been the key to teachers making differentiated instruction a part of their teaching.
The students have clearly benefited from this clear and focused professional development model. Students who have an advanced understanding of concepts are now challenged rather than given simply more work or always asked to help a struggling neighbor. Students whose understanding of concepts is still emerging are given the support they need to master the basic goals of the curriculum rather than being frustrated. Students now expect that assignments and instruction may look different from one student to another.
In addition to the common professional development, teachers also pursue individual goals in their growth as educators. Many faculty members have either recently or are currently pursuing advanced degrees in education in areas that suit their needs and interests. As a learning community, these teachers bring ideas from their graduate classrooms back to the faculty, so that all may benefit from their studies.
6. School Leadership:
St. Josaphat School’s leadership structure is headed by the pastor, principal and assistant principal who ensure that policies, programs, and resources focus on improving student achievement and helping students develop into model citizens. The pastor and principal seeks the advice if the Advisory Board, consisting of school parents and parish members.
The principal is the educational leader of St. Josaphat School. In addition to all the normal duties of a principal including ensuring the safety of the students, vitality of the school and the Catholic identity of the school, she is directly involved with its educational excellence. This is accomplished through visioning and carrying out professional development, supervising and mentoring teachers, and creating an atmosphere of professionalism and professional growth.
The principal is committed to a professional development regimen that recognizes a need and applies the resources and time to ameliorate it. For example, the principal recognized a need to teach all students where they are educationally. Her favorite phrase is, "we don't just teach to the middle." In order to insure this, she has arranged for an ongoing professional development sequence in differentiation of instruction.
After the faculty completed initial familiarity with differentiation, the principal instituted a new lesson plan format that requires each teacher to indicate the differentiation in each lesson. In addition, in her formal observations of teachers, she expects each one to demonstrate differentiation in his or her lessons.
With this professional development sequence nearly completed, the principal is in the process of identifying the next need for professional growth with the input of faculty members. This identification process will then lead to the next sequence, always keeping in mind the commitment to allow enough time and experience for each new professional growth opportunity to become a real part of the teacher's repertoire.
In addition, the principal encourages all teachers to use their allotted professional growth funds each year to attend workshops and conferences and continue their educational path toward terminal degrees. Currently 75 % of the faculty holds a master’s degree or is actively working toward one.
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