Greatness, by Kelley King, Head of Lower School
Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.
-Jim Collins, “Good to Great”
At GMLS, we are shooting for nothing short of greatness. With a conscious focus on what is best for children and through a collaborative process as a staff, we are transforming our program and taking it to a totally new level. I am very happy to give you a “sneak peek” for the first time here!
Starting with the 2015-16 school year, we have re-aligned our staffing plan to more powerfully impact the quality of teaching and learning for every single GMLS child.
Specifically, each grade level will have a dedicated and daily intensive reading block with the support of an additional teacher (ie. 3 teachers instead of 2 teachers). With smaller teacher-student ratios, students will receive more targeted instruction that is both intensive and challenging for every child, every day. This reading intervention time will support children at all levels – from those who need extra support to reach grade level to those who are reading well above grade level. Teachers are currently engaged in deep professional learning to enhance their ability to provide top-notch reading instruction in this new model.
Our schedule will also allow for some opportunities for math performance grouping between classes and between grade levels. Hebrew performance grouping will continue in grades 3-5.
Another difference you will notice is that most of our General Studies teachers will have one grade level assignment next year. Currently, most teachers teach for two-thirds of the day at one grade level and then jump to another grade level to teach another third of the day. Next year, most teachers will teach one grade level for two-thirds of the day and then will become a reading interventionist in another teacher’s classroom. Should we experience favorable enrollment, our plan is to expand this model to all GMLS teachers so that all teachers can dedicate their focus to their students at one grade level, increase collaboration with fellow teachers, and further expand intervention support for all children and in subject areas beyond reading.
As we continuously strive to take the academic program to new heights, this represents a huge step forward for GMLS. I am very excited about what this offers your children and how this will positively effect the achievement of all of our students.
Please join me at my Coffee Talk on May 1st to learn about more of the exciting changes in store for the 2015-16 school year.