In a caring and thoughtful school community, the primary goal will be the success of each and every student. An essential element in attaining this goal is the establishment of a collaborative, professional learning community. A collaborative culture provides the support and expertise for staff as they encounter the challenges and uncertainties inherent in daily classroom practices. The establishment of collaborative teams ensures that all students have equal access to the knowledge, skills, and resources that promote successful academic and social achievement. In collaborative teams, staff agree upon the most essential learning outcomes for each unit in every course, the general pacing of courses, and develop a series of common performance standards that are used in the assessment of all students. Both students and teachers benefit from a clear understanding of what should be learned and how the learning will be demonstrated and assessed.
The school is an exciting place in which to teach and learn. Designated professional time is set aside for teams to pursue issues and topics that are most critical for achieving their goals. Celebration is an important part of who we are. Every staff meeting celebrates the efforts and achievements of individuals and teams as they move towards their goals. Visitors to the school are encouraged to meet and talk with staff and students. There is a culture of high expectations for student success, and staff members communicate their high expectations to students, parents, and one another. Students and staff alike believe that their efforts, achievements, and contributions will be recognized and celebrated. Students and teachers in this school are known for the positive contributions they make in the community.
Learning by doing putting knowledge into action are highly valued practices, and one of the most engaging forms of professional development is the ongoing, on-the-job learning that takes place among staff as they work together in collaborative teams to meet the needs of all students. Team teaching and teacher mentoring is an important source of professional development, and shared knowledge is the basis of decision making in the school. The resolution of important questions and issues occurs through engagement in collective inquiry, jointly examining both internal and external practices, and assessing existing practices in light of existing evidence. Important decisions - what will be learned, why, and how this learning will be assessed - are based upon evidence rather than opinion. Pilot projects are common and help to gather important information before moving forward with grade-wide and/or school-wide initiatives.
Students understand that they are members of a school community that values and cares for all its members. As a result, student engagement in the day-to-day operations of the school is very strong. Teachers do not speak on behalf of the students; students speak on their own behalf. Student advisory committees meet on a regular basis to discuss such things as the delivery of educational programs, the planning of social and extra-curricular events, disciplinary issues, special events, and school growth planning. Students are the architects of the school’s code of conduct and guardians of its promotion and enforcement. Students are responsible to themselves, their classmates and the community, and understand that diversity and individual differences must be respected and all members of our educational community treated equally.
The school’s commitment to equality means that what happens when students are not succeeding is not left to individual classroom teachers. A systematic intervention process monitors student learning and ensures that students receive additional time and support for learning in a consistent and direct way. This structure is in place to support efforts to help all students learn and all students have access to this support.
Promoting equality while recognizing individual differences implies the creation of a distinctive kind of learning environment, one that does not equate equality with conditions of sameness. It means that individual student differences are recognized for their unique and distinctive qualities and also valued for their contributions and enrichment of the whole. It further implies that school programs emphasize diversity rather than standardization and the accommodation rather than the assimilation of individual differences. As a caring and thoughtful school community it is a strong belief that each student has something unique to offer and the aim of the school is to nurture this potential.
The essential goal of the school vision is the fostering of caring, knowledgeable, and informed individuals who are connected to each other by a shared sense of understanding, compassion, and purpose. Teachers strive continuously to develop in their students’ inquisitive, informed, and ethical citizens who will take action to build a better world. Individual achievement and success is blended with a sense of social conscience and the understanding of the importance of working cooperatively as a member of the community.