Why should you teach at Great Oaks?
Teacher Training and Development
Great Oaks schools have a robust support structure in place for teachers. Each school has an Executive Director, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction, a Director of Inclusive Learning and is supported by the Chief Academic Office and Director of Coaching at the Great Oaks Foundation. We provide consistent opportunities for coaching and development through weekly observation and feedback sessions as well as regular professional development.
My coaching sessions have been going really well. There are some things that I have down but I like to be challenged and I like to grow. No one has the answer as how to have a perfect classroom because all students are unique. But the fact that I’m able to get coaching every week on my lesson plans and how I’m executing the lesson helps me to push my own teaching further.
In August we all have professional development together – even the AmeriCorps tutors. We get to build relationships with our tutors and new staff naturally from the beginning before we even start the year. I also help support teachers in my role as Sixth Grade Team Leader. I hold monthly team meetings where we are able to hear how teachers are feelings and what they need, especially our new teachers, to make sure they are constantly feeling supported.
Support from our Tutor Corps
Great Oaks has a unique model where every student receives small group or individualized tutorial sessions built into their regular class schedule. Each school has a cohort of recent college graduates serving under the AmeriCorps program who lead these sessions. Tutors not only serve as mentors and build on students’ academic success they also help students to hold themselves accountable and set personalized goals to ensure they are striving to reach their full potential.
The tutors are wonderful. They come from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences in life. They create working goals with the students that help in all of their classes. For example, if a student is working on focusing more in class, the tutor will help to create steps for them to achieve that goal. It allows me to support students and also hold them accountable.
At Great Oaks every student gets an excellent education and individualized attention and that aligns with my views as an educator. When I was told students had tutors to support them in their math and literary skills, I thought this is amazing! That was one of the main reasons why I joined Great Oaks.
Exceptional Parent Engagement
Engaging with parents and families of students is simply the way of life at Great Oaks. Schools host a variety of activities throughout the year to build community and tutors and teachers call parents regularly to update them on their child’s progress not just to report on behavior issues. We take pride in building relationships with parents so together we can all better support students.
One of the strongest points of the school is the great level of participation of parents and families. It’s really hard to get parents to come to schools in general, but not at Great Oaks. Administrators make a huge effort to build that community and I personally encourage parents to come into my classroom to see what we are doing.
Strong relationships are super important. Making sure students get to college is our job as teachers along with the students’ parents. We work together as a family to make that happen.
Approach with Students
At Great Oaks we use a strict/warm approach with students. Students are held to high academic and behavioral expectations and together school staff help students to meet and exceed the bar that is set for them. We use benchmarking and data driven instruction to track students progress and adjust instruction accordingly.
I think we deliver a very strong and healthy curriculum in math. We set the bar high and we set it high on purpose. I passionately believe in what I’m doing and the students know that I’m strict because I care.
We give the student a progress report every two weeks and we try to give the students information that is meaningful to them. They create a reflection on how they thought they did and then we sit down and discuss where they actually are. As a teacher it also helps me improve my lessons to meet the needs of the students.
An Environment of Team Work
At Great Oaks teachers, tutors and administrators work together to meet the needs of all students. This collaborative approach facilitates the sharing of best practices, allows teachers to better understand students and builds a strong school community.
I really enjoy working with my co-workers here. My co-workers, especially my 8th grade Social Studies counterpart have been amazing to work with; we brain storm rubrics together and vertically plan curriculum to ensure I’m teaching the foundational skills in my class to ensure students have what they need to be successful in 8th grade.
The open door policy is something I don’t see in other schools. All of us can come in and speak to each other at anytime with openess. It allows us not to just do our own job better but to help others.
Join an Amazing Team
We believe that high quality teachers and leaders are key to student success. We are committed to recruiting and developing talented educators.
Meet Mr. Stanziale and learn about his experience as a reading teacher at Great Oaks - Wilmington.Read Article
Meet Daniel Gross, Tutor Corps Member at Great Oaks - New York City, and hear about his experience in the Corps!Read Article