonable to say we are celebrating these holidays. However, holiday programs can serve an educational purpose, recognizing diversity without making students feel excluded or identified with a religion not their own. Holiday concerts, for example, may appropriately include religious music related to Christmas, Hanukkah or other holidays that fall in December, but sacred music should not dominate the program. The school auditorium is not to be used as the local church.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities• Equal educational opportunities shall be available for all students, without regard to race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or marital or parental status. Educational programs shall be designed to meet the varying needs of all students. No student, on the basis of gender, shall be denied equal access to programs, activities, services, or benefits or be limited in the exercise right, privilege, advantage or denied equal access to educational and extracurricular programs and activities.• Any student who believes he or she has been the victim of prohibited discrimination should report the alleged discrimination as soon as possible to one of the compliance officers at the student’s designated school. The alleged discrimination should be reported as soon as possible, and the report generally should be made within fifteen (15) school days of the occurrence. Further, any student who has knowledge of conduct which may constitute prohibited discrimination should report such conduct to one of the compliance officers. Any employee who has knowledge of conduct which may constitute prohibited discrimination immediately shall report such conduct to one of the compliance officers. Upon receipt of a report of alleged prohibited discrimination, the compliance officer shall immediately authorize or undertake an investigation. The investigation may be conducted by school personnel or a third party designated by the school division. The investigation shall be completed as soon as practical, which should generally be no later than 14 calendar days after receipt of the report by the compliance officer. Within 3 school days of receiving the complaint, the Compliance Officer shall send written notice that the complaint has been received to the complainant and the person or persons allegedly responsible for the discrimination.• Also upon receiving the complaint, the Compliance Officer shall determine whether interim measures should be taken pending the outcome of the investigation. If the Compliance Officer determines that more than 15 school days will be required to investigate the complaint, he or she will notify the complainant and the persons allegedly responsible for the discrimination of the reasons for the extended investigation and of the date by which the investigation is projected to be concluded. The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the complainant, the persons allegedly responsible for the discrimination, and any others who may have knowledge of the alleged discrimination or the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The investigation may also include the inspection of any documents or information deemed relevant by the investigator. The School Division shall take necessary steps to protect the complainant and others pending the completion of the investigation.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities • The Compliance Officer shall issue a written report to the Superintendent upon completion of the investigation. If the complaint involves the Superintendent, then the report shall be sent to the School Board. The report shall include a determination of whether the allegations are substantiated, whether this policy was violated, and recommendations for corrective action, if any. The Compliance Officer’s written report, and all written notices sent pursuant to this policy shall be maintained and distributed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. • Within 10 school days of receiving the Compliance Officer’s report, the Superintendent or designee shall issue a decision regarding: (1) whether this policy was violated and, if so (2) what action, if any, will be taken. This decision must be provided in writing to the complainant. If the Superintendent determines that discrimination occurred, the School Division shall take prompt, appropriate action to address and remedy the harm and prevent any recurrence. Such action may include discipline up to and including recommending that a student be expelled or that an employee be discharged. • If the Superintendent or designee determines that no discrimination occurred, the complainant may appeal this determination to the School Board within 5 calendar days of receiving the decision. Notice of appeal must be filed with the Superintendent, who shall forward the Compliance Officer’s report and any documentation or information deemed relevant by the Compliance Officer during the course of the investigation to the School Board. The School Board shall make a decision within 30 calendar days of receiving the record. The School Board may require oral or written argument from the complainant, the Superintendent, and any other individual it deems appropriate. An extension of the 30 calendar day limit may occur if necessary as determined by the School Board Chair. If the Superintendent or designee determines that discrimination occurred and discipline is imposed, the disciplined person (i.e. student or employee) may appeal the disciplinary sanction in accordance with existing School Board policies and regulations.
Student Dress• Student Dress - A student’s dress and appearance shall not be such that it causes disruption, distracts others from the educational process or creates a health or safety problem. All students are expected to dress appropriately. Apparel worn to school should be neat and clean. Items of clothing with language that is vulgar, obscene, or discriminating, or that promotes or depicts weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, drug paraphernalia, themes of violence, or gang symbols are prohibited. Examples of unacceptable dress include: a. "See through" shirts, spaghetti-strap tank tops, or muscle shirts. These may only be worn with an additional shirt of a different type underneath or over.• b. Hats, head covers (except for religious purposes), headbands, and sunglasses are not to be worn in a school building.• c. Clothing that exposes undergarments, the midriff, chest, back, or buttocks is inappropriate for school and is not permitted.• d. Pajamas and other sleepwear.• e. Absence of shoes or appropriate footwear.• f. Clothing with inappropriate slogans, sexual innuendo, themes of violence, or negative gestures, especially as they relate to alcohol, drugs, illegal substances, or tobacco products may not be worn.• g. Any student’s dress that is determined by school administration to be disruptive to the learning environment is not acceptable.• h. Pants worn below the normal waistline and/or at a length that may cause walking on the hem of the garment.
Governance and Finance LeadershipDirection will be provided by an elected board of supervisors with asystem that incorporates input from parents, staff and communitymembers in the decision process. A key goal of leadership is to includeinterested parties in decisions so that they have the opportunity to actrather than react. Funding• Federal funding - grants, e.g.,Grant Wrangler http://www.grantwrangler.com/default.htmlNEA http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/educators/grant-programs/• State funding - state lotteries and a portion of sales taxes• County funding - a portion of personal property taxes• School fund raisers - must be approved by administration, will be used for “extras”• Anticipated per-pupil spending for the 2012-13 academic year: $12,000.
Education ReformsSchool Board• Members of the school board shall be parents of student and/or hold a current teaching license in the state• Those involved in policy making for schools should have a firm grasp on how the schools will be affected by the policyAccountability• Teachers will be held accountable using a variety of methods; Principal observation, feedback of fellow teachers, student/parent feedback, & test results.• A variety of methods will be used to determine teachers’ effectiveness to ensure that “good” teachers are retained (e.g. A weaker teacher may appear to be more effective due to uneven student demographics. Correspondingly an effective teacher in a disadvantaged area may have students who make significant gains, yet fail to meet minimum requirements.)Testing• Tests and curriculum will be made to work together. A panel of current teachers will meet annually to evaluate tests and curriculum.• Standardized testing will be used as one measure of student learning and teacher effectiveness.• Tests will be given at the end of the school year as a final exam (to avoid cramming all learning into 8 months of school and not doing any work during the last month)• A panel of current teachers will meet each year to ensure tests and curriculum.Authentic Assessment• Student portfolios will also be used to measure student learning and teacher effectiveness.• Assessors will be current classroom teachers, paid out of the budget.• A standardized rubric will be used to evaluate portfolios.