The Great Oaks model of having one-on-one tutorial, intense academics, and high behavior standards builds the habits that students need to be successful in college.
What is your professional background?
I am a 7th grade reading teacher teaching at Great Oaks – Wilmington, and I have been teaching for seven years in charter and public school. I am a University of Delaware graduate with a Masters in Teaching Leadership.
What led you to join Great Oaks?
I came to Great Oaks from another charter network. Very few schools in Wilmington focus on college success and readiness. A lot of them preach it but not a lot practice it. The Great Oaks model of having one-on-one tutorial, intense academics, and high behavior standards builds the habits that students need to be successful in college. This year, I am an instructional leader and coach which allows me to pass along my knowledge and affect others’ teaching.
What support does Great Oaks provide teachers?
We have weekly coaching sessions. I receive coaching on my classroom practices and how to get better. These coaching sessions are rooted in the Danielson Framework and Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion techniques. One of the cool things that Great Oaks does is coach me as a coach. I meet with the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction to talk about what effective coaching looks like, how I can support new teachers, and how I can support tutors, so I can pass along my knowledge to others.
How does the tutorial program supplement your classroom?
I love the tutorial program, and I helped to design part of the program for our highest performing scholars. They have what we call “Literature Circles” where students dive deep into the material. It not only promotes literacy, but also gives students the chance to do independent reading and learn reading strategies. Tutorials are a great way for students to get that extra help when they need it and to be pushed in whatever their strengths are.
How does assessment and data analysis affect your teaching practices?
We are using Mastery Connect, which offers benchmark assessments that are given four times a year. We sit down as a data team and analyze student results to see who is nearing mastery and who needs remediation. Using this data, we can tailor our next week’s instruction to meet students’ needs. At Great Oaks – Wilmington, we are focused on small group instruction with differentiated centers where teachers, teachers’ assistants, and co-teachers are helping students build skills in small groups based on skill level.
How does Great Oaks’ commitment to developing strong relationships with the families of students impact your practice as a teacher?
At Great Oaks – Wilmington, we have single gender advisories and we stick with our kids for three years. We not only get to stay with these students because we are invested in their success, but we also build strong relationships with their families. We invite parents to advisory events to celebrate the students’ successes. Our community meetings also build parent involvement. Parents can attend and see their student be shouted out for top merits. We also invite parents to programs like soccer, dance, and basketball. It helps students see that their parents are there and believe in them, and it helps the students in turn believe in themselves.