Principal and Leadership Team Institute, Berkeley – October 3, 2007

Winter 2008 | | March 6, 2008 at 10:11 am

Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, Sausalito-Marin City School District | “Our Quest for Excellence”

 With 31 students in grades 7-8 in their school, the School Leadership Team established an inclusive collaboration process. The staff blends their resources to operate as a school team of teachers, paraprofessionals, outreach coordinator, and school counselor through peer coaching.

The teachers also work on vertical team collaboration between the elementary school, middle school and their receiving high schools. Teachers believe in and support AVID as an extension of the GEAR UP goal to help the school and community develop a sustainable college-going culture. At the middle school, one will find AVID principles and concepts across the curriculum.

Best Practice
“This is a “want to” school that engages all staff in their quest for excellence. They use AVID strategies and have high expectations for sustainability of their college-going culture.

Regional Coordinator: Don Mar


Happy Valley Elementary School, Happy Valley Union School District | “School Self Assessment Rubric –Keep Your Sight on the Plan”

 Located in the rural community of Happy Valley near Redding, the school has experienced many changes. In the last 5 years, the school has had 4 different principals and 4 different superintendents in the district. The school hires 2 or 3 new teachers each year in a staff of 12 teachers. Facing the challenge of changing staff, the School Leadership Team used the GEAR UP School Self Assessment Rubric (SSAR) to determine their primary focus would be “Developing a College-going Culture.” Their strategies consist of developing a Planning Pyramid, a road map of what the team wanted to achieve and the difficulties associated with implementation, and adding members to the School Leadership Team. They hold regular meetings of the Leadership Team to discuss progress toward their goal, and replicate the SSAR session with the rest of the faculty.

Best Practices
Through the conversations and collaboration that developed as a result of using the SSAR tool, the school has moved forward on the district goal of implementing Professional Learning Communities. From monthly grade level and/or subject level meetings, the school now has weekly minimum days for teacher collaboration. Staff frequently revisits the SSAR and updates their plan.

Regional Coordinator: Vance Mills


Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District | “Falcons on the Move”

 Facing the challenge of being in year 5 as a Program Improvement School, the School Leadership Team uses strong collaboration as a primary strategy. The staff has adopted William Glasser’s model of teaching to learn, i.e., students and faculty are encouraged to teach others through collaborative and cooperative modalities. Teachers use best practices to engage students in their learning. Staff continues to grow professionally, works to overcome obstacles, and embraces new ideas to support student learning. In addition to displaying positive attitudes, the staff has consistent standards and high expectations despite the woes of life and the poverty in the community of their students.

Best Practice
By engaging all staff and sharing governance, Principal James Dierke promotes leadership strength throughout the school. In recognition of his outstanding leadership, James Dierke was named as the 2008 Middle School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Regional Coordinator: Don Mar

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