“In order to continue to make progress in its ongoing battle to make sure every child is prepared for college and a post-education career, Valley View School District 365U must give its educators every support possible to help them succeed in the classroom.”
That’s what VVSD Superintendent Dr. James Mitchem told more than 150 teachers, administrators and staff members from all 21 VVSD schools Wednesday at the opening session of the VVSD Summer Leadership Academy.
“It cannot be done without you,” Dr. Mitchem said, adding that the problem plaguing education nationwide is not the educators themselves, but the supports educators are given and the systems in which they work. “Nothing matters except for what happens between the teacher in the classroom and the kids. Everything else we do must be designed to support that notion. That is our goal, our mission, our passion.”
The Summer Leadership Academy was designed to provide an opportunity to build the capacity of instructional leaders, reflect on data and research, and outline a plan to support teachers and staff for the 2013-14 school year. The two-day collaborative group effort provided multiple rigorous professional development opportunities for both individual and organizational growth focusing on one goal: supporting increased achievement by VVSD students and supporting teachers to reach this goal.
“We have to move with light speed because we don’t want to lose one student,” Dr. Mitchem told the group. “I encourage you to fight the good fight because it will pay off for our children.”
The Academy sessions began with a look back on the accomplishments during the 2012-13 school year, including the development of the district’s first-ever Strategic Plan, as well as a look ahead as VVSD strives to prepare every student for college and a career.
Following conversations about the importance of not only gathering, but also interpreting, data on each individual student’s progress, attendees were able to review best teaching practices and learned about the significant impact of understanding and applying research-based best practices to promote student learning.
Armed with their new-found knowledge about how to interpret building-and district-level data, as well as an understanding of the relationship between achievement and growth, the Leadership Academy team developed specific principles for instructional leadership which will serve as the foundation for the district’s short and long range professional development plans.
“I challenge you that at every turn, with every decision we make, we ask ourselves, is it truly best for kids?” Mitchem said. “If every teacher in every classroom and every administrator in every school makes every decision based on what is best for kids, then all of our kids will achieve.”Editor's note: This article was submitted by Valley View School District 365U.