Editor's note: The following is a press release from Valley View School District 365U.
Like every school in Valley View School District 365U, Jamie McGee Elementary School is still in the “beginning stages” of what McGee Principal Tony Valenza terms “a gigantic philosophical change in thinking.”
“The direction of education has changed,” Valenza told parents at Friday’s Coffee with the Principal event, “We all have to ask ourselves are we meeting all of our students’ needs and recognizing their cultural differences?”
Valenza admitted he was a little nervous about the start of the new school year what with the launch off all-day kindergarten, new literacy and math curriculums and an increased emphasis on goal setting for each student as well as teachers. But, he said, “It’s been a great start to the year. We’re doing some really positive things.”
Coffee with the Principal attendees watched a video detailing the key characteristics of so-called 90-90-90 school district where 90 percent of students are linguistic or ethnic minorities, 90 percent are low income and 90 percent meet or exceeding state standards. Those characteristics are:
- Laser-like focus on achievement
- Extraordinary writing
- Collaboration among staff
- The penalty for failing is getting the opportunity to do the work again and again.
“We are constantly asking ourselves what are we doing to help every child succeed?” Valenza said, adding VVSD is asking teachers to do a lot in a very little amount of time. “It all starts in the classroom. Nothing will be successful if kids don’t get good instruction in the classroom.”
Valenza expects to hold several similar parent gatherings throughout the school year.